Ok, so I’m about as garbage at not blogging as I am at blogging. Massive failure on the not blogging front. Well, that lasted for a whole few days. Hmm. I was having a bad day! The simple problem is just the whole transition thing… I’m disorientated, bound to experience the odd bit of confusion at times! Still overwhelming as you’d guess. The biggest thing, as I said, is that I don’t want to move around bitter at all. The challenge is simply how to go about being a ‘blood and fire’ Salvo yet not being really able to engage with the Army much.
At the moment it looks unlikely to be a speedy or immanent return to officership or to the Army. There are lots of factors in this. We do still have links with Salvos down here and of course all the folks we link with internationally and through facebook etc. We’re just in this weird place of being Salvos in exile. Weird place to be, but there we go. You know, we just have to get on with who God has called us to be where he’s placed us! We have to run with the passions he places in us and see what they accomplish in his name.
There were, actually, several points at which we could have ‘recanted’ our perspectives but in honesty, that was no answer. We believe so passionately in the things we were saying, we knew we were in a place where we couldn’t compromise. Although we were willing to stay and work it through, when that wasn’t going to be made possible by those in the driving seat, we felt we had no alternative but to leave. Simple as that. The things we were so convicted about were not matters to brush aside just so that we could retain our position. Issues relating to how to go about ministry amongst the urban poor, sustainable patterns of mission, leadership and on the increasing tendancy the Army has in becoming an Army that is full of privilege for officers (through priestly ministry) which hampers the dynamism of the mobilisation of soldiers. As well as that, we had just got to a place where it was becoming so difficult to be true to Jesus and our attention was being pulled in different places in order to tick people’s boxes.
As I’ve indicated, life has taken a surprising turn. But you know, I cannot deny that God has his hand upon us here, especially in calling us to Gosforth at this particular time for this particular people. Its so clear to us and, thankfully, to the church here as to why God has brought us to Gosforth at this time. We’re believing for exciting things. Yet, we’ve also realised in life thus far, that whilst the plans of God can be frustrated, he always comes out trumps! We take nothing as certainty other than he himself.
Our long term hopes, beyond our time at Trinity (minimum 5 years), is to gradually move to a place where we’re able to support ourselves in work outside the established church and step out in mission back to where we feel most at home, amongst those forgotten, marginalised and the multiple-generational de-churched folks in urban areas to establish transformational Christian communities amongst them. This will always be with Salvo heart and flavour, whether or not the SA accepts it or welcomes it is another thing. However, all things are passing and this season, too, will pass. We look on with interest!
Meanwhile, we continue to advocate missional-incarnational living, church built on the essential missional DNA, and will always encourage pioneering, simple church and the spread of church planting movements. We’re still working out ways to do that. We’re doing that here in what could easily be described as potentially one of the UK’s ‘mega-churches’ in a few years time if current trends continue. I’m also increasingly drawn towards neo-monasticism of which I’m convinced Salvationism was a precursor. Salvationism was the best, in a sense, of the ‘old monasticism’ – spiritual life and holiness grounded in the gritty daily reality of mission amongst the lost and the poor.
So, please, watch this space and lets see where it goes.
Blood and Fire!