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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: Shared Conflicts
By Lillian Rhoades
05/17/11


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The Story

Lord Bentley,

The old, the tired, and the wounded have fallen by the wayside. Young soldiers have either taken up arms in the enemy’s camp, or gone AWOL. Our army is in disarray and victory is veiled in uncertainty.

As leaders of the armed forces, we must redouble our efforts to rebuild morale and to recruit new soldiers for the battles to come. So far, our efforts have met with great resistance, much more than expected; and fierce competition from the other side.

If we’re to survive as a fighting force, new battle plans must be drawn, and no suggestion should be off the table. I think we can deal with the morale of tried and true veterans who have served the longest, and I might add, quite well, while at the same time focus on younger recruits. After all, they’re the ones leaving the ranks at an alarming rate, and that causes me great alarm. That alone should tell you how unreliable they’ve proven to be, and how vulnerable they are to the enemy’s tactics.

With all due respect, Sir, I must say there’s little time to waste. We must deal with this as soon as possible.


Lancaster,

I must say you’re right. Just last night alone, three soldiers down, and four recent enlistees defected to the other side. Something must be done, and none too soon; but what? We’ve gone through every strategic move possible. It almost seems as if the enemy has a spy working within our ranks and keeping records of our every move.

Lancaster, I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about this. We must keep fighting. We cannot afford to lose this battle!

I want you and Cromwell to come up with a whole new strategy to minimize further casualties and prevent future defections.


Lord Bentley,

With your approval, we’ve finally come up with a new plan to strengthen our army and to launch a new offensive against our enemy. We’re quite certain this new strategy will build up the morale of our top level soldiers and give them better protection from enemy fire while keeping our young soldiers loyal to our forces.

If I might add one thing, Sir, well, Cromwell and I, we cannot take credit for the new plan, Sir. We discovered it among army archives of old battle plans. This one was marked Original. We believe it will improve our forces, stabilize the dropout rate of our young soldiers, and help defeat the other side.


Okay, Lancaster

Don’t keep me guessing. Send it along. I’m certain anything filed away in the archives is worth its salt.


Sending it over as we speak, Lord Bentley. We’ll await your decision.


Lancaster,

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Whoever made a tactical decision to scrap these plans for the one we’ve been using should be given a dishonorable discharge.

I want copies sent immediately to every army officer. After they’ve had a chance to review them, we’ll begin at once to implement our new action plan.

Humph! Who would’ve thought that after all the years of trying something new, we’re abandoning the new for the old.


Lord Bentley’s army, under the leadership of men like Cromwell, went on to build a mighty army of faithful soldiers, young and old. Defections declined dramatically, and with the age worn document as their blueprint for victory, their army was unbeatable.


The Facts

Caught between conflict and conflicting ideas, many of our young people, high school through college, go missing in action from God’s might army, the Church – up to 70% in 2002, according to a Barna Research Group.

Ice Cream Socials, Christian camps, Christian Music Festivals, and a host of other youth activities meant to keep our children focused on joining God’s army have met with far too little success.

Sadly, in some cases, even older "veterans" have tired of maintaining the spiritual standards they once knew. Loose, worldly living has caused many a recruit to go AWOL.

Among adults, we also witness easy drop-ins and just as easy dropouts. One could easily say that God’s army is in disarray and the forces of evil stand in full array against us, planning for our demise.

Yet, we’re reminded the battle is not over, the victory is yet to be won. We can still reach back to God’s army manual – the Bible – and find there all the instructions needed to win the conflict that affects the young and old.


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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 05/21/11
A great reminder and lesson in this. Sometimes it helps to go back to the past to see what really worked before. This was interesting to read. Thanks for sharing.
Margaret Kearley 05/25/11
Amen. Deep and important truth. I'm not familiar with the history of the story but the lessons you draw are powerful ones. Thankyou