So I’ve read a couple of these “you know you grew up Adventist” things, but most of them are heavily Americanised. So I thought I’d do an English version. Well, as a typical Londoner I think we’re the centre of the universe and the only city in the country of relevance, although Birmingham also has a small place in my heart. (As does Wolverhampton, which I refuse to call a city, because we all know it’s just a town that got a little bit over excited.)
For those of you who read my blog and aren’t Adventist, you can find out about us at www.adventist.org. Basically, we’re Christians but we have some beliefs that are quite different from other Christian groups, that we believe are important. We’re most famous in popular media for a lot of us being vegetarian and consequently living past the age of 100 (go veggie, it’s good for animals, the environment and you) – there’s a documentary floating about the internet somewhere about that.
So, you probably grew up Adventist if….
1) As a teenager, the Advent Centre was the highlight of your Saturday night.
Some of you Bad-ventists were out clubbing. The rest of us were loitering outside the Advent centre, or eating veggie burgers with our latest crush at the McDonalds next to the Advent centre. A few of you were trying to bring the club inside the Advent centre. You know who you are. If you were from up north, you woke up early in the morning to make that trip down to London so that you could join in on the Advent centre fun too.
2) 13th Sabbath was D-Day.
If you were that child that only knew one of your memory verses, then your parents felt shame…unless they were newly baptised and you got a pass for about two quarters. There was always that annoying child who said all 13 verses without even breathing. (Ok, so I was kinda that child…I got bullied a bit. Come on guys, WWJD?)
3) Your Dad/Mum got militant just before sunset on Friday.
Whatever T.V show you were watching, book you were reading, or game you were playing that was non Jesus related, it got swiftly put away. Cue ‘The Greatest Adventure:Bible Stories’, ‘Psalty’, or ‘Donut Man’ video, or if you grew up in a household like mine, ‘The Story of John Wesley’. (But it’s actually a good story, like, for real).
To this day, about 20 minutes before sunset, my Dad will make his raid of the house, like some sort of Sabbath mafia, turning off appliances, wailing and gnashing his teeth at the sight of me ironing. It gives my heart a warm glow.
4) You always missed your friend’s birthday parties.
EVERYONE has their birthday on Saturday in primary school. EVERYONE.
5) You were part of a girl group/boy band with an sightly dodgy name.
I’m convinced that pretty much EVERY child who grew up Adventist in England has at some point been part of, wanted to be part of or tried to be part of a singing group. Usually a cappella because that’s what Adventists specialise in. Names are usually along the lines of “In His Hands”, “Testimony”, “Communion”, etc
5) You know hymn 373 and hymn 100. Even if you can’t give the number for any of the other ones.
All together now…. “Going Afaaaaaarrrrrrrrr…”
6) Pathfinder camporee/ Camp meeting were just as good as holidays abroad, if not better.
There are some sermons I remember from Pathfinder camporees I went to when I was 9. I became a Christian eventually, so something must have got through, but despite the sermons I heard at camporee I still managed to – pull pegs out of people’s tents while they were sleeping so that it collapsed on them, pour soapy water down rabbit holes while rabbits were in them (I do feel bad for the rabbits, honestly), spray deodorant into a wasps nest so that they swarmed and stung me and my friend, set fire to things that should never have been near flames, and take people’s towels that were hanging over the shower door while they were still in the shower. And I got called a goody two shoes compared to what some of you were up to..
7) You sang “red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight”, to the song ‘Jesus loves the little children’.
Not like this new generation who have a PC version …”every colour is just right, they are precious in his sight”.
8) If a preacher had come from America, it made it approximately 10X more likely that you would be at church.
For shame, for shame, you generation of groupies. I would like to say most of us grow out of this, but nope, some of you still only miraculously turn up for Jesus when he’s swathed with stars and stripes.
9) You were vexed when the A listers/praise team got potluck lunch before you.
Maybe that was just me. I understand they were ministering yadda yadda yadda. I was a hungry teenager and it irked me.
10) You had so many sex and relationship talks you could do an A level on them.
Was that just Peckham church who did that? There’s that video of the American woman who says all the STD’s you can catch really really fast, and it made me scared of catching herpes like, forever. I’m still scared of catching herpes. Because as the American lady says, condoms don’t protect you against herpes. Neither do they protect you from the emotional consequences of pre-marital sex. Word.
11) Kirk Franklin was a point of controversy.
One of my friends had the bright idea of us singing “Stomp” as a special item. As soon as my Dad got wind of it, we were promptly dispersed, and back to the Heritage Singers it was. Rightfully so… who on earth was going do the rap at the end? Certainly not me.
12) You have come close to breaking a bone playing British Bulldog at a church social.
Maybe that’s why some Adventists don’t believe in competition. That mess is dangerous.
13) You were a budding actor/actress.
I do a stellar Miriam, a great donkey and I can also do a good imitation of ‘teenager who left church/Jesus but has now come back’.
14) If you a girl you wanted to mime/did mime.
I personally did not mime, and still do not understand the need for mime, but Adventist teenagers in England and mime are like cheese and crackers. They just seem to find each other.
15) You think back on your childhood/teenage years with nostalgia and fondness.
Some people end up leaving Adventism for various reasons. I think most of us who grew up Adventist though, have good memories. I will forever be grateful for the relationship with God that I developed as part of growing up Adventist, the truth that I believe is taught, the friends I made, and the great times I had. I forgive Adventism for any food poisoning I got after a bad potluck, and for the fact that I had, and still continue to have to hear the song ‘Mercy said no’ at least 4 times a year.
What do you remember about growing up Adventist?
Happy Sabbath guys x