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On the Corner

BY ROBERT CORNER – 

Some General Principles

I want to be all I can be.

At my age, I’m supposed to be — through having been.

I’m not ready for “having been.” I’m a “now” kind of person.

I want to be a change agent in society toward that which is “good.”

I define “good” on the basis of a value system about which I am very much aware.

I seek to live consistently within that value system.

I enshrine the words “love” and “justice” as preeminent within that system.

I want always to be both autonomous and respectful of those around me.

I refuse to define myself according to the opinions of others.

While I work to increase awareness of the thin line between conceit and positive self-worth ­ between arrogance and strength ­ between firm consistency and narrow rigidity ­ between judgmentalism and caring, I often fail.

I accept that life takes place amid relationships.

I choose the manner and quality of my relationships while maintaining an open posture.

I try to maintain awareness of the criteria I use in making those choices.

I do not fear touch as a communicator of affection.

I believe God is, and that I can relate to him on a personal basis.

I believe God has given me the power to choose whether to love him or not.

I love him.

I believe what God wants from me is a connection and to allow him to be revealed in me.

In my humanness, I often disappoint him.

When I do, I confess, seek his forgiveness and make restitution to those I’ve hurt.

I value and enjoy diversity in people ­ in ideas ­ in belief systems ­ in cultures.

I refuse to allow any fear of difference to keep me from being open to all.

I believe life would be very boring if everyone looked, thought, or believed the same way.

I’m delighted not everyone is like me.

I want the Army to be all it can be.

It isn’t! Neither are the United States, the United Nations, the Roman Catholic Church, or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

God has a role in the process of what I will be­and of what the Army will be.

The Army comprises many different people from different cultures. They have different perceptions of reality-on different journeys. I appreciate this diversity.

I accept the premise the Army will never be the world’s largest church. Good! I simply want us to be all we can be ­ and to be what we are.

While our ethic has been expressed in many ways, General John Gowans most succinctly summarized it ­”save souls­ grow saints ­serve suffering humanity.” What we have insufficiently grasped is that he describes a single process ­not three separate acts.

Too many of us seek to specialize in one of the steps in the process and leave out the others.

Not enough of our churches work to provide the holistic ministry Gowans describes.

Not enough soldiers are committed to making our social service ministry holistic.

In our social service programs we must strengthen the staff skills necessary to communicate the essence of our ethic.

As soldiers, we are not good tithers. We do not pay for our churches. We must!

One reason for this is because we believe the poor should have a church. Unfortunately, “the widow’s mite” can’t pay the light bill. God understands this and provides.

The “widow’s mite” image, however, doesn’t fit most of our congregations.

Another reason might be that the multiple uses of our facilities and multiple responsibilities of our officers make it difficult to determine what our church costs.

We need to figure this out.

We need to relate more effectively to the community by strengthening advisory boards, improving public communication, networking, resisting insularity, following-up on social service interventions through corps visitation programs.

The Army can be all it can be only through implementation of a true holistic model.

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