I’M DRIVING HOME ONE DAY LAST SEPTEMBER with a major assignment on my mind-a formal presentation at an October conference in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of what some have called the most controversial book in Adventism: Questions on Doctrine. My radio is tuned to CSPAN, and on comes a live report of the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of one of the United States’ most significant civil rights events-the integration of an Arkansas high school in 1957 by a group that’s come to be known as the “Little Rock Nine.”
Suddenly, the stark irony in the coincidence of the two events as they unfolded 50 years ago struck me. On the one hand, an entire nation grappling with fundamental issues of human rights-innocent little children in danger of being killed simply for attempting to attend the school of their choice. On the other, a church preoccupied with fixing its own theology, seemingly oblivious that the very rights being agonized over in the larger community were being denied children within its own communion.