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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