Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


3 Comments

General William Booth: a Giant of a Man

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Everyone nowadays loves the Sally Ann, the Salvation Army.  But such admiration was not always universal.  Violence and bloodshed was the order of the day when General William Booth first reached out to the down-and-out in East London.  Few people today realize that one of the main purposes of the famous Sally Ann Bonnet was to protect the heads of wearers from brickbats and other missiles.  So many people used to buy rotten eggs to throw at the Sally Ann Bonnets that these rancid eggs became renamed in the market place as ‘Salvation Army eggs!’

In 1880,heavy sticks crashed upon the Salvation Army soldiers’ heads, laying them open, and saturating them in blood.  Mrs. Bryan (wife of the Captain) was knocked down and kicked into insensibility not ten yards from the police station, and another sister so injured that she died within a week.  During 1882, it was reported that 669 soldiers and officers had been knocked down, kicked or otherwise brutally assaulted, 251 of them being women and 23 children under 15.  In Hamilton, Ontario, the Salvation Army officers were initially ‘squeezed and mangled, scratched, their clothes torn and almost choked with the dust…’  In Quebec City, 21 soldiers were seriously injured, an officer was stabbed in the head with a knife, and the drummer had his eye gouged out. In Newfoundland, the Salvation Army was attacked with hatchets, knives, scissors and darning needles.  One night a woman-Salvationist in Newfoundland was attacked by a gang of three hundred ruffians, thrown into a ditch and trampled on.  She managed to crawl out only to be thrown in again, as other women were shouting ‘Kill her! Kill her!

Ironically many police initially blamed the Salvation Army for being persecuted.  In numerous parts of England, playing in a Salvation Army Marching Band was punishable with a jail sentence!  During 1884, no fewer than 600 Salvationists had gone to prison in defense of their right to proclaim good news to the people in music and word.  In Canada alone, nearly 350 SA officers and soldiers served terms of imprisonment for spreading the gospel.  Despite the jail sentences and persecution, within three years the Army’s strength more than quadrupled!  The early Salvation Army ‘jailbirds described their handcuffs as heavenly bracelets.  It is little wonder that the Salvation Army eventually developed such a powerful prison ministry.

One of William Booth’s mottoes was  ‘go for souls and go for the worst!’  A local English newspaper The Echo commented that the Salvation Army largely recruited the ranks of the drunkards and wife-beaters and woman home-destroyers.  Many of us remember as children the song: ‘Up and down the City Road, In and Out the Eagle; That’s the way the money goes, Pop goes the weasel’!   Few of us realized that we were singing about the famous Eagle Tavern, just off City Road in London.   ‘Pop goes the weasel’ was cockney slang for the alcoholic who was so desperate for a drink that he would even pawn (pop) his watch (weasel).  Ironically, the Salvation Army bought the Eagle Tavern and turned it into a rehabilitation centre.  The Lion and Key public house in East London became known as ‘The Army Recruiting Shop’.  The landlord said, ‘My trade’s suffering, but you’re making the town a different place, so we can’t grumble.  Go on and prosper!’

William Booth shocked the world by conducting worship with tambourines and fiddles, instead of the traditional church organ.  To make up for the Salvation Army’s lack of church buildings, General Booth bought circus buildings, skating rinks, and theatres.

In response to such bold innovation, one newspaper columnist claimed in 1883 that ‘The Salvation Army is on its last legs, and in three weeks it may be calculated it will come to an end.’  In the beginnings, the Salvation Army was essentially a youth movement, with seventeen-year-olds commanding hundreds of officers and thousands of seekers.  Archbishop Tait of Canterbury was so impressed by this youth movement reaching the poor, that he set up a commission which unsuccessfully tried to adopt the Salvation Army as an Anglican society.

By persevering, the Salvation Army began to earn respect from both the churched and the unchurched, and from all segments of society.  Even Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle sent the following message: ‘Her majesty learns with much satisfaction that you have with other members of your society been successful in your efforts to win many thousands to the ways of temperance, virtue, and religion.’  By their persevering in reaching out to the poor, William Booth and the Salvation Army became known as the champions of the oppressed.    Like no other individual in nineteenth-century England, General Booth dramatized the war against want, poverty and destitution.

It was not by accident that William Booth’s message became linked with ‘soup, soap, and salvation’!  Every Salvation Army soldier was taught from the beginning to see themselves as servants of all, practicing the ‘sacrament’ of the Good Samaritan.  The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, ‘If the Salvation Army were wiped out of London, five thousand extra policemen could not fill the place in the repression of crime and disorder.’ In recognition of his incalculable impact on the poor, William Booth received on June 26th 1907 the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford.

William Booth throughout his life showed remarkable creativity and courage.  He was one of the world’s greatest travelers in his day, visiting nearly every country in the world.  Even at age 78, General Booth was described as‘…a bundle of energy, a keg of dynamite, an example of perpetual motion.’  A keen observer of the international scene, Booth in 1907 prophesied Japan’s technological rise, saying: ‘It is only a question of time when her industries will be tutored with the most expert direction, and packed with the finest machinery taken from all nations of the world, and I do not see what can prevent her producing the finest articles at the cheapest possible price.’

His fellow soldiers saw Booth as a man to follow to their death, if need be.  William Booth was truly a spiritual father to the fatherless.  His son Bramwell held that his Dad’s greatest power lies in his sympathy, for his heart is a bottomless well of compassion.  A Maori woman described William Booth as ‘the great grandfather of us all – the man with a thousand hearts in one!’

 

Mark Twain said,‘I know of no better way of reaching the poor than through the Salvation Army.  They are of the poor, and know how to get to the poor.’

I give thanks for General William Booth, a true giant of a man, and for the Salvation Army who have shown the true Father’s Heart to so many hurting, fatherless people.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News and the Light Magazine

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


22 Comments

The Unforgettable Benjamin Franklin

100 top blogs awardBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I remember as a young child being taught Benjamin Franklin’s proverb: ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.’  As my father and I were both early to bed, early to rise, I have a lot of happy memories of time spent together around the breakfast table together at 6am.

Benjamin Franklin picture

Benjamin Franklin had the common touch. As a brilliant philosopher, he shared wisdom through short pithy sayings like ‘He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.’  Many of Franklin’s sayings are so well known that people confuse them as coming from the Bible. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is from Benjamin Franklin, not from Jesus.

Many of his sayings were published in Poor Richard’s Almanack, a book series that has had a profound impact on North American culture and identity. Some would say that the middle class dreams and ideals can be traced back directly to Benjamin Franklin’s homespun philosophy. Many of us unknowingly quote Benjamin Franklin on a regular basis: haste makes waste; no pain, no gain; and nothing is certain but death and taxes. Most of Franklin’s sayings were about encouraging diligence, honesty, industry and DH Lawrencetemperance.  Franklin saw the Judeo-Christian ethic as “the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

Not everyone liked Benjamin Franklin. DH Lawrence said: “I do not like him….that barbed wire moral enclosure that Poor Richard rigged up….Benjamin Franklin tried to take away my wholeness and my dark forest, my freedom.”

Benjamin Franklin’s father had intended that his son Benjamin train to be a clergyman, but lacked the resources to do so. Instead Benjamin became a printer and an inventor.  Benjamin Franklin is world-famous for his kite experiments with lightning, proving that lightning was made up of electricity. Some see him as the world’s first electrician.  While visiting England, he attached his latest invention, the lightning rod, to St Paul’s Cathedral.  He also created hot-water pipes to warm up the chilly British House of Commons. Other significant Franklin inventions were bifocals and the Franklin stove.

Benjamin Franklin was far ahead of his time in terms of understanding workplace toxicity.  As a printer, he discovered that newspaper workers were being poisoned through handling hot lead type, causing stiffness and paralysis. Franklin found out Benjamin Franklin lightningthat this lead poisoning was also affecting glazers, type-founders, plumbers, potters, white-lead makers and painters.

Benjamin Franklin was so successful in business that he retired at age 42 and devoted the rest of his life to public service. He moved to England twice in order to help the relationship between England and its American colonies. While in England, Franklin wrote most of his autobiography at the home of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Jonathan Shipley. His book became the world’s most popular autobiography, and has been translated into most major languages.  Franklin’s autobiography was the one book which Davy Crockett had when slaughtered at the Alamo.

Despite his being a strong Royalist, Benjamin Franklin ended up being resented by the British House of Lords who publicly humiliated him for his efforts to bring reconciliation between England and its American colonies.  This was Franklin’s tipping point where he became a strong advocate for Independence. As America’s first postmaster general, Franklin was also put in charge of establishing the first US currency.  In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, Franklin recommended that Americans give up tea drinking as a way to fund their new government. The constitution’s phrase ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ was the direct result of Franklin’s editing.  Franklin was the only one to sign all four of the USA’s founding papers: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty with France, the Benjamin Franklin Great Sealpeace accord with Britain, and the Constitution.  His unsuccessful proposal for the American Great Seal was to have Pharaoh being swallowed by the Red Sea, along with the words ‘Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.’

Franklin’s greatest popularity was among the French who lined the streets when he entered Paris as the USA’s first foreign diplomat. The French saw him as a simple frontier sage, and promptly put his likeness everywhere, causing the French King to become very jealous. Without Franklin’s winning the moral and financial support of the French, it is doubtful that the United States would have survived.

Franklin was a very complicated, even tragic individual with strong approach/avoidance tendencies. He loved the United States but spent most of his last years in England and then France. His relations with the opposite sex were muddled and confused.  He loved his wife and family but was away more than at home and suffered a painful split with his son William over politics.

Despite Franklin’s reputation as a religious skeptic, he went out of his way in his newspaper to promote the Rev George Whitfield who led North America’s first Great Awakening in 1739-1741.  As a scientist, he was amazed that Whitfield’s voice could be whitfieldpreachingheard without amplification by over 30,000 people at one time.  Franklin published all of Whitfield’s books and posted his sermons on the front page of his Philadelphia Gazette.  Whitfield wrote to Franklin, saying: “As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mystery of the new-birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains.”

After jealous clergy closed their pulpits to Whitfield, Franklin and other trustees built a large hall where Whitfield could preach. Franklin commented: “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.” After the revival ended, Franklin converted the hall into the Academy of Philadelphia which later became the University of Pennsylvania.

As Governor of Pennsylvania, Franklin in 1748 proposed a day of fasting and prayer. In 1778, Franklin wrote to the French Government, saying: “Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principals of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.”, recommending that every French home have a Bible and newspaper, and a good school in every district.

Benjamin Franklin 2 pictureAt the 1787 American Constitutional Convention, Franklin commented: “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” On that basis, Franklin arranged that prayers led by local clergy would be held each morning before Assembly business. Franklin said: “If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the Being and government of a Deity!”

Franklin memorably commented: “Think of three things: Whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must give account.”  May each of us, like Benjamin Franklin, be willing to be accountable to God in the midst of life’s challenges.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca