Proclamation! | Winter | 2017 | The Life After
By Chris Lee
I started my transition out of Adventism in earnest sometime around 2001 and wrote my resignation letter in March 2002. Sometime in that period, I discovered a magazine which had only been around since late 2000, Proclamation! In working through my transition, I found writing about my thoughts, feelings, and epiphanies to be cathartic. Eventually I decided to send the magazine an unsolicited piece I had been working on titled, “Are Some Foods Unclean?” Fortunately for me, the editor decided to take a chance on an unknown writer and publish my material. I will always be thankful to Dale Ratzlaff and to Richard and Colleen Tinker for giving me that opportunity.
Proclamation! truly was a godsend in the most literal sense. Not only did it give me an opportunity to work through my own recovery by writing about issues and doctrines I was working through, but it connected me to a world of others with the same questions and struggles. I would very much like to think that sharing some of my thoughts was a blessing to others. I know having such an outlet and contact with other formers was a tremendous blessing to me.
It wasn’t always the easiest road, though. Over the years I’ve had my share of angry emails, random phone callers wanting to debate in the middle of dinner, packages delivered stuffed full of SDA “proof”, and even an Adventist book thrown in my front door by an unknown ding-and-ditch-witness. But the hardest part was the reaction of those closest to me. I think some could have found a way to forgive, or at least live with, the fact that I was no longer actively attending an Adventist church. But in publicly declaring myself a former Adventist, becoming an evangelical Christian, and writing about the differences between the two, I lost a lot of relationships that I had thought would be forever.
I can remember being on my knees in the living room late one night, bent over the couch, pleading with God to release me from the ministry. There are only a small number of times in my life in which I feel certain I “heard” the will of God very clearly in answer to prayer. His answer that night was, “You’re not finished.”
Around 2009 I started becoming very interested in what it looked like to live life after Adventism, fully integrated into the Body of Christ. That fall I began writing the back page column,“The Life After”. Writing “The Life After” was equally cathartic during this phase of my recovery as writing doctrinally-focused articles had been earlier on. Again, I’d like to think it has been helpful to others seeking to take their next steps in recovery.
I now feel like I am yet again at a transitional point. After fifteen years, I find I’m running out of things to say. More importantly, I believe I can again sense God’s will clearly and believe He has given me permission to pursue other ministries in the Body. I’m sure you’ll hear from me occasionally in an article, blog post, or forum posting. But for now, I’m taking a step back from writing and am not entirely sure where God is leading next. All I know for sure is that, by the grace of God, I’m going to be out there living the life after. I hope you will be too.
Sincerely, Chris. †