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.
6 thoughts on “The Questions”
Interesting points, Andrew. At the same time, there are many others who are standing and challenging the status quo within the Army – you included. I think of the Geoff Ryans, the Stephen Courts…others are called by God into new directions. I think it's sometimes good for God to raise up new voices – which may be what's happening right now. That's in no way an apologetic for Jo's promotion to glory. It is incredibly difficult to accept it when God calls home such a faithful servant. But, God is good. Those who Jo inspired will step up. They are already. Kay's Dad, Paul, died 2 years before I met her. Clearly it had a huge impact on the Brine family's experience of God…and still is. We ask why God would take a faithful Officer, father and real inspiration to many young people. Hundreds, if not thousands prayed for Paul…and nothing (healing) happened. But I know of several officers who are where they are now because of Paul's example through his suffering. Not prior to cancer, but during. God certainly didn't give Paul cancer, but used Paul's faithfulness to witness to many. Does any of this make sense? Despite being called out of the Army (I know that might be slightly weird to say, especially knowing your view on covenant), I'm still hugely passionate about what the Army is about. God isn't finished with it yet.
Yes, I made a point in the discussion of facebook about this post that the people who have the voices are there, its just that they need to step forward. I purposely didn't talk about Geoff and Stephen. I'd say they were the real Generals of the Salvation Army, but as I wander around the territory many haven't heard of them. Unless you engage in the Salvo internet press, you're not going to know them necessarily. I was purely thinking on a UK perspective.I am also sure that God was glorified through Jo at ever point. In a sense, Jo isn't really the issue being addressed. Its the waywardness and missional backwardness of the Army sometimes that you and I both know a lot about.A few posts ago I put up some words from Brengle which seem poignant about what the Army could manage to do without God!What I am trying to say is that even in the worst of situations, the devastating situations of Jo's death, is that it should cause us to respond to the call to advance and step forward. Its by no way at all a dishonour to her, because she, for one, would have wanted greater advance.I don't believe God is finished with the Army, but we must, must, must respond to him in these days.blessings to you and Kay…hope Sephi is doin great!A
and sometimes the voices don't want to come forward because they don't want to be noticed…they might end up at DHQ or THQ!!Keep pressing on mate. God is doing incredible stuff where you are. M
It only highlights even greater, the importance of pushing forward and clearing the body of the disease it bears. Just look how the devil attacks us, literally taking away two powerful voices; and others he has attempted to silence.Those of the present generation who have been fed by the likes of Roots and Alove must be prepared for battle. Scarily it looks like we're entering an age filled with real battles, real fights not just for the lost but for The Salvation Army itself.I'm flipping scared, to be honest. I can see what's coming, I can see how tough this is going to be. I can see that me and Lucy offering ourselves like this and engaging in wholehearted, holiness powered mission is going to make us an obvious target.God is great, I will trust in Him!God Bless The Salvation Army. The age of pomp and ceremony has come to an end, it's time to return to the battlefield…
Hi Andrew,You said "as I wander around the territory": How far and wide has that wandering taken you?I’m just trying to get a handle on what it is that forms your view on the current state of the Army, and whether your experiences with UK Salvationists are as broad as they would need to be to draw your current conclusions. A lot of what you say resonates with me, but I’m always cautious about jumping in with both feet because it’s not easy to get an overall picture.J
Hi Johnny,hear where you are coming from, and believe me, I'm the first to want to believe that the picture is better than I think it is.In many ways, its a general observation, there are specifics and I think that my 'explorations' are fairly wide. Wouldn't be right to start mentioning specifics publically but will send you a note on email.A