Adapted from a tweet series I shared with Twitter earlier this week. You’re not following me on Twitter yet? Come talk with me.
Five years ago, I wrote a reflection on the last Adventist fundamental belief, the New Earth. The teaching is based on Revelation 21 and other apocalyptic and gospel texts, and my writing draws from those same sources as well.
Please read what I wrote then, know that I still stand by it, and understand that at any given moment, I write precisely what I intend to write. I may not always convey the fullness of what I mean—I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now—but you will never go wrong by reckoning first with the words I do share.
So here’s what I can tell you today.
A New Earth that reinscribes the same power imbalances and visible authority preferences as the old is not the New Earth I’m working for. I don’t run around flipping tables because as far as I’m concerned they’ve already been flipped.
I see us clinging to the old upturned world, its base tipped over in the sand like Ozymandias’ torso. It somehow makes sense to us to caress the facade of tradition; we tiptoe around its classic fault lines; we buy what social standing we still can from any system that’ll still sell.
I know Ozymandias. I know how things have been. Yet, having searched myself, I do not find that either flipping or clinging is my calling.
I’m not called to tear down the old world. It’s already broken. It’s already rootless. It’s already proven an unsustainable gamble.
I might sometimes point out that we’re still trying to hold communion on flipped tables, that our meal might be more satisfying when we redesign the dining hall. I might say something like “Maybe you’ll be able to stop wondering why you can’t retain x-population once you’ve sorted out these tables and our friends have a decent spread to eat with you.” I may do that sometimes.
But I’m not going to wreck your flow. Live as you wish.
My calling is to build and herald.
To build—to uncover what’s here, create what’s not, and help us all build what’s better.
And to herald—to proclaim the presence and reality of that new creation in all its magnificence and beauty.
To build and to herald—that’s my work.
I will do this building and heralding, in the public square and in the closed-door board room, and I will do it until I’m no longer needed.
This is a memo from a new world, the first of many, I imagine. It’s not a letter from a foreign land back home, no: this is a memo, an internal communication, an intra-planetary note.
I live here in this new world, and it’s here for you to live in as well. It’s not an escape from reality that we need most; it’s greater recognition of and alignment with the world of experience we’ve always said we want.
That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I work for. And that’s what I want to experience with you.