From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The Salvation Army. But we must recognize that even the Booths promoted family to places of authority. William Booth viewed his Generalship to be something he would pass along to his children, and perhaps his children’s children. Could it be that this sort of family promoting still occurs in our Army today? And if so, should it? Are there checks and balances in place to prevent nepotism in our Army?
Growing up in the Army, I recall many times where my parents were extremely cautious with even the appearance of favoritism towards my sister and me.
Speaking of Favoritism…can this type of behavior come into play with promotions and appointments in our army? Should it? Another question to ask along this line of pondering is – if favoritism does occur in our army – aren’t we then shortchanging our movement of possible movers and shakers who could make a difference, but some have chosen to choose people who are familiar and even safe?
The argument can be made that we in the Army ought to trust and leave this up to God to sort out and perhaps these appointments are “His will”. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that. I have sincere faith in a Mighty God that He can make something that was meant to harm into something beautiful. I believe God makes all things new, and He provides in spite of our own efforts and human decisions. But I don’t know if I really trust human authority as I do God’s authority (nor do I feel we should)…for that matter what defines “God’s Authority”? I’m curious what your answer might be to that. I’m not looking for a fight, I’m genuinely interested in how we define this! I have to be honest, I have always been suspicious of human authority in the guise of being 100% God’s authority. It’s not that I’m overly cynical of leaders and authority, I just question sometimes if our personal feelings do not play into many of the decisions that are made on the behalf of others – and thereby we sometimes or often show favoritism.
Submission to Authority
Does this mean that I do not submit to authority? Absolutely not! We are told to submit to authority in numerous scripture verses. For example:1 Peter 2:13-17 says; “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.“
Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to query decisions and ask pertinent questions? Of course not! It does, however depend on our attitude and motivation! I am certainly not proposing that we become rebellious by any means, please do not come away thinking that at all! I will say that as a leader of sorts in my own right, I do recognize that I will never please everyone by the decisions that I have to make from time to time. This is the heavy mantel of responsibility and leadership that is thrust upon us. It does take a toll, and I would ask you to be in constant pray for your leaders, whether it be at the corps level, the divisional, territorial, national and international levels.
Back to the initial question:
Does Nepotism and Favoritism still exist in our Army?
My short answer is yes it does…
But I would also caution anyone from making rash judgments unless you have all of the information.
Questions to Ponder:
Does Nepotism still happen in our Army?
Should it happen?
If so, what does this say to those who aren’t related or chosen for specific duties or tasks?
How can we sidestep issues like this? Is it possible to sidestep them?
What about favoritism?
Could showing favoritism diminish the ranks our ranks and morale?
Can we submit to authority and still question?
How do we reconcile some experiences of flawed human authority with the expectations of God-led authority?
Am I praying fervently for my Corps Officer, Local Officer, Divisional, Territorial, Leader?
I look forward to your constructive conversation on this topic!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of the writer are not necessarily the thoughts and view of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.*