Jampacked weekend and confused thoughts about the Salvation Army

Had a brilliant weekend, really busy but fab. Tims rugby prizegiving on Friday night, fundraising at the 2nd Store on Sat, (got some beautiful new drapes for a buck!) then had divisional youth event: Area 7 run by the Browns Bay church youth which was fantastic, such a real and authentic God experience.

Then spoke at Rec Church on Sunday morning, about global injustice and fair trade- it was great, had a giant discussion, Q and A time and it was apparent that people had taken it on and were really thinking about it. Then lunch at church, afternoon tea with a fab couple from Rec, tea with parents in law. Phew. Lots of delicious food and company!

The whole weekend was smattered with conversations about Chick Yuill and the Salvation Army. It's a bit of the hard old week for Salvationists I think. Lots of confused thoughts. On one hand, something like that doesn't really effect the grassroots stuff, whats going on out here in my little patch type thing. But then The Salvation Army's leadership and their decisions reflect the nature of the very organisation we belong too. Do I want to belong to an orgnisation like that?


Stevo said...

Tis a good question, on the one hand i do have huge respect for people that are true to their calling and work somewhere, despite the sometimes large scale hypocrisy evident inn the leadership. But then i also get very frustrated when I see the good and Godly work that some put in, only to be undone by the 'Leadership'. Maybe it just depends on ones calling, whether one is called to work for the Army, with the Army or to do work similar to the Army's work on ones own or with another organisation? If ones calling is to work with a certain group of people and an organisation consistently gets in the way, or indeed the organisation doesn't have integrity from the top down, then why stay? I think God would be frustrated that His gifted family aren't able to use the gifts he gave, and would provide opportunities to do the said work in another context.

Howard said...

Yes you do want to belong to an organisation like that! At least if you believe that God can use you in it. Evidence suggests that he is using you and many thousands of others. Like you, I wish we had perfect leaders but the reality is they have as many weaknesses as we all do. Show me any part of the Christian church thats perfect - it doesnt exist. Thankfully, we serve a perfect God and thats all that matters except He is probably asking us all to pray that much harder.

BeccaBoB said...

amen to that. I still believe in the army. I have many frustrations and concerns, but deep down I believe in it. Plus, i dont know any organisation who doesnt have these problems somewhere with as many people as the army...its what happens when humans get together

HobberBlogger said...

Have you ever wondered how clever satan is??? you might wonder what I'm talking about as I'm a passionate Salvationist, about to start attending the Crewe Corps (just come over from Australia). But I often sit back and laugh and cry and watch satan hard at work in our Army... think about it.. God raised up a powerful group of mission minded activists.. at that moment in time Satan knew he had a huge battle on his hands.. he knew he had to get Salvationists to stop doing what they're meant to do or he was easily going to lose his war on the world. So what did he do? Initially he persecuted the Army from the outside, think about the Seleton Army's, the band of people who opposed to the Army's good works and fight for social justice.. Now this persecution deterred some Salvationists, but also spurred others on to fight, because we're a stubborn fighting force.. after all Jesus said we should take up our cross and follow him, we have a awesome cause to die for...

So as time went on satan knew Salvationists weren't going to be easily deterred... so what did he do, he started to weazle his way into individual Salvationists.. bit by bit, until we started ripping ourselves to pieces.. then before we knew it, we were fighting amongst ourselves and Satan had won, we were no longer a threat or in the fight.. occasisonally a couple of brave people would feel called to stand up for him, but satan uses their own people to discourage and disuade people to be involved in our mission, or makes them believe there's plenty of time to save the world.. as years go by.. people live with regrets.. they haven't done what God has asked them to do..

Have you ever taken the time to sit back and see satan at work.. You have to laugh, because his plan is so simple and extremely pathetic, yet we fall into his trap so easily. But I haven't said all this to bag out the Army.. I've said it because we need to watch ourselves.. satan knows that The Salvation Army, when it's forces are advancing are a huge threat.. God's army is powerful... He's calling us back to the streets, the homeless, single parents, destitute, the poor, suicidal, the marginalised and those who live on the wrong side of the tracks.. we all have those people in our cities...

As Margaret Yuill said on Sunday night.. we need to stand tall in times of confusion, uncertainty, even when we're alone, insecure, uncertain if we're doing the right thing... God led moses on a path which everyone thought was foolish.. right to the edge of the red sea... they were surely doomed to be killed by the Egyptian Army.. But when we look from God's eyes his plans were completely different.. he took away the obstacle and led the Israelites through the Red Sea.
Its when we stand tall and trust in God that God will honour us and bless us and takes us on a journey we could never imagine.. So as the Salvation Army constantly progresses through our life time we can know and be confident that as long as we as individuals stand firm and believe in God's purpose for us, we can know that our Army will once again be an even greater threat to Satan...case we as indivduals make up the Salvation Army.

We will face even more persecution in the future.. then of course grow closer to God and become so strong because we know God is for us and uniting us. We must be prepared for satan at all times, we must remember it is a spiritual war we're in and we must constantly have our spiritual armour on or we will fall. When one falls others fall with them.. we must stand tall...Support eachother... The great thing about our Army is we're God's Army and Revelation tells us and i'll leave you with this thought... WE WIN THE WAR!!!

lucy AR said...

We win the war against sin and Satan through Christ, not the Army. To see the Army as anything other than a vehicle in order to do this is probably idolatrous. If the Army ever stops becoming the vehicle with which to win the war against death for us (individually or corporatley) it needs to be left behind. And I agree with you, how are we to reconcile humans to God, to life, to liberty, when we have such irreconciliation in ur ranks. So either, those irreconciled need to be reconciled or those refusing to be reconciled need to go or those who want to win the war need to leave behind those refusing to be reconciled?

Maybe? My thoughts are confused. I feel my future with the Army which was utterly certain, has been totally shaken.

Shivers. when you say the word reconciled that much it really turns into a word that doesn;t make any sense and looks weird.

HobberBlogger said...

I think you should spend time studying the parables of Jesus to clear your confusion... you will no longer be confused when you emerse yourself in God's word.

Obviously The Salvation Army wins the war through Christ, that is why I said "the great thing about our Army is where's God's Army".

But the main point here is that we as individuals each need to personally win the war.. let God worry about those who don't care or as you say are "unreconciled".

Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13:21-30, 36-43 about seed and weeds, and he says if you pull out weeds you also risk pulling out some good vines. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like that. Some people believe completely in Jesus, and some people do not believe. It is not always easy to know who really trusts Jesus. But one day Jesus will come back to this world. He will separate those who really trust him from the other people. Jesus has very severe words to say about people who do not trust him. This tells us that it is not our place to judge but to keep a close eye on our own spirituality - our relationship with God. The weeds we'll always have and it's our job to love them, not weed them out Jesus will do that. Love them when it's tough and when it get's tougher love them more.. and more... and more.. When every Christian in the world loves each other like this then we will have a war on our hands... Satan knows there is so much power in this.

Please let's start revival in the church, in our army today by loving each other.

JoJo said...

I absolutely understand your sentiment and as a lifelong Salvationist so want to be so idealistic but even as an eternal optimist (anyone will testify to this) I have been forced to see a very real darkside to the movement I know and have loved.
I have to take issue with the parable that you quoted. This parable is not about deep structural damage. Nor is it about divisive forces within an organisation. It is about all of humanity and what happens as we communicate the good news to the poor and the oppressed. Up until His trial, there was not a single time that Jesus did not take the opportunity to challenge and rebuke those in religious authority - those who had taken captive God's chosen people with unnecessary law and process.
Loving one another should never mean remaining silent in the face of wrong. Loving one another should never mean allowing injustice to continue within or without.
I, like Lucy know that God called the Salvation Army into being. However, I believe that God achieves his purposes through Jesus Christ who graciously works through the universal Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Does the Salvation Army have to exist? Should it - when our processes are so far removed from that which God intends? When injustice within our movement (at the highest level) is perpetrated so regularly that people hardly even notice anymore? When we're being taken in a direction that is distant from that which we were called to? When those who love in a powerful way - a costly way are forced out of the movement? That's what I just don't know.
I am not naive and have plenty of experience of other denominations and Christian organisations. Do I think they've got it all right? No. Do I think that any of them have a leadership that blackmails it's brothers and sisters? Blacklists those who serve faithfully? Functions in a way that is fundamentally at odds with it's theology? I hope not because if they do we're in worse trouble than I thought. It's not about seeking out the perfect Church or perfect leadership. It is about seeking out justice. It is about ensuring processes that mean fallible leaders are not able to punish those who disagree with them. Either we don't have these or they don't work and we should be insisting upon them.
Love requires that we ask tough questions (that will sometimes have really tough answers). Love requires that we fight against injustice wherever we see it. Love requires that we get angry. Otherwise it's a useless emotion that should be confined to romance novels and not one that will bring about the transformation that we so desperately seek in our lives, communities and world.

HobberBlogger said...


I just want to say, you're writing is really good and I was fired up by reading your response... Have you ever written for Christian Publications I believe you've got a gift for it.
I agree with you love doesn't mean sitting down and taking nonsense, true love provokes action... retaliating to injustice.. to everything you outlined... (by the way did I say you're writing was great?)
God is going to judge the church severely as we are often the blind guides... as Jesus said to the Pharisees 'you'remaking people twice as much son's of hell as what you are...' Yes he rebuked them.. but he was always in control of his anger.. never out of control.. I guess my question is "How do we deal with the misfits around us? That our in our Christian Movement.. even if they are the ones running the show?"
Both my wife and I constantly wrestle with this problem.. and as we're soon to go to training college to join this movement we love all I can say is I trust I will be a better example and stand up and be counted and show the people around me what true love is about... and on the last days when the farmer comes to plough his crop I pray I will be a fruit he'll want to feast on and not a weed ready for the fire.
I don't know.. should we write a letter to the General? Would it make a difference??? Probably... What do you think?

lucy AR said...

Jo- I agree with Hobberblogger, you got skills! writing skills...numbchuck skills.

Hobberblogger, I love how you finish your comment on a note of action. See, we Have to do something. You know what, writing a letter sounds like a brilliant plan. To the General and to the Cheif of Staff...

I guess people think simply putting pen to paper won't make a difference. But it will if enough people write. Surely? Shivers. We have to hope it might!

I am going to write. I have to act. Because, like you too Hobberblogger, we see ourselves heading into officership- and you know what if we are not prepared to act on unfairness before we get there there is not much flipping for us to do so once we are there!
My letter will ask for the eradication of this sole veto power thats going on, and also the implementation of more democratic procesess.

I think we should get Desmond Tutu to tour the Army speaking about reconciliation!

HobberBlogger said...

Can I make a suggestion with the letter writing? The current Chief of staff is a good friend of mine as she's also Australian and I first met her on a journalism assignment while I was in the congo in Africa. Commissioner Robin Dunster was the TC at the time and left an amazing impression on me. She is a fine officer and if you read the article I wrote a story on her(which is coming out in September Pipeline you can read in a few days at www.salvosmedia.com, if you can't wait that long email me at salvorock@hotmail.com and I will email it to you.) you will see just how great she is and she is the type of leader which inspires me and gives me faith in Salvation Army leadership).

Also her assistants are Robert and Janet streets.. Two also very fine officers who I have all the time in the world for, and who I learnt a lot of my diplomacy and etiquette from the hard way... embarrasment and tears... but I loved them o much that they married my wife and I.. actually Robert Street dedicated me... But they are awesome officers, you should get to know them.

I'm saying this because there is a lot of good things happening in the Army as well as the bad. There's always going to be good and bad, satans trying to destroy God's work... But don't you think God would have shut the army down if it was useless??? Seriously God is doing amazing things in the army... all around the world, but sometimes we only see and hear the bad... Satan is always working hard.. but he's the loser...

I know I'm probably preaching to the converted here but there's something i need to say. If you write a letter it would be unwise to do go in all guns blazing and highlighting all the faults of leadership... and you'd get no where... and probably no response. Most leaders I have come across save a few don't take criticism well at all, especially from people younger than them. I suggest writing to them with the attitude of a questioning student.... you think I'm crazy right??? but believe me it works and makes a huge impact... genuinely make them feel important and get along side them and show your support and gain their trust then in no time you will be able to ask questions and vice versa they will ask you questions... they will respect you and over time trust you at the same time you might even respect and trust them.. but don't be afraid to ask tough questions... the army all over the world is lacking accountability... that's the great thing about the media, we can use this tool for accountability, but please don't come accross as if you're about to wipe the floor with them cause that's not going to help at all. That's firstly non-christian as it show's signs that you cannot empathise, and you're impatient and easily angered, not high on the list of spiritual characteristics.. when you see how Jesus spoke to the Pharisees you can see he chose his moment very wisely. he didn't say it at the beginning of his ministry, he had built up credibility (even though they despised and hated him)and knew them so well even knowing what they were thinking before he ripped into them. This attacking tone definately will not get you a good hearing at senior leadership level if this is the first they've heard of you.

I am wanting to interview a few leaders at IHQ and around the UK while I'm in England in the next few months to try and understand different points of view and make sense of what's been going on in the army lately... for my own sanity really... but when I do I will be sure to share the relevant findings with you. We need to understand that leadership is a huge responsibility and our leaders aren't experts, they've been called by God, some of them didn't even complete high school... they've been appointed and God will use them.. keep that in mind.

When you write your letter... make sure you're critical in your editing, remember once it's on paper it can be used against you, and then it will be your turn to be held accountable and that's also what you need to be ready for when you start advancing... attacks...

I am working in sales at the moment, and being a salesman I constantly face people who hate me before I even start.. but I have come to realise they don't hate me personally, well not straight away, that mmight change once they get to know me LOL.. but i expect that and deal with it.. expect pain, expect heart ache and expect death and you'll succeed in this world as a mighty warrior for God. I'll leave you with that.. Start your letter writing!!!


Please write letters and make your thoughs and concerns known, but also pray for our leaders, and see how best you can support them. Remember ultimatly God has placed them there for a reason... But God has also placed us here for a reason... we're a team, so let's keep each other accountable and try to get our army to progress and take on more holy characteristics.

Anonymous said...
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lucy AR said...

tsk. rapscallion! old eva ay. sorry bobberblogger.

Tim said...

I’ve been trying to come up with a concise thought on all of this for about a week now. Strike that. I’ve been trying to come up with a thought that wasn’t so full of venom that I’d be embarrassed about my words a few months from now. I still haven’t managed to do it, but I need to spill my guts, so I thought I’d type them on your blog rather than mine. : )

I didn’t grow up in the Army. In fact, I’ve only been in the Army for a little less than nine years. Before that I grew up, studied, and was licensed and ordained though the Baptist church in the States. I say that to give a little perspective here. I’m extremely protestant and the idea of a pope (which is what the general is) is something that I just struggle with.

In the Army we’re asked to blindly accept decisions handed down to us by the “higher ups”. In fact, to question them is considered disobedient and a lack of faith. After all (we’re told to believe), God put those people in those leadership positions. But to accept that is to forget the fact that plenty of “Godly people” throughout the Bible made wrong choices. In fact, Peter, the very first Pope (according to the Catholic church), was rebuked publicly by Paul for (basically) being a racist. So the idea that “God ordained” leaders always make right decisions is…well, unbiblical.

My problem in all of this is that I know the story beyond Chick. Chick is one of many (many, many, many) Officers who have already gone through a similar experience with this man who now calls himself General. Many of them are now tucked away in offices where they can’t cause problems and many of them have also resigned. The difference is that Chick decided to make his resignation public.

Now, I could get into a big discussion here. I could even voice my frustration with Chick in not taking the official route of filing an official complaint with his line manager. After all, that would have been our only chance of seeing this dealt with properly. But what my heart wants to ask is this; How do we now follow this man?

The easy answer to that question is that we don’t. We follow Jesus. And I believe that. But still, our organization is being led by a man that I consider to be a bully who is allowing sin to make his decisions for him. So how do we focus on the local without spending the next five years (that is so painful to say) in a world of private or local anarchy? That’s not what I want to be about. But I also don’t want to be the type of person who doesn’t take a stand when something is clearly out of place.

JoJo said...

Phewee Tim. Am so relieved to hear someone speak honestly and who actually gets that this is a proper issue, not just another 'oh so the army hasn't got it quite right but no one's perfect.' I guess it's partly good to hear your voice as at the mo I'm a little out the loop and so don't really know how people are feeling about this.
I'm currently composing a letter but don't know where to start or who to even send it too. I don't know that I've ever felt so desparate for organisational change or so frustrated that I will probably not be heard. I too know officers who have paid a high price for challenging the bullying tactics of this man. I also know that despite their years of faithful service and unblemished records it was he and not they who were listened to. It was he and not they who imposed scandelous, unjust punishments and was then appointed to even higher office. I also know that these people are so committed to their call that they are utterly committed to serving faithfully their local expression of Salvation Army whilst figuring out what kind of Army this is anyway.
If these good people, respected people and faithful people have been ignored (or heard and then punished, not for being aggressive but simply for respectfully but honestly challenging their leadership) then who will listen to me?
I do feel though that it won't just be 5 dark years. The General appoints the people who appoint the next General. People follow what is being modelled at the highest level. The people who suceed in any organisation, Christian or otherwise are the people who look like, or lead like those who have gone before. It's why we don't have enough women in leadership and why once dictatorial leadership becomes the model, it is others who exhibit that same style will follow.
So there's an entirely unhelpful comment that offers no solutions or optimism whatsoever. I just don't know what we should do and so as you Tim, and others who are asking the same questions struggle to find that balence I'd love to hear what you come up with.

Olyvia Adalet Miller said...
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Tim said...

I think the above words, referring to the perpetuation of this cycle, are the ones that none of us want to hear or say because they feel so hopeless. Yet the possibility is very real, after all, despite his reputation, a large group of leaders got together and voted this man to be the next general. What does that say about the state of our leadership right now?

I too am not looking to simply vent my frustration and then leave it for you all to wallow in. But I too have not come up with an answer to the question of how exactly to deal with this. I think part of me is hoping that these discussions will lead to something bigger. In fact, I’m disappointed that there aren’t more people talking about it publicly. That, like Jo said, people seem to be content with blowing this situation off and chalking it up to “one more thing we need to work on.” I think it’s much bigger than that. I think it’s something that needs to be dealt with and it might be up to us, local soldiers, to have the guts to confront the situation personally.

I know several who have sent letters, and Jo, I would encourage you in that endeavour. But I think it will take even more than that.

Graeme said...

From my position I'm worried about certain things about this whole situation, and for the effect it is having on the Army that I love.

Firstly, a lot of comments on various blogs are being thrown around by people who are not aware of all the facts. I know I'm not aware of them as there has been no response from the other side of the situation. It is very dangerous (and not very constructive) in any emotive debate for people to make assumptions based on information from one side of the story.

Now don't get me wrong, I respect Chick & Margaret as much as anyone in the Army. If Chick hadn't spent well over an hour of his precious time almost 20 years who knows where I would be now. However, this respect still doesn't mean I know the full story.

This can sort of conjecture can only lead to further pain, which is nearly always the result of the rumour mill.

Secondly, I am concerned about the position we find ourselves in as an Army. Only a few months ago most of the comments within the Army's blogosphere were about supporting the person who is deemed to be the guilty party in this debate.

When you consider the fact that it appears that public criticism is the thing that kicked off this whole situation in the first place, it is indeed ironic that the debate now seems to turning into personal attacks of both someone's leadership style and whether they are appointed by God.

Again don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming anyone in particular but felt this was the logical place to respond to the debate.

Are there problems in the Army, especially in terms of leadership? Quite possibly! Is it our duty to question them? Without doubt!

However, there is a process by which to do this and that really should be first and foremost to our own leaders. A public debate without input from the two sides is not only fruitless but goes against the spirit in which Chick spread his letter to the wider Army world. He specifically says that:

"The decision I have made is done in obedience to conscience. I have no desire to influence others. And I believe I can say that, whilst I leave with a sense of injustice, there is no bitterness in my heart towards the Army or towards any individual."

Whilst I accept the need for people to vent frustrations I'm not sure that the very public venue of the internet is the best place. We do not know all the facts as we are not any of the people involved. It would be far better to write to our TC's to express our concerns and not get embroiled into a more public debate whilst emotions are still running so high.

One final comment is drawn from the URBANAarmy blog from a former General:

"There is plenty of good news to be celebrated in TSA, and yet many within TSA are quick to talk themselves down. They need to hear good news and rejoice in what God is doing."

To act in a similar way is the only Christian way to respond!

Graeme Smith

JoJo said...

At some point I'm going to have to respond to the comments on this particular post. I have gone from being an occasional commenter to someone a little obsessive.
Graeme, I understand your concerns with regards to using a forum as public as the internet. I also agree that it is important that we raise our concerns with our territorial leaders. However, I also know that many people have been doing this for a long period of time, in a number of territories. Not only have these concerns remained unanswered, they have also been met with unjust reprisals simply for having raised concerns at all.
Private, individual response has been not only unsuccessful but also damaging to many good individuals.
I disagree that it was public criticism that sparked of this debate. Having read Chick's statement I am aware that one of the incidents he cited was indeed very public. However, we see those with the longer term consequences, those most damaging to his ministry were the actions taken in secret, actions that people only know about because Chick bravely chose to go public. It is because so many of the actions of our General have been conducted behind closed doors and without appropriate levels of genuine accountability this behaviour has resulted in the sad resignation of a fine and Godly man.
I for one would also be very happy to engage in a genuine debate with input from both sides. I think it's important that we honestly and openly discuss whether or not this type of leadership is what God would intend for His Army.

Tim said...
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Graeme said...


Thanks for your response! As I said I am not privy to the full information, although I have obviously heard enough rumours, even here in Latvia. Maybe that is something to be thankful for!

It's clear that there is a deeper debate going on than those of us coming in off the back of the resignation are aware of. In view of this it becomes even more dangerous to have a frank exchange of views as there will always be a group of people who will make assumptions based on half facts.

This is not the first time there has been a significant difference in opinion over leadership style in The Salvation Army. It is also not the first time that there has been a distinct split between people who are deeply troubled by what is happening, and those who deeply respect the leader in question. I can recall one Territorial Commander in the UK Territory who many officers and soldiers believe were one of the great spiritual leaders the Territory has ever had. However, at that time there were a number of significant resignations and many cases of unjust treatment (my own parents being some of the victims) yet TSA came out the other side. Whilst on this occasion the leadership being questioned now has a higher position, I truly believe TSA is ordained by God to a particular ministry and no one man is greater than He who is able to do more than we can ever ask or imagine. God always finds a way and we must also remember that His ways are not ours!

If people from both camps were willing to come to the table and openly discuss the problems then I would also be very happy to engage in the debate. However, discussing only one side of the argument will simply polarise the views even more and will lead to more pain and anguish.

Despite the troubles we feel now I still trust in the process of the High Council. When looking back on all the previous Generals I have been old enough to remember it is clear that they have always been God's man or woman for that time. Some of the decisions and actions of most of them have been questioned by some group or other, sometimes quite vocally. Yet God has always revealed His plan and moved the Army forward!

Finally, if we do nothing else we should continue to hold all our leaders up in prayer and ask the Lord that He guides them in the right path, so that in all things Christ may be made known!

God bless,

Tim said...
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Tim said...

You know, it’s easy to shut a bunch of people up, particularly a bunch of Christians, by playing the “you haven’t heard both sides of the story” card. And I’m a pretty harsh user of that card myself. But sometimes the card doesn’t have as much authority as it usually does. Particularly when both sides of the story have been heard, or when many people are standing up and defending one side of the story, but only one is defending the other side. That seems to be the case in this particular incidence.

Many people have sent emails to the offending party, and I’ve gotten to read a few of them. In every case the response is “I have nothing to apologize for”. The problem is, I just don’t believe him. I’ve experience the bullying tactics of this man first hand, and I know several people personally who have truly experienced those tactics. As I said before, many of them are now locked away in back offices where they can do no harm. These are good men, pastors in fact, who are now pushing papers around on a desk. They’re doing jobs that anybody with a bachelors degree could be doing. And all because they were willing to stand up to the man.

Have you ever noticed that bully’s always have a posse of sorts? A few tag alongs who don’t necessarily like the guy, but who are too afraid to stand up to him. They’re also quite willing to ride his coat tails, knowing that they’ll be the beneficiary of the scraps that fall from his table. I look around our church right now and see men, in high positions, who know that this man is in the wrong, but who are unwilling to say it. To me, this isn’t just the story of one man who needs to be humbled, but of an entire group of men who need to be humbled.

I pray that people don’t become complacent about this. This could easily simmer down and our church could go another twenty or thirty years without change. But another twenty or thirty years will see the death of this church in the western world if things don’t change. I pray that godly men and women will have the courage to stand up and say the things that need to be said, and do the things that need to be done. And I pray for the kind of restoration that can only come through humility.

by the bay said...

I think if people have concerns the best response is not to attack individuals personally, which only escalates conflict and hurt, but to advocate for positive changes within the system which protect everyone. These can be good conflict handling advocacy, policies of zero tolerance of bullying, or whatever people feel is needed.

Everyone in TSA, at all levels, is now highly accountable to the public through the net, and this is not a bad thing! If we lose public trust, all the good work we will do will collapse. It doesn't take particular intelligence I think to realise that good conflict handling/church functional health policies, even healthy teaching on leadership styles, are an indispensible insurance against losing that trust.

I would like to encourage people to advocate for change via exploring good solutions, rather than wading in against individuals. Every one of us abuses power at some point in our lives, whether in family, neighbour, church or professional settings - we all make mistakes, and sometimes attitudes embed within us which lead us to do it again and again. It takes enormous courage to go back and look at what we have been doing. I know I have had to do this again and again in teaching and in parenting. My point is we all have a problem, and therefore by the grace of God we can help each other towards solutions. Lets get creative!

Tim said...

And yet I can't help but think that the internet has given those of us at the bottom of the chain, our best chance ever in holding our leaders accountable.

KJ said...

I just wanted to say, Graeme, that you show Godly wisdom - there's something for each of us to take away and consider in your comments...

HS said...

I'm late to this discussion, but simply want to add that this particular situation is not all that far from our roots - consider William Booth's treatment of his children when they disagreed with this decisions. That's the foundation we're still building on.

sawitch said...

As a lifelong salvationist I regret to say that I am thoroughly disillusioned by our leadership style. It's about time we stood up and said that we want a say in how TSA is run.
How should we do that?

Anonymous said...

Yes undoubtedly, in some moments I can phrase that I agree with you, but you may be making allowance for other options.
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