Being a Christian in the military sometimes creates challenges in situations civilians take for granted. For example, how do you find a church? The concept of a “home church” and steady lifelong attendance takes on a whole new meaning when you move every two to four years.
As a military Christian, the single most important thing you can do when you arrive at a new assignment is establish your spiritual support, and finding a church is crucial to that end. There are many options and no single correct answer. Some people prefer the locale and access of the military chapel; others, the non-military feel of community churches. Each option has its positives and negatives — the only ‘bad’ choice is to do nothing.
The Base Chapel
As a military Christian, when you arrive at a new assignment your Read more
The editorial page of the Colorado Springs Gazette, local to the US Air Force Academy, came down with both feet on Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, clearly saying Weinstein’s group “opposes the free exercise of religion in government.” The article, entitled “Anti-religion suit is based on a myth,” was written by editor Wayne Laugesen in response to Weinstein’s lawsuit precipitated by the invitation USMC Lt (Ret) Clebe McClary to the Academy National Prayer Luncheon. Laugesen said
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that opposes the free exercise of religion in government, is suing U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael Gould in an effort to forcefully censor an evangelical Christian from speaking at the National Prayer Luncheon — a private event scheduled for Feb. 10 at the academy. (emphasis added)
The paper also jabbed at Weinstein’s lawyer and Weinstein’s own demonstrated record in the American judicial system: Read more
LtCol Ravi Chaudhary has an interesting article on his experiences as a Hindu cadet at the US Air Force Academy many years ago:
As one of the few Hindu cadets at USAFA in 1989, the Academy was very accommodating to my spiritual needs. USAFA Chaplains even dusted off a small “all faiths” room in the Cadet Chapel to ensure I had every opportunity to practice my faith. This gesture made all the difference and supported my spiritual development during my Doolie year.
Events like these dot the spiritual landscape at USAFA, and serve as a unifying force for the entire Cadet Wing. At lunch time, the entire student body sits down to eat together and each member is given a moment of silence for individual prayer prior to the meal — a sign of Read more
US Army Capt Michael Cummings writes an interesting commentary at the New York Times on the “religiosity” of the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan: “Where did God go in Afghanistan?”
In what could be considered a disappointing indicator of the spiritual tenor in Afghanistan, Cummings writes that no one seemed interested in attending their Chapels, at least not publicly:
As I entered [the makeshift chapel], I thought for a moment I was in the wrong place. Read more
Officers’ Christian Fellowship has an article entitled “A Christian Officer’s Toolbox,” which presents a variety of practical ways in which Christian military officers can integrate their faith and their profession.
The list of suggested tools, written by US Navy LtCmdr Brian Haggerty, includes Read more
An effort by local businesses and military leaders has garnered the sprawling Fort Campbell military facility the finances it requires to build a new chapel. A group of 55 local business leaders and public officials
explained to lawmakers that at that time, Fort Campbell was at only 31 percent of the military requirement for chapels. The existing chapels — aging World War II-era “temporary” structures — often had inadequate capacity for Eagle Remembrance ceremonies to honor fallen comrades.
The large facility will allow assemblies of over 1,200 and provide space for a variety of religious services. The local paper editorializes: Read more
An interesting, if somewhat prosaic, article at Army.mil discusses two Army Chaplains creating a new Sunday night service at Fort Jackson, SC (home of the new joint Chaplaincy center). Notably, the article highlights the motivations of Chaplains who are trying to serve the needs of the troops:
[Chaplain (Maj) Daniel] Middlebrooks explained that one of the goals was to add to the worship options on post by starting a Sunday evening service aimed at those who may not be able to attend service on Sunday mornings, as well as those who would like to participate in a second service that day…
“I’ve talked to my Soldiers, and overwhelmingly, there is a great majority that would prefer to come on a Sunday evening after Read more
An Air Force Academy press release notes the service of Chaplain (Capt) Zebulon Beck, one of only nine active duty Air Force Mormon Chaplains, who will minister to “more than 100 Mormon cadets.”
An interesting part of the article is the reference to the “mandatory two-year mission” of Mormons:
As is the case with other Mormons of similar age, many cadets interrupt their studies for the mandatory two-year mission. Those who do so often come back changed people. Read more