Friday, April 30, 2004

One car and four SUV's

Yesterday I paid 2.09 a gallon for gas.

I crusin on up the PCH on my way to starbucks. Had to pick up some pastries and get my iced tea, no water light on the ice. I looked to my left and what should I see four SUV's with a car in between. I thought to myself, what's up with that, maybe they have people with them so their not wasting gas. I passed the H2 it was first and the worst there a man sat all by himself. I passed the Toyota Sequoia a big V-8. There a lady sat just driving herself. I passed a little station wagon saving gas in the midst of the giants. Then came the explorer, a man all by himself. Finally was a Four Runner must have been commuting. No one else just the isolation.

An end to the hammer and all these monstrosities would be a good thing

4x4's four hours from the hills

that's messed up

Yet they get a tax break when they buy a "farm vehicle" where grass doesn't grow.

war to public transit and hybrid cars.

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A new blog

Check out my friend Julius's new blog. It should be some good stuff

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Scripture

Three or four blogs in one night will be a record. However, I either write while its on my mind or I soon forget. Most of the comments of salvationist.org seemed to stem from my view of scripture.

A year ago this time I memorized that: We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

While I hate to proof text
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,
2Ti 3:17 so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. (GNB)


These statements are all true. I ask what is the purpose of scripture? I see the purpose of scripture is to enable people to follow Christ.

But what is scripture? A written word from God written by people.

Is there more? Scripture is a collection of stories, poems, histories, testimonies, visions, theology, and on occasion a direct quote from God. All this written over the course of a thousand copied and recopied and reinterpreted and translated by many different people in many different times.

Just words? Scripture is just words, words, thousands of them, until they are read and God reveals himself through those very words. But the words have never been the goal. God using scripture to reveal has always been the goal.

But I thought scripture was the truth? Does scripture ever claim for itself to be the truth? It claims to be true but not as you and I understand truth. To the modern true means correct facts. To the premodern true right or leading to right living. Only One is ever spoken of as THE TRUTH. The goal of scripture is to encounter the Living God.

Far too long I have seen the bible treated as a god. A book of facts to digested. Many sermons simply proof text attempting to turn a book of story and poetry into an encyclopedia. Don't we see that the story reveals more of God then the encyclopedia ever could? In the story is where God's story interacts with our own. In the poetry the cries of God's heart are heard by us and our cries are heard by God.

I open scripture and read to meet God. The minute scripture becomes the goal in and of itself have we not added a person to the Trinity?

But some will say "fine but scripture is always true. The commands of scripture are timeless. Scripture does not contradict scripture or science." I have heard these from fellow Salvationists. First, read Gen 1 & 2. They contradict. That does not mean God did not create the world, it was never intended to be a literal account of something we can not understand.

A genealogical study argues for an earth about 7000 years old. Science tells us the earth is millions of years old. Which is right (factual)? Probably neither it isn't the point.

Scripture is rich in metaphor and story and poetry. All I ask is that we bathe in this and stop treating it like an encyclopedia.

Scripture is the rule (guide) for all we do. Mostly scripture allows us to meet with God. After meeting we follow. This meeting and following is the point, the goal. Nothing more is expected but anything else is damning.
All I know is what I see in Scripture, history, and experience all filtered through my reason. I see a God who reveals himself more every day. God is more then our minds can understand.

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Salvationist.org

In reading Major Fletcher's comment my wife found a ps. There has been much discussion on a salvation army discussion forum. My wife has posted a rather lengthy comment there. After reading some of (not all) of the posts only one thing concerned me. Over a week passed before anyone told me about the discussion. Thanks Major.

My wife alluded to something which needs fleshed out a little more. What is said here is simply my thoughts. As I said they are works in progress. If you disagree with a thought or believe I am going against the SA doctrines please tell me why you think so.

Over last weekend I posted a fair amount about my reaction to Happiness Four. Know this they are great people. I disagree with them theologically that is fine, it is even good. I'm sorry if I appeared to be attacking them as people. They happen to be some the nicest evangelicals I've ever met. Whether I agree with someone or disagree with someone has no bearing on how I see them as a person. Furthermore, I am not necessarily concerned about being right or wrong. When it comes to God we are all wrong. (If right means 100% correct.) I am much more concerned with seeking and seeing God. While we all seek the same God we do not all see the same God. Our minds are impossible of truly comprehending God. Thus God reveals.

I do believe that God reveals different aspects to different people at different times. As read scripture I see many different ways God acted. Why do we strive to picture God as unchanging as stoic when God reveals new things about himself and ourselves each day.

While I believe that the nature and identity of God do not change, God's revelation is evolving. Changing over time as people and societies change. The issue of slavery or women's equality could all be examples where God has spoken through scripture that things must change. This happened when we were in a place were we could deal with the change. God's revelation (ie word) changes in us individually as well. Daily God reveals to us things to do or not do to conform us to the Image of God; we call this holiness or Christlikeness. We are not saved and then done; God continues to reveal himself to us. None of us can ever fully comprehend the Godhead.

All I know is what I see in Scripture, history, and experience all filtered through my reason. I see a God who reveals himself more every day. God is more then our minds can understand.

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A response- long post beware

Recently some SA officers have found this blog. That is exciting and their input is always welcomed. So far three officers who I have never met have come and cared enough to leave some comments.
Thank You

On my last post a retired SA officer commented:
Dear Captain Bill!

I know your blog is interesting to many people and that you are writing in diary form your feelings and opinions. That is your prerogative to do so. However, since you mention you are affiliated with The Salvation Army should a disclaimer be added to indicate that your views are not necessarily the views of The Salvation Army? Someone looking in on your blog site may get the impression that all officers believe as you do and that is not entirely true.

And, do you think the language you use is not characteristic of soldiers and officers?

One would hope that being a Salvation Army officer, you would maintain the teachings of Salvation Army doctrine as we all our entrusted to do.

I say this to you as a Christian brother. God bless you!

Major L. Michael Fletcher (R)
USA/Central/Indiana


Thank you very much for you insight. I would hope that anyone who reads this understands that what is said here is only thoughts. Take them for what their worth. These thoughts are simply that, thoughts, works in progress, if any thought was complete maybe I would try to write a book. They are the thoughts of a dreamer. A postmodern Salvationist dreamer.

Theologically: I affirm all 11 doctrines of the Army. Many people disagree however within the confines of our 11 doctrines. Some see a sovereign God (ie God knows or directs the future) others like myself see an open God (the future is not set, God allows people to make their own choices and live the consequences of those actions.) The 11 doctrines of the SA are:

We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.

We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead-the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.

We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.

We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency, but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.

We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to salvation.

We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.

We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.

We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.


In the middle Major Fletcher makes a comment about my language. Many officers have questioned my language at times. Many have not. Profanity is a sin. I define profanity as: judgmentalism, racism, damning a person to hell, unjust accusations, and insults which are meant. Profanity in my view is not using words that are bleeped out on the radio. Those words may be inappropriate at times however at times does not mean all the time. I view language as I attempt to use language that will not offend who I am speaking with. Thus if you offended at my language at times I am sorry. However, being that I created this as a safe place for myself then be advised that I will use words on occasion that would be bleeped on radio.

If you disagree with my thought please let me know.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

clarification

Dwight asked me for a clarification on what the mother meant by rejoicing.
She said that "Rejoice in the Lord always" means that we must rejoice regardless of what happens. It does not always mean happiness but it does mean being content with what God has done. We must rejoice in our hearts. God did it, he must have a plan, so why question was the thought.

Furthermore she asked us if we could rejoice even if all was taken from us. I understood it as "can you be content with whatever God does?" She then gave an altar call based on this thought. We must be certain that we could rejoice in the Lord no matter what happens.

So Dwight yes, she wanted us to content and even happy that she will see them in heaven some day.

Will we recognize people in heaven?

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Monday, April 26, 2004

God's Fault?

This will be my last post concerning our guests this weekend. Stylistically I was board. Theologically, I was pissed off. I was already mad at the sit and wait thought but they pissed me off on Saturday.

After the son sang a couple songs the mom got up and started sharing about what God had done in their ministry. How God showed people their needs without being told. I guess that's okay, God can give us wisdom from time to time. But during this 45 testimony (she doesn't "preach" so she doesn't use the pulpit, I don't get it) she talked for 30 minutes about her family life. In the past 25 years of ministry they have lost 2 sons both to acute illness. They died within weeks after being diagnosed.

The problem was her words like "God took them home" "God had a reason" "I'll see them in heaven" "I don't understand why God does what he does" She was blaming God for the deaths. She did not see it as a bad thing. "God did it." She then asked us if we could rejoice even if all was taken away. She believes rejoice means being content with what God does. If we could say that we would be content then something was wrong.

I can't answer that question if I have never been there.

But if I am going to blame God for their death the I also must blame God for Hitler and the like. So its all God's fault. He wrote it all he did it all.

Its Gods fault.

If that is true then I would flip God off and be on my way.

Thank God he suffered with us. God came to give life not death. Praise be to God.

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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Word of God?

This weekend we have some special guests at our corps. I have some thoughts about what I have heard. They have talked a lot about the bible being "the word of God." This is nothing new in the evangelical world. They seem to be holding up scripture as the revelation of God. Almost as scripture is the goal. It seems as though they treat scripture as God at times. They use scripture as the truth. It feels like they treat it as an encyclopedia. Phases and verses that give us truth.

Scripture is the word of God

Scripture is a word from God

What’s the difference?

One other thing bugged me. Last night they talked about the power of God. It is true we serve a powerful God. But what bugged me was their thoughts. First we should pray that God will act. Second, we should rest "in God's almighty hand." Finally, we should wait for God to act so that people will know that we serve a powerful God.

For years we have sat in our churches sitting on our ass waiting for God to act. We developed a theology of waiting and God's wrath called dispensationalism. We seek miracles and testify to them so that people will be impressed because "my God is bigger then yours." Kind off immature don't you think?

Does Jesus ever say "they will know me because of my power?"

Was the Great Commission "Go and wait for my return?"

Was the Great commandment "See the miracles and tell others about them?"

When did we re-write scripture?

"But look at the world, they are opposed to Christianity. Just look at MTV and Comedy Central, Janet Jackson and Howard Stern. Look at relativism. People are opposed to the truth. There is no standard. Scripture must be the standard. We must convince them of their error."

The warriors are defeated. Praying that God will save them. "God please show your power."

The best apologetic is life lived fulfilling the greatest commandment. Love God and your neighbor. Let’s get off our ass.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Jeremiah 29:11

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for." (TEV)

Most people I have ever heard quote this verse quote it as some sort of personal life verse. So they take a verse written too a nation about to be sent to exile, edited by those exiles who returned, and translated multiple times as verse written too them. Are we arrogant enough to think that an individual matters as much as a whole nation? Are we stupid or just naive to not see that this verse has a context? What kind of exegetical BS has the evangelical world fostered? "If it says it its true and it applies to me." God had plans for Israel it just took twice as long for Israel to be completely restored as a people in Jerusalem. It took a couple hundred more years until independence was attained. And we appropriate this verse as our own. Well cling to verse 12 as well. I don't like life verses in general. Verses from Paul or the OT scare me more. They all have specific contexts. They may not, and probably don't, apply to us.

Life Verses Suck

btw: my life verse is John 11:35
"Jesus wept"

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Life

Life is well. My wife got home safe but leaves again this weekend for Fort Collins CO. If you are reading this in DEN then you can hear her preach on Sunday at the SA in Fort Collins. I went to the flower fields today with some residents from our building. It was truly peacful. We ate at Pat & Oscars. A good time by all. We have a special group here at the corps this weekend called "Happiness Four." It sounds like four performances by some Swedish family. I really have no desire to go. But I guess I must. I will attempt to stay awake. I am eagerly anticipating moves. In about a month I'll find out what is up and where we are going. You'll all know as soon as I do. I will certain aspects of Crestmont. That is life though. Mercy to you all.

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Saturday, April 17, 2004

A site of interest

I came accross afterlife at next wave. Check it out. Its worship.

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Friday, April 16, 2004

lonliness

Since Tolani has been gone the last couple days I've been worried and fairly depressed. I've been thinking about why. It goes deeper then just missing her. It goes back to my biggest fear that she would leave me. To be honest, the fear is about the same whether she left me or if she died. It is still my fear of abandonment. I do not like feeling abandoned.

I remember growing up.

When I was 7 my parents divorced
Then I was alone
Abandoned
When I was 12 my dad moved away
Then I was more alone
More abandoned
When I was 13 my mom remarried
Sometimes I didn't feel alone
Sometimes I was not abandoned
When I was 15 my mom kicked him out
I was alone
Totally alone
Utterly abandoned
When I was 16 my mom spent her time at a boyfriend’s house
Alone, so alone
I found some friends they helped
Sometimes I didn't feel alone
When I was 18 I went to college a new life
But still sometimes I felt alone
When I was 19 my dog died
My love was shattered
I was alone without any love any passion
When I was 22
I spent purgatory in Grand Junction
Totally alone
Totally abandoned
When I was 23
I came to a place best described as hell
No one understood me
My questions were not welcome
Slowly things changed
New friends were made
Old friends were rediscovered
When I was 24 I met the Love of my Life
I no longer feel alone
No more abandonment
I know Love exists
I denied this before
Still the fear
Still the fear
Never to be abandoned
This is my hope and prayer

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Funk

I guess I've been in a funk lately. I do not really want to do much of anything. The Love of my Life is going to Womens Clergy conference this weekend. Its holiness groups so my expectations that she will learn and be challenged are pretty low. But I hope she will have a good time and learn something. I do not know how many radical feminists there will be, we shall see.

I do not want her to go. I don't know why, I just don't. I'm going to miss her a great deal. I feel like climbing in bed and staying there for a while. We shall see.

Today my wife had a discussion with anouther cadet who argues that God plans everything. Before I ask my question I want to say one thing and since this is my blog I can. If I hear one more person rip Jer. 29:11 out of contaxt and apply it to themselves I am going to scream!!!!!!!! It was writen for and too the NATION of Israel nothing more. God's plan was for a nation. NOT US.

My question is: why do people blame God for everything. Is in God's fault that we have a president who has ordered the slaughter of thousands of civilians? Was the holocaust God's fault? God gets all the blame and none of the credit. Why can we not accept that God lives everyday just as we do. We evolve does not God?

DON'T BLAME GOD, LETS BLAME OURSELVES!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Random

I had to write an employee up today. I really hate being a boss and I dispise it when I have to micromanage. Why don't people just do thier jobs? I opperate in a give me my task let me immagine and leave me alone. I guess some people are not like that though.

I really love being married. I love my wife more each day. Its truly amazing that something so amazing could happen to me. It is sure a learning and growing expirience though.

I am egerly waiting for moves to come out. I am very curious to see what we are going to be doing at least the next year. It is not knowing that is bugging me more then anything.

The Mariners finally won thier first game on Sunday. I do not know why it took so long. They have a series against the Angels starting tonight. If they get swept again I am going to curse and scream. But still Go Mariners.

It seems from hearing the reports from the 9-11 commission that of president had ample warning that Osama was up to something. So did the bastard just ignore it or did he purposely have the CIA and FBI ignore or not prosecute. I want to know if he allowed it to happen so that he could go murder Iraqies? Why didn't he do anything?

Just some random thoughts.

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

He Is Risen

He is Risen
He is Risen Indeed

Let us attempt to be evidence that people seek when they ask does this matter?
Yes I believe but so what.
Let us follow
Let us be
Followers of the Risen KING

Blessings

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Marriage and other thoughts

A real shitty thing just happened. I had my post all ready went to copy into word for spell check as the blogger spell check isn't working. I hit "Fn C" instead of "ctrl C" lost it all. Damn. Now I’m just writing word. Undo is a great feature.

On to marriage. Dwight rightly points out that we all struggle with sexual sin. I do not know if I would officially marry a homosexual couple. My take of the Law is that it is contextual. Both OT as well as Paul. Could it be the Homosexuality is always wrong? Maybe, I’m just not convinced in my heart.

On to other thoughts. For too long we have focused on minor personal sins and neglected larger social evils. We should concern ourselves with how to be the evidence of Christ. We are what he left behind. Nothing more and nothing less. Yet we stay silent on things which Christ was not silent on. War, persecution, slavery, screwing the poor, and the like. Let us first love each other and others then let us talk of smaller personal sins.

This leads me to address the topic of church involvement in political affairs. In the past the Salvation Army was very involved with political affairs. We fought and succeeded in accomplishing many political goals such as closing Devil’s Island. But today we are silent. We are silent when our government’s policies persecute the poor. We are silent when our president murders many in the name of revenge for something Iraq didn’t do. We are silent when millions go without health care (the poor) and pay double for a doctor visit or drugs. Where is the organization that runs hospitals when the discussion of universal health care comes up? Where are we?

I can no longer stay silent. Our president is worse then his father or Reagan, the greats redistributor of wealth (poor to rich) there ever was. We must fight to ensure the Kerry is elected. He is not liberal enough but he must do. For a man who professes faith Bush has an EVIL administration. I don’t know what I will do, I must think and pray. Bush must be defeated.

Check out Air America Radio. Its good stuff.

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Friday, April 09, 2004

What's the point?

So today we had a good friday service. It started out great with some music playing in a darkened chapel with an image of a crucifix on the wall. It all went down hill from there. When the song was done the senior pastor motioned me to "start" the service. I don't know what happened but when I opened my mouth we ruined the holy with the profane. I said a prayer we sang some songs the Major spoke about the cross making us want to pray for this and that. I wanted to say, "Won’t you let me f'ing morn? The holy moment of silence that had preceded the "official meeting" was profaned by us unworthy pompous asses opening our mouths.
I almost couldn't,
I didn't know what to say,
Will this happen again,
Will it happen Sunday?
I hope it does not,
My words are little
What’s the point?

Latter we spoke about how the chapel would be setup. Where the readers would be and everything else. I hate pulpits. They stand for abuse in my world. I hate stages they only pump people up. I have been speaking from the floor on the same level. People say I'm more comfortable easier to listen to. All is true. So the major told me he did not want me preaching from the floor. I don't have the commanding presence, the authority that a preacher should have. Like a preacher is anybody special. At the best a preacher only inspires people to think, and hear, and see. When we take the holy: the written word, the Eucharist, the Living God, and the Church, and profane them by putting one solitary dumb ass up center stage to tell everyone how to f'ing live. And they wonder why I despise evangelical churches.

Church would be better if we knew to shut the hell up sometimes.

Can't we see that today the King is DEAD!
God have Mercy on us All

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Redemptive marriage-the ins and outs

This in many ways is piggy back off of Dwight's Blog. Dwight talked about marriage being redemptive in the sense that a redemptive marriage restores the image of God. This can only be done in a relationship between male and female.

In true critical fashion I will deconstruct this first. I see a number of unstated assumptions or matters of fact that may contribute to Dwight’s interpretation.

1. Dwight and I are both heterosexuals. We may hang out with gays or homosexuals but we can not think or feel as they do. While we can understand celibacy to an extent we can not comprehend homosexuality.

2. I read in Dwight’s thoughts that marriage (either celibate or heterosexual) is necessary to redeem the image of God in humanity.

3. "All of that to say that I think that marriage was developed to try to put humanity back in its first state, being full bearers of the image of God." So did marriage exist before the fall? When male and female were created were they married?

I have a few thoughts. First I think there other ways in which marriage is redemptive. I wrote in my last post how I saw my marriage as redemptive. These are emotional physical as well as spiritual issues. In a sense there is a very practical redemption taking place much as Israel was lead out of slavery.

Not all marriages are redemptive in nature. Some are for a time, some never are. I do not know why nor will I try to figure it out but certain marriages are not restorative they are damaging. These are the abusive relationships, physical or emotional. Even though they marry even as Christians they do not redeem each other. I do not know why some are redemptive and some are not.

My grandfather’s first marriage was a nightmare for my mom’s family. There was serious hatred. My grandfather has dealt with his addictions and gotten remarried. This second marriage one late in life has been redemptive. He is a different person.

While I agree that marriage is A WAY to restore the Image of God it is not the only way. Community plays a key role. I also believe that healthy communities create healthy marriages. I wonder at times if the community is more powerful then the marriage but this probably depends on the situation.

We need others to redeem the Image of God in our lives. That said I am a heterosexual reading scripture written by heterosexuals which for years has been interpreted by heterosexuals. Who am I to say that homosexual marriage can not be redemptive? Not all marriages (or civil union or whatever) will be but neither are all heterosexual marriages. They are either redemptive or not I do not know and only time can tell.

I am sure my thoughts seem scattered they are. This is really a new thought for me. Blow open the holes if would please.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Redemptive Marriage

Dwight wrote on his blog:

"So without going to the NT (yet) I can state that the laws in the Bible are meant to protect us, from each other and ourselves. They are meant to keep a society (the Jewish society at the very least) from becoming America. So now that the law has condemned everyone (see Matt 4 - 6 for Jesus' interpretation of the law that lets no one off of the hook) we need to kick into a theology that views marriage in a redemptive sense."

I never really looked at a theology of marriage before. When I decided to marry my wife I knew two things had happened. First, I knew I Loved her I could not imagine life without her. Second, I came to the realization that I wanted to have kids with her.

But Dwight’s thoughts immediately got me thinking. For both of us marriage has been redemptive. I can not and will explain detail why marriage has been redemptive for her but I can say that I was the first man in her life other then her dad to truly Love her. No strings no expectations no pressure. All I asked is that she Love me.

I look back now some 18 months. I am changed person. There was a time when I used every amount of intellectual energy I had to argue that Love (Erros the deep intimate Love between life partners) doesn't exist. It’s false. Nothing I'd ever seen told me it was real. So engrained in my head was this idea, that I still struggle with these doubts. I do not have these doubts as often but still they are there sometimes. For the first time in my life I know Love. Her Love has made me new. In a very real sense it has redeemed me. I don't understand all the implications but there is temporal and possibly eternal aspect to this Redemptive Love. It has changed each of us in ways we are only partly aware.

Redeem essentially means buy back or restore. In a very real sense this is what our marriage has done. With her Love she has paid a price. She has paid the price of Love and has bought back years of loneliness, depression, unworthiness, even sin. She has truly restored me to health. The words escape me. Words can not describe something so Holy. I know it’s true however. My wife Tolani has paid the price of love to redeem me of all people.

I Love her more the words can describe.

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Friday, April 02, 2004

Response to Andrew--Long post beware

I came across andrew's blog earlier today. He addresses spiritual renewal in the SA. I want to focus on some thoughts he has concerning the SA and soldership. He is responding to Chick Yuill an officer in England. He writes:

"So, what’s the difference? What makes post-modern people do stuff like that? (Referring too fighting for causes like peace or environmentalism) Well, its clear that they relate to the cause and not to the structure built up around the cause, but, of course, because of the cause, they attach themselves to the organization which is passionate about the cause."

While Andrew is right there is a key difference between Pomo's attachment to organizations and soldiership. Historically there has been an emphasis in the Army that soldiership was a commitment for life. It was put on the same pedestal as marriage. While Pomo's attach to organizations for the cause over time shit can happen. People may leave the organization for a number of reasons.

Life may necessitate that other causes be pursued.

The organization may no longer an effective means to address the issues related to the cause.

The cause may be won thereby necessitating a dismantling of the organization.

Over time the organization may change its cause.

The person may feel lead to work on another cause.

In the days of Abe Lincoln I would have been a Republican. Even 100 years ago there was a great republican named Teddy Roosevelt. Yet today the causes championed by them are the causes of the democrats. (Busting trusts, racial equality, better lives for the poor.) Thus my party affiliation must change.

As a pomo I am a Salvationist because of our social agenda, both historic and current. I became a soldier and an officer because I saw it as a socially active christianity. If we cease to be a strong social voice and only act as a church I would leave because at least here in the west we suck at doing church. Yet if we stopped being a church and operated as a para-church chaplaincy I would fine. Friends of mine would leave. My wife would struggle as well. Yet I would be ecstatic with the ability to concentrate on being able to empower other followers of Jesus (and other faith groups) to bring salvation (here and now not necessarily the afterlife which may be secondary) to their communities.

Am I committed to the Army for life? How can I answer that question? I am committed to God, but God and the Army are not the same thing. WE often act like they are though.

In the Army there are two distinct strands throughout our history. They are Liberal (In darkest England and other social christians) and Evangelical (Confessions of a soul winner, or SL Brengle). In the West the domestic partners issue brought this to a head. But the turmoilt calmed down because those of us who are socially minded can live with an evangelical policy i.e. we can still do good work and change our communities. It might be a good thing to hold these two views in tension. The problem is very few people can. Can we as an organization?

I don't have any answers; I do feel however that asking people to become soldiers is a serious and UNNECESSARY thing. Some corps have tried church membership covenants but I just don't care about the piece of paper. Pomo's will join us by working with us. Doing the work of ministry whether they follow God or not. There should be very few soldiers as long as it is a lifelong covenant between God and oneself and the Army. If it is a covenant with a faith community to fight or work for the cause then there should be many. I can not in good conscience make many soldiers of the first type. That has historically been the ideal for a soldier.

Someday these words may get me in trouble in the Army. So be it. But we must face a reality that in 10 years most English speaking SA churches in the west will be dead, many are dead already. In the public eye we are a social mission. If people are known by what they do well. Then we must be doing our social mission well to some degree. In the USA we can not be the jack of all trades anymore everyone has their specialty. In my oppinion ours ought to be social change.

I have said a lot if you disagree let me know.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Two jobs, Two visions, and my heartache

Yesterday I had lunch with a mentor. My history with Bill Mikesell goes back to the summer after my junior year at CCU (1999). He came as the denominational youth leader for the Colorado area. I worked at amp for him for three summers and then he sent me to training to become an officer. A couple years ago he was sent here to the college. Our friendship has continued to blossom. His wife is responsible for Tolani and I, they did our wedding, and we have officially settled on them as our mentors (the SA pays the travel and other costs for the next five years). Well we had a good conversation.

Our conversation revolved around the question of what is my role as an officer. Here are some facts:
1) I am paid with community money not church money.
2) The SA expects me to administrate a social service program
3) The SA expects me to pastor a church
4) In the current structure in 90% of cases both are full time jobs
5) I can not do both jobs well
6) All this adds up the fact that I am not paid to be a pastor

But here is the problem. In my mind and the Army's even though I am first and foremost an administrator of a social service operation I am still a pastor or chaplain. Thus I operate with two visions. Right now I am in a position where I can implement some of my business vision. So I do. I am frustrated however because since I have church obligations I can not fully concentrate on the business vision.

The SA in Redondo is a senior ministry. The church is a senior church; we have meals on wheels, and middle income senior housing. My problem is I don't have much of a vision for senior ministry. I don't understand what they are looking for, what they want, what it means for them to follow God, or anything really. All I can do is serve them.

So here is my heartache, I live a confusion of two visions. Able to accomplish neither I just do my job. How long O Lord
How long must I wait
How long until I can reimagine
How long must I wait
How long O Lord
I long to see your face
To hear your voice
To see you move
To see you bring change
How long must I wait in this cloud

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