Brought it all on themselves do you say? Perhaps so, but that does not excuse our assisting them. You don't demand a certificate of virtue before you drag the drowning creature out of the water, nor the assurance that a man has paid his rent before you deliver him from the burning building.Inspiring words indeed! Booth isn't lead astray by the 3 familiar temptations of Christian social work (1. distinguishing between the deserving and undeserving poor; 2. succumbing to a dualistic worldview that looks to 'spiritual' solutions for temporal problems; 3. admitting defeat when people fail to live up to our own expectations of them). We still have much to learn from his example.
But what shall we do? Contend ourselves by singing a hymn, offering a prayer or giving a little good advice? No! 10,000 times, No!
We will forgive them, feed them, reclaim them, employ them. Perhaps we shall fail with many - quite likely but our business is to help them all the same; and that in the most practical, economical and Christlike manner.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Words from William
I ran a staff development session this afternoon on the mission of The Salvation Army in which I played a sound recording of our founder, William Booth. After describing the various miseries in which people find themselves, Booth gives the following directions: