Torry contains a couple of the poorest 5% neighbourhoods in the whole of Scotland. In fact, the vast majority of Torry is within the 15% bracket of the poorest communities in Scotland. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not heading there with a million pounds, but I’m heading there with a whole lot of passion to see the broken restored, the oppressed released and the blind see.
At the core of my being, I believe that The Salvation Army only makes sense when we are reaching out to the poor with the life-giving message of the gospel. I think the fact that the Army has become middle class in many places is a sure sign that we’ve successfully managed to transform families and bits of society as we now have long term Salvationists, generations of families, who are ‘well healed’ financially and as far as societal standing goes. The big challenge for the Army is to continually be marching back into the city centres where life is messy or indeed to be lavishly giving to the poor in any setting.
Its probably safe to say that some people think we’re nuts…why we’d leave a lovely town and corps like Wick and all that brings to live in a place like Torry. By faith I can see Torry beautiful…I believe in that scriptural madandate to rebuild, restore and renew places long devastated (Isaiah 61:4).
If you can fill in the pieces and read between the lines of all that I’ve said over the last months it won’t be difficult for you to realise that on a very personal level, I’ve been struggling to work out our calling in the context we’re in. Our move is much more about us trying to follow what we really sense God saying and what we sense he wants to do in us and through us.
The really difficult thing for me has in trying so hard to be a faithful servant to the good folks at Wick I’ve felt increasingly less and less like myself and that I was starting to become someone different to who God made and is making me. There is only so long a person can do that sort of thing. Why did I do that? I guess its what I thought I had to do out of a place of just wanting to serve and trying to make this appointment work. We were appointed here, and duly came here in good faith. I can honeslty say that whilst we sensed the absolute rightness of an appointment in the Northern parts of Scotland, we’ve struggled all along with the ‘rightness’ of Wick. We’ve tried to make it work in faith the Army got it right. And certainly, the year has all been in God’s plan, I am sure of that.
The journey here has involved lots of difficult decisions, desperate conversations, sleepless but prayerful nights to get to this point. There are some people who’ve been on that journey with us, even a couple of people locally who we’ve been able to confide in. For this we are grateful, not only for their support but their discretion as we’ve worked stuff out.
There will not be few who will be having critical thoughts about us at the moment. Colleague officers, soldiers, friends, family. Folks who believe that the appointment system shouldn’t be challenged regardless of what it does or produces. I understand those things. Thing is…following God isn’t always as clear cut as following processes. Don’t we wish it was sometimes?
Anyway…difficult as it is been in getting to this point, it good now to be able to keep up the unwritten policy of my blogging of sharing what’s on my heart. Thanks to all who contribute to the discussion, publically and privately.