Perspectives Day 5.2 “Poetry” – Featuring Marlene Chase (Lt. Colonel) “A Tale of two Fathers”


A Tale of Two Fathers

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…” (Gen. 22:2)


Two fathers–one of the earth,

the other of the spheres.

Each with patriarchal love

bearing the earth’s inconsolable secret

climb the rugged mountain

leading the child of innocence.

Two righteous hearts aggrieved,

two hearts torn by love.

One in obedience raises the knife;

the other halts it with a cry,

“Not your son, but Mine shall die,

Not on Moriah but Calvary’s hill.”

The two descend the mountain,

arms entwined, souls on fire,

bearing their burden of love

for a world of sons.

By Marlene Chase.


Perspectives Day 5.1 “Poetry” – Featuring Commissioner Harry Read “Heart-Talk”



If I but give myself to thee, O Lord,
Roll over on to thee my life and way,
Acknowledge heavenly truth within thy word,
Believe thy love is constant every day

Then will I know the peace that trusting brings,
The power that issues freely from thy hand,
The joy which rises from eternal springs,
The quality of life which thou hast planned.

O grant me, Lord, the wisdom to believe
That life is only life when lived in thee;
Grant me the faith to ask and then receive
The promised life which Christ would live in me.

Shine thou through me thy love and righteousness –
A glow of hope in this world’s hopelessness.

Psalm 37: 5.6
‘Trust in him…he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn.’

By Harry Read.
harry read

“Perspectives” – Day 6 Featuring Jared Collins (Lieutenant) “The Fickle Nature of Love”



The Fickle Nature Of Love


            I found out early last week that a young man, Reggie, who was in our corps youth programs a few years ago was arrested for the murder of a 15 year old kid.  I found myself going through an interesting thought process as I sought to make sense of the needless act of violence.  My first thought was, “What could I have done better as a person who had influence on this young man’s life that may have changed where he is today.”  I then was immediately ashamed of the thought.  Because I, like so many of us, had made the whole situation about me instead of others.  So then I thought about Reggie.  And I thought about where he was at that particular moment.


            At the College for Officer Training we, as has been a long standing tradition, went to the Cook County Jail during Christmas time to sing some carols and do a little devotional for the occupants.  My small group had an interesting time as we were sent to a cell block that was much smaller than those visited by our other groups so we were finished much more quickly.  So they sent us to a group of individuals who were just finishing being processed and awaiting a more permanent cell assignment.  It was one of the more profound moments of my Training for me.

            These (mostly) young men were just then realizing the gravity of their situations.  Most of the others in the cell blocks we had already visited had been there for quite some time.  Even though it was a jail and not a prison some, we were told, had been there in the process of their trial and, therefore, in that jail for over 10 years.  But these young men we were sent to had just been arrested hours before.  We quickly realized this wasn’t the place for some flippant Christmas carols and a message that would, no doubt, fall on deaf ears.  So we put the music and message aside in favor of individually speaking with each person who wanted to talk.  Almost every one of them was in the same mindframe – shock at the prospect of where a good deal of their future may be taking place. 


            And I thought about Reggie in those young men’s shoes.  We had gone to Stateville Prison as well while at CFOT and had met all the men who had (mostly) come to accept their sentences.  But, if Reggie was like those young men who were just finishing processing, he was a long ways away from a peaceful frame of mind.

So I wrote Reggie a letter.  It wasn’t long or particularly articulate, but I really felt led to tell him two things: I love him and God loves him.  Nothing about the arrest or the trial, just a short message of love.  I don’t know if Reggie truly murdered that 15 year old boy, but I do know that I love him and that God loves him. 


Which led me to the shame I felt after mailing the letter.  Maybe shame isn’t the right word.  It was more a reflection on the fact that I had mailed that letter without much thought for the deceased 15 year old or his family and friends.

The article that talked about Reggie’s arrest said that the arrest came with “the help of the community and social media.”  So I looked up Reggies facebook profile and saw that he had, indeed, posted something about the 15 year old’s death – expressing shock and dismay at the thought of losing someone whom he called a friend. 

His post was shared dozens of times, all from people who were outraged by his alleged audacity at posting something feigning innocence and ignorance when he may have pulled the trigger.  One comment was particularly interesting as it was filled with expletives and hate towards Reggie and ended with the innocent comment, “My prayers are with the [deceased’s] family.” 

Now I know that not all who use that last phrase are practicing Christians and it could just be a kind sentiment not meant to convey actual spiritual convictions, but I was struck by the seemingly two-faced nature of the comment.  On the one hand tearing apart and expressing hate while simultaneously expressing compassion.  I won’t say that it shocked me.  Nor will I say that I can’t imagine how someone could do that but, implicitly, I think my subconscious was saying to me that I would NEVER say something that duplicitous.


And yet…


I’m writing this right now as my wife is in the hospital with a beloved congregant because she was, just minutes ago, physically assaulted, maybe with a gun, and maybe raped.  And as a reasonably well balanced person I’m more than a little disturbed to have been sitting here contemplating going over to the residence of her attacker and sharing a piece of my mind and, perhaps, my fists.  This urge has been tempered by the understanding that the attacker has been taken into police custody but this understanding has NOT tempered my anger and maybe even hatred towards this man. 

            So now I ask myself, “What’s the difference between this attacker and Reggie?”  Should I not be just as outraged at Reggie for allegedly taking the life of a teenager?  Will I be writing a letter to this attacker telling him that God and I love him?  The obvious difference is in the knowledge and relationship that I have with the victim of tonight’s attack and with Reggie.  Because I know them and not the 15 year old boy or the attacker of my congregant, I am more prone to love and forgive them than I am those I don’t know.

            It’s a double standard, I know.  And it’s based on no rationality and I even acknowledge that it’s wrong and sinful for me to hate the attacker of my friend.  And I think, more than anything, it boggles my mind as I attempt to grasp the mind of God and the measure of his love and forgiveness. 


I think I finally understand where some of the 1st century Jews must have come from in their incredulity at the inclusion of the Gentiles into the family of God.  How can God offer forgiveness and love towards them? 

I am a very loving person (though I don’t often express it in any grandiose way) and yet it is very difficult for me to find the love within myself for the attacker of my congregant because I know what he has done to my friend.  And to think that God, knowing the heart and actions of this man would still have love for Him makes no sense to me because I seem to be incapable of doing it myself. 


And so I know that this offers no new insight.  It’s almost a cliche to say that God loves you no matter what you’ve done.  He loves Reggie.  He loves the duplicitous writer of the facebook post.  He loves the family and friends of the 15 year old boy.  He loves my congregant.  He loves her attacker.  And he loves me, even though I struggle to always love them and myself for having conflicting thoughts. 

None of this is particularly revelatory except when I think that I, as a pastor, have the capability of harboring hatred in my heart.  It was naive of me to think that any massive change would happen to make me impervious to hatred or sin in general when the trim on my shoulders turned red.  But it scares me to think that these feelings may be in the hearts of my fellow pastors and officers.  And we may think little of these feelings because we implicitly believe they’re somehow outweighed by our “holiness” and righteous deeds. 

So it’s to us that Paul is writing the entirety of Romans 2.  But specifically verses 17-29. 


1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will render to each person according to his deeds: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.


12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.


17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.


25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.



Thank you, God, for verse 11 – for showing no partiality towards or against us.  Forgive us for the times that we fail to feel and, even more, to show that impartiality to others. 

I want, dear Lord, a love that cares for all.  A deep strong love that answers every call.  A love like Thine, a love divine, a love to come or go.  On me, dear Lord, a love like this bestow1.

Create in me a loving heart, that people may see your impartial love through me. 


            In His Service,

            Jared Collins


1 George Galloway Jackson.  I want, dear Lord. SASB#426


“Perspectives” Day 5 Featuring Clive Adams (Commissioner) “Lessons from the Sports Field”



Lessons from the Sports field

It is no secret that I am a sports fan, and that I am an avid Manchester United supporter. So, it would not surprise many to hear that, on being given the opportunity to watch them play at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day, I grabbed hold of it with rather indecent alacrity.

Many of you will know that my beloved Reds were beaten that day by Tottenham Hotspur. I was seated at the Stretford End – traditionally, the source of the most vocal support. Some of the fans around me blamed the referee; some, rather unreasonably, in my opinion, vented their frustration at the Spurs players. (I cannot describe the aggressive passion with which this ranting was expressed.) However, I saw things rather differently to many of my fellow supporters.

I saw where the problem lay – it was not the referee, nor could it possibly be the uncooperative Spurs team who, despite the best (read: worst!) wishes of my fellow supporters, were not sticking to the script! No, my attention was on a team that seemed to have lost its hunger for victory, that was operating considerably below its potential, seemingly content, complacent, sated by its own success. The enthusiasm and energy, the drive and determination, the commitment and competitive edge that one would expect of champions was not there for the better part of the game. These only became evident when they conceded the second goal. I turned to my friend (a Spurs fan) and expressed my concern – calmly, I hasten to add – that they only started playing to something nearing their full potential when it was too late.

A fortnight ago at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s past triumphs appeared to have become a present barrier to working with total commitment for future success. (There is a strong parallel with the England cricket team and their approach to the recent Ashes series in Australia, but I believe I have made the point without having to inflict unnecessary pain!) The very heritage United celebrates appears to have become a hindrance to their drive for new accomplishments. They seemed to be in a “that will do nicely” mode rather than “that and better will do”!

On the way home from the match, my friend, the Spurs fan, told me an interesting story. It was about rowing, and I was relieved that we had moved off the topic of football given the outcome of the match. The story featured the British 8+ rowing team which participated in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and was in stark contrast to the Manchester United experience.

Up until 1998, the form of the rowing team had been dismal. They were ranked seventh and risked not even making the final even if they qualified for the event. In 1998, the team sat down to discuss their situation. They agreed that they had three options:
1.    They could continue as usual, and expect the same mediocre results;
2.    They could admit their mediocrity and give up rowing;
3.    They could do something completely different to effect a different result.

They chose the third option.

The “something different”? They agreed that for the next two years leading up to the Olympics, they would examine everything they did – individually and as a crew – with a “litmus-test” question: “Will it make the boat go faster?” They were diligent in following this rule. “If I go to the pub, will it make the boat go faster?” or “If I spend 70 minutes on the rowing machine, will it make the boat go faster?” And, despite overwhelming odds against them – which were epitomised by the British commentators expressing doubts during the race that they could win even when they were ahead – they won gold!

Their past failures were used as a springboard in their everyday to work with total commitment for the future success they wanted.

These two stories from the sporting world have significant lessons for us. It is vital that we refuse to let our triumphs be a barrier to future success and that we use our failures as springboards to future victory.

Let us be wary of resting on our laurels, of being complacent about past success, about going through the motions, about losing our hunger for “even greater things”.

There are still people dying in the world out there who need Christ, let us make sure that we continue to be out there, in the middle of the muck which mires so many people, rather than standing on the parade ground looking smart. Let us drop the posing and get on with the practice of being whom we claim to be!

And, while we’re getting on with it, living on the edge, let us keep our focus sharp, by being diligent in applying our litmus test: “Will it make us fit for mission?”


Blog Source:

High Council Day 5 Official Update


For all intense and purposes the High Council could quite possibly reach a decision tomorrow on the prospective General nominations.  They could very well announce this news as quickly as tomorrow (Saturday, August 3rd) as well!

Here is the official transcript of today’s update:

// 02 AUGUST 2013 //

¿A QUE tú no sabes lo que en High Council pasó?’ were the words sung by the Hispanic members of the High Council at the commencement of the fifth day of the proceedings of the 18th High Council of The Salvation Army – ‘Don’t you know what happened at the High Council?’

The song explained: ‘Don’t you know what happened in Damascus? The Holy Spirit was poured out on Saul. Don’t you know what happened at the High Council? The Holy Spirit was poured out on everyone.’

The Chaplain (Commissioner James Condon) read from Revelation 1:6: ‘[Jesus] has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father’ (New International Version), then led the council members in singing ‘Unto Thee, O Saviour-King’ (The Song Book of The Salvation Army 532), drawing attention to the line: ‘Body, soul and spirit, all in obedience to thy call.’ The verse, words and songs chosen were extremely apt as members prepared to listen as each candidate and each spouse answered a specific set of questions prepared for them.

The candidates had 24 hours to work on their questionnaire answers and speeches which meant the translators worked into the early hours of the morning to ensure every member was able to follow the proceedings clearly and to have a copy of the speeches being read.

The answers to the questionnaires were delivered without interruption and received in silence in accordance with the Orders of Procedure. After each candidate and spouse had finished there followed opportunity for members to ask clarifying – but not additional – questions.

Later in the day the candidates delivered their speeches, which were again received without comment but followed by a period of contemplative silence.

After the speeches the President (Commissioner William Roberts) adjourned the council for the night with the invitation to return in the morning to begin voting for the 20th General of The Salvation Army.

The Chaplain had the final word: ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer’ (1 Peter 3:12) he reminded council members, before closing in prayer.

Report by Major Christine Clement
High Council Communications Officer

Photo: Major Makoto Yamaya (Japanese translator) gains a perspective of how members will experience voting.

(via the web:


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