Welcome to the blog of Commissioner Clive Adams. Leader of The Salvation Army United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

Festival or fiasco?

14 July 2014 - 12:50pm
| by Clive Adams

Pelé, Garrincha, Ronaldo, Zico, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Sócrates, Jairzinho, Rivelino… 

These are great names – revered over the world for their brilliance and for the magnificent contributions they made to Brazilian football's magnificent heritage. And, by no means the only greats!

I am watching the World Cup final being played in Rio de Janeiro. It was supposed to be Brazil’s festival - a football carnival which would have enhanced their reputation as the world’s greatest footballing nation. Instead, their neighbours and great footballing rivals, Argentina, are playing for the title of World Champions, against the indomitable Germans. Brazil failed to turn up to their own party…

Incredibly, Brazil had won the Confederation Cup last year, easily beating the holders of the World Cup, Spain. This time last year, the nation looked forward to a sixth World Cup win, for the first time on home soil. It was not to be. The festival turned into a fiasco. They were not good enough – humiliated and exposed on their home soil, they conceded 10 goals in the last 2 games, scoring only once. Those great names from the past, those phenomenal teams from the past, those impressive victories from the past, couldn’t help them in the present, and so their future looks challenging, at best.

William, Catherine, Bramwell, Railton, Cadman, Booth-Tucker, Osborne, Coutts, Gowans…

These are great names – revered over the Army world for their leadership and for the marvellous contributions they made to the Army’s marvellous heritage. And, by no means the only greats!

We’ve just had a wonderful commissioning weekend this year and, doubtless, our summer schools will be great times of celebration. The whole Army looks forward to a great festival at the home of the Army. It should be a great celebration - 150 years of the Army’s mission and internationalism.

Let’s hope, pray and work to ensure that here is where the similarity with Brazil’s footballing fiasco ends!


Submitted by Stephen Poxon on

Interesting stuff, Commissioner. Thank you.
What comes to mind (forgive me!) is my 40 years of supporting Manchester City, which began when City were still somewhere near the crest of a wave but were about to embark on near-terminal decline, rescued only latterly by an infusion of oil money.
When I first signed up as a Blue, silverware in City's cupboards was not that unusual. Then came relgations and the stark reality of life in Division Three, and only dust on the shelves.
A fine team aged, and suffered from the absence of new blood. In hindsight, that fine team, full of international players and big names, was beginning to creak (literally!), yet the directors looked to their laurels and moved into denial mode. The writing was on the wall, but it was obscured by hyperbole - hence a decline that was almost, very nearly, fatal.
Spiritual dynamics are, of course, quite different to those at play in football, but there are useful parallells to observe, and learn from, viz;
1) God will ensure the arrival and supply of new blood (commissioning is evidence of that). I believe he will do so as long as we stick to SA DNA and keep at it.
2) Any creaks must be bravely heeded, and never whitewashed (hence, Fit for Mission - God bless Lieutenant Colonel Alan Burns). Those who are deaf to creaks are doomed to decline.
3) 'Dead wood' - that which hasn't worked for years (decades), in terms of mission - must be given a decent burial. We must be a people for times such as these, regardless of what worked well in 1976.
4) Resources must be allocated well and generously - City's Arab owners spend and spend and spend, but carefully. God is no man's debtor, and he will never fail to resource us if we get our priorities right.
5) There might well need to be, under God's hand, a Gideon-style 'pruning' of The Salvation Army so that it becomes smaller, yet more efficient and fit for purpose. That wouldn't surprise me, and I'm not sure we should be frightened of it. Losing weight is usually a good idea.
6) Big Phil Scolari has just been sacked as manager of Brazil. God forbid that we lose you as our TC in times such as these. God forbid, too, that we ever once regard anyone at all as surplus to requirements, in any of this.
7) God bless you, Commissioner Clive, as you grapple with running the show. We love you, we need you, and we thank God for you.

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