Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rainbows and Owls in the Sally Army

I have often observed the antics of the English Defence League and the radical Muslims of, say, Luton, with a certain wry amusement. A friend, who knows them all far better than I do, suggests that they are totally symbiotic - each side needs the other for its existence. I have now seen exactly the same principle at work in the Salvation Army. 

I was recently added as a member of a large Salvation Army discussion group. It soon became apparent that all debates boiled to one - regarding "gay inclusion" - which was pursued with an unholy viciousness and insult on both sides. A number of people, on both sides, left the group.  The admin seemed fairly passive, until apparently chucking a number of people out this week. 

I was then put into a new, small and "progressive" group. I feel flattered that this has been done. It is a hundredth the size of the big group, and composed of the people who don't post anti-gay material. 

The thing is, what do we talk about when the bad old conservatives aren't there? So far we have had cute pictures of paintings on the wall, a cuddly dog, a generous owl, and the vital theological question "How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?" 

In the absence of the bad guys, we have also had a picture of Hitler and a quote about the Nazi movement being Christian. Thus have the vitally necessary enemies been reincluded in absentia. But the thrill is gone. Discussion just won't flow. 

Over in the old discussion group, things are little better. All subjects have to be turned towards the inclusion/exclusion theme, sidetracking anything that might kick us off into something that helps us reach a needy world. Anyone who contributes to a discussion has their timeline examined by the thought police, to see if they have EVER posted a picture of a rainbow in ANY form. Their old rainbow - NOT their recent contribution to discussion - is then attacked. 

All the same, hunting through people's past history smacks of desperation. Now that the pro-gay Indians have gone, the Cowboys have nobody to play fight with. Cuddly owls are expected at any time. 

As a radical who believes in infinite inclusivity and yet total exclusivity, ruling even myself out of the Salvation Army, I am, of course, perfect in every way.  I know that I never attack a straw doll, or need a caricatured enemy at whom to tilt. As I read the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, I am so glad that I'm not like that Pharisee. 

Oh dear. 


  1. But, how much wood could he chuck?

  2. Seriously, friction is necessary for growth.

    Don't quote me on that but the image that I have in my mind is of a plant pushing through hard soil in order to sprout.