Friday, June 30, 2006

You can't spell gangsta without TSA.

So, I know I haven't blogged about the Kroc project in a while. I have this great story to share about a community meeting the other night. We were presenting to one of the many neighborhood associations that make up the Uphams/Dudley community. After a short presentation, we opened the floor for questions. We had several and then, right at the end, a woman stepped up with this question: (and this is as direct a quote as I can give)

"I don't want this to sound crass, but I've been hearing some little rumors, some whispers out there in the community and I need to ask. There's a feeling that The Salvation Army is coming in here, kind of like (I'm sorry), like a gangsta, that you say you're coming in to build this great community center, but you have your eye on this building over here to do some housing and that spot over there to do something else..."

That was pretty much the question: is The Salvation Army the next developer in the neighborhood, coming in "like a gangsta" promising one very good thing in order to get more for itself down the road.

Personally, I just think it's hilarious that the word gangsta was used to describe the Army, but then when you scratch the surface a little bit, you see one of the great challenges of the Kroc gift. It mandates that we come into an underserved community and provide something beyond their wildest dreams. The people in this neighborhood have been put down and swindled for so long that it is difficult for them to trust that we intend to bring community benefit and not expect something more. The Kingdom is counterintuitive to human nature and to what past experience has taught this community. We have a lot of work to do in continuing to live out the Kingdom with integrity amongst our neighbors.

I guess this means I can't drive the Shieldmobile with my gangsta lean on anymore.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Potent Quotables

Since March 4th of this year, I've done something I hadn't done in a long, long time: look forward to the new War Cry coming out. I think most of you know why, but in case you don't, a guy named Ed Forster is the new editor of the War Cry and I have to say he's doing a pretty good job with the Army's national magazine.

Anyway, one of the sections I turn to first (because I have the attention span of a bag of pretzels) is the quotes page. There are generally half a dozen or so quotes from various sources. I found this one in the June 24 issue.

"The two keys to Salvation Army officership are:
1. Be Holy
2. Show up for work."

Colonel James Knaggs, May 20, 2006

Now this quote may run contrary to some people's opinion and specifically to some of the thoughts in Tim's recent blog, but I think he's quite right. I like that there are 2 parts and I don't think you can separate the two. They're in the right order, but one without the other is really pointless. I'm convinced that if the early Army wasn't too polished and wasn't nearly as professional as we are today, that they bested us by a fair margin on these 2 points.

So props to the War Cry for being an engaging publication again. Props to Colonel Knaggs for nailing it in two sentences (a true gift of his). And props to those officers that are managing to hit the mark on points 1 and 2.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Talk v. Power

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power."
1 Corinthians 4:20

Sometimes, I think if the Church could only take this verse on as a life verse, a lot of the problems we have would fade away. Ironically, a lot of churches seem to be more about talk than about power. We talk about the way things should be done, we talk about each other, we talk about the car the pastor drives or the house the corps officer lives in. But how often can we really say we are about the business of experiencing the power of the Kingdom of God when we are at church?

It's always a little funny to take a shot at blogging within the confines of a blog post, but even this medium can serve to encourage us to talk and not to tap into the power of the Kingdom of God.

Event Christianity comes into play here as well. Lots of people love to go to conferences and retreats and talk about how life will be different when they return. Those of us who plan such events often struggle to be sure that anything ever truly comes out the mountaintop times.

I think the challenge is that it's so easy to talk, but it takes a lot more work to be disciplined enough to experience the power of God regularly. Some of that is about noticing the power of God in the small things of life. Part of it is about being in the spiritual disciplines enough to position ourselves to experience power. A lot of it is about being Kingdom-minded rather than concentrating on the small things in front of us on a daily basis. David Crowder has a song about it. Wanna hear it? Hear it go...

How Great from Illuminate

I'm so bored of little gods while
standing on the edge of something large
Standing here so close to You
We could be consumed. What a glorious day

I give up. I lay down. Rest my face upon the ground
Lift my eyes to your sky. Rid my heart of all I hide
So sweet this surrender

How great Your love for us
How great our love for You
That grace would cover us
How great Your love

How marvelous. How brilliantly.
How luminous You shine in me
And who can fail to give You awe?
To fear You God so sovereign and strong?

How great your love.

Friday, June 02, 2006

One of a Kind

So I was at the grocery store the other day when I saw something I'd never seen before: a Subaru limousine.

I met the chauffeur inside the store getting coffee. Turns out this Forester limo is the only one of its kind in the world.

He wanted something special to show off, I guess.

It is ridiculous. A true stretch limo. Of course it's all wheel drive. I have to wonder how it does in snow, though.

The chauffeur says that they're now creating a B9 Tribeca stretch limo as well. Just glad to see that money is being wisely spent on working toward the greater good of humanity.
It is fun to look at, though.