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.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Andrew,I’m largely with you, in fact there is very little I disagree with, yours is a voice that I like to hear which is why I visit your blog. The values you outline are unequivocal – to say anything to the contrary would be to sell out. In your initial post you put across a very negative impression of college – some of which I could identify with – however ironically in it’s totality college was the environment in which those values became unequivocal for me! It might not have been within the curriculum that equipped me in other ways. Although it’s always useful knowing the Nazarite vow!!Making Jesus known is my business – actually it’s not my business but God’s. I’ll do it and wont stop. Seeing people discover God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit can not be topped – (there you go not some bland heretic after all!!) – being used in that process I will not compromise. Just think you could have been in my tutor group – I’d have loved to have heard more about your time in the westend.

  2. AndrewI enjoyed your comments I understand that feeling of not wanting to become part of the structure that saps the passion out of your mininstry and making you compromise your calling to a lost world and yet hold that in balance of not being continaully discontent. We live in interesting times, many of those in leadership lived out their officerships maintaining the status quo and I see that the Holy Spirit is stirring up younger officers to make the change back to the past of radical ministry and Holy Spirit Fuelled Ministry.I think the question is how to be remain committed to passionate ministry working within a structure that tells us they want radical ministry but the structure wont allow for this.The Training College I suppose as someone said to me is one of the last things to change, and we all do our time and make the most of it. We all go along and do what has to be done mostly without questioning, for myself I came from a very demanding career where I used to manage over 70 staff to being on the lowest rung of the ladder and having to do things that sometimes I thought were ridiculous, however I chose to just go along and used the time as somewhat of a sabatical – soemtimes I didnt even wear my watch as I knew I could just follow everyone else where they went. I had to relearn how to be a leader when I left college as what I had learnt in college was how not to think for myself. However, it did teach me how to live in community, it did teach me humility (which I probably needed to be taken down a peg or two) it taught me alot about myself and no it wasnt this great Spiritual and Holy place I had imagined. However, it also taught me that if that is what I want I have to make it happen for myself. We need to somehow use the discontent to change the future, we need to not compromise. Question as you say how to do this without living a discontented life. Keep questioning, keep disturbing the present, use the discontent – I for one dont want to be one of those content officers.God BlessGlenda

  3. I relate to that 100% Gordon…I went to college a bit nutty and left a complete maniac…if you know what I mean.Thanks folks for your contributions to this discussion, I take back any percived negativity communicated which really flows from a dissapointed heart, whilst thoroughly defending the points I made. Thats the difficulty of speaking into things you love dearly.In college I learned the skill of how to keep the discussion moving at corps councils and so I apply those very same skills here…whats next? Hmm.;)

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