Yeah…I hear what you are saying and college was all those things for me (though I never went to the pictures). On a personal level I did have a great time of reflection and invigoration, especially wandering though the west end talking to Jesus as he appeared in the form of the prostitute, pimp and homeless guy…especially deep time of personal prayer and study.
But what I am trying to emphasise is not the fact that it wasn’t good for me personally, because it was…we entered college from a corps appointment which nearly finished off our marriage and our ministry and it was valuable to re-assess…but the fact that corporately, by and large, the Salvation Army has an identity crisis and it is manifested strongly, sometimes more magnified there than anywhere else in the Army world. But in a sense, in the context of what I was writing, it doesn’t matter a jot what college meant to me personally because it wasn’t really what I was referring to.
Yes, its what I made, and I made it productive for me, but in the same way that I choose 100% to model an aggressive pattern of ministry in corps life in a wider context of apathy and timidity in the wider Salvation Army, in college I chose to be the change I wanted to see.
There is a fundamental difference between what I made it because I had to and what it actually is.
I wonder if we can translate this theory into life. Does living in todays culture with a view that you have to make the best of it for yourself really a valid view? Yes, I can live life thinking that I can make the best of this for myself, and if I do that I will be satisfied in myself. But, I argue that unless you can look to the positives and live a productive life AS WELL AS have a deep dissatisfaction with the way things in society are, we are missing the point quite a bit.
So, as I say, whether college was personally gratifying for me personally is neither here nor there, the sad thing is that college, whilst applying grace for human failings, is an environment which could be transformed by a commitment to renewal of all things fundamentally salvationist as I outlined in the initial blog of this discussion…radical holiness, spirit-filled living, courageous leadership, an embracing of our prophetic mantle, commitment to simple lifestyle, commitment to the scriptural definition of salvation and a burning desire to share this great news of the Kingdom.
“You can’t change the future without disturbing the present” said Catherine Booth. Neither culture, the army nor the college can be places in which we live to take from it what we can without exhorting them all to embrace our higher calling.