I blogged this after hearing General Gowans preach at our Divisional Congress…..ooh…I’m enjoying this trip down memory lane…hope your are!!
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
General Gowans preached well. I hope that people take it home and remember his challenge for a bit. God clearly spoke to some people. We all need the courage of our convictions. The thing that made me smile was the reaction to one comment…Gowans said “People should stop putting the Salvation Army down.” Of course, that is right, they should. But I smiled at the reactions of two groups of people….first, the older traditionalists for whom that statement meant “stop all these young people from changing the Army ways” and to the younger folks it meant “stop all these older people from criticising us .” So, hearty agreement but never was there such a large divide.
The important thing that I am constantly saying to both camps, is that you need to define traditional, figure out that traditional is not the same as traditionalism.
Traditionalism is doing stuff for the sake of it, to “preseve an expression” and to practice a particular thing divorced from its original meaning. Like what? E.g The soldier who would be the first to offer criticism about people not wearing uniform, but they themselves only wearing it to the meeting, and covering it up with a normal everyday coat when they walk home. That, and a thousand other examples are examples of traditionalism.
However, traditional I see is related to our spiritual and organisational heritage…the things God birthed us for in the past and still has in mind for us today. Like what? E.g A strong commitment to aggressive spiritual warfare, aggressive evangelism, engaging in social action, a strong commitment to the life of holiness. Using our last example…in teh context of uniform wearing, a traditional (as opposed to traditionalist) salvationist wears their uniform because it identifies the believer, it is a testimony to a life changed be Jesus, it is a desire for the church to be visible in the community and is more functional than ceremonial.
So, are you traditional or traditionalist? The thing is that that a lot of our senior salvationists (there is always glorious exceptions) are traditionalist, tradition for traditions sake kinda people and thats what our youngsters react agains. But, alot of our youngsters, because of that are led to believe that everything related to our heritage must be negative. That is as equaly unhelpful as the traditionalists.
Somewhere along the line I learned that it is not actually our military metaphor and all that goes with it that is irrelevant. Its not the uniform that is irrelevant, it is often the people who wear it. Oooooh….big judgment. Perhaps…but I feel it is very true. All our Army stuff is a tremendously powerful image when we live it unapologetically and with all the passion we can muster.
yours unaplogetically in the fight