Tuesday, June 17, 2008

who are we?

It's not often that we take the time to ask foundational and searching questions about who we are... both as people and as communities... and it's not an easy task.
Today John Cleary (a Salvationist historian) was asking some hard questions along those lines and I found myself challenged and invigorated by the exercise.
Who is the salvation army?
Best answer of the day (in my opinion) was: God's Commandos
The best strategy for the Salvos is to ask where the Kingdom isn't... and then take it there... where is the darkness thickest - where is hope the least - where are the churches/social structures NOT - and then we should show up in full force.
'to go where no man has gone before'. We will never be great at competing with traditional middle class churches - we just aren't really that. We will be great (maybe smaller) at taking new ground... which leads me to the question - where is that?
Where is the darkness thick and the hope fading... where are the lost? Where are the places neglected by the mainstream church.... we ought to find out... and then go.


Mark said...

Personally I've always preferred the concept of guerilla warfare. Wikipedia defines it as: ...the unconventional warfare and combat with which a small group of combatants use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc.) to combat a larger and less mobile formal army. The guerrilla army uses ambush (draw enemy forces to terrain unsuited to them) and mobility (advantage and surprise) in attacking vulnerable targets in enemy territory.

Personally I'm more inclined to think of a small group of well trained and highly committed combatants ambusing the enemy ... leaping out of a tree as you drive past ... coming through the airconidtioning vents into your meeting ... hijacking your motorcade while still on your driveway ... that kind of stuff that happens in the movies. It is effective because the enemy doesn't see it coming AND they can't help but be impressed with the results and effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

Where the kingdom isn't or where the kingdom is not yet revealed and acknowledged? Not meaning to be picky but I wonder if perhaps our job is actually to highlight where God is already at work and get on board with what the Spirit is doing. I have yet to come across a place where God is not already at work. Even at times where people know nothing of God the darkness has not completely extinguished the light and God still remains working through those who are willing in heart if not in head!
This is just a soap box of mine. In my opinion I don't take God anywhere I just help reveal God's presence and get involved with what God is doing.

Thanks for a consistantly challenging and informative blog.

lucy ar said...

I have to agree with you there Sandy. I think it gets a bit dangerous when we think we take God to places.
Surely one of the reasons we can have courage to go to the darkest places is because of the assurance that God is already there, and there we can find and meet with God ourselves. (It's a point that possibly didn't need labouring twice- sorry- but then again it possibly did because it perhaps speaks about our underlying theology)

But Danielle, 'tis true that we must find these darkest places, the most "hopeless" and reveal Gods presence there. There is some amazing youth work going on here in London where that is happening, where forgotten teenagers are being loved.