The May 2009 Adventist World magazine came into my line of sight last week at church. What was this – a picture of a Japanese Shinto shrine’s torii gracing the cover? And on top of that, the place where the torii is located is at the only institution of higher learning operated by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists – Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies!!
Wikipedia says about the torii:
Torii gates mark the entrance to sacred space in Japan. A shrine may have many torii, and the first of the torii is called the ichi no torii, or “first torii”. Torii that are found farther into the shrine represent increasing levels of holiness as one nears the inner sanctuary of the shrine. Passing underneath a torii on the way to visit a shrine is, along with washing one’s hands and mouth with water, an act of sanctification and purification before approaching the kami to pray.
For this reason, people who are in a state of uncleanliness are not permitted to approach a Shinto shrine for prayer as their uncleanliness would defile the ground. Examples of uncleanliness in the Shinto tradition include a woman who is menstruating or anybody who has lost a relative in the past year. When a Japanese person suffers a death in the family, he or she will go to Buddhist temples instead of a Shinto shrine to offer prayers for one year, including for the essential first visit of the new year, Hatsumōde.
God, please may our leaders repent, for surely they know not what they are doing.