Thursday, July 23, 2009

Age, Hierarchy, White and Western

OK. Sally Army blogpost warning:

The always insightful Joe Noland offers some thoughts on next 2010’s Raised Up Salvation Army World Youth Convention in Stockholm, Sweden.

Joe - now retired - has been a very senior Salvation Army officer in the US for years now, and one of very few who have any kind of web presence through his blogs Slightly Irrevevant and Slightly Irregular.

(Another notable who has embraced the web to some effect is Australia South’s Jim Knaggs)

Here are some observations from Joe about the Convention:

Four things immediately jump out at me: Age, Hierarchy, White and Western. This is not a criticism, rather an observation. No question each presenter being extremely qualified in his or her particular subject matter, and the conference will have an impact, no matter.

I can’t help but wonder, however, why there are no youth presenting. And where is the young Senior Soldiery voice in all of this? What about the ethnic and cultural diversity? Some of our strongest, committed young voices are ministry-minded, non-officer, Soldier employees. It just seems to me that we should be asking and listening, not telling. Leadership needs to understand and grasp the wants, needs, desires and cultural differences of this emerging generation if we want to reach them quantitatively and qualitatively that is.

Again, let me emphasize that this should not be construed as a criticism, only an opinion and observation, placed out in cyberspace for some stimulating mulling over, hopefully. Whatever, you can count on my prayer for the success of this conference, and for a Spirit-filled blessing upon each presenter, whoever they are.

Having bounced around the curiously old school website myself, I have to say I concur with Joe’s thoughts.

You have to wonder if there are signs here of a disconnect between the leadership & the grassroots?

Should we also consider the possibility that we are once again falling into the trap of cocooning in our Salvationist culture, whilst at the same time being far removed from the world our kids inhabit?

Any comments?


Rob Reardon said...

I couldn't agree more with Noland's appraisal and what you've written. We're in danger of losing, if we haven't already lost, our place on the razor's edge.

Johnny said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me! :-)

Heather's place said...

We were at Commissioning in London (my first ever).

I was struck by the lack of diversity at the event.

This added to my feeling that the occassion was designed to surpress individuality. I'm sure that wasn't the intention. But I feel there is something about our gang that trys to force people into a particular mould. (Made of navy serge?)

You only have to read some of the letters to the Salvationist to see that.

Sorry that's not very well expressed. Hope it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from a day at Soul Survivor. Worship leader 17 yrs old, with the evening one apparently being 15 years old. Preacher 23. Mike Yaconelli is by far the oldest, but trying his best to get out of the way. All this in front of about 5000 kids from all kinds of denominational background.

Compare that with (forgive the ex-Sally having a go!) the 'hierachy' being painted as being the most important speakers at a youth event.

Lots to learn, me thinks!

Johnny said...

Yeah...lots to learn, Martin