Saturday, November 30, 2013

Applauding Thanksgiving Halftime Show!

W/Charlotte Jones
Dallas Cowboys
For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show with Selena Gomez. I’ll refrain from responding to all the negativity, judgmental attitudes, and hypocrisy, as it would fall mostly on deaf ears anyway.

What I will do is write something positive, as this will ‘Do The Most Good” in my opinion, as opposed to negatives that reflect badly upon the naysayers, right or wrong, while poisoning those who may be influenced otherwise by contrary spirits.

First, I want to salute the Jone’s family for what they do day in and day out for The Salvation Army. It’s not just 6 minutes during a halftime show that may or may not resonate with the cultural values of every viewer. I’ve sat on the Commissioner’s Conference, been involved intimately with the National Advisory Board, and I’ve seen their Christian spirit up close and personal. It is real and genuine. Let’s celebrate, not denigrate it.

There are charitable organizations, religious and otherwise, who would give anything for this kind of opportunity. The financial contribution in prime media airtime and national exposure is mind boggling. I watched the show and recognized immediately that this was geared to the right genre, the charitable giving audience of tomorrow. My personal response was to applaud the producers for their creative vision and willingness to cross those cultural boundaries.

The Founder got hammered by the religious elite for taking on the cultural taboo’s of his day, but I’ll not delve into that as it would only provide more fodder for the negativity furnace (There is a parallel here, however). I’ve been hammered relentlessly at times for crossing cultural boundaries, so I write from a wealth of experience, scars and all. Success involves risk taking, and risk taking is fraught with danger. The larger the stage, the greater the risk. The greater the risk, the larger the reward, and sometimes, consequently, the steeper the fall. And every successful venture is preceded by many falls.

Selena Gomez, and those of her ilk, do not resonate with this aging septuagenarian. In fact, I had no idea who she was until this Thanksgiving weekend. But the GEN Y multitudes do, and they view things differently through a filtered cultural lens. I remember, clearly, when Elvis hit the world stage. “The world is going to hell in a hand basket,” the religious elite cried. And the beat goes on.

And The Salvation Army is losing this generation, simply because we are turning a blind eye to their cultural realities. Whilst not the purpose of this writing, I do have the research and data to back it up, perhaps the subject of another Blog soon.

My main message here is directed to those who have chosen social media as the medium for airing their grievances. May I suggest that there is a better and more productive way, as we all have every right to express our opinions. And I do respect every POV, although it may differ from mine. Let’s remember when expressing ourselves, that those on both sides of the issue care deeply about The Salvation Army’s mission. Let’s celebrate it, virtually, online, and everywhere else.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tattoos and Beards!

The tattoo culture, taking hold of this emerging generation captures the imagination. I’m imagining how William Booth might have reacted, had it been part of 18th Century London East end culture? In my fertile mind’s eye, I see him sporting the word, “Others,” creatively designed and displayed on his shoulder. After all, wasn’t it Bill Booth who wrote...

“If I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I'd learn how!”

That’s pretty dramatic isn’t it? And what about the Army mother, would she have condoned it? Didn’t she write something to the effect...

“Here is the principle - adapt your measures to the necessity of the people to whom you minister. You are to take the Gospel to them in such modes and circumstances as will gain for it from them a hearing.”

Sporting a tattoo wasn’t part of the culture I grew up in, nor were beards. Wearing a beard in the 50’s/60’s was considered a Beatnik/Hippy thing. I grew my first beard in the late 50’s, walking down the street, I overheard an elderly lady (she had to be in her 40’s) say to her companion, “Another one of those weird Beatniks!” 

I grew it again, as a young Captain in my second appointment. A staff person on DHQ pulled me aside with a little career advice: “Keep that beard and you’ll go nowhere in The Salvation Army,”  he counseled me. I’m still wearing it, a perennial Beatnik at heart.

A tattoo, one with a creative Gospel message? Tempting. Now, if I can only find a wrinkle free patch of skin on this aging body.