This meeting turned out to leave me a bit confused. I have drawn my own conclusions and I will allow you to draw your own. I understand that this is my own perspective. How I viewed the meeting will be different that the other two participants in the meeting.
I was apprehensive about the meeting to begin with. A good friend of mine had offered to come with me to the meeting, but at the last minute he had to cancel. I then asked another friend to the meeting, who is the pastor of a local church I had been attending in the interim. He apologized, but he had to be out of town for that time.
So I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I hadn't attended The Salvation Army since that first meeting. I actually couldn't even if I wanted to on Sundays because my work schedule (to this day) doesn't allow me to attend Church on Sundays. It has been OK, though. I have been attending a wonderful Bible Study which challenges me as much as it stimulates me.
During the meeting, we read over the Soldier's Covenant, our Articles of War. During the meeting, I discovered from my divisional commander that he was concerned that I would use the topic of marriage equality to derail the work of The Salvation Army in Branson, Missouri. He wanted assurances from me that I would abide by my covenant. I had already done so before in my previous correspondences. So I reiterated the same to him that day and he accepted me as a soldier in the Branson Corps.
We briefly touched on the differences between abiding by Position Statements versus our Covenant. I brought up the fact that our Position Statements have changed over the years.
However, what was most interesting to me was to discuss the whole issue of #BlackLivesMatter as it relates to the events of Ferguson. My divisional commander is African-American. He has been in charge of The Salvation Army based in St. Louis, MO (of which Ferguson is a suburb) since before the tragic events there. I actually appreciated his spirit and his candor as he expressed how difficult it was to be both a voice for the oppressed as it was to support those in Law Enforcement. It was something I greatly enjoyed listening to and would have loved the opportunity to discuss it further with him.
I am not certain. Shortly after I left, I received a text message from my corps officer, saying that he supported the outcome of the meeting. I told some of my friends about the outcome of the meeting on Facebook. Their responses were from incredulous to happy.
This has been one of the most difficult experiences I have faced. I have no doubt that my corps officer, my divisional commander, and our headquarters were trying to delicately find a balanced situation here that would appease everyone.
What do you do when a relationship has been broken and trust is now an issue? Do you work through the issues, or do you bid a fond farewell?
This is the question I will struggle with. This is the question I will confront.
I love The Salvation Army. I love how we serve humanity and go where others refuse to go. I have been saddened by the Army's marginalization of those in the LGBT Community, including myself, and I wonder whether it is now worth the struggle.
I have not come up with an answer; however, I am grateful for the outcome of this session and the fact that I am still a soldier of The Salvation Army.