Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Recruitment Manual for the Augusta Irregular Militia: Call to Action"

Given the challenging times and the dire consequences of our inaction, the time has come for a general call to action of all men and women of the Augusta, Georgia/ Central Savannah River Area. This is issued to every teenager and adult, every person of conscience, everyone who imagines a neighborhood and community and town that reflects our greatest hopes and dreams.

It is no longer appropriate for us to continue in a state of apathy, nor is it prudent for us to live in a self centered fear that nothing may be done. We can not continue the policies of "every man for himself" nor the isolated suburban pursuit of happiness. What happens in urban Augusta affects suburban Columbia County and has effect in the rural CSRA. Our former ways of living must give way to a more community centered, honest, and fruitful approach at creating a common life that is worth handing to our children. Our failure to seek to encourage and create such a community will be a continued sin handed down to our children and grandchildren unless we repent of our failures and atone in ways that lead to life. This grand failure must be reversed immediately and it must begin with us!

Look at what we have become. Consider what you see every day in your Augusta experience. Examine the daily news and reflect on how we have gotten here. We can argue the points and the causes (though my hope is that we are stirred to action and not merely more discussion!), but the process begins with us. Some issues that get my attention include:

-we divide rather than unite- our opinions, our anger, our platforms, our politics, our personal pursuits are an agenda that is a "dead end road" as we only know, friend, and work with those who agree with us. "Others" are counted as enemies- how can this be in community?!

-we are obsessed with ourselves to the detriment of the community- what we can gain, our addictions, our values become the objective. Our personal pursuits become the agenda and are foisted on the community. The community must be about more than one individual or group. Multiply this and community is divided by our small, fractured viewpoint.

-thus there is no common culture, no common goal. We all play our car stereo obnoxiously loud all the time because we don't care about our neighbor. We don't extend courtesy to another car, another person, because we don't think of them as friend or neighbor, but as nameless competitor. We are desensitized and our children are version 2.0 of selfish insensitivity.

-Should we even discuss the "older sins" of our community? This seems no longer civil to even speak in public, but the reality of white flight and separated neighborhoods and obviously divided political commissions begs the question. Of course, racism isn't a one way street! This is an equal opportunity evil that we seem to mutually embrace. Sadly, the Church is just as much a culprit and perpetrator in this as any institution. The sins of the fathers and grandfathers are now being visited on us today. How can we break through this, build bridges and relationships, and do the needful work of the Kingdom?

-the irony is that our personal spirituality and isolated lives of work and play are impacted by the current state of affairs. We have become Lone Rangers, though the team requires unity of purpose and life. Sadly, the Church is relegated to the sideline as for too long the emphasis has been on the "spiritual" versus the "practical." Yet, we pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." There is something very important here about us that we must respond to.

The negative vibe, the crime and violence, the crush of addiction, the power of mass despair, the rampant unemployment and underemployment, the challenges of basic food and housing, the loneliness and isolation of those who want to reach out to someone, the lack of voice and leadership that the masses will follow-- provides opportunity for an "all call" as we are in a state of emergency! It is time for a sense of urgency, for action on behalf of others, for a level of team work and unity that is seldom seen outside of war.

Here, in the time of the Great Recession, it is time to call up the Augusta Irregular Militia. We need teenagers, and young adults, and adults of all ages and stages who are willing to serve. Such a group -interested in loving God and loving neighbor as ourselves- is still a worthy experiment and the timing has never been more urgent. Augusta Kingdom workers need to mobilize NOW to meet the needs of the battle as the war has already been raging. People are being lost everyday to the ravages of battles that consume them.

Consider this call to action a personal invitation for your life. Carefully read and ponder Ephesians 1: 3-14 as you respond to this call to action. In the next few days I'll share more from the "Recruitment Manual" as we consider the mission and the preparation you will need as a recruit. There are some key battles to be waged in the coming days. Are you ready for what this will require of you?

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