Thursday, June 30, 2005

Decisions

Every day it seems people make important decisions. It is really amazing how quickly life moves here. I guess it has to when most stay 90 days and then are gone. Such a short time if you think about it. Yet for many it works. 90 days and decisions made, commitments kept, a life begins again. But sometimes it just doesn't take. Decisions don't get made, commitments don't get kept, out the door and in their addiction faster then you count to 10. But like today there are individuals who are at a Y in the road. A decision point is reached. Only two ways to go. It could alter their entire life. I hope and pray he makes the right decision.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

On covenant

Continuing the discussion on soldership and covenant I am wrestling with a definition.

So here it goes it is a work in progress so feel free to chime in:

Covenant:
A pack, agreement, or bond between two or more entities (could be individuals or groups) to think, feel, or do a certain set of thoughts, feelings, or actions. A covenant means whatever the participants say it means. That meaning must be agreed upon by all parties. Here are some of the things a covenant can mean apart from the words: How long does the covenant stand for? What happens if the covenant is broke by one party? Often these and other meanings are not stated they are understood. Now the key to understanding covenants is this: A covenant is binding and meaningful only as long as ALL parties involved continue to give the covenant the agreed upon meaning. A life covenant is only a life covenant as long as all parties continue to view it as such. Marriage is the perfect example. It is for life unless one partner besides its not.

Now I hope it makes clear this point. Covenants binding until someone brakes the covenant. At that point it is null and void.

Now, If I sign that I will be an officer of the salvation army it is only for life if I believe that it is for life, no matter what others say. If I or other officers I know break the covenant it is null. They are not held to that covenant anymore.

Soldiers, the covenant is not no matter what anyone says only between you and God. It is between you, the Army, and maybe God. (I've met to many to believe that God is always in the covenant.) Besides, God will only have a place within the covenant if you as the signer hold that to be true. So here is the net result. If a soldier signs the Articles of War, then for whatever reason (jerk of a corps officer seems to be common) leaves the Army, that soldier is not for any reason still held to the covenant. Its dead. The covenant is only binding as long as the signer holds it to be binding. Only then can others hold the signer accountable.

So to all former Salvationists enjoy a glass of wine occasionally (unless you have a problem with addiction.) If life or God has lead you down a different path great enjoy your journey with God. If you have felt wrath and abuse by colleagues of mine I apologize.

Generosity in the Army is truly needed.

Blessings

1 Comments:

When I think of covenant, I always fall back on Genesis 15. God and humankind enter into a form of covenant where, when broken, a penalty is to be paid. The amazing part of that story is that, while the lower of the two persons is to be the one to bear the punishment, God puts Abraham to sleep and takes his place, foreshadowing the perfect new covenant brought forth through Christ. Now THAT is what it is all about.

Again Bill, thanks for the honesty and for being willing to step out there and take a viewpoint which many of your fellow officers would not share. That's huge and it means alot to someone like myself, once right in there but now a few steps back from the Army and trying to come to terms with some of my experiences. I appreciate it.

check out my blog and the links to some others where this discussion has been taking place for more...

thanks,

IAN

By Blogger Ian, at 10:27 PM  

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Generous Orthodoxy

I was taking a quick thinking break so I read a chapter of McLaren.

I find McLaren to be like a breath of fresh air most of the time.

But I found this to way heavy on my heart:

Stories like these bring us to repentance and regret (atrocities committed by "christians"). There are many cleaver and pleasant ways of wriggling out of this repentance and regret. But to squirm out is to betray both orthodoxy and generosity of spirit. There is a high cost to repentance, to be sure: our pride, our superiority, our complacency, our smugness, our self-confidence, our judgmentalism all will feel the sharp sting of the shot of repentance. But there is a high cost to non-repentance, too, and I hope you will ponder that cost for a while before you read the next sentence. (Generous Orthodoxy 273)

That is a lot to ponder. The consequences of non-repentance could be grave. As I think about it more I realize that we must repent. We must repent for things we have done (individually) and what WE have done (all christians).

With that in mind I apologize for all abuse committed in the name of my tribe the salvation army.

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Morning

I try to make it a habit of not posting in the morning (I'd prefer to make it a habit of sleeping at 8 AM to but here we are in downtown so I can't make that habit. Over the weekend my wife and I stumbled across an interesting discussion from Salvationists up north (Canada). The question was one of covenant and in many ways what the purpose of the Articles of War/Soldiers Covenant/Church membership papers. I will probably speak to this latter. What I want to focus on is what happens to people when they leave officership or soldiership.

I have to admit, all too often if someone leaves the Army too often we treat them like they don't exist anymore. I think its worse for officers. They are forbid to talk about it, I mean our friends couldn't even go to commissioning of officers they helped trained. I think in many cases it is a punishment. Many believe that a call to officership is unique and for life. So if a person leaves then they are outside of God's will. I've heard this espoused by many. What garbage. But my main point is this. If we don't treat our own who leave for whatever reason with generousity and mercy, no wonder why many leave. So, if you have experienced this abuse, I'm sorry. I know that it doesn't mean much, I mean coming from a lowly young captain who has very unique views on officership and the army (none of which I post here) but there it is. I'm sorry if colleagues of mine have used soldiership as a battering ram or solely for stats. I'm sorry if you were told that the covenant has some sort of sacramental baggage tied to it. I'm sorry if those you thought were friends turned their back on you when you left. I'm sorry if officers beat you for not feeling some great attachment to "The Army" (I mean the organization as opposed to local community). In short I'm sorry.

1 Comments:

Your viewpoint is like a breath of frsh air. The SA needs more foreward thinking like yours. It is trapped to its knees in it's own mud these days, and it needs to hear what "Lowly Captains" have to say.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 PM  

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Salvation

I am becoming increasingly disturbed by the definition I inherited from modernity. Even as viewed Salvation and Sanctification as the same, I have began to go increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that Salvation is primarily individual. Gordon posted the quote "our understanding of mission will only be as wide as our understanding of salvation..." The in Generous Orthodoxy McLaren talks a great deal about being missional. In this sense mission becomes the motivation not salvation or getting people saved.

I think I am growing tired of a theology that is heaven/hell focused. I am in hell. I commute to it each day. People here are in their own hell. Missional activity is with these and shows them a better way, not the easy way, but a holy way, a way of Love.

I guess I am just still struggling with the words. But we need to learn to dance.

We need to learn to be neighbor's.

1 Comments:

yep - I'm with you!

By Blogger Gordon, at 1:56 PM  

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

An email

Well I checked my yahoo email and this was there.

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:08:43 -0500
To: wfinley_2000@yahoo.com
From: "Worldview Weekend" Add to Address Book
Subject: Your Antidote for Liberalism and Christian Happy-talk


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So I thought I'd rant a bit about it. First, I am proud to be called a threat to America if thier America is Bush's neocon capitalist america. The problem is that these people (I am not using the christian word on purpose) are more concerned about America then they are the church.

So here is my thought for today. A good American, by the neocon's (neo-conservative: a small part of the GOP however they are in power) definition, can not be a good christian, using Christ's definition of Love God and Neighboor. The neocon agenda will do anything for power. They lied, See Downing Street Memo, to get into war. They are employing numerous mercenaries in Iraq to protect assets which the corporations stole, believe that only certain people should be free, if freedom is your right to choose your own government, and most importantly the essence of neocon agenda is the rich get richer (Exxon-Mobil is showing record profits) and the poor get screwed.

Now that statment is highly political. I guess I'm just sick of neocons being able to use god (an American Christ is not a real Christ)to baptize thier politics. Its time that Christians start speaking out and proclaiming what really matters. Love God and Love of neighboor, no matter if your neighboor is american, Iraqi, Afgan, or even anti-american. I mean think about it. What would we do if we were the poor and constantly seeing the rich of our nation pursecuting the poor with the supperpower's blessing? I don't know I just think we need to realize that we meaning our policies and economic system of slavery (there have always bee slaves in our economic system we just don't see them anymore, think China and Bangladesh) are indeed responsible to a degree.

Now I come with a bias. I am a pacifist. WWII was justified except that we didn't fight to free the Jews or even Europe we fought out of retaliation. Furthermore, we knew what was happening to the Jews and we sent them back. No, we fought only when our interests (ie money) was in jeopardy. That said good was accomplished in WWII.

However, the war in Iraq is not justified he lied to congress and should be impeached but I'd rather that liar the Cheney. So I guess we are stuck because for two elections they meaning neocons used illegal election day ploys to get the liar elected.

that's enough though.

If your conservative and really believe that bush is a good guy and doing a good thing, fine just don't baptize it with God speak.

My God is not an American!

Let me repeat:

My God is not an American!

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Times I wish I could forget...

Times I wish I could forget...

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about fathers day. I think that seeing people with so much disfunction every day is helping me see my own disfunction. I've been thinking a great deal about my relationship with my dad. I mean its okay now we talk and all. I'd see him more if he moved from hell (read SLC). But I keep thinking about life as a kid. I guess since its been 9 years since I graduated high school I am kind of reminiscing. What frustrates me is that there were so many good times. But I don't remember most of those. What I remember most are those trips that never happened. The planned visits that just didn't pan out. The waiting for him to arrive looking out the window at each passing car. The call saying he couldn't come, the fighting between my parents over the phone. Now, I remember that dad would come watch little league games and even a football practice or two. I remember being so excited when I saw him or heard his voice. And dad was their at high school college and ordination. He was there at my Eagle Court of Honor. I know all that but I missed him when he wasn't there. I guess I'm not angry or even mad still but I remember these things and I guess it just makes me sad.

times I wish I could forget...

2 Comments:

hello

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 PM  

hello

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:34 PM  

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Goodbye

And now its time to say goodbye to great dear friends of mine.
Though only a phone call away it impacts me greatly see our friends bill and Brenda gone from socal. Going to crestmont won't ever be the same. I do not know why I'm sad whenever I think about it. I really should be happy for them. But I guess what makes me sad is they wont be the last friends to leave the Army. I guess you can only be lied to so many times before you just decide to go elsewhere. So now they are all there, the next phase of their life. But the sadness is there I just don't understand it.

I think about it and it makes no sense. But I guess our connection goes deep Love we call it. Now they have moved away. We will see them again someday.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Commissioning and stuff

Well commissioning has come and gone. Congrats to those who are done. This makes the 4th commissioning I have gone too. The first one was long because it was all in one service and then they did an hour+ retirement service. The next two were great each meeting 2 hours and everything was timed. But then this last weekend. The first meeting went almost three hours and the second one went 2 1/2 hours with half as many captains. The only thing I can say is too much talking. It seemed like everyone talked forever. Now it was great to see the Prepares go to their places and all but it was too long.

Anyway I have been continuing Generous Orthodoxy but I don't have much to say other then great.

Have not been feeling well lately with a cold so i am exhausted. I am sitting here wanting to go to sleep with 3 more meeting yet today.

Anyway, life is good. I love what i am doing.

One thing is bugging me though. Its this. I hear all the time here and at commissioning how great God and how he is in control. And in the little things the puppet master philosophy works. God is directing and stuff. But in the bigger thing can I say that? Could I say that if I was in Iraq right now with an occupation force there? Could i say that if I was on 5th street for whatever reason? Could I say that if I struggled to feed my family in a 1 bedroom apartment? I mean we Americans (specifically middle class) is so keen on believing that our middle class American god is in total control because he is blessing us. What will happen when America is no longer, or when America becomes the occupied, will God still be in control?

Blessings

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Friday, June 10, 2005

What's your theological worldview?

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern. You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.

Emergent/Postmodern

86%

Neo orthodox

71%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

68%

Modern Liberal

61%

Classical Liberal

57%

Roman Catholic

50%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

29%

Reformed Evangelical

4%

Fundamentalist

0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Well I took it too. I find it interesting that while I knew I would score high on postmodern I did not think I would score as high on the neo-Orthodox and liberal areas. Their term evangelical holiness interests me because a liberal holiness I would be. But then again are there any other liberal holiness out there? I guess I don't care much because the essence of liberal holiness is Pomo. I am surprised at 4% Reformed I thought i had purged myself entirely of that stuff.

1 Comments:

Bill,
Cool little quiz, check out my blog for my results.

Jeff

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 AM  

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Social Service Camp

Well we just returned from Social Service Camp. There were about 130 clients from three different drug and alcohol rehab programs. It was a spiritual camp of sorts. There was a great deal of teaching time and recreation time. All in all everyone seemed to take a lot away from the opportunity. But I walked away wondering, why do our employees have a difficult time talking about God in the program? Its not like they are anti-spiritual they just feel that for whatever reason they can not talk about God. I wonder why?

I will state this I love twelve step spirituality. A God of Your Own Understanding is such a great thing. I mean God reveals himself to people in so many ways. People relate to God in so many ways. I think most Christians really have a problem with this. We see things in this way, God is...(whatever their tradition defines) And we must relate to God in this way...(Again whatever the tradition defines). The worst part is though that each tradition believes itself to be right. Which necessitates others be wrong. Thus the problem of modernity. God is big enough to relate to many different people in many different ways. So maybe we all need to learn something from the Twelve Steps.

One other rant.

I herd at least two people say that it was God's will that someone in their lives had died. You know the crap that we don't understand God's plan but it was his will that my mom died when I was 6 months old and I blamed myself for it. Bull.

Thus Bill's rules for theological thoughts

1) Life happens
2) God rarely intervenes when Life happens
3) God is present when Life happens
4) But God created a creation where Life Happens
5) The greatest explanation comes in the words of "God's final message to creation" "We apologize for the inconvenience"
6) If 5 is true then I am fine with 1 through 4
7) If 5 is not true, then I believe 5 to be true
8) Thus in way 5 is true.

Now on that note:

Be excellent to each other.

1 Comments:

Hello Bill,

Great post! God is bigger than all of our traditional boxes.

By Blogger Dan (aka Br Bozano), at 12:17 PM  

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Not Much

Well we are off to social service camp this week back in time for commissioning on Friday and Saturday. I have not had many profound thought recently.

But here is one. For the most part I was taught to preach in the same way at two different schools. It went like this.
1) do a lot of research, ie commentaries, word studies, and dictionaries.
2) start with an outline
3) get a detailed outline or write it out
4) practice a few times so its polished and professional
5) deliver it eloquently

So here is my prep.
1)Read the text a few times
2) Think about it
3) determine the big idea or the point I want to convey
4) read a bit on it (a few "liberal" commentaries and some historical interp)
5) Think about it
6) Talk about it (preach it)
Its is not anything dynamic nor should it be. I often talk with metaphors that come to me on the spot. It seems to work. Maybe if more people preached real sermons ie talked to me then I would not fall asleep or read during sermons. (I should get plenty of reading done this weekend.)

1 Comments:

You read during sermons as well? I still can't stand sermons because they are so absolutely boring. This is what happens when the same person has to come up with new material every week. The job should really be split among the group members (of course I base all of my what should church look like from WGA), but then what would the Pastor do without all of that power? Maybe they could continue to help people with their extra time.

Thus says the real Dwight, who had Bill stay on two of my couches before.

By Blogger Dwight, at 6:20 AM  

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Too whomever

To whomever posted a link to the scripturist...
If you had posted under your own name then it would have been okay...
But since you used another persons name...
Please do not come back...
ever...

I would hope that you would have the guts to post under your own name. If it was an error, I do not know how, then fine at least post it with your own name.

Now, to everyone else. Life is good. I am continuing to read generous Orthodoxy. His thoughts about Liberal/conservative were great. My problem is that politically I am liberal. In 90% of the word. In fact I have purged just about every conservative part of my mind. I still have personal morals that are a little conservative. But, those are my/communities morals. I can not impose them on anyone else. So in our political system I only see liberal and conservative. Except for the third class...Crook (President Cheney included). I mean there is not an option where we see generous politics. So until it comes I'm a liberal. But when it comes to faith communities. Yes I suppose I am liberal in many eyes. Some would find me a little conservative or see me as a conservative because I'm in a conservative denomination. In some ways I am a bit. The problem is that the terms mean nothing. They are especially meaningless in the African-American community. Often they will preach conservative and liberation theology side by side. You see the terms are meaningless. Someday new terms will be developed but that day is not today. So I just am. I think I answer no/yes or yes/no to everything theological so someday someone will be able to label me. Hopefully they do not call me insane and lock me up. So blessings to you all.

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