For some days I’ve been thinking a lot about a phrase that Phil Wall used in a piece I had blogged about earlier in the month here.
(If you haven’t read it already, I recommend that you do)
Talking about The Salvation Army (think Christian mission movement, not thrift store) Phil says this:
…numbers of our brightest and best(are)leaving, choosing the open plains of front line mission rather than the ball and chain of religious structural dogma …
I’m wondering who they are - not because I believe they don’t exist - because clearly they do. I can think of a number of specific individuals who I guess are pursuing this route, but I’ll refrain from mentioning them in case I’m barking up the wrong tree. There are some great people in this bracket, though.
In starting to wonder who these people are, it making me think does it…can it…include those who are skimming around the increasingly fluid edges of our Movement?
It makes me think quite how many of us fall into this categorization?
Can it include those radical Salvationist voices who still find themselves within the Army in one way or another - although perhaps in a quite different place in terms of their calling, role and purpose than the one they started in?
There are also a good number of outstanding people who have left the employ of The Salvation Army, and gone on to initiate or contribute to dynamic and vital ministries, while still being wholly committed to their Salvation Army community at a local level. Phil with HOPEhiv and his friend and colleague Russell Rook of Chapel Street would be prime examples, and there are many more.
It’s interesting and exciting that in recent years that our tribe has become a lot more open to dialog with other Jesus followers either through individual relationships or more concrete partnerships other Churches and organizations. It seems - thankfully - that we are less likely to cut ties with those who – for whatever reason - could no longer adhere to all of those distinctives that for some make us The Salvation Army. (There’s room a whole other blog post on that subject alone!)
It’s also good news to me that there is now a greater degree of diversity in the various expressions of Church found with our The Salvation Army.
I’m encouraged that there is more than enough room for communities as diverse as the 614 Network, Hope:asha, Raynes Park Community Church and The FRWY within The Salvation Army. They are just a few examples of the huge variation in expressions of Church which find themselves within the Sally Army.
HT to West Sonoma County, CA’s West County Gazette for the pic