Saturday, February 24, 2007

Your Coronation...

"Receive this kingly Sword, brought now from the Altar of God, and delivered to you by the hands of us, the Bishops and servants of God, though unworthy. With this sword do justice, stop the growth of iniquity, protect the holy Church of God, help and defend widows and orphans, restore the things that are gone to decay, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order: that doing these things you may be glorious in all virtue; and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life, that you may reign for ever with him in the life which is to come."
I've been reading through Soul Salsa. Leonord Sweet suggests allowing the above inspire you to write you own coronation ceremony for the servant role God has called you to. (Sweet 2002:121)

Sweet, L(2002) SoulSalsa:17 Surprising Steps to Godly Living in the 21st Century

Just in case you need to know how to do a good coronation - the liturgy is here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I believe...?

Every day I drive past the police murder incident boards, the sorry flowers laid with a sprawled dignity.

Every day I drive through a community that came to infamy as the place where 11 year old Damilola Taylor - 6 years ago was stabbed to death and left to die at the bottom of a stairwell.

Every day I drive through the same community that is now coming to terms with two fatal shootings and a stabbing in the last few weeks. Even from the cocooned safety of the car the heaviness of fear and sadness can be felt as the community suffers senseless youth retribution

As I waited at the junction by Damilola's school, as I read the inscription on his memorial, the CD I borrowed moved to track 5 and these words originally scratched onto a cellar wall by Jews hiding from the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, created an interesting mix. The haunting repetition seemed today to be for this corner of Peckham.

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
I believe in love even when I cannot feel it
I believe in God even when He is silent
I believe...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

theRubicon.org is back (again)

Good to see a re-launch of theRubicon.org.

It's looking good with lots of well written and thought through material.

here

By Deeds Incarnating the Gospel

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12

Ringma points out that:
"Mother Teresa is quite convinced that service is a powerful form of witness. She prays, "Let us preach you without preaching, not by words, but by our example."

Mother Teresa believes that love in action not only gives us the opportunity to help and bless the other person, but that this also opens the way for the sharing of the good news of the gospel. The deeds of the gospel make way for the words of the gospel.

All of this is not to say that deeds are to have a priority over words. But words that speak of love must find their expression in deeds that reflect love."
In a post-Christendom era when getting across the message of the gospel is increasingly falling on deaf ears, an era where people are said to be 'cynical about many institutions, including the church'. MT may have a point.

For fear stirring up an old hornets nest it really is a challenge to the church per se where-ever it is all mouth and no substance!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Soloman's gift

Looking for his escape his finale of abuse was spectacular finishing with a final benediction to the four corners of the reception.

For a moment I was in another world. I had been called down from my office as there was no-one else on the Training College, everyone else had left - "Would you mind there is an incident on the reception..." the soft South African accent apologised "there is no-one else".

I walked down the stairs and was met with a barrage of abuse from the cause of the incident. Soloman is pyschophrenic and I meet him most Sunday's at The Salvation Army church where we worship together. The two on security looked edgy as Soloman made non-sensical accusations and generally took out all his inner frustration on a face that must have been vaguely familar.

I gently took his arm and spoke into his madness as best I could - with no obvious effect except to start the whole story again. Looking for his escape his finale of abuse was spectacular finishing with a final benediction to the four corners of the reception.

Soloman left with a look of achievement. Perhaps he achieved far more than he realised. His gift to me was fabulous. I walked away from a busy day feeling strangely refreshed!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The sandals that leave the greatest impression...

There are some things that I really struggle with in the world that is defined by Evangelical Christianity.

There are many theories why revival seems totally illogical in an increasingly secular and post-christian context. Not enough prayer; diluted concepts of holiness; lack of missional engagement; lack of kingdom theology; poor discipleship etc... It is time to put them all aside..!

There is more chance of renowned atheist author Professor Richard Dawkins becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury than there ever being a revival while people spend time thinking that sandals like these - or boots for the winter - leave the greatest impression.

"Great for fundraising, beach evangelism and mission trips!....!" Check out the route to revival website here and please tell me it is a gag!

Monday, February 12, 2007

International Social Justice Commission...

The Director and staff will be the Army’s principal international advocate and adviser on social, economic and political issues and events giving rise to the perpetuation of social injustice in the world. They will assist the Army in addressing social injustice in a systematic, measured, proactive and Christian manner, consistent with the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army.

I almost missed this circular email waiting in my in box....

You will be aware that in recent months much prayer, thought and planning have been taking place for a new global initiative by The Salvation Army with regard to issues of social justice. This letter gives details of that initiative.

As you read on, I ask for your sincere prayers that ongoing divine guidance may be granted to all concerned, and for honour to be brought to the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ as this initiative gets started and unfolds.

On 1 July 2007 a new unit of International Headquarters will come into being to be known as the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC). It will be led by a senior officer who will carry the designation of International Director for Social Justice. The Commission and the Director will be attached to the office of the Chief of the Staff.

The first Director of the ISJC will be Commissioner M Christine MacMillan, presently serving as the Territorial Commander in the Canada and Bermuda Territory. (Please see the international appointments bulletin that is being issued at the same time as this letter.)

Although part of International Headquarters, the Commission’s offices will be based in New York in the USA Eastern Territory. I record warmest thanks to Commissioner Lawrence Moretz and his staff for splendid help in this regard.

Allow me to outline the shape and main purposes of the Commission:
    1. The Director will lead a small team of full-time specialists, all of whom will be committed Salvationists.
    2. The Commission will be a permanent, standing body.
    3. A panel of expert international consultants will be created.
    4. The Director and staff will be the Army’s principal international advocate and adviser on social, economic and political issues and events giving rise to the perpetuation of social injustice in the world. They will assist the Army in addressing social injustice in a systematic, measured, proactive and Christian manner, consistent with the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army.
    5. The Commission will advise the General and other senior leaders at IHQ in matters of social justice.
    6. It will absorb and extend the current work of the Moral and Social Issues desk at IHQ, re-introducing an International Moral and Social Issues Council (IMASIC).
    7. The Commission will expand and develop the Army’s role and influence within the United Nations, supervising and co-ordinating the work now being done in New York, Vienna and Geneva.
    8. It will place on a more systematic and effective basis the role of the Army in relation to other major world forums, advising the General on representation therein.
    9. The Commission will liaise regularly with territorial and other Army groups engaged in social justice advocacy, seeking to ensure a co-ordinated approach and offering encouragement and guidance.
    10. It will liaise with territories and commands where as yet little is being done in relation to issues of social justice, seeking to find ways in which such a role can be undertaken by the Army in the local setting.
I believe that God is providing us with a moment of his choosing for this initiative. Again, please bring it all to him in prayer and uphold the Director and staff as they come into office later this year.

God bless you all.

Yours in Christ,


Shaw Clifton
GENERAL

I'm looking forward to seeing what issues it sees fit to tackle...?

SAVED

Salvationists Valuing Ethnic Diversity

The latest Multi-ethnic newsletter is available here

Friday, February 09, 2007

Norway....

Norway was beautiful...

I was in Norway last weekend with other Salvation Army Training staff to look at and to explore the issues facing TSA as it trains people for leadership.

There is a beauty in sharing ideas and frustrations; a beauty in working and laughing with old friends; a beauty in making great new friends, that I am really looking forward to meeting again.

We spent time in Olso, and where-ever you looked there was beauty. The beauty in the face of an African Training Principal having thrown his first snowball, the beauty of sculptured art with the backdrop of a sinking sun. The terrifying beauty of standing at the top of the Holmenkollen ski jump, the beauty of trade justice in action within The Salvation Army 'Sally Ann' Fair Trade shop.

However it was the real beauty in the face of the woman who runs the Street Hospital in Oslo, that I wont forget. A refuge for those that the regular hospitals would rather refer. Her eyes shone with the beauty of someone living out the kingdom in a natural and irresistible way. Her eyes shone with the beauty of someone who knew mission as a daily reality not a mere theology to tickle the ears. This was a truly beautiful woman.

You can't knock a sunrise over a fiord! Particularly when you watch it listening to a songwriter trying to capture in song the real beauty that is found in seeing yourself through the eyes of God.

Norway was beautiful.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Today was serious....!

Those training to be Salvation Army officers, found out their appointments today. I had the serious job of carrying the envelopes into the gathering and placing them on a table!

Then I was given the responsibility of not only reading the names out, but also the chance to hand the actual envelope with the appointment in to the Training Principle before the appointment was given to who-ever I called out.

I am glad that the enormity of my role today didn't not engulf me!

Earlier I felt the urge to mark the solemnity of the occassion. Outside the hall where we were meeting, on the grass I made the best ever snow angel at 7:15 am when no-one was around. Surely I must be the first ever Spiritual Programme Director at The Salvation Army training College to do so.