The Days of Wine And Roses

Shy a couple of weeks of 90 years of age, and stiff, I’m able to get up from a chair only by ratcheting and groaning. Is my mind still flexible enough to grasp the modish and post-modish, explosively-evolving liberal, revisionary, disruptive generation that has burst upon the SDA scene?   Let us find out.

The Days of Innocence

A 4th generation Adventist, I was born in 1929, in the middle of an uniquely privileged generation of early southern California CME (pre-LLU) graduates.  Famous for being good Adventists by default and baptism (age 10), and for unquestioningly accepting 19th century Adventism, we straddled the church and the world, as only the profession of medicine allows.  Being labeled other than simply Seventh-day Adventist never occurred to us. 

But when I was 50ish and totally absorbed by my career and church-wise happily smug, a new proto-progressive generation, out to discredit any form of obedience, characterized my passively obedient generation as S.D.A. Legalist.

Thus taunted, I was stirred, a novel feeling.  Legalist? Credible if cynical accusation.  But even more applicable and accurate, I realized, would be the label Laodicean. 

Frank Sinatra supplied our theme song: “The Days of Wine And Roses,” sans the wine.  Legalist-Laodicean Adventists do not drink wine. 

Then for the next 30-some years I was exposed to measured, veiled doses of progressive Adventism 101 at the Kettering Church Sabbath School as taught by a squad of charming Harvard-finished ex-senior pastors of the Sligo Church.  Though on occasion shocked, I shrugged off their “contemporary issues” as just over-educated swagger, mercifully-rare tares growing unthreateningly among us vast fields of waving wheat.

The Era of Unbelief

Fast forward to the 21st century and NAD president Jackson, the self-appointed mouthpiece of this spanking new, comprehensively radical generation that has burst upon us.  They’re not just tares but terrorists; not simply tares but devil grass, best parabolized by Gays.  Once confined to the locked closet, gays have burst forth and like Hollywood superheroes are leaping over tall buildings and whacking “legalists” (now a generic term) stuck in Romans 1.

Appropriately it is at the movie theater—to legalists anathema but more devoutly attended by NADites than even their rocking sabbath schools—that suspension of disbelief is learned.  Please  drop off your belief at the coat-check room in the lobby. The idea that, as you leave the theater, you can have your belief back along with your overcoat is the crowning Hollywood special-effects fantasy.  Once suspended, belief is lost. 

So the crowning rottenness is disbelief of our core doctrines.  Scripture and the tables of stone are impatiently supplanted by suitable haute hermeneutics, post-mod templates, and gabbling spirits that proclaim liberation from law and doctrine, and there go the pillars of our belief.

Dan “crooner” Jackson, in the midst of his now famous not-so-charming fulmination, bursts into Sinatra’s song, and then, without missing a beat, rightly declares our old days of Wine And Roses and Legalism over.  But the theme song lingers.  Jackson owns it.  And he owns the updated, refined, sensitive, cultured version of Laodicea-La La Land.  

Thus he backhandedly proclaimed the advent of his own new more bracing Days of Wine And Roses, plenty of the finest wine, 1st growth Chateau L’Culture will do, only perfunctorily concealed. 

Unconcealed, yea flaunted, is his contempt for the GC’s belated, maybe too belated, attempt to impose Biblical and world-church-voted prohibitions against his rebellious agenda, curiously culminated and epitomized by, of all things, Women’s Ordination. 

By no means does the sweeping Jacksonian agenda end with WO.  That’s just the beginning.

Jackson compared compliance with the prohibitions to kowtowing to papal sovereignty, or to Babylon out of which the woman is called to come, to be ordained. 

This?  This I cannot believe!  But I have no choice, however stiff-necked superannuation has rendered me.  I cannot compartmentalize or shrug off, as was my wont in more complacent times. 

For it’s what the man said.  Courtesy of Fulctrum7 and its flood of videos and quotes, I personally witnessed him saying it, in context.  And never, even from a Shakespearean Oscar-winning actor, have I beheld such a heart-felt, genuine, such a grimly challenging declamation, even if apostrophized by a sweet tune.  “Here I stand, I can do – dum-de-do-dah – no other.”

And did not the SOP warn that this would happen?  This could well be what the SOP warned of, the shaking time, the endtimes! 

“What endtimes?”, is the final NADicean sneer.  This is the time of Wine and Rose Colored Glasses.  Get a life, not The Life. 

The NAD Rose Parade

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But hey!  That sounds like the starting shout for the magnificent NAD Rose Parade.  Ordained ladies and fawning gentlemen, start your floats! 

Featured as the Grand Marshall is Women’s Ordination costumed as a goddess tossing rose petals and blessings to the grandstand on which most of the crowd are standing and applauding.  Her float is emblazoned with letters of red (not scarlet?) and white roses, proclaiming, “Then, 1000 Baptisms; now, 1000 ordained Women Pastors!” amplified by loudspeakers blasting the message in full decibels.

Her float is immediately followed by a blaring LGBTiXX Marching Band in rainbow makeup and uniforms, followed by a string of rose-covered floats, the first loaded with elaborately bowing professors of theistic evolution.  In the next are boisterously laughing seminarians liberated from Victorian Biblical culture, fanatical Sabbath observance, evangelism, and the Investigative Judgment, leaving nary a doctrine, only Seventh-gray Adventist culture. 

Another float follows, overloaded with preening Adventist film-makers, actors, producers (have they joined SAG?), drama teams, sequined dancers, emergent celebrities generating thunderous applause from the bleachers. All hail the shaken booty’s of the Hallelujah Hooey Hop with full NADite squat kicks.

Then a float sheathed in poppies bearing a crew of bearded characters.  There’s bearded Chuck Darwin tossing candied eons to all the children, and Karl Marx flipping Christian-sounding dialectics like bitcoins to the masses, and a small fellow next to him, Groucho Marx, his face teasingly masked by rimmed glasses attached to a big pink plastic nose attached to a fake Darwinian white beard.

Last comes a small bare trailer on which a couple of aged preachers slump in dejected silence over the unloved banner Our Adventist Pioneers. Silence.  The crowd has gone home, or to the movies.   

I wake up screaming.  It must have been a nightmare.    

Awake!

Very old and plagued by insomnia and dyspepsia, I am  sickened into bad dreams by Don Jackson’s sweet dreams.  I am old and very weary of the days of Wine and Roses of both my generation and Jackson’s. 

So weary … but jerked awake!   Rear-ended by the out-of-control Jacksonian 18-wheeler rose-bedecked floats, I’m whiplashed clean out of Laodicean slumber. 

And jolted by Spectrum’s replay of the madNAD-Jacksonian prestidigitations.  And its deft switching of identities between the devil and God.  And its breathtakingly creative perversion of Webster’s and Adventism’s dictionary, including and featuring “liberty” and “social justice.”  Topped off by its authentically formatted “interview” with suddenly useful Sister White who is made to seem to smile upon noncompliance.   

Wide awake, my hackles raised upon my stiff old neck, I find myself not responding in my old instinctive legalistic way by indignant gleeful pouncing and clawing.  Those days ought to be over.  God has so commanded.  Sinai and the tablets of stone were not to be complied with but obeyed. 

Instead I’m on my knees praising God for shaking me free of my Laodicean cocoon even if it took haute talk—echoes of what the serpent told Eve—to do it.  And I implore Him for wisdom, steadiness, and, in this moment of crisis, His Spirit, His character, which is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22 ESV).   

For yet another day is coming, the final New Day, God’s day.  Coming is the day of the wine of the wrath of God poured out without mixture, which, in mercy, will be cut short, followed by the Eternal Day of the Kingdom of the Lord, and the welcoming feast with Christ Himself as host serving, yes, the fruit of the vine, of which He, during His last days with us, after offering a glass as symbol of His sacrifice, had promised that He would “drink no more … until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:25).   

And there will be song, incomparably more symphonious and overwhelming than Sinatra’s or Jackson’s squawkings.  Reverberating through the cosmos will be an ocean of voices singing the new theme hymn of the saved that no others can sing, the “Song of Moses And The Lamb” (Rev. 15:3).  And above it all, quaking the cosmos, is God Himself exalting over His people with loud singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV). 

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Dr. Kime was born in 1929, in Los Angeles, California.  

Kime pursued dual careers in art (since childhood) and medicine (physician; specialties in internal medicine and pathology; clinical and academic).  He studied the principles of art, chemistry of paint, and the works of master artists as assiduously as medicine.  After retiring from pathology at Kettering Medical Center in 1994, Dr. Kime has concentrated on his art, producing portraits, seascapes and figural work mainly in oils, and  urbanscapes predominantly in watercolor.  Dr. Kime currently lives in Redlands, CA.