21st Century Faith
Students from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, respond to questions aboutwhether it’s easy or difficult to be an Adventist in the world in which we live.
I sometimes find it difficult when it comes to keeping the Sabbath, with things like abstaining from all the distractions or the entertainment that is around us. Where I am right now [SAU] has good influences, so it isn’t too difficult. You have a lot of influences to study the Bible and talk about Jesus. I’m reminded that God is in our lives.
I haven’t found it that hard to be an Adventist. I’ve been fortunate to be in supportive circles and with Adventists most of my life. I didn’t go to Adventist schools, but went to a private Christian school for high school, and they were supportive. I’m sure it will be hard when I go out into the world. But I think that if I’m strong enough in my faith, I can stand for what I believe in.
I don’t find it hard to be an Adventist, but I think it depends on the circumstances a person is facing. I was in a secular environment over the summer, and because of the situations I encountered, it tested my faith more. It was easier to be an Adventist because I had to rely on God more. Here on an Adventist campus, because we are surrounded by Adventism, we relax our guard against things that aren’t spiritual and can become complacent. So living out a Christ-centered life can actually be harder when we are surrounded by Adventism.
I don’t find it too difficult to be an Adventist, especially here at Southern. We have vespers, religion courses, and churches all around giving us options. But one area that might be difficult is keeping the Sabbath. There’s lots of homework, so it is tempting to do it, but then it is also relaxing not to do work. [As a film student] I want to work in Hollywood. I have struggled. How am I going to show God and spread the Word if I’m in a known non-Adventist area? But I’ve talked to people who have worked in the industry. It is all about showing your character so people can see God in you. If you say at the beginning you won’t work on Sabbath, they will respect you. God will provide.
In my life I don’t think it has been quite difficult to be an Adventist. My dad is a pastor, and we moved around. Some of the cities where he pastored didn’t have an Adventist school, so I went to public school. I didn’t like telling people my dad was a pastor. I couldn’t go to homecoming on Friday night or to prom. Because of those times, it was hard for people to accept a pastor’s daughter and my beliefs and morals. But overall I don’t think the world damages my beliefs in Jesus. In sixth grade, my teacher randomly selected my dad to come for career day. I wasn’t thrilled with him being there. I thought people were going to laugh at me. But they didn’t. Instead, the kids asked me more and were interested. It was a wake-up call for me. After that experience, I tried to stay true to myself.
My perspective on Adventism has changed since starting college. As a kid I thought it was the most difficult thing ever. It meant I couldn’t watch TV on Saturday. It meant I couldn’t play with my friends on Saturday. I had to wake up early to go to church, and that was difficult. Now that I’m in college and I work and study every day, Sabbath is just the time I can forget about all of that, disconnect, and rest from everything. Being at an Adventist school does make it easier. I’m still tempted, but we have friends here that support and help us through things.
It depends on the person, but I don’t find it difficult to be an Adventist today. I’m from Egypt and used to be a Coptic Christian until I went to an Adventist academy in Cairo and decided to be an Adventist. I realized I wasn’t studying the Bible, so Adventism brought me to understand the Bible better.
At this point in my life I don’t find it difficult to be an Adventist. However, when I was growing up, it was a little bit restrictive. I couldn’t play, watch TV, or do a lot of things I wanted to do on Saturdays. Now it is a lot easier, because going to an Adventist school does help. Sabbath is now a rest time from school. The whole point of Sabbath is to get this healthy rest and focus on God and strengthen that relationship.