I live and work in a sensitive, war-torn part of the world that daily produces refugees and IDPs. IDP stands for “Internally Displaced Person,” someone who is ripped out of a context that feels like “home” while still remaining in his or her country of origin. As a Seventh-day Adventist, sometimes I can feel like an IDA – an “Internally Displaced Adventist.” Let me explain.
Much of my growing up years were spent in ultraconservative and self-supporting (parachurch) structures. I attended a conservative self-supporting academy for four years and then attended an ultraconservative self-supporting Bible college for another four years. By the time I graduated, I had been fully indoctrinated in ultraconservatism. It is difficult to express to outsiders the profound sense of exclusive belongingness and spiritual zeal experienced by those living in a close-knit, religiously demanding cloister. Far from feeling like a burden at the time, the high demands placed upon us tended to make us feel that we had a radically important and almost heroic responsibility to defend and uphold the truth in a backsliding, sinful church (we, of course, were not sinful, because we had “the present truth”).
Turn - Events - Husband - Church - Move
Through a surprising turn of events, my husband and I began working overseas for “the organized church” in 2013, a move which garnered responses such as, “be careful not to lose your spirituality.” Thus began my personal journey toward balanced spirituality as I interacted with more tolerant, less extreme Adventist Christians. The path of spiritual transformation is not always brightly lit, but at times we can look backward and see how God has been leading us precisely in the way that He knew would be best for our spiritual growth (for me, I think a few years of extreme religiosity was a mercy from God; most of my childhood friends ended...
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