November always makes me sad. This is odd because autumn is my favourite season. I love the harvest, colourful trees, Canada geese honking overhead and clear air. But overshadowing all this is Remembrance Day. Perhaps it’s my childhood memories of standing in chilly November gales at my hometown’s cenotaph, cold feet cramping and body shivering. Maybe it’s the lonely sound of a bugle … [Read more...]
Remembrance Day reminds us to see others through the eyes of Christ
November 11, 2012 by Major Fred Ash 2 Comments
God’s call on our lives is still real. And this calling presents each of us with a choice.
June 10, 2011 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Those who know me best know that I am a poet at heart. Not that I am capable of writing good poetry. I am, however, one of the few people who actually have bought a book of poetry—several in fact. Two of my favourite poems are by the same poet, an American by the name of Robert Frost. The first is one called The Road Not Taken, a curious title because the poem focuses on the road he actually … [Read more...]
When was the last time you had a serious theological discussion? Do you ever stop to think about what you believe and why?
April 29, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 7 Comments
Old teachers never die, they just lose their class.” With an opening like that, some of you are probably thinking that I have finally lost mine. You may be right. If so, I take solace in the fact that I am not alone. It seems that most of the Evangelical Church, including The Salvation Army, has lost its class. Bible class, Sunday school class, soldier’s class—many no longer exist or are … [Read more...]
When we look at some of the heroes of the Christian faith, such as Brother Andre and Sister Gladys, it’s clear that God often chooses the unlikeliest of people to carry out his ministry. Given this, should The Salvation Army revisit its standards for officer recruitment?
March 30, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 6 Comments
Five months ago, the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged Alfred Bessette, better known as Brother Andre, as a saint. This came 74 years after his death and 141 years after he applied to be a candidate in the ministry. How many other saints are out there unrecognized? At birth, Brother Andre was so weak that a priest baptized him the very next day for fear that he might die. The sickly boy … [Read more...]
Our new General must be blessed with courage and discernment
January 17, 2011 by Major Fred Ash 1 Comment
This month the international leaders of The Salvation Army meet to elect a new General (click here to read more). When it comes to the international Salvation Army, my position is similar to that of a flea on an elephant’s ear. From where I stand, the view is grey and fuzzy, and somewhat precarious. I cannot see the whole elephant. Now, if I were the General, I’d probably be able to see the … [Read more...]
Making spirits bright during the holiday season
December 16, 2010 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Hunched over the wheel of our minivan, my wife beside me, we gingerly weave our way through the crowded streets of downtown Toronto. It is past mid-December and Christmas is only days away. Cars line both sides of most streets. Even the back alleys are crowded. Shoppers wait impatiently at the traffic lights, their heavy bags weighing them down. In the back of our minivan are three large green … [Read more...]
Do our churches attract the nostalgic and the curious while the masses of humanity pass us by?
October 15, 2010 by Major Fred Ash 6 Comments
An-tique: 1. a relic or object of ancient times; 2. being in the style or fashion of former times. As I drove through the main street of a southern Ontario city, I saw ahead of me a large sign that read ANTIQUES. When I drew closer, I realized that it was attached to the front steps of an old brick church. A cross stood over the door and another on the roof. Stained-glass windows still invited … [Read more...]
Like the famous cartoon character, a good man (or woman) is hard to find
September 8, 2010 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Waldo is different. And he’s hard to find. Sometimes he’s in a crowd at the beach. Sometimes he’s in a crowd at the mall. And sometimes he’s hidden away in a little church amid a small group of believers. When that happens, he changes his name. In fact, he may become a completely different person. Instead of Waldo, it’s Welma, George, Tim or Sadie. Whatever their name or gender, … [Read more...]
Take time this summer to enjoy the good things of life
August 1, 2010 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
How do you like your Sundays? I like mine smothered in hot fudge, coated with peanuts and topped with a cherry. What’s that you say? I’m being sacrilegious? Not so. Philippians 4:8 says: “… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” And … [Read more...]
Are we too busy doing church to be the Church?
July 17, 2010 by Major Fred Ash Leave a Comment
Summer is here, and most us have made our vacation plans. But how about a break from church? I don’t mean Church with a capital “C.” That Church is the body of Christ on earth. I mean church with a small “c,” the organization that demands so much of our time and effort, both physically and emotionally. I am not being radical when I say that most churches in Canada go on a summer … [Read more...]