Saturday, June 21, 2008

things we value...

Was having some great conversation today about the things we value... really, really value and then how we show it... for example:
in an institution setting - budgets are moral documents...
in a personal setting - where you live and what you invest in matters..
in a social setting - who you are friends with and who you give preference too matters!

I'm ready 7 ways to change the world by Jim Wallace... stay tuned (after a two week stint in the bush of Zambia) for some meaty quotes on social justice.
In the meantime think on this:
what do you value? and how can people tell?
this can work in both directions - sometimes we hold to certain values in our belief system but then if we actually critically think through our spending, lifestyles and habits we realize that we don't really value those things the way we would like... some readjustment is in order... and the reverse can also be true..

so for two weeks while I'm in Zambia I'm going to be doing some thinking and searching around the area of what I value... I'm praying for my life to align with the Kingdom of God...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

who are we?

It's not often that we take the time to ask foundational and searching questions about who we are... both as people and as communities... and it's not an easy task.
Today John Cleary (a Salvationist historian) was asking some hard questions along those lines and I found myself challenged and invigorated by the exercise.
Who is the salvation army?
Best answer of the day (in my opinion) was: God's Commandos
The best strategy for the Salvos is to ask where the Kingdom isn't... and then take it there... where is the darkness thickest - where is hope the least - where are the churches/social structures NOT - and then we should show up in full force.
'to go where no man has gone before'. We will never be great at competing with traditional middle class churches - we just aren't really that. We will be great (maybe smaller) at taking new ground... which leads me to the question - where is that?
Where is the darkness thick and the hope fading... where are the lost? Where are the places neglected by the mainstream church.... we ought to find out... and then go.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

more on foster-care...

so, I witnessed the testimony of an Envoy today who took the big step of becoming a foster parent - along with his wife they have cared for at least 18 children so far (10 of which still go to their kids club at the corps to maintain contact).
So, a few days ago I blogged about the 28,000 kids who need homes in Australia...

It's interesting because here (like in Canada) the government overhauled it's system for foster kids from residential faciliaties to foster homes... in one swoop (both in Canada and Aus.) The Salvation Army's care for children was over. In Australia even the history of our care is wrapped in some shame... but it was also filled with some glorious care for kids who the world has given up on...

It only makes sense that if we are serious about stopping cycles of violence and the results of social oppression we need to start with kids.

Now a few years ago in Canada I asked the TYS (territorial youth secretary) how Sunday school stats are going... they were declining (seriously)... so, I wondered if instead of catering to middle class communities - trying to compete for the attention of the kids there... perhaps we should aim our resources and time to the kids that society has discarded... how 'bout a kids program strategy that reaches those kids... sounds like the gospel to me...

Commissioner Joe Noland is a giant in this area... he has championed the cause of the neglected kids in cities for decades and is leading the charge with the program Sonday's Cool

If you haven't checked out the amazing film 'altars in the street' you really ought to... it can convince you to begin! Let's just do something...

Friday, June 13, 2008


Canadian prime minister apologizes to the First Nations people of Canada for the treatment they've received from Canadians over the last hundred years... particularly the residential school system that caused horrific damage to not only that generation but the ones that followed.
The Australian leader also apologized to the Aboriginal community of Australia recently - marking a new day for the peoples whose pain and harm has been unrecognized and unacknowledged.
The cynical among us would suggest that apologies are empty and that the true 'proof' of repentance as it were, is found in the actions that follow. I'd suggest that it only be necessary for any of us to think back to a time we had been 'wronged' and then someone had apologized for it. Closure, particularly emotional and spiritual closure is underrated.
The hard-hearted might suggest it's not our problem anymore and that the people wronged should simply suck it up and move on... you may only need to recall an offense you are holding against someone even now to know that doesn't work much!

Apologies are necessary and effective... particularly when they are sincere! I'm intrigued by Harpers further announcement of cash settlements for the victims of residential school abuses and the truth and reconciliation commission he is creating... the same system used by the South African government to deal with the atrocities of aparthied. It's a system that suggests not only a confession but a reconciliation! A determination and willful act to acknowledge, confess, repent and forgive... it's a godly justice sort of thing. You can read more about it in the New Testament!

It takes a lot of humility to apologize... both leaders are Christians and may just recognize the value in confession. Both leaders are also following in the wake of the incredibly wise Nelson Mandela who shocked the world by offering a different way to deal with systemic governmental injustice... through reconciliation... I'm excited about both leaders making the decision to go public with the apology and I'm looking forward to the proof of repentance in the walk forward... I'm believing that the world could be a much better place if we are reconciled to those around us... and this global reconciliation may just be the right time to remind all of us about the desperate need to live lives of forgiveness... check this link for more!

or for another take rooted in popular culture check out the justsalvos blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rainforest Alliance... fairtrade lite?

So, people have been wondering with the announcement MacDonalds made that they've changed their coffee to Rainforest Alliance what exactly it is?
Not a bad question.... it seems to me after looking into it a bit that it is safe to call the rainforest alliance a fairtrade 'lite' option... it's not quite the ideal... the prices offered aren't the best but they are better than the going rate... and the other little thing that is of great interest is that the company only has to have 30% of it's beans in any container certified to use the label (that smells a little funny).
You can read more about it here.
Look into it... bottom line is it's better than nothing but not the dream... I say, let's live the dream!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is it real?

I was exchanging emails with a friend of mine today about the Lakeland, Florida Outpouring... she used it as an example in a preach and sparked some fierce debate about whether it's a legitimate source of Holy Spirit work.
Which is an interesting thing... almost every single revival in history was surrounded by judgment and warnings, complete with skepticism and fear... The Salvation Army included in them... John Wesley - Jonathan Edwards... Pentecostalism... Toronto Blessing... the UK Anglican thing... I mean, I wonder what our problem is:
1. fear in general - I think anything out of the ordinary sparks a fear response from most people... we fear what we do not know AND we certainly don't know how God works...
2. unbelief - we have a deep root of skeptism at the supernatural (this is much more prevelant these days IN the church then out of it - ironic as it may be).
3. experience - many of our own experiences have been intellectual experiences and not supernatural or emotional or public or demonstrative... so, we don't get what we don't know...
4. protection - there is a lot of scam going on in anything publically religious it seems... we are sick of being duped... so, I think a natural response is to fear and doubt anything that looks like it might have scam or glam attached.

so, how DO we know and what DO we do in response to those things that we don't understand...
1. faith - believe for God's kingdom to expand anyway it can/will/wants... I'm not sure that the Lakeland thing is 100% godly (as in without any fault) but I do know that it is bearing fruit and is expanding the Kingdom... I was just reading Paul (the apostle) who suggested that some people preach Christ out of selfish gain - but who cares?... as long as Christ is preached! And Jesus is being preached at Lakeland...
2. humility - most of my unbelief is rooted in pride... I don't think Lakeland is the place God would want to show up - or the people involved are too american or too pretty or too... well, anything really... it's humility that will cause my head and heart to bow in submission to God and let Him use anything he wants to expand the Kingdom on earth... I'm not the judge of what is worthy of the Kingdom - He is.
3. experience - check it out (if you can) or seek it out (anywhere you are)... find some expressions of the Kingdom (part of the church) that you aren't familiar with and try them out... our God is a God of colour not black and white... and the church - well, she's beautiful! Enjoy every part of the diversity of God.
4. faith - the only way to really protect ourselves from scams/glams and false stuff is to root our faith in Jesus... to allow Jesus to use anything and everything for His glory in us... Christ formed in me... my faith isn't in the person or the ministry or the denomination but in Christ - the cornerstone of everything Kingdom... let Christ be your provider and protector.

There is no sure fire way to determine whether something is 'of God' or 'not' - I mean, who will really be the judge in the end... only God. But there is a way to progress and celebrate and engage and to enjoy the Kingdom when we see it... I hope we all have eyes to see... in Lakeland but also in our own hearts.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn't a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking. -Georges Clemenceau

it's official - I'm insane...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

tribes and nations

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,

By: Paul the apostle 2 Corinthians 8:13-14

I was wondering how this applies to a global christian world?
check out this link for some ideas...tribes and nations is a great way of sharing the wealth...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

last blog lost... but new one arriving!

for the record I somehow deleted my last blog... but here's another one! I get knocked down, but I get up again - and they're never gonna keep me down...

Saved2Save Training School Sweden
invites to "COMMUNITY" a three months course on from September to November 2008, on
(house) church planting .

The course is held on Gotland, an Island in the Baltic Sea.

School language is English, and we welcome students in all ages from young adults and up. For further information please see attached info and our web site

This would be an incredible opportunity - to hang with the likes of these folks is a blessing. They are radically, surrendered disciples of Jesus who are a bright missional light in the darkness of Europe - it is WELL WORTH A TRIP TO SWEDEN for some amazing teaching/training...