The church my mother goes to…

My Mother and I at my sister’s wedding

Couple of weeks ago I was talking with my divisional commander about ‘church.’ It all started with a conversation about my mother. Now, my mother does not go to church. The reason for that is simply because she isn’t a Christian. More than that, my mum is a product of some tough life experiences, she is what you can call a diamond in the rough. I say diamond because she has some great qualities surrounded by a whole load of rough stuff.

The other reason my mother doesn’t go to church is that she’s grown up with the idea that people who go to church think they are better than her. One of the ‘characteristics’ if you like of people from places like me and my mum is that in spite of having nothing, you don’t let people look down on you. Her experience of people who go to church is just that. The reason that might be is because, as I say, she can be rough.

Back to my conversation with the DC…I was saying to him that I think the ideal church would be the church that my mother would join. You see, the kind of Christian community that my mother would join would be the kind of community that could look past a person’s culture, character, guarded emotions, language, general manner and outward appearance and see the need at the heart and be willing to refuse to let the outward dictate who is worth bothering with.

The thing is that my mother is not unspiritual…she’s been to spiritualists, tea-readers, mediums, woman’s masonic groups and all the rest. The problem with my mother is that there has never been a church bold enough to embrace her. Part of this is a geography thing…the only evangelical church in our village is a very middle class Brethren assembly. The other part of it is that the vast majority of churches aren’t ready for my mother.

But don’t lets fall into the trap of thinking my mum is some sort of extreme monster. No, she is fairly typical of many women in the town I grew up in and actually a bunny rabbit compared to women her age I encountered during our time in the East-End of Glasgow.

William Booth talked about the submerged tenth. I’m not so sure that poverty is the measure of that ‘submerged’ people today…its more likely accurate to describe the submerged as the people that church culture has totally lost contact with. What’s more, I reckon that the figure is much more than a tenth.

Where else should The Salvation Army be but in the places where the submerged live?

Get Praying

Started off our door-to-door prayer ministry this afternoon. The basic idea is that we make contact with people in their homes and ask if they want prayer for anything. Tracy did some prep last week and delivered a copy of the War Cry to one of the streets in the town. I followed on today with some more info and with a prayer request card.

This card basically indicates that we want to pray for them, and to feel free to write a request on the inside of the card. We’ll pop back in a few days an pick them up. If they don’t respond, that’s fine. If they do, that’s better. If they don’t want prayer but want something else, that’s good because we’ll end up praying anyway! Its a simple way to connect people’s felt needs with God’s desire to reveal himself to them using us as the catalyst. Maybe even an opportunity to nurture their ‘unfelt need’ – salvation.

People are spiritual, most people have an openness to things. Up here, we have an interesting mix of spirituality. We have ‘folk Christians’, new agers, pagans, out and out atheists, spiritualists, freemasons, and a whole bunch of people into the occult. Christianity gets a bad name in many places because it is often ‘unspiritual.’ I can’t help but see the link between this and God sending a bit of a charismatic nutter to Wick.

The weather up here doesn’t always lend itself to outdoor evangelism, but I’m going to get kitted up for a street prayer booth tomorrow and see how we go!

An Army Cup of Tai Chi

So I casually pick up my recent edition of the Salvationist and have my weekly rummage through. Then, I come to the page describing the recent visit of the Officers from the International College for Officers visiting Reading Central to conduct the meetings. Fine…nice.

But shock, horror, blow me down with a feather, I read that Captain such and such, presumably from an oriental territory, led the congregation in…wait for it….Tai Chi!

Tai Chi is intricately tied up with the practice of Taoism. In order to achieve physical well being, the Tai Chi student must be attuned to the universe by concentrating below the navel section of the body — which is said to be the body’s psychic center. It involves the whole concept of balancing your yin and yang, your positive and negative forces etc.

Tai Chi cannot be rec­onciled with Christianity at all.

When will The Salvation Army wake up to these dangerous practices?