“There are no secrets.” And now there is no Record Keeper.
The Adventist News Network and other Adventist sources report today that the General Conference will not release The Record Keeper project: The Record Keeper is dead. The GC’s April 11 press release states that the project is “suspended” and “similar creative outreach projects” might be possible in future.
Back in January I wrote about efforts to save The Record Keeper and updated my post with Williams Costa’s statement that the GC was “not considering stepping away from the Record Keeper project.” Today’s announcement to the contrary will make it hard for church advocates to deny that Seventh-day Adventism struggles to support creativity in form and complexity in thought: our fundamentalism makes us a poor ally to art.
If we have a certainty bias that makes us hostile to new forms of thinking, seeing, and understanding, then we have a massive and possibly insurmountable challenge for those Adventists in each generation who want to drink deeply from theology and philosophy thanks to their love of literature and film. Story isn’t tidy and truth has many faces—when will we learn?
I feel sad today not just for Jason Satterlund, Garrett Caldwell, and the rest of the TRK team but also for the thousands of youth at Adventist colleges and academies who’ve already screened the entire series and were looking forward to sharing it with new viewers. I also think of those baptized during evangelistic screenings of TRK last year who are now seeing a church nervously disclaiming the tools that brought them into Adventism.
I am not concerned about the money that’s been spent. The Adventist denomination isn’t short on funds and didn’t waste them by funding or developing The Record Keeper. I am concerned about the message the GC is sending by abandoning this project, the creatives behind it, and the audiences that have already responded to it.
And yet the statement claims the GC’s “strong endorsement for creative outreach.” No, no.
That The Record Keeper has become the 21st Century’s Rise of the Minions is a loss for all of us.