Our National Advisory Board meeting in Boston comes at a difficult time. Monday we all saw a horrible act of violence perpetrated against this city. Innocent lives taken. People’s bodies literally ripped apart by explosions. Terror.
Which means we all want answers.
But like so many mysterious and confounding things about life – there simply aren’t any. Which reminds me that God doesn’t promise us answers.
He simply promises us Himself.
And He’s enough. Or as Tullian Tchividjian says – “God + Nothing = Everything.”
I thought for sure we’d cancel or postpone this meeting but as Army administrative assistant Denise Seymour explained to me in the lobby Thursday: “We’re an Army – we don’t run away.”
No truer words were spoken. God runs TOWARD us in our brokenness. He runs TOWARD us in our ugly wretchedness.
Which is why the Army runs TOWARD the pain, hurt, and fear Bostonians now feel. To bring the healing touch of our Father. Even in the midst of this tragedy, violence, and current lockdown angst.
Here’s what’s happened the past 2 days. The 7AM CEO breakfast Thursday brought Tip O’Neill’s son and major business / government leaders who are way smarter than me, as Charlotte Jones-Anderson (our chair) talked about the trust we all place in the Army. In that shield.
Danielle Degnan, development director extraordinaire, did the rounds and introduced me to her Yalie Twitter guru Drew Forster. Then, over really yummy non-Kosher pagan bacon we met some amazingly generous CEO’s who love James Taranto (he re-tweeted me!). The Cowboys. The Patriots. And Michael Ducker’s cuff links.
In our plenary session, Sue Swanson had us sing “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” before we talked about the business of Salvation Army. In the big room with the big chairs and the fancy schmancy tea, Rob Pace played Oprah with Tom Tierney of The Bridgespan Group. Tom, formerly of Bain, confirmed he loves capitalism. In case you weren’t sure.
As our mtg continued we sang Happy Birthday to Allen Chan (turning 50!) and welcomed Tony Thompson, COO of Papa John’s, father of 5, into our ranks. Ducker then put Tierney’s message into perspective when he read Ecc 5:19 “Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil–this is a gift of God.”
A reminder that wealth – financial, spiritual, emotional, physical… It’s all a gift. A gift we’re all giving back through officership, soldiership, advisory board involvements…
Throughout the day Sue hoarded Diet Pepsi. I hoarded golden brownies. Bruce Williamson hoarded chips. Bob Alspaugh hoarded cough drops, compliments of my mom. Who has cough drops, egg slicers, can openers, shampoo bottles she’s been collecting from our hotel this week, and likely an entire kitchen inside that purse of hers. All of which are coming in handy during the lockdown right now.
Last night (Thursday), we ate clam chowder at the Dorchester Kroc (where 8 year old victim of Monday’s blast, Martin Richard, was a member) as Joel Manby explained to me the difference between the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment as we ate. A lot.
Post-tour we learned that 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics. Which makes me think we should shift public policy away from Bloomberg’s sugary ban to drinks that tear families apart. Just sayin’. We also heard a choir sing while a little guy in the front row snapped away with dramatic fanfare.An event which was almost as funny as hearing Sally Harris pronounce “Urbana”.
Friday morning Craig Matthews and Marlene’s crew of songsters marched in line after we learned that some of us might not be able to get out of here – which ain’t half bad since we seem to like each other. Most of the time. Plus, several board members needed Twitter lessons. Which I provided over lunch.
Now? We’re still hunkered down at the hotel. Reflecting on what’s happening around us. Praying for Boston. Praying for our National and local Advisory Boards. For our Corps, the heartbeat of what we do. And for our officers and soldiers who are on the front lines in the battle against spiritual darkness – the darkness that prompts what happened Monday right around the corner. The darkness that lies in each of our hearts. The darkness only He can redeem with the light of “glory and grace.”