I’ve no problem with the Sovereignty of God and his choice to take Jo home. It leaves many with sadness, but I know her experience is now a fulness she was yearning for her whole life. No problem with that.
My questions is around the bare fact that there are precious few voices left to speak life and a different path into The Salvation Army. Jo never held a position of authority outside her corps appointment, but yet she was what one would call a true leader in the real Salvation Army in that her leadership authority spoke much wider than her own sphere of immediate infuence.
There are others who had the same voice, who are also now very much outside the Salvation Army. Even if these guys are still linked with Salvation Army communities/corps, they have stepped back from speaking into the corporate life of The Salvation Army in a significant way. Let me just name them: Chick Yuill, Phil Wall, Russell Rook. We also lost Nicola Garnham recently to cancer who was another woman in the same fashion as Jo…we needed them.
I have many friends who would say..well, we coped without Gypsy Smith and Smith Wigglesworth, we’ll survive without the others. And yes, there is a real sense that its not just about a few people. The problem is not so much that some prominent voices are now not there, but who will take the stand for a new generation?
Let there be no misunderstanding when it comes to my position. I firmly believe there are aspects of Salvationism that are repulsive to God, without a doubt. Our worldliness, our lack of prayer, our lack of zeal for the lost in this Territory are signposts of the spiritual disease we face. We have soldiers who can’t describe what mission is, don’t know the Holy Spirit in their lives and don’t know what the Kingdom of God this. Please, this is not a judgement, this is a reporting of my experiences with Salvationists. Its a statement of lament, not of condemnation and God knows I, like other leaders, try to change that. We continue to press forward in increasingly irrelevant and self-defeating modes of mission and ministry to preserve our form whilst deglecting to sense the moving of the Spirit.
God knows I love the Salvation Army and that I am enthralled with the call he has placed upon us, but I’m increasingly beside myself with grief to the levels we have forgotten our first love and moved aside to less worthy callings.
I don’t know what God is doing with me in these days. I spend nights in tears and mourning over this part of his vineyard. Every day I wake up and ask ‘what are we doing?’ and more than that, ‘what am I doing?’
Well, these are questions I am continually asking. I so sincerely wish I could be released from these feelings and just faithfully do my task as an officer…that I could leave doubt and massive concern behind believing all will be well. I wish I could stick my head in some ‘positive-thinking’ sand and ignore the blatant and obvious. I wish I could see the good on my front and forget the rest of the thing. But I’m called to The Salvation Army, not just on my local and immediate front, but as a movement and I cannot separate the two. We’re all in covenant together you see. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.