Sunday, September 28, 2008

Top 10 reasons TO wear the uniform

OK so in follow-up to the last post - the top ten reasons we WANT to wear the uniform:
1. superior treatment at airport security! ;-)
2. authority of the movement (125 years plus of reputation on you in suede)
3. cleans you up well! (hattip:my mom)
4. epaulets are cool.
5. saves a lot of time on choosing an outfit.
6. public sign of covenant (I've made a promise with God)
7. solidarity with soldiers around the world
8. it's still better than camel hair (hattip: john the baptist)
9. who doesn't want a supersuit you can wear at night and fight injustice? (hattip:dh)
and the top reason we WANT to wear uniform
10. access - people's houses/jailcells/alley's/dignitaries/boardrooms/schools/cities/towns/kings/queens and paupers.... people's hearts... all for Jesus - it begs us to ask this question:
Why not wear it more?

peace out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

top ten reasons you don't want to wear uniform

had a funny conversation today about reasons you don't want to wear uniform. here's the top 10
10. replacing the metal parts after dry cleaning
9. lifting arms in worship
8. high heels
7. nylons
6. tight tunic syndrome
5. little brooch doesn't sit right
4. ironing
3. finding the perfect uniform shoes
2. wearing a tie

and the number one reason:
1. not having time to direct people at the airport

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Guilty by association?

"If we are members of a privileged group that profits from structural evil, and if we have at least some understanding of the evil yet fail to what God wants us to do to change things, we stand guilty before God. Social evil is just as displeasing to God as personal evil. And it is more subtle."

I'm still reading Rich Christians in An Age of Hunger by Ron Sider... this section has been a challenge... what kind of culpability do we have for continuing to support unjust systems of economic and political power for our own benefit. Fairtrade is a solid example... why do I keep buying things I know were most likely made by children at great cost to them and little cost to me?
Why don't I demand a change in the global wealth distribution to be more equitable? Because it would cost me! that's why.

I've been thinking about how many things I do for my own benefit at the expense of others... particularly the poor. I've got to sort it out... but how?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

बित्टर Chocolate

Chocolate leaves a bitter taste
September 18, 2008
It is enjoyed by millions of connoisseurs around the world, but in recent years chocolate has started to leave an unpleasant aftertaste.

Canadian author Carol Off, whose book alerted readers to the ethical quagmire of chocolate consumption when it was released two years ago, is currently in Australia to talk up the topic.

Her book, Bitter Chocolate, lifted the lid on the use of child slavery in the cocoa plantations of West Africa.

The link between slavery and chocolate is as old as history, Off said.

"There has always been a case where cocoa has been produced by people who didn't have a lot for people who do," she said.

"The Aztecs and the Mayans produced cocoa for the King of Montezuma and in Europe they produced slaves to harvest cocoa beans for the chocolate fanatics of Europe."

Things haven't changed, she says.

"We have chocolate bars today that seem to be cheap and affordable even to a child ... but the truth of the matter is we can only afford this chocolate because people who are picking the beans and cultivating it are children in West Africa," she said.

"A lot of children voluntarily go (to the plantations) because there's nothing for them in countries like Mali.

"Their crops are failing and nothing is growing in that part of the world, So a lot of the kids are sent off by their parents to get some money.

"But child traffickers see the vulnerability of these kids, there's nobody watching over them and they round them up and take them over the border into the Ivory Coast and make money from them."

It is difficult to help these children, Off says, because much of the Ivory Coast, which produces most of the world's cocoa supply, is torn by civil war.

The government uses profits from the cocoa trade to fund the war, Off says.

"The complicity here is with them and the big chocolate companies."

"There are only a handful of multinationals that control the industry and basically they are able to operate with impunity in Africa and Ivory Coast because everybody that has power over the situation is getting what they want."

Fair trade systems were having a small impact, Off said, but would never provide a full solution.

"They pay a premium to the farmer, the chocolates are more expensive and the profits go back to the farmers.

"Where I went in those situations, the kids are going to school, there was health care, clean water and all these things were paid for by fair trade premiums - but there's so few of them.

"It represents not even one per cent of all the cocoa being produced, so the vast majority is under this other system."

The CEO of The Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia (CMA), Trish Hyde, said the CMA was a part of a global initiative to eliminate child slavery and forced labour in the industry.

She said the CMA and other chocolate companies from around the world were working with the governments of the Ivory Coast and Ghana to help eliminate child slavery and forced labour.

"The important thing is from our perspective is the collaboration with government and NGOs (Non-Government Organisations) on the ground, with industry programs ... that are actually making changes in the communities."

The CMA says that in July this year it also helped implement a reporting system that would certify all labour on West African cocoa farms.
This story was found at:

Monday, September 15, 2008


Faking It: The Female Image in Young Women's Magazines is a magazine-style research paper published by independent women’s think tank Women’s Forum Australia.

In a glossy, dynamic, magazine style layout, Faking It explores issues around the objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture, with a focus on women’s magazines.

Faking It helps young people recognise and critically assess messages in advertising and pop culture which tell them they have to be ‘thin’, ‘hot’, and ‘sexy’ to be acceptable.

Read more - I'm sick and tired of the messages that girls/women are only valuable or significant if they look a certain way... I'm wanting to see a generation released who are confident in their character, gifts and skills - not their 'surface - level' attraction... let's dig deeper.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

WOMEN in leadership

So, lots of talk these days about the vice president candidate Sarah Palin. Commissioner Joe Noland raised the comparison within the existing Salvation Army system - is it even possible to imagine:
44 year old women leader, mother of five, fiercly maverick - being made the chief of staff?
I think it's a good question - why do we disqualify some of our best leaders because of their marital status and/or motherhood?Surely being a good wife and mother is evidence of good character if not some leadership essentials. The real question is why on earth we would ever limit ANYONE with leadership gifts when the Kingdom needs desperately to keep advancing?
Frankly, I'm getting tired of simple asking the questions - it's time for some action. Here's some ideas:
1. if you have a gift - get it ready and start using it - cultivate it, shape it - challenge yourself (VOLUNTEER)
2. if you don't know your gift.. find some people who will speak into your life and help you discover the place you should serve
3. if you've been limited by the 'system' - get back up and start leading the kingdom to advance in whatever capacity you have to do so... just keep on... get people saved, discipled - lead from wherever you are..
4. challenge the status quo - refuse to accept mediocrity...
5. if you are man in leadership - actively look for able women who have leadership gifts and LET THEM LEAD.. figure it out.. cheers to those of you who have been doing this already!

those are just a few ideas- and I'm simply thinking outloud... but God help us figure it out soon.. for His Kingdom come!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


May the Lord disturb and trouble you,
May the Lord set an impossible task before you,
And dare you to meet it.
May the Lord give you strength to do your best;
And then - but only then -
May the Lord grant you peace.

Monday, September 8, 2008


The Australian Southern Territory trains leaders for future Mission Immersion Experiences to our Partner Territories (DRC (Congo Kinshasa), Liberia, Mexico, Caribbean, Mozambique, and Indonesia)... check out soon for more details on getting involved.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prostitution - the truth...

The legalization of prostitution is at best an attempt to bandage up a societal problem... at worse it's the systemic oppression of women and the widening of potential for more!! Thankfully, The Salvation Army understands that the exploitation of women (sometimes named the 'sex trade') simply encourages trafficking and oppression... let's dig in and stop it. Here is IHQ's official statement about it: stay tuned in and read more for convincing evidence!

'The Salvation Army believes that women and men in prostitution should not be seen as criminal offenders by virtue of their activities in the sex trade industry. Many are drawn into prostitution by reason of poverty, ignorance or coercion. However, The Salvation Army does not wish to see prostitution treated or regarded as a normative or acceptable practice, or as a socially or morally legitimate career choice by any person. Legalisation of the sex trade unintentionally but inevitably creates a social climate in which those engaged in human trafficking can expand their industry, making it difficult for the police to intervene, even though advocates for legalisation claim that licensing gives more safety and protection. The Salvation Army has not campaigned publicly on the issue of prostitution laws because it wishes to maintain its position of trust with persons, especially women, in prostitution. However, the Army takes a stance against decriminalisation of any commercial exploitation of women or men for sexual purposes. The Army also supports measures to criminalise the activities of clients in the sex trade industry.'

Salvo doctrines... young warrior style.

check out how well you know your doctrines.
Click here for 3:28 minutes of 11 doctrines of The Salvation Army.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Urgent request for prayer - India Northern Territory

The Salvation Army
International Headquarters
Office of The General

To:- Active and Retired Commissioners,
Active and Retired Territorial Commanders,
Officers Commanding

Dear Colleagues in Christ,

Urgent request for prayer - India Northern Territory

I am asking on an urgent basis for prayer for our Salvationist comrades in the India Northern Territory. Salvationists in the State of Orissa have been directly impacted by recent civil disorder and are in need of our loving thoughts and earnest prayers.

Following the deaths of local Hindu leaders, some fundamentalist Hindu citizens have been offering violence to their Christian neighbours, including Salvationists. Two corps halls have been destroyed together with a quarters building, and 100 Salvationists are now hiding in fear in the nearby forests. Please pray that God will protect them.

Also our Boys' Home has been destroyed. Thirty children and the officers caring for them are now in police protection. Please bring this situation to God in prayer. Efforts are being made to relocate the children to another of our homes.

Please pray for Colonels Kashinath and Kusum Lahase, territorial leaders, and all their staff, and especially for the divisional leaders in Orissa.

God grant a swift return to normality and a restoration of tranquility in these communities.

To date there are no reports of Salvationists injured or killed.

Thank you for your fidelity in prayer. God bless you all.

Yours in Christ,

Shaw Clifton

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Curse

A few things happened yesterday that lead to this blog.
1. I was reading Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider (which, I highly recommend)
2. Commissioners Mungate were over for tea.

Among the things we spoke at about a tea was the point raised by Sider in his book that wealth is not simply a neutral product that we deal with in different ways - but that it is a curse and robs us of the joy of living in the Kingdom.
He demonstrated this in several ways in his book but one that struck me was that following world war two giving from developed world to developing worlds was at an all time high... but as we began to get richer our giving decreased... the more we have the less we give and the worse off we are... suicide, obesity, depression - those rates soar in the developed world... it's like we refuse to hear the words of Jesus to the rich young man who pointed out the thing he lacked... being free of his possessions.

The god we serve in developed countries is wealth. As we chatted about the fervent, aggressive and able army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the dynamic leadership of the Mungates - ready to open 'fire' in at least 8 other countries around it... we were struck by the need for Australian Salvationists to catch the Kingdom readiness... and also deeply aware - personally as well - that we are slowed down most by our own trappings...

How do we fight off the 'fat spirit' of wealth, comfort and spiritual apathy?
1. live a different way (embrace simplicity)
2. live in a different place - if you constantly surround yourself by wealth and comfort.. then you will forever be comparing yourself to those with more... this will lead to the inevitable pursuit of more and you are trapped again... move in beside some poor neighbours - there are many areas of the city where this is possible..
3. give extravagantly - just keep giving it away - not so much to save the world - just to be free from the lure of wealth - when you give it away it kills the spirit of greed... do it today. Phil Wall offers this test in his book I'll Fight against materialism to test to see if you are in it's grip - take the most valuable thing you have and simply give it away. Do it.
4. Spiritual disciplines - this is a raging debate right now... do we have to pray and read the bible everyday etc... isn't that just legalism etc... I think spiritual discipline (including fasting) is one way to stay spiritually alert in a deadened culture... it's a tool against wealth and excess to train hard spiritually - I say stop debating and just get to it... bottom line - it certainly can't hurt!!

anyway, I'm just thinking outloud - but I'm aware again more than ever of wealth and it's strangle hold on the church. Ron Sider says if just the rich christians would give generously we could solve world hunger THIS YEAR... just the rich christians... oh, and in case you feel like you are off the hook - that's you!!

Monday, September 1, 2008


I was at Urban Conversations last night in downtown Melbourne (614 hosted) with Judge Jennifer Coate speaking.

Jennifer is currently the State Coroner for Victoria. She is the first woman to ever hold this position. Before taking on this role, Jennifer was the President of the Melbourne Childrens Court, a person of great passion and intellect and she spoke on, "Justice and the city". It was quite fascinating to hear her speak of her work on youth justice (keeping youth under 18 out of jail as much as possible) and many other fascinating things about her work (particularly the hard situations of children coming before the court).

We were all struck deeply however, by her final comments - prompted by a brilliant question from General Eva Burrows... 'what's the thing that makes the most difference?' - Judge Jennifer said it was without a doubt, love, compassion, kindness, community, inclusion and relationships... she encouraged the Salvos to do what we do best and keep creating those relationships with the 'excluded'. She said that a high risk youth offender who finds a positive community decreases their risk of re-offending by 30% just by joining it. I'm thinking to myself... more Lord - enable us to be available for more... she also stated that 80% of the re-offenders (high risk of constant offending) were kids who had been removed from their own homes... she said good foster homes are urgently needed...

so, by way of reminder:
1. be friends with an excluded young person (maybe that homework club volunteering in a rough part of town is worth it after all?)
2. be a foster parent (hard reality - incredibly impacting change).
3. create an inclusive community (stop hanging out with everyone you already know - find some people who need new friends).

JUST thinking really.