Letters to the Editor
Thanks for Major Glen Doss’ “In Process” article (June 19, 2004). His first paragraph hit me hard, as we have just left corps ministry after 26 years (not by choice), with our last few appointments having a very strong recovery presence. I am oh so much aware every day of how I miss that ministry.
He asks a vital question—why haven’t we been successful at integrating recovering addicts into our corps? I do hope his article invites further discussion, for, at least in my experience, our survival as a church may depend on finding ways to meet this challenge—and not just those in recovery, but those who are poor, marginalized, or simply different from the rest of the congregation.
I would suggest a couple of other ideas as to why this is so difficult. First, I wonder if in some ways our teaching of holiness (or a misunderstanding of that teaching) may keep at least some soldiers from a willingness to be open about their own struggles? We have got to find ways to invite an atmosphere of honesty and trust, and modeling that may be a start.
I also wonder whether too many of us have moved from our early roots, either personal or corporate, to the side of the Pharisees, as though we have somehow arrived.
There is also a genuine fear among some of our soldiers of “those people”—because admitting addiction can be messy. Honesty can be messy, and so can relapse.
And, like Bob Docter writes in the same issue, too many officers and too many corps seem to prefer being sleepy. We may just find ourselves corporately sleeping, and ultimately pay a heavy price.
What we fail to realize is that we all struggle with some kind of addiction (or call it idolatry). Our drug of choice may be work or material attainment, but a careful look may reveal its presence. We all need to seek recovery—we all need Jesus.
One day, after a Sunday morning service a few months ago, a long-time soldier was heard to say, “We’re starting to look like an ARC.” Criticism or compliment? I believe it was confirmation that the Army was being the Army of our heritage.
JoAnn Shade, Major
Divisional Social Services Secretary