The Good Intent
THE BODY BUILDER
This was the name of a restaurant that Ivor Bosanko (now Western Territory bandmaster) and I used to frequent once a week when we were fulfilling our mandatory military commitment as musicians in the band of Her Majesty’s Irish Guards. The pay was so scant that the day we received it we had to choose whether to eat out (the rest of the days of the week we lived on six-penny cans of cold baked beans) or treat ourselves to a visit to the cinema. For reasons I will not reveal here, “The Good Intent” restaurant was usually the winner!
This 40-year-old incident came to mind as I write this on New Year’s Eve, since this is the time of the year when many are making resolutions–promises to themselves–regarding things they intend to change. They have “good intentions” but the road of life for many is paved with such which may never be fulfilled.
During worship this morning, our preacher referred to such and demonstrated his point by revealing that though–for example–many buy exercise equipment in December intending to start using it in January, much of it lands up at the Army thrift store by March!
Of course, it is not only we mere mortals who make resolutions. Politicians do the same when running for office. Promises are made which, although meant well, prove not to be fulfilled for a number of reasons. Economic situations may change. Makeup of representation of various political parties in power may change. Dare one even say that promises may be made by those who have never occupied the position to which elected and who find that there are many checks and balances that work against fulfillment of personal agendas.
(I heard a senior Salvation Army officer once say that it was only in their third appointment as a territorial commander that they felt they really knew what the job was all about!) We do our best with succession training but–even though never a senior officer–I am quite certain that it is one thing to view an appointment while not being the incumbent, quite another to actually “walk in those moccasins”! It is almost certainly true that even generals are without unilateral power to pursue priorities without the input and influence of various advisory bodies. Fortunately, unlike politicians, they tend to know this before assuming office and are cautious about making promises that it may not be possible to fulfill.
That is important since keeping promises is a mark of integrity just as making promises one cannot keep is an indicator of lack of integrity.
I am not a political animal, but I do share the concerns of many when, during the recent presidential elections, statements were made suggesting (to the effect) “the votes have been counted, so now let your vote count” when so many ballot cards were rejected by machines. Had not been counted–even though they may have been passed through a mechanical voting process.
What concerned me more, however, was the rigid adherence to a time frame when obviously there were problems with the voting processes. The message I received was one of expediency over integrity…of sticking to the letter rather than the spirit of the law.
To put the best light on it (from my perspective), there was a sense of “we’ve never done it this way before (changed deadlines) so let’s not change now.” They are words heard frequently in times of change. In fact, someone described the last words of the church as “We’ve never done it this way before!” They are the words of death if, in light of rapidly changing environments, a church refuses to adapt…chooses expediency over integrity.