By Rob Birks, Major -
We Salvationists know our place. We have no interest in sitting on top of the world. We should, however, be all about catching the giant wave described in “Tsunami of the Spirit: a Festschrift [Google it] for General Paul & Commissioner Kay Rader” (Crest Books, 2014). The Raders, Western Territory officers, served as international leaders of The Salvation Army from 1994 to 1999.
Editors Commissioner Joe Noland and Major Stephen Court invited friends and those who share an affinity for the Raders to contribute a chapter in this tribute. Some of the authors—Munn, Strickland, Knaggs, Burrows, Read, Clifton, Francis, Tillsley and Larsson—are names most in our movement will recognize. Others—Miller, Kim, Evans, Buckingham and Shade—may be new to many of us, but we should be thankful for their inclusion here. Not a collection of sugary-sweet sentiments, the editors and contributors instead provide several deep, convicting, devotional pieces that roll over the reader to encourage catching the wave of an eternal lifetime.
I love the music of The Beach Boys. I grew up in the 70s in Southern California, where the classics collection “Endless Summer” was pretty much required listening. These days I often play their seminal album “Pet Sounds” when I get a chance to drive California’s iconic Highway 1. It provides the perfect soundtrack for that scenic route.
I like surf music, I live in a surf town and I have friends who surf. But I don’t surf—never have and, most likely, never will. Yet most of the members of The Beach Boys didn’t surf either.
The title of this work comes from General Rader’s 1994 call for Salvationists to “Pray that a Spirit-inspired movement of prayer reaching the throne of God will bring a mighty tidal wave of salvation blessing sweeping over our Army around the world, a tsunami of the spirit, cleansing, refreshing and renewing us for mission.”
So one cannot read this festschrift and not catch the wave.
For surfers, the approaching wave represents a danger to be faced, a fear to be overcome and a rush to be experienced. For the Salvationist, and for any Christian, the most dangerous thing is to miss the wave, to allow fear, or laziness, or complacency, or lack of vision or faith or prayer or action, or a misunderstanding of tradition to keep us from catching the wave that God the Holy Spirit has been swelling since well before the first Pentecost.
You see, it is possible to like the music, sing along with the songs, speak the language, write about it, enjoy the scenery, know the history and even approximate the rush vicariously through friends…without actually surfing.
I recommend this book for people who have a passion for holiness, servant leadership, Godly parenting, missions and missional ministry, powerful preaching, a biblical bases for gender equality, faithful prayer and other characteristics the Raders exhibited and continue to model for all of us would-be surfers.
Read more by Major Robert Birks in “Orsbornagain” (Frontier Press, 2013) and the forthcoming “Someone Cared.”