Army Stuff

You would think a week on the coast, swimming, walking and fish n chip eating might have cleared my head over this Salvation Army Stuff. But Nope. Not Really.

It is brilliant to have dialogue going on, comments at a previous post of mine, and over at stevewiseman.blogspot.com and also over at Tim’s. I think it does take courage to put your honest feelings up and I think it is important that spaces for the conversation to occur are created. I also would agree with Tim that Blogs are the proles way to have their voice heard- a vital process missing in the organisation of the Army.

My feelings definitely see this latest issue of Chick Yuil’s resignation as a product of systematic wrong. I think our Army needs a total reform of structure and culture. So my letter writing is going to focus on that. But some of you won’t agree eh? Some of you would see a different issue at hand – Injustice? Reconciliation? Power? However you have interpreted the issues- Write about it. Tell some one. Whatever the angle add your voice to the noise! That’s all I implore.

Kia Kaha!

(There is currently going around the UK territory a letter you can add your voice to it. Tim has posted it. Copy and paste and send it to your TC/ the Chief/ The General if you agree)


Tim said...

“I think our Army needs a total reform of structure and culture.”

There are some things that many of us think, but are afraid to say. Diplomacy is needed and, because of that, we hold a lot in. For me it’s the idea that the so-called “traditional church” will not last. For the most part, “traditional churches” are dwindling in numbers. In addition to that, our world has truly changed in its approach to friendships and community, its acceptance of all manner of spirituality, and its ability to customize everything to meet any particular need. To me, everything we see, hear, can study, and know suggests that the “traditional way of doing church” is dying and cannot last. Yet many cling to it and the rest of us are expected to pretend that it is not, in fact, dying a rather quick and brutal death. While I believe in sensitivity, I also think it is ridiculous that we continue to tiptoe around this truth.

The structure of TSA is, for me, becoming another one of those topics. Salvationists would be up in arms to hear their church compared to the catholic church, yet we have a pope, cardinals, bishops, etc. We are a church, run from the top down, often by people who haven’t been on the front lines of ministry, or outside of TSA bubble, in decades. The General has the power to make sweeping changes, or no changes at all, without even consulting other leaders. And, to hold this man to account, a third of our highest ranking leaders must agree to even having a discussion about it at all.

In my own division, the majority of our “members” do not relate or even consider themselves to be a part of this global organization that we call TSA. In fact, one of our greatest struggles in raising up official “soldiers” is simply the fact that, while people are excited about committing to a local congregation, they have serious reservations about identifying with a global organization that they have no say in. Furthermore, I’m not sure that the one hundred or so leaders of our organization, who make our most important decisions, reflect much of what is happening here locally. More and more Corps are practicing things like baptism and communion, yet our top leader just announced that the topics will not even be discussed as long as he is in charge.

In many ways it often seems that those at the top are merely playing Salvation Army, while those locally are actually doing it. I’m with you, our church definitely needs a total reform of both structure and, without a doubt, culture.

JoJo said...

Yes and Yes.
For me I think reconciliation is an absolutely non-negotiable, necessary process for us, as a movement, to be able to move on. This matter has reinforced how much we do then need to move on.
I don't have anything much to add to what has been said in this post. In the times I have struggled with this funny part of the Christian church, I have never before doubted that we are still and could be even more,useful to God. Now those doubts run deep because I have never seen such powerful and destructive forces allowed to commit such injustice. Absolutely deep structural and coultural change is vital.

lucy AR said...

Yeah. Me too, Jo. My doubts about the Army are massive. I have continous inner dialogue- one part of me believing structural and cultural change can happen. The other bit of me contends that actually, very important people have been seriously questioning our structure and culture for over half a century... so is there any genuine hope for reform?

Even if there is hope for reform I think a bit of a heavy repenting and grieving time is quite neccesary. But will this happen while people stay quiet, while we - as you Tim put so well- tiptoe around the truths?