Campus Crusade for Christ (see links) recently hosted a large-scale event near Fort Campbell (which straddles the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee) to provide resources to help Soldiers and the local community come to grips with the realities and challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The seminar was led by Maj Gen (Ret) Bob Dees, who the article notes is the former commander of the 3rd BCT and the current executive director of CCC.
One person who presented his story of PTSD described the ability of the church to support Soldiers and their families:
“Church can provide compassion, comfort and understanding,” said Stephen Dorner, who along with his wife Karen was one of three couples who provided first-hand tales of fighting through combat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CCC has been unfairly criticized, going back before 2007, for its work with the military, which has helped provide US military members with audio Bibles, “rapid deployment kits,” and a network of supporting resources. It comprises nearly two full pages of the MRFF lawsuit that was recently dismissed, though the judge said the accusations against CCC “may indeed be superfluous and irrelevant” to the lawsuit. Given the attacks on the evangelical character of CCC, it was interesting, then, to see that Stephen Dorner emphasized the compassion and support of the church, not ‘evangelism.’
Faith is a way to help heal, he said, but evangelical practices might not be the answer. “Don’t ask, ‘Are you praying, are you reading your Bible?’” Dorner said.
Such a paradigm is, of course, normal–not the exception–for church and Christian support organizations. As a church, Christians know that one of the greatest evangelical tools they can have is their service, whether that be a hand of support, a shoulder of comfort, or just a patient ear. Despite accusations to the contrary, most Christians know that thumping someone on the head with the Bible–rather than helping them with their physical need–is not the best means of evangelism. There may be times when a direct approach is appropriate, but most often a spirit of service, the cultivation of a sincere relationship, and the credibility of a Christ-like life will do far more to win hearts for Christ.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.