Robert Deidrick said in a Former Salvation Army Officers Fellowship chat site: Sven-I would be interested in seeing a future article on the possible split and division that might occur in the Salvation Army. If gay marriage becomes the law of the land in the USA what will the Army do? What will conservative Officers do? There may be mass resignations or many will request reassignment becoming social welfare officers rather than corps officers (church pastors). Will the Salvation Army become a new Volunteers of America? Will the Salvation Army in the USA become a YMCA type of icon? I do not see a great day and freedom for the same-sex marriage legislation. I see chaos and an open door to many issues and downfall.
The three folks wanting to marry each other is no joke. This issue, debate and demand will not end with same-sex marriage. The doors of hell will open and that is not me allowing fear to influence my thinking as shared prior.
Here is response # 1.
I hardly know what to say. Watching someone you love, who helped raise you, who cared for you when you weren’t well, who partially defined who you would be, slowly perish before your eyes is difficult to say the least.
I love you. I don’t want to lose you.
But, this is life. These things happens. Those you love do die.
It’s just how it works. I mean, there were Churches before you. They may not have looked like you or sung songs like you or taught exactly what you do, but they all had Love – just different ways of expressing it. They changed people’s lives. They made some people better people and, sometimes, they made people worse people. Then, they died.
In all of it, Love was there somewhere hoping to be valued, hoping to be expressed, hoping to be shared.
Standing at the foot of your bed as you struggle to hold on, as you fight to catch a few last breaths, is uncomfortable and wonderful, all at the same time. Remembering the twinkle in your eye from my childhood, the liveliness of your step, is as beautiful and heartbreaking a thing as I can think of in this moment.
But, there’s this one thing that you taught me. It’s something that I think really, truly, deeply matters.
In this moment, I don’t think it could matter more: when there is God, when there is Love, there are no endings, only new beginnings.
I’m going to miss you – so much – but I refuse to mourn you.
You will always be with me. The Love that has always sought to be known is still with us. The Spirit that is the Church will go on – thrive, even. It will just look different and sing differently and teach differently – but it will go on.
Because, while death sucks, Jesus us taught us that is does not get to have the final word.
The reality is that your reason for being, your very purpose, is to teach us about a living God.
How marvelously playful and mischievous of God (and quite frankly, how very God-like of God) to figure out how to do that over and over again through a dying Church. Like I said, this isn’t the first time you’ve died.
How perfectly upside-down of God to show us exactly how alive God is through a dying Church.
I really will miss you, truly, but I must admit I cannot wait to see what you will become on the other side. I’m so excited just thinking about the folks who will find new life in your new life. I get just a bit giddy thinking about the new places and space that Love will be shared. I get overwhelmed with joyfulness just thinking about the new ways you will learn to share Love.
But, right now, I watch you on your deathbed and I hope to sort out how to be the one sharing that Love with you.
You must be a little bit scared. I know I would be.
You must worry about the work that’s still to be done. I know it difficult, but try to trust in the work you’ve already done.
You have planted some pretty remarkable seeds. Trust that they will grow in new and beautiful ways.
I love you. I do.
I will be here with you until you are ready for what’s next and then we will dance in those new fields and share Love in ways we’ve never imagined.
Maybe this kind of death is a blessing after all. It’s so belovedly human to hold on so tightly to what we know that we constantly miss the opportunity to catch hold of something that might lead us to wider fields.
How very God-like of God to make death the beginning of a blessing.
So, just know, I am here. We are here. You can let go. We will water the seeds. We will nurture the fields and then we can dance in them again, together.
Mark is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, was recently named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press' Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on "The Huffington Post," "Sojourners," "Time," "World Church Services," and even the "Richard Dawkins Foundation." He's been featured on PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" and NPR's "The Story with Dick Gordon." He’s married to an amazing Baptist minister and has two fabulous teenagers.