(source: http://fsaof.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-did-pope-resign.html by Sven Ljungholm)
|The General’s Site is Suspended
The resignation was sudden and virtually unprecedented – the last voluntary resignation celebrated in high medieval times; 1294. There has since been lots of expressions of both speculation and indignation about the cause, in spite of Pope Benedict’s stated reason being his waning strength. I found his reason logical and therefore perfectly acceptable. But millions of Catholics didn’t and so rumors continue to run rampant. As Cardinal, Ratzinger was Pope John Paul II’s enforcement officer – he rode herd on the many sex scandals and their “containment.” The end result of what might be learned will depend on what the church decides to reveal.
Still, was there not something just a wee bit awry about the abruptness in the announcement of his stepping down? But my interest is not so much in the Pope’s sudden resignation, but this time, in our own church’s’ international leader’s. The similarities are noteworthy as Salvationist too are at the mercy of our leaders; “The end result of what might be learned will depend on what the church (IHQ) decides to reveal.”
OK, our membership is in the low 1 ½ millions, theirs in the billions. But perhaps that’s just why our global, yet closely linked family, felt it unjustifiable to be informed so abruptly and with a message far too brief! Being united, as we are, One Army, One Mission One Message, what we got was; one brusque message! The abrupt memo and the General’s apparently hasty exit provided the rudiments on which speculation and controversy nourish. And surely this should have been foreseen. Borrowing a phrase from the land where I reside; ‘bad form, sirs!’
|The High Council elects Linda Bond
We’re asked to simply accept that the General has decided to retire and look past the decision-making factors; fair enough. But, troubling is the manner of her departure from the ‘high’ office to which she’d been elected, in which we place our trust; the leader who is lifted in prayer by hundreds of thousands of Salvationist and others every day. We feel let down and are disappointed in how the system acted out its policy, if indeed there was one. No advance word of any kind to anyone, at least not to the million plus lower-level shareholders.
One Army, One Mission, One Message
General Lind Bond had just returned to her office from St Louis – probably hadn’t even completed unpacking her suitcase before the retirement letter began to take form – Some see the sudden departure as a form of denial of her sacred Covenant. Others see the controversial departure as a betrayal, but not quite certain whom to blame; an individual, a group or the organizational policy processing?
The General returns from a God glorifying Congress and Commissioning in St. Louis, USA Central Territory where there were more than 3,000 Salvationists enjoying music, laughter, fellowship, and even confetti raining from the ceiling. The Salvation Army had a wonderful weekend because ‘General Linda Bond, International Leader of The Salvation Army, ordained and commissioned 32 Salvation Army’.
The internationalism was considered in transmitting the global missile, but perhaps not its consequences.
Following THE whirlwind weekend the General jets across the USA and the NorthAtlantic, home to London. A meeting is called and the next day we’re told: “I write to inform you that General Linda Bond is entering into retirement. – Following a period of personal reflection and prayer, General Bond has decided that she should relinquish the Office of the General with effect from 13 June 2013”. Today! “The General’s decision to step down comes after 44 years of ministry.”
Why not this instead; ‘The General, who’ll celebrate her 67th birthday in two weeks has decided to retire on July 13 following 44 years of faithful service on three continents and visits to… And, education … And, … During the next several weeks she’ll be in Canada making preparations for her retirement, returning to London for a farewell meeting celebrating her many years of faithful service. Details will follow’.
Was no thought given to the chaos such a terse announcement would cause in a global village SA world? Within seconds of pressing ‘SEND’ at IHQ a hundred thousand IPODS, IPADS and laptops announced the news. Troubling, alarming due its brevity. We read the message a second time asking, “Where’s the rest”?! There must be more…
And a week later, silence, with the exception of hundreds of thousands asking in hushed tones, ‘any more words about our General?’
Can we expect, as is the custom, that the General will be there to welcome the newly elected successor?
May God richly bless General Linda Bond in her retirement. And may God bless the Salvation Army!
USA, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine
Living in the UK
Birkenhead Central Corps