They wear suits that attract attention.  They take a stand against the wrong and for the right.  The authorities don’t trust them.  They are an urban legend. 

It’s not the Salvation Army.

It’s the Black Monday Society, a group of masked crime fighters patrolling the streets of Salt Lake City.  Read about it in this article from NY Times; make sure to watch the video, too.

Funny, how things begin.  There isn’t much disagreement that the Salvation Army started as somewhat ridiculous and questionable.  Now, we are taken seriously and generally accepted.  Even lauded as part of the fabric of respectable society.

But the Army’s early years were even more controversial than that of Asylum and Red Voltage.   They turned the fire hoses on us in Detroit.  Hit us with bricks in the streets of Great Britain.  Arrested dozens of soldiers and officers across the USA.  Marched our boy’s band off into oblivion in Korea.

The 1999 movie Mystery Men is juvenile and widely regarded as not a great film.  But I enjoy watching it.  Its premise of salvation unexpectedly coming by the least suspected agents appeals to me.  And I laugh.

Come to think of it, the Black Monday Society is not much different from –

  • block clubs I’ve seen operating in Detroit or Chicago, ensuring some measure of safety, community 
  • my son John daily checking on the septuagenarian Mrs. Wilson who lives across the street from him in St Louis, ‘Are you okay?’
  • a Salvation Army person showing up in full uniform at a court hearing on behalf of a scared teenager

It’s all really the same stuff.

It’s the same stuff of the Christian good news.  God becoming human to live among us and for us.  And now the people of God are always marked by this same quality.  Showing up in the least likely places for the sake of others.  Others, who are vulnerable, marginalized, considered to be of no value to the powerful and well-placed.

Mission.  it is being for others.  Anything else purporting to be?  False.

I wish the Black Monday Society well.  Time to put on my uniform.