Dear Salvationist, Does Nepotism Still Exist In Our Army?

From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The boothSalvation 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?   crown

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.

favor2Questions 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.

Dear Salvation Army, Is The General Right?

This quote has bothered me, perhaps more than it should.
Is there more to this conversation that has not been quoted here that would cast a different light on this subject?  I do not presume to know everything, but I would like to attempt at interpreting this soundbite with your help.

Are we splitting hairs here, or is this a general assumption?
Photo Apr 25, 7 05 35 AM
I have seen this quote floating around for a day and a half, and I wonder if, perhaps some context is required before jumping to conclusions.

What does this quote mean?
What did the General mean when he said “Worshiping community”?
Are these two mutually exclusive or interconnected?

If I were to simply interpret this quote/sound bite, I would have to wonder why shouldn’t they be interconnected?  And also, what is so bad about being a worshiping community?
Another thought that comes to mind within this pondering then is this; wouldn’t a worshiping community’s bi-product or outpouring/ evidence of fruit be in the complete submission to God and the service of man – thereby being also a serving community?

If, I have interpreted this correctly, (and if I haven’t please correct me) I would have to disagree with the General.  I do not believe the Army’s paradigm has shifted nor has it’s hand to man.  This army of salvation certainly has an ever evolving identity within this world, but it’s mission, in my opinion, still remains firmly intact.

Is there fear that The Salvation Army is yearning to become a full-fledged Church somewhere?  From my small context of the Army world, I do not see that as an issue.  In fact, just the opposite would be my fear – we become, or have become far too Social Work heavy and lacking the “Heart to God” in our service.  With the ever increasing funding sources coming from governmental entities(at least in the U.S.), sometimes there is the fear that our hands become tied to preach the Gospel in His name while meeting the physical needs.

The Balancing Act…
I understand what the General is saying, if the context is correct, but I would have to counter with the notion that this is certainly a balancing act.  We serve the Almighty and through our discipleship, fellowship and worship we begin to understand how to better serve the world around us.   The pendulum certainly can sway in either direction and we must be mindful of it.  If we are properly aligned as an Army,  our worship and adoration of God will lead to the outpouring of service to man.

So is the General wrong?
Perhaps in places of the world this is true, but in this little corner of the world, I just don’t see it.

What do you think ?
Leave your comments below, share your thoughts on this and tell us what you think this means?

Something more for our Army world to ponder today.

*Disclaimer, this blog’s opinions and content does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Salvation Army.*

“Doing the will of God”


Jesus got up from the table.  Isn’t that unusual for Master of ceremonies to do?  He got up.  He had been reclined, as they did in those days.  There wasn’t a wooden table and chairs as we’re so traditionally used to.  He had been enjoying a meal with His disciples.  There had been some banter back and forth, some laughter over a good cooked meal.  Isn’t that how bonds, throughout time, have been further deepened?  Over a meal, together, they bonded, they shared, they loved.  Then Jesus got up.  What was He about to do?  The room was slightly stuffy, and getting warmer.  There was a humidity in the air which matched the body heat of those gathered there.  As each disciple had eaten their share of the food and had drunken a share of the wine, Jesus did not rest.  He didn’t find the nearest lazy boy chair to recline in.  He didn’t make his disciples go and do the dishes.  He didn’t rest.  Instead, He got up and after wrapping a towel around His waist, He filled a basin full of water.  The disciples were caught off guard.  Some were still chewing the last bits of food and draining their cups of the last drops of wine.  Glances were exchanged, expressions of bewilderment and surprise replaced the revelry of celebration.   


Having wrapped the towel around His waist and poured the water into the basin, Jesus begins to display for His disciples what a true discipleship looks like: a servant of all.  Kneeling down before them, Jesus places himself beneath their dirty, filthy, smelly feet and washes them.  He becomes a servant before them.  He takes on the very job of a household servant.  The son of God stooping down to wiping the dirt from the feet of His people.  Is there any better description or account of doing the will of God?  The actual Messiah, Jesus kneeling down and cleansing those who needed cleansing the most?  Such moments like this had to have left deep impressions upon His followers.  Having the One who had been present at the beginning of creation wiping away dirt from their feeble human forms, what a lesson to learn!  Master becoming servant.  Jesus coming down to their level and preparing them for leadership and for eternity.  


This is Discipleship:

In Jewish custom, a disciple was to do as the Rabbi did.  A disciple went beyond just ‘doing’ what the Rabbi did though, the purpose of a disciple was to become the Rabbi.  Literally taking on his mannerisms, his theological interpretations, his actions…everything to become just like the Rabbi.  Jesus knelt at their feet and washed them.  Jesus displayed for his disciples what they were to become to the world around them…servants of God, serving others.  Jesus even told them this when He said; “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:26-28)  

Discipleship is doing the will of God, not just as a part-time worker, but a full time servant.  Many will commit to part-time work as a servant, but few, when faced with choices of comfort and personal gain will accept that full-time role.  Yet isn’t that what Christ-followers are called to do?  To be full-time disciples in our lives?  Full-time disciples of Christ doesn’t mean we give up our professional vocations and don on ropes of white and live off of the land.  God can and will use you as His disciples right where you are at.  Sometimes He asks us to move and to switch vocations, but many times He can and will use you if you are available for His purposes.  True discipleship though looks very much that Jesus with towel wrapped around His waist washing feet.  True discipleship may take on roles we feel are beneath us, not befitting one from our status…yet Jesus knelt down and washed the disciples feet, are you prepared to do so as well to those around you?  Are you prepared to be a full-time disciple?   

William Law once wrote; “The devout, therefore, are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God.  Such people consider God in everything, serve God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.” (William Law, A serious call to a devout and holy life)  

Do you view your life in this way?  Is everything God’s?  Are you doing the will of God because you are His humble servant?  This is the cost of discipleship, but it’s not drudgery or done with groaning but instead because of love we cannot  help but to serve the One who has set us free.  Are you prepared to wrap that towel around your waist?  Are you prepared to kneel down before those around you and to wash their feet?  God doesn’t need any more part-time workers, He wants full-time servants who are committed to do His will.  


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