January 1, 2009

36CN: Paulsen Encourages Community Engagement

GC President Encourages
Community Engagement

capGod's creative and restorative power is a "compelling" motive for Christians to impact their communities, Seventh-day Adventist world church president Jan Paulsen said during a holiday address recently recorded for the global Protestant denomination's nearly 16-million members.

Drawing from a biblical picture of renewal in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Paulsen said God's power is not limited to the promised "new Earth," but "begins now -- even in incomplete and feeble ways."

2008 1536 page33 linkThat message of hope, Paulsen said, "can create community where there seems only to be divisions, relationships where there is separation, hope where there is fear, peace where there is anger, and life where there is destruction and death."
Such "radical" expressions of faith, Paulsen said, depend upon a "shared humanity." In a society where difference and otherness often anchor identity, Paulsen said that the church's message of hope "respects no divisions of nationality, economics, politics, or race."

Paulsen also stressed the importance of a faith "not confined to the intellect, textbooks, or just words." To be relevant faith should "intersect with life" and have "something profound to say about issues in today's headlines."

In practicing such faith, Christians will "inevitably be drawn into positive, constructive engagement with our communities."

"Let's never lose sight of the fact that this message is animated by compassion. It's a message that finds its fullest and most attractive expression not in theological exegesis ... but in active concern for other people," he said. "I want the world to know that our faith inevitably leads us to care for other people."
                                                                                                                               — Adventist News Network