OUT OF THE RUBBLE... joe noland
drawings by doris
COPYRIGHT 2008: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means--electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise--without prior written permission. Out of the rubble came a fresh voice, a new song, a love song. “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men... justice and equality for all... Do to others as you would have them do to you... Love one another” was the quintessence of its radical refrain.

It began as a lead solo voice, deep, compelling and full of passion. Its sound resonated with prophetic vision, innovation, risk-taking and desire for change. The tenor of this new-found voice emanated magnetism and charisma, attracting other kindred-spirit voices toward its earth-shaking, world-changing message...
> The Song <
 
Once upon a time there lived a wandering minstrel wise beyond her years. In a mysterious and uncanny way her soul transcended space and time, whilst her body resided in the here and now, allowing her to be “all things to all people so that, by all means, she might reach some.”

She, above all others, understood that music was the “language of the soul.” Thus her songs took on an omnipresent quality, communicating deeply even when she wasn’t able to be present in body. She knew instinctively that truth, communicated in psalms, penetrated the soul with “a power, no boundary known unto man.”

Her message lives on and is singular in purpose; its theme repetitive, constantly echoing forward with a world-changing lyric… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.   It is an eternal love song, never changing, yet ever adapting in lyric, rhythm and interpretation to the beat of every new emerging generation and culture… I will sing a new song…is its reoccurring reprise.

FEAR is the minstrel’s greatest adversary. Its dissonant voice begins to crescendo slowly and subtly until it reaches an overpowering fortissimo. Thus it came to pass that fear’s overwhelming forte’ once again drowned out her love song.

And this is where the minstrel’s song always begins.
> The Overture <
Out of the rubble sprang a second voice, clear, resonant and harmonious—drawn by the lead voice—emulating and echoing the same refrain, “Peace, goodwill, justice, equality, love.” It’s complimentary, contributory voice added structure, organization, modulation and detail to the composition of this avant-garde love song. 
A third voice joined the refrain, vibrant, outgoing and expressive. It brought with it a quality of flair, full of personality and persuasiveness. Its rich sound ebulliently and articulately communicated the vision and passion of Solo voice with elegance and style. Another voice—strong, introspective, narrowly focused and detailed—made its presence felt with quiet confidence and sharpened intonation. Every note was carefully guarded and placed, bringing order and balance to the mounting chorus of voices. A fifth voice rounded out the founding chorus, one that was filled with insight, empathy, integrity and compassion. Its heartbeat reached out and touched the listener in a disarming, non-threatening way with a rhythm that was calming, healing and uplifting.
Out of the rubble, five disparate voices inspired by the vision of Solo, harmoniously united by one common chord – LOVE!
Chaos is the incubator for Creation. When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors (Genesis 1:1-2 TLB): Creation is always born out of chaos. Sky, land, oceans, plants, sun, moon, fish, wild animals, cattle, reptiles and finally MAN, conceived out of compassion and the crowning achievement of His creation. Creation is always conceived out of compassion. 

Evil enters into the equation relapsing into chaos followed by a yearning for re-creation… 
Evil, chaos, passion, compassion, creation… 
Evil, chaos, passion, compassion, creation… 
Evil, chaos… 
And thus it has been since time began.
And so it was that these five voices, led by Solo, emerged afresh out of the chaotic rubble. It began with a dream, a hope, an idea unencumbered by fear, rigidity, precedent, procedure, rules, regulations, status symbols, sophisticated systems and institutional bias. Antiquated structures, systems and a flattened hierarchy now lay buried deep beneath the rubble, entombed under the broken edifice of its own monumental making. 

A CRUMBLING INSTITUTION
IN NEED OF RESTITUTION
REVOLUTION!
The mission, now void of restrictive, constraining boundaries, mattered more than anything. What they were going to do became more important than how they were going to do it. Mission took precedence over method and compassion dictated process.

Mission Matters More!
Their voices resounded anew with commitment, conviction and passion. Solo voice had stirred within them a risk-taking vision of something worth saving. They felt released and empowered to create a new song with a good and noble, living, love-themed lyric: 

 A WORLD FULL OF POLUTION
WITH LOVE THE SOLUTION
REVOLUTION!
The song began with this simple premise, “What would you dream if there were no boundaries? Love conquers all! What would you plan if you could not fail? Love never fails. What would you do if you were not afraid? Perfect love casts out fear. This new song has no limits… no boundaries known unto man.
Other voices began to emerge simultaneously. Their broken spirits were drawn to the healing streams and bubbling strains of this ever growing chorus. It was the beginning of a movement, spontaneous, adaptive and open to change. Hearts were moved and spirits soared as the gathering chorus of voices continued to swell.
 
The reverberations of this new song were being felt far and wide. “I will show you a more excellent way” and Someone Cares were echoing refrains. Harmony, purpose and a sense of well being were compelling factors propelling the movement forward. Its love theme made the defining difference. Every voice was equally received and accepted on its own merits—weak voices, frail voices, high voices, low voices, heavy voices, loud voices, slurred voices, accented voices—all treated with the same respect and dignity, each with a God-given right to be heard. Freedom of expression made all the difference.

Chaos ensued.
Innovation flourished.
The movement prospered.
Unprecedented growth occurred.
An Allegory of Disproportions MO NU ME NT AL
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Chaos > Compassion > Creation > Innovation. 
Chaos is the incubator for creativity. Solo flourished in this kind of environment and all was idyllic for awhile as the crescendo continued to swell. In time a discordant strain could be heard faintly in the background as dissonant voices began to seek direction and order. Second voice was the first to respond, chanting out above the din: 

“For guidance and purpose they plead. 
We must be quick to take the lead. 
A Mission Statement is our need.”
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And so it came to pass that the founding chorus began to take on a semblance of order and structure. Chaos > Compassion > Creation > Innovation > Order. Thus a committee was quickly convened to formulate and formalize a lyrical refrain defining their vision and mission.

WORLD FULL OF POLLUTION
THIS OUR CONSTITUTION
LOVE THE SOLUTION
REVOLUTION!
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Progression was occurring and Second voice was quick to add another modulation to this maturing composition. (Progression: A movement from one note or chord to another)

EVOLUTION!

As the movement advanced, there came a point when the founding ensemble could no longer stay personally in touch with their growing chorus of voices. Committees were formed, chair voices appointed and responsibility delegated. The evolving organizational structure continued to be united by one common chord – LOVE!

Persuasive voice chaired the Marketing Committee. “We must create a marketable brand!” it sang enthusiastically. “A visual vision focused symbol,” it continued. “To help us not lose sight of the mission,” it concluded. The committee deliberated. “We should hire a consultant,” one of the member voices offered. “And a graphic artist,” inserted another. “How will we pay for it?” queried another. “A budget must be referred to the Finance Committee,” they decided.
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Sharpened voice called the Finance Committee to order. “Good stewardship is a God-given responsibility,” it intoned seriously. “The bottom line must always be our focus,” it continued. “With financial accountability critical to the preservation of our mission,” it concluded. The committee deliberated. “This budget is too extravagant,” offered one of the member voices. “Surely there are those who will consider less,” said another. “Reduce the budget by an octave,” all recommended unanimously.

Additional committees, sub-committees and special interest groups were formed. Compromises were made, a consultant voice retained and a graphic artist voice deployed.
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One of the special interest voices said, “When their work is completed, we will need a monument on which to display the logo and proclaim the slogan.” “Yes,” said another, “This edifice will serve as a beacon of light and a ray of hope to all who pass by.” “Of course,” they chimed together, “and its constant presence will help us to never lose sight of the mission.”

Fund raising galas were organized, volunteer voices recruited and donor voices solicited. When the monument, displayed with the newly designed logo and corresponding slogan, was unveiled at the victory celebration, all the voices cheered and chanted together in anthem:

LOVE! The Heart Song of our Revolution.
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The newly dedicated monument began to attract more voices from far and wide. The movement continued to grow as converts were made; all united by one common chord – LOVE!

As time passed, the monument grew in prominence and began to garner media attention. Press and television voices began to sing its praises. Stakeholder voices became increasingly concerned about the monuments presentation – its look, size, quality and general tone. A caretaker voice was appointed and a Monument Department added to the ever expanding organizational structure. More committees were formed, surveys taken and opinion polls solicited.
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Because the monument was so appealing, there came a time when it could no longer accommodate the crowds flocking to hear, view and be touched by its life changing, inspirational message. The monument department consulted flow and site control voices. Charts were produced and statistics poured over. After much debate and deliberation it was determined that another layer should be added to the monument. “We will mount the logo and slogan on a higher level, so that it will be visible from a greater distance,” the monument committee decided.
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Another level required that additional caretaker voices be added to the monument staff. The logo and slogan had to be enlarged and a more sophisticated sound system installed so that the message could be seen and the song heard from a greater distance. The budget increased, necessitating supplementary sources of revenue along with an amplifying chorus of fundraising and finance department voices. The money maker voices took over the second level suggesting that the mission maker voices remain on the first level where they would be more accessible to the continuing flow of seeking voices. Solo, Second and Sharpened voices moved to the upper level whilst Persuasive and Empathy voices remained below. Solo directed the movement from this new vantage point as the growing organizational structure continued to be united by one common chord – LOVE!
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Time passed all too quickly as the monument continued to grow and expand. It came to pass that a second generation of voices inherited the unfinished monument. The song played on albeit now with a different tempo and an errant beat. The lyrics were there, but the passion was fading. The tune remained, but the interpretation was changing. The inheriting Lead voice and its chorus of voices were consumed with maintaining the integrity of the original structure. They resisted change and insisted on keeping the monument pure and holy. 

The monument was becoming more important than the message!
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The policy manual grew thicker, the monument taller, the logo smaller, the song fainter and the chasm between top and bottom grew greater. The new lead voice took on a presidential tone as it modulated to the top level of the monument. The songs of Solo Voice were memorialized on a CD. At special events the new governing voices would take it out letting all the voices listen to the lyrics for motivation and inspiration.

Love conquers all.
Go for souls and go for the worst.
He who dares nothing, need hope for nothing.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
If you fail to take a risk, you will take a risk to fail.
If you are going to err, err on the side of compassion.
Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Others
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Bells ringing, all of the voices would leave enthused, refreshed and revitalized. On such an occasion, one of the young, lower level, free-spirited voices took the inspired messages literally, thinking it had been given permission to compose a new, radical, life-changing refrain for its congregation of voices. The governing voices became alarmed and it wasn’t long before this young, naive, upstart voice was summarily chastised and quickly silenced lest other voices follow its lead without reference to a carefully prepared “Systems of Regulations” (to become affectionately known to as S.O.R.E.S.). All were reminded with increasing regularity, that a well regulated system of rules, directives and protocol is essential in order to ensure “stability and predictability in the organization.” 

The Process was becoming more important than the Mission!
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Out of necessity, those who followed in the voiceprint of Empathy and Persuasive were forced to relocate higher in the monument hierarchy so as to preserve these well defined systems of protocol and carefully developed channels of authority. Entry into those levels was carefully guarded lest, God forbid, low level voices dare break the chord progression of command and gain access into this now hallowed and cloistered setting without going through the appropriate channels. 

Monuments, by their very nature, must be preserved no matter what the cost and the managerial processes for doing so are to be rigidly followed or the monument will quickly fall into disrepair. “Not on my watch!” sang out the newly appointed lead voice. 

FEAR Begs Caution and Caution Begets Rigidity
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The tune was changing and Lead Voice was insidiously metamorphosing into Manager Voice. The mission’s original composition was being rewritten and redefined. A subtle lyrical transposition was occurring in organizational philosophy and thinking. Thus the words on the banner under the new logo were changed to read, “Mission Matters Most!” This was its new “politically correct” theme song, but the underlying interpretation was, “The Monument Matters More!”
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Monument maintenance was now more important than anything. Out of necessity voices top to bottom charged with its conservation and perpetuation became overly cautious and fiercely protective. Large sums of money were allocated toward a Monument Museum to, among other things, insure that future generations of voices stay focused on its rich heritage. The safeguarding of traditional values became paramount. Maintaining the status quo was now a virtue to be highly praised and respected. Precedent, procedure and rigidity were sacrosanct, whilst chaos (the incubator for creativity) was becoming progressively less tolerable. Innovation was impossible, mistakes unacceptable and failure unthinkable in this fast changing culture now tightly bound together by one common chord – 

The opposite of love is not hate; it is FEAR!
And so it was that ensuing generations began to ape this now protective and oftentimes intimidating governing culture (of       ). Compassion could no longer be tolerated as part of the decision making process. As older voices faded, fewer vibrant, younger voices were arising to take their place. The dream had become a cherished memory as the love song continued on its slow but steady decrescendo. Excitement and energy were diminishing.
Diminuendo: Gradually growing softer
 
 
 
Ostinato: A repeated melodic or rhythmic fragment
 
Ritardando: Gradually growing slower
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FEAR! FEAR
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The monument began to lose its original, magnetic attractiveness as seeking voices were being drawn toward new, young relevant visionary voices who were singing out in compelling, contemporary, caring and non-threatening ways. Alas, the first in a series of barely discernible, institutional cracks began to appear in the Monument’s infrastructure.
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The Board of Director Voices became alarmed and thus empowered a Search Committee to find a new CEO Voice. “It must have a strong, relevant vibrato,” they crooned, “with a contemporary vision for the Monument,” they continued, “and a compassionate, caring spirit,” they concluded unanimously. After countless auditions the choice was made and a new CEO voice christened. 

It swept in with operatic bravado and a bold sense of empowerment. The rhythm was upbeat as a fresh, new complementary ensemble was appointed to replace the old, tired voices. Structures were streamlined as rules and regulations, which had become solutions to yesterday’s problems, were eliminated. Core values were preserved, only now they were moving to the beat of a modern, progressive tempo. A controlled chaos ensued as innovation and creativity were encouraged. Someone Cares once again became the heartbeat of its mission as spirits soared and new voices were attracted. 

Mission Really Mattered Most!
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These new renditions and tempos were palpable to begin with, but after a time the B.O.D. Voices began to feel uncomfortable and no longer in control. We’ve never done it this way before, was the reoccurring lyric emanating from sedate, traditional voices. Older, more seasoned voices began to complain about the tempo changes with increasing regularity. An accompanying, dissonant hum continued to grow louder midst the creative chaos.  Displaced voices, sensing an opening, jumped at this opportunity to add their discordant notes to an ever growing repertory of disgruntled voices.

Da Capo: Repeat the beginning of the piece before stopping on the final chord. Drone: Dull, monotonous tone such as humming or buzzing sound. Also a bass note held under the melody. Elegy: An instrumental lament and praise for the dead.
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It wasn’t long into this post-modern, cultural renaissance when the new Lead Voice found itself on a collision course with a deeply entrenched chorale of establishment voices, several members of the B.O.D. being among them. Their ever-increasing protestations were becoming like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. A “clashing of cultures” was inevitable as this newly composed “caring” crescendo continued to build.
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An emergency meeting of the B.O.D. Voices was quickly convened behind closed doors. “I think we have a serious problem,” the Chairman Voice began. “Here! Here!” sang out the member voices in unison. “Do I hear a motion?” it continued. “Replace the present Lead Voice with a tenor more resembling our own,” moved a Senior Member Voice. “Yes,” rang out another, “a voice in tune with the Monument’s rich heritage, one that will harmonize closely with our own tightly held traditional values.” “Yes,” echoed another, “let us find a voice that will focus solely on its preservation because it cares about ‘The Monument’ more deeply than anything else.” “All in favor?”  “Aye!” they cried out unanimously. The Caretaker Voices took up where they had left off, bound together by one common chord – 
FEAR!
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And so it was that this present, provocative and progressive lead voice was silenced forever. 

“It cared enough to risk dying for the organization,
which would kill it for caring.”
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The newly appointed Manager Voice understood its role clearly – to preserve “The Monument” and, in the process, create the illusion of a crescendo. Thus all would live happily forever after, or so present and succeeding generations were led to believe when they gathered together periodically for uplifting and teaching inspired by the biographical music and lyrics of Solo Voice. And the tune droned on.

Preoccupation with Preservation (Status Quoin)
Oratorio: An extended cantata on a sacred subject.
As generations passed, “The Monument” caretaker voices became so preoccupied with the upkeep and image of its external structure that they failed to see a deceptive widening and deepening of cracks occurring deep within. The crumbling around its inner edges was at first indiscernible, but as it became more apparent, cosmetic renovations were applied giving it the appearance of strength, solidity and stability. “The Monument” had long ago lost its appeal and, to make matters worse had become “top heavy,” thereby creating extraordinary pressure on its already weakening foundation. 

Disintegration (In Slow Motion)
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The finale came quite unexpectedly, first in slow motion as the upper levels of “The Monument” began to disintegrate. And then with staccato-like bursts the foundation disappeared. When the dust had settled, antiquated structures, systems and a flattened hierarchy now lay buried deep beneath the rubble, entombed under the broken edifice of its own monumental making.
Sforzando: Explosively!
> The Encore! <
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Out of the rubble came... Encarta Dictionary (North America): “in’ter’val: 4. difference in musical pitch: MUSIC the musical distance between the pitches of two notes.”

The Minstrel, being omnipresent, sings all songs simultaneously and at varying intervals. If one listens closely, the harmony in her songs can be heard a thousand times over on every continent and in every generation. Taken individually, the sound is either, bland, dissonant or harmonious, depending upon where it is found, sequentially, in each autonomous revolutionary, musical cycle. Wherever? She is there, with every postlude the prelude to a new beginning.
> The Postlude <
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Encarta Dictionary (North America): “no’ta’tion (noun) 1. symbolic representation: a set of written symbols used to represent something, for example, the length and pitch of musical notes 2. use of notation: the process of using a system of notation.”

The following written“notations” may be helpful in determining the length, pitch and placement point
in each individual revolutionary cycle:
1.	Chaos is the incubator for Creativity.
2.	Creation is always born out of Chaos.
3.	Creation is always conceived out of Compassion.
4.	Mission Matters More.
5.	Its love theme made the defining difference.
6.	Freedom of expression made all the difference.
7.	Chaos > Compassion > Creation > Innovation.
8.	Chaos > Compassion > Creation > Innovation > Order.
9.	The Monument becomes more important than the Message.
10.	The Process becomes more important than the Mission.
11.	Fear begs Caution and Caution begets Rigidity.
12.	The opposite of Love is not hate; it is Fear.
13.	“We’ve never done it this way before.”
14.	Creating the illusion of a Crescendo.
15.	Preoccupation with Preservation (status quoin).
16.	Disintegration (in slow motion).
17.	Finale!
> The Notations <
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> The  Repertory <
(A Sampling)
The Minstrel’s repertoire is as timeless as civilization itself. The following selections have been randomly chosen from her ageless, never-ending musical repertory without prejudice aforethought. They are either part of this author’s “frame of reference” and/or simply have surfaced, publicly, at intervals during the writing of this libretto. It is for the reader to decide the length, pitch and placement, sequentially, in each individual repertory cycle. Perhaps there are others, evolving out of your own frame of reference that should be added. Please be my guest.
 
By miracle of the internet and Google, the latest “wonder of the world,” we now have access to her repertory like never before. In order to avoid copyright infringement, the internet link is provided, where possible, along with a few provocative quotations that will, hopefully, spur the reader on to a full perusal of the linked attachment and further research if so motivated. Now listen closely as the Minstrel woos you with a sampling of her renditions.  
 
1. Google: “Chaos by Design: The inside story of disorder, disarray, and uncertainty by Google. And why it’s all part of the plan (They hope).” Adam Lashinskyh, Fortune senior writer.
 
 
“This is a company thriving on the edge of chaos…Google, age 8… worth about $125 billion…an anything-goes spirit. It's a place where failure coexists with triumph, and ideas bubble up from lightly supervised engineers…An edgy management style…chief chaos officer…A ‘Googley’ approach to business…thrashing the competition…
 
2. Microsoft: “New Brain Trust Plans Microsoft's Future - Emphasis Is Shifting From Desktop to Web.” Alan Sipress, Washington Post Staff Writer – Saturday, November 18 2006; D01 (Link no longer available)
 
32 years after Microsoft’s inception (1975): "’We had this realization,’ Flake, a senior engineer, said after the meeting adjourned. ‘We came to Microsoft to change the world. But the only way we're going to change the world is we're going to change Microsoft’… Never before in its 30-year history has Microsoft faced a more pressing need to turn its innovative prowess inward and remake itself. Microsoft faces a dilemma common to many major corporations, including telephone companies, newspapers and automakers, as they wrestle with how to break loose from their traditional businesses before it's too late… the burden of maintaining the old businesses that made them titans can starve companies of the investment and initiative they need to innovate.”
 
3. General Motors: “The End of an Era for GM Workers” (U.S. News.com 4/3/06 by Richard J. Newman).
 
 
“GM's core problem is that, unlike manufacturing dynamos such as Toyota or Nissan, it builds more vehicles than it can sell at a profit. And that dilemma encapsulates the conflicts bedeviling corporate America--and U.S. workers--as old-line companies struggle to adapt to new realities.”
 
www.profbainbridge.com (This specific post no longer available)
 
“GM is … having a hard time persuading Americans to buy its cars. One reason: GM's cumbersome and unresponsive bureaucracy… The problem is that GM’s hierarchy is too extensive and entrenched… At various times there have been as many as six layers of management between top executives in Detroit and those in the field… In a study of a large defense contractor, for example, Peter Drucker found that 6 out of 14 management layers had no useful purpose… As hierarchy grows, information transmission and processing tends to break down… Even worse, each manager has an incentive to filter out negative information that reflects poorly on his performance or that of his subordinates.”
 
4. U.S. Army: “Challenging the Generals.” Fred Kaplan, New York Times.
 
 
“…junior officers are quitting at alarming rates…institutional culture…disconnect between this culture…It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late 40s…Everyone studies the brigadier-general promotion list like tarot cards — who makes it, who doesn’t. It communicates what qualities are valued and not valued…a sign that the traditional culture still rules.’”

5. American Red Cross (Clara Barton, 1869):
 
 
“With the emergence of the Civil War, (Clara) Barton refused to take a salary from the government's treasury and dedicated herself aiding soldiers on the front.  Never before had women been allowed in hospitals, camps or on battlefields; initially, military and civil officials declined her help.  Eventually, she gained the trust of these officials and began receiving supplies from all over the country.  As a result of her untiring work, she became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield…She practiced nursing exclusively on battlefields, experiencing first-hand the horrors of war on sixteen different battlefields.” 
 
“Red Cross Announces Management Overhaul,” David Crary, The Associated Press, Tuesday, October 31, 2006; 5:06 AM
 
 
“NEW YORK -- The American Red Cross, stung by criticism of how it handled Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attacks, announced plans Monday for a major overhaul… The reforms are intended to ease recurring friction between board members and Red Cross management, and to address complaints that the organization was at times too bureaucratic and unaccountable...”
 
For more insight go to the following link and scroll down to the “Compassion” post, July 7, 2007:
 
 
6. United Methodist Church: “Methodist Ranks Drop for 36th Straight Year” (Christian Century).
 
 
“United Methodist Church membership and attendance are slightly down again in 2004, according to a new report…Officials of the largest mainline denomination said that membership dropped .81 percent, to a little more than 8 million, and attendance fell .96 percent. It marked the 36th consecutive decline since the denomination merged in 1968 with the smaller Evangelical United Brethren Church.
 
"What I'm hoping that it's causing us to do is look at ourselves denominationally and see if there are things we need to do differently and how to do those things differently, in order to be attractive to more folks," said Terry Bradfield, deputy general secretary for the church's General Council on Finance and Administration...”
 
7. Episcopal Church: “EPISCOPAL CHURCH ATTENDANCE CONTINUES STEEP DECLINE,” Virtue Online: The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism.”

 
“WEST CHESTER, PA (12-10-2004)--Attendance statistics for The Episcopal Church USA in 2003 reveal a church in continued steep decline with nearly 36,000 active baptized members leaving for greener theological pastures, a significant drop from 8,000 in 2002. Another 24,000 Sunday worshippers left the ECUSA last year, more than twice the previous year.”
 
8. Church Attendance in America: “7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church
Attendance in America” (Rebecca Barnes and Lindy Lowry)
 
 
“A breakdown of overall attendance percentages by church type shows decreases across the evangelical, mainline and Catholic churches. The most significant drop in attendance came at the expense of the Catholic Church, which experienced an 11% decrease in its attendance percentage from 2000 to 2004. Next, and behind were mainline churches, which saw a 10% percentage decline. Evangelicals experience smallest drop at 1%.”
 
9. The Roman Empire: “Fall of Rome – Decline of the Roman Empire” (N.S. Gill, About.com).
 
 
“But the decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight...” (Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).
 
10. The Salvation Army: “Responsible Rebellion” (Joe Noland - www.joenoland.com)
 
 
“Has The Salvation Army evolved into a giant hair ball (see post)? If so, what do you think the differences are now in comparison to its beginning years? Are there any organizations or institutions immune to the “hair ball” syndrome? If not immune, what can be done about it? Just a few more “I wonder” questions to ponder.”
 
By way of a disclaimer, this little allegory wasn’t written to represent The Salvation Army, although admittedly, its culture and organization are major influencing factors in all that this author is or will ever hope to be. I will forever be indebted to those dear Army saints, past, present and future, who taught me and a multitude of others on every continent the meaning of “unconditional love.” Thus, I cannot be objective in my evaluation, except to raise a few “I wonder” questions. Hopefully, those who have now assumed the mantle of leadership will also do a little wondering with me and make the necessary adjustments, as needed.
 
Yes, the inspiration for writing goes far deeper than one, solitary ecclesiastical institution or one of the representative corporations that has, historically, been part of traditional investment portfolios. I live in a country boasting a national debt surpassing $9 trillion with a Social Security program that, in its present state, will be bankrupt by the year 2041. I live in a nation with “under God” in its Pledge of Allegiance, yet mainline church attendance is on the decline, accentuated by unprecedented polarization between religious and political extremes, left and right (sometimes the two are undecipherable). I live in a society suffocating under the weight of a burgeoning bureaucracy. I thank God for the vision and wisdom of its founding fathers and pray that this spirit will revolutionize itself time and again.
 
Yes, this book was written because I care deeply about the future, one that will be continuously shaped by an evolving multitude of disparate organizational and institutional voices… long after mine has been silenced. I care because it is a future my (our) progeny stand destined to inherit.
 
Listen! There it is, faintly echoing in the distance… LOVE, LOVE,  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE...eternal, never changing, yet ever adapting in lyric, rhythm and interpretation to the heartbeat of every new emerging generation and culture. Attuned hearts will hear the beat clearly and step lively to its cadence.
 
AMEN!