Thursday, October 23, 2014

What wing are you? Left? Right?

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Someone is labelled a left-wing liberal. Someone is ridiculed for being a right-wing fundamentalist. Is there anybody who is simply, in the middle?

When it comes to faith, I want to be in the middle. In the middle of what God wants me to do. In the middle of a proper outlook on life. In the middle of my understanding of the Scriptures.

I don't want to be left-wing or right-wing. I just want to be in the middle.

Though, who is ever in the middle? No one is ever labelled as being, 'in the middle'. Maybe the middle is too hard to handle, like a slippery eel. A place that is reserved for no one. A place too difficult to navigate towards.

Reading through the political reflections of Bob Hawke in his autobiography, 'The Hawke Memoirs' (1994), he speaks of keeping the radical left-wingers of his own party united, and keeping the right-wingers at bay. Creating unity within the seemingly volatile political landscape was no easy feat. Bob Hawke had to lead a country with right-wing opposition and left-wing political maneuvering to remove him from office.

I don't intend to be right-wing or left-wing, politically or religiously. I intend to do my best, even if you call it naive, to be in the middle of God's plans and purposes.

The challenge? Define the middle ground.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To Succeed is not to Fail

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To succeed is not to fail.

Let me explain.

When something flourishes, do we celebrate the success? Or do we explain 'the success' away and feel the need to justify that it was even appropriate for that something to go well in the first place? Can you relate to this? We feel the need to justify the results. We treat success like a failure. Or rather we become ever so wary of other failings, that we cannot stop and smell the roses of the good thing that is happening.

We fear success because if we succeed (in whatever that looks like), we have to explain failure. We feel we have to justify why we have succeeded and why others have not.

Let's look at it this way:

I do well at A.

Someone does not do well at B.

I feel bad about A because of B.

Yet A does not equal B.

A is mutually exclusive to B. They are different circumstances. And here's the point: We should just celebrate A and resource B.

Celebrate good times.

Celebrate when the chips are up, and keep persevering when the chips are down. And if all is bad... just eat chips.

More on leadership here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Open Letter to Salvation Army Soldiers

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Dear Salvation Army Soldier,

What if you recruited one soldier in 2015? Think about it, what if every soldier saw it as their privilege to lead a friend to join them in the mission of The Salvation Army as a soldier of Jesus Christ?

Too grandiose? Irrelevant? There's too much other work to do?

Let me say this. Yes, I know that recruiting a soldier does not encapsulate everything within the mission of The Salvation Army. I know recruiting a soldier does not get food on the plate at a community lunch. I know recruiting a soldier does not provide support to an alcoholic at their time of need. I do know this though: If every soldier recruited one other soldier, we would have double the legs on the ground in order to continue the salvation work of the Army. I am one of the most pragmatic soldiers in The Salvation Army, let me tell you that, though I realise, that always focusing on 'doing the work' and never about 'mobilizing others' to assist in the work will be to the movement's detriment.

Dare I answer a question that is far too frequently uttered amongst salvationists: Does soldiership even matter today? Well let me tell you... Yes. I am not going to offer you a critique on why, but rather, I will say this:

We are soldiers of salvation. We are not soldiers of war as you consider war to be. We hold steadfast to a mission of allowing the love of God to permeate the lives of a broken humanity. When we confront this brokenness we realise we are at war. We are battling against the violent man who bashes his wife during the early hours of the night. We are hustling our way through the inner city to offer hope to a cold, shivering homeless boy. We struggle against the institutions that seemingly and unknowingly oppress the already marginalised and downtrodden. We hold governments to account. We lead people to Christ. We tear down the Devil’s kingdom. We don’t shelter in a country club on a Sunday morning. We appreciate that we are a global army. We equip ourselves, through the power of the Holy Spirit for the painstaking yet rewarding, gritty yet fulfilling work of the kingdom. We are not soldiers of war as you consider war to be. We are soldiers of salvation.
~Captain Pete Brookshaw

Let me ask you. Will you recruit someone else to join you in the mission? Pray for someone. Share stories and experiences that ignite their passion for salvation work. Show them the freedom and opportunity they have within the promises made in the soldier's covenant to make a difference in the world. 

I have called it the Global Soldier's Challenge 2015. Every soldier recruit a soldier in 2015. Start thinking about it.

Captain Pete Brookshaw is the Corps Officer of Craigieburn Corps (Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). His views on this blog do not necessarily represent the official position of The Salvation Army

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