By Richard Zellmer
May 31, 2006
Sad I say. Yet, not as sad as darkest Ketchikan. While lesser levels of depravity are sold storefront in broad daylight, there are some places where it's served by the bucket loads under the secret cover of night. But don't take my word for it. Just come for social hour at the soup kitchen to research the fact. Or better yet, look at our local stats on such topics as domestic violence, high school drug use, or unreported sexual assault. Still, don't be too upset. The Salvation Army does have an interest in the salvation of every soul that is ignored as just another insignificant number on a survey. The Salvation Army is a true agent of change, willing to be associated with the beguiled of society: the transients, the addicts, the sex sells, the affluent politicians.
"O.K," you sleuth, "Let's just move on now. Try to smooth over that sad $10,000 story's punch line a little." Fine. Your right. Let's reconsider how the story would have ended if the currency were brought into a nonprofit establishment. Would the same cash buy an equal measure of return? I think not. I mean, how can you honor volunteer hours or account for the rubber usage pulled from every counted penny stretched from donated pocket change with the same measuring cup as other pursuits. I mean, think about where the money at these organizations is going. To the incorrigible residents who wouldn't stick to another life if served to them on a silver platter? And if that wasn't enough, these people can never get enough money. Why? Because it's all about the heart, inner motives, and the deeper meanings of life; intangible assets that can't sold or paid for at any cost. Is this why The Salvation Army is not a humanitarian effort singularly interested at lowering the poverty level? Yes. We Army members and the adherent battalion that co-serves with us understand that the human heart can't be bought off no matter how wealthy or destitute a person may be. That is why the mission is to "undertake the spiritual and moral regeneration and physical rehabilitation of all persons in need who come within our sphere of influence" and not "Steal from the rich and give to the poor." Although, sometimes I feel the latter might be more fun.
Confused? Don't be. These issues are true for any public institution or church that truly follows the social gospel. The divine call to serve others must be concise and realistic or no real change will be affected. So. If more finances won't help, you ask, then what will? Let me ask a question in answer. What causes a man or woman to give up their time, possessions, and lifestyle to serve others?
I am Salvation Army. My name's Richard Zellmer, and I am a soldier at the Gateway Corps, Ketchikan. There is a darkest Ketchikan. Will you see the light?
About: Richard Zellmer is a soldier with the Salvation Army, Gateway Corps, Ketchikan.
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