Friday, September 16, 2005

So you want a revolution?

As a continued discussion from Ian's blog there has been some debate over this theme Revolution which is the last one word theme for youth councils (youth retreats) for the Army. So there is my comment from his recent post and then I will rant some more.
James hit on something we in the Army need to hear.

Now I admit as an officer I am part of all this but I also need to state that I am on the fringes in many ways, theologically, politically, and vision. I am part because of the heritage of helping people I see the Army primarily and best as a social service mission.

As part though I use the language at times. Here is the problem. While I know many officers, soldiers, and employees who are jackasses and some who have lied to my face most fit the common definition of officers "think too little, eat too much, and really love people."

But I will say: WHEN WE FAIL TO THINK THROUGH THE WORDS WE USE PEOPLE WILL BE HURT REGARDLESS OF OUR HEARTS. When we pull out all the revolution or other spiritual baggage words, never define them, or not often at least then others automatically feel like outsiders. When we pump up the uniform (yes I wear it most of the time) we say "look at me I'm special." Let me repeat IT DOES NOT MATTER THE INTENTION OF OUR HEART. If it has an elitist effect we need to reexamine what we are doing.

Here is the deal. Most SA people officers especially live breath and move in Army crap. Our lives revolve around it unless we work at getting out of the army crap. I mean if not careful our language becomes so army that we can not have a normal conversation. Our relationships are all army. Size of budget, size of corps, (that word itself means nothing outside the Army yet i find myself using it in non army circles like second nature) Dhq, THQ, NHQ, IHQ, songsters, bandsmen, CSM, YPSM, and other crap. At some point the words we use become exclusivist. It may not be our intention but we use words that create that atmosphere.

So why do we use them? I asked this question in training an got meaningless answers about the way it is and always has been and what makes us unique. Have we deceived ourselves into thinking that the Army trappings are what makes us unique and what God has called us too? It seems so at times. "Well thins is the Army deal with it" is the answer. No doubt we must, but can we also ask why? So if anyone can answer me why we use these crazy one liners which mean nothing from the outside I'd be appreciative. My biggest gripe is that we don't even know what these words like revolution mean.

One more rant. Years ago Petra a fair Christian Rock band had a song "Seen and not heard, sometimes God's children should be seen and not heard." A little less talk if you please a lot more action is what we need. Maybe we should try this. What about a six month moratorium on talking in church? I guess that does sound crazy but my point is lets stop focusing on what we say and start looking at how we live.


bill, i love your perspective. thank you so much for keeping it real as a man in your position. i have linked you up from my blog. keep it coming bro.

By Blogger Ian, at 1:55 PM  

It is an interesting debate. I went off on one about a year ago on our unmistakeable identity. I got thinking about what for me is our heartbeat. I know that there are places that focus on the peripheral - but for us locally it is like you say love for God and our neighbour.

By Blogger Gordon, at 2:28 PM  

Just posted this over at Ians Blog...

I often wonder if the concept of living out the values of the kingdom and Jesus are revolutionary. I suspect that they are.

Certainly the values I base my life upon are alternative, and grace could turn the world upside down but I listen to SA revolution rhetoric and wonder sometimes if it is the same revolution!!

By Blogger Gordon, at 2:37 PM  

I've been posting on this for a bit on ian's blog, and responded to your original comment there.

Part of our reason for going with "revolution" is that it is in fact a term that resonates with many people. They get what you're talking about. Che is a huge hero, though he is in many ways the opposite of Jesus, and he's got nothing on Jesus when it comes to revolutionary thought and action.

I get your points Bill, and they do resonate with me. Most of the people we work with could care less what we call stuff, they just like being in community and being loved and getting a chance to serve. They're not offended by the language we use.

And like I said on Ian's blog, we have tried to communicate exactly what we mean by the term revolution. We wrote a book on it for heaven's sake! :)So we want the language to describe what we feel is going on, not just with us by any means, and not by us, but what God is calling into existence. We chose revolution because it made most sense to us.

But I don't really care what the language is.

And hey, good to see another pomo salvo. That is how I describe myself to some people as well.



By Anonymous aaron white, at 10:09 PM  

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