Not unlike their Yankee counterparts, the British military is reporting difficulty in recruiting military Chaplains, despite an ever increasing demand due to the ongoing conflicts.
The Rev Stephen Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan and described his support of the troops:
“I let the soldiers know I was there, sometimes they would seek me out. We talked about everything ‑ pastoral, financial, personal, relationship, grief and bereavement issues. I would talk to anyone, whether they were Christian or not.”
He said the majority of those he met were open to faith and spirituality. “Often they ask us to pray for them. They say it can’t do any harm. When they go out they don’t know if they will come back. When their friends go out, they don’t know if they’ll come back.”
The challenges of supporting the religious freedoms of military members–as well as the honorable drive to support those freedoms–are not limited to the American military.
Being a Christian in the military can bring some interesting challenges when making offerings and donations to the Lord’s work. The Combined Federal Campaign, for example, has both its positives and negatives; in addition, there is simply the challenge of finding a consistent church to attend and support among a variety of moves and temporary assignments.
An additional consideration occurs when Christians in the military attend a military chapel. While most Christian denominations support the concept of contributing financially to one’s home church, the financial situation of a military chapel is somewhat different. Unlike a private church that depends on the funds of its members, a congregation will not be evicted from a military chapel for reasons of rent or mortgage, nor will the Chaplain be let go (or move on) because of issues with pay.
Some military Christians still support the chapel financially with Read more
This incident has been so mis-reported that it was initially just ignored; however, when General Gould published a statement agreeing that this incident has been “sensationalized,” he gave credence to the view that this situation is being grossly mischaracterized, and that people are inappropriately using it for their personal advancement. An analysis thus follows…
Despite the positive hullabaloo over the US Air Force Academy pagan circle, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has now denounced the placement of a cross at the site, an act that occurred before the recent positive press reports. Though the incident took place several weeks ago, the MRFF appeared to time the press release to counter the recent spate of “good news” about religious tolerance at USAFA.
For the record, it should go without saying that Read more
An interesting article in the Houston Chronicle discusses the rise and fall of religious iconography in the Protestant church. The interesting part of the article is the subject, US Army Chaplain (LtCol) John Laing. Laing is an atheist-turned-Baptist preacher:
Growing up, Laing was also taught that the honorable thing for young men to do is to serve their country. The Laing that joined the Army was a self-proclaimed atheist, though his basic training drill sergeant made him put “no religious preference” on his dog tag rather than “atheist.”
After he became a Christian, Laing led his fellow scouts, who often had to miss chapel service for reconnaissance missions, in prayer Read more
In a personal blog, a Chaplain with the US Army Airborne notes the unique reception of Chaplains among the troops when they join Soldiers on their missions–or in this case, on their training jumps:
“Chaplain, you’re jumping with us today? OK, I know I’m not going to die.” This is what I heard from a Staff Sergeant when I showed up for work at 0430 for our first jump back into Division. On a Jump Day Paratrooper Chaplain scores some good “ministry of presence” points. I always pray for us following the Jump Brief and hand out a few of the Patron Saint of Paratrooper pendants, St. Michael the Arcangel [sic]. Coming off the drop zone, a new Trooper remarked to me that it was effective.
As Chaplain Paul Lynn demonstrates, US military Chaplains have an enormously important role (and positive impact) on the mission of the men and women they serve.
Read more at Worth My Salt.
Many US military members have taken advantage of their unique access to Biblical history while they have been deployed to Iraq. A recent US Army article reports on the visit by some US Soldiers to a traditional resting place of Abraham. As with some other visits, a proactive Chaplain helped the Soldiers understand the history of the location.
[Chaplain] Capt. Michael T. Lanigan…has studied the Bible and the history of the site.
“Abraham’s oasis was one of the few stopping points that … according to the oral tradition of the Bedouins, was where Abraham and his family stopped before going on to Canaan, which is Jerusalem, the promised land, where God had called him,” said Lanigan…
The Soldiers recognize Read more
The US Air Force Academy cadet chapel is expanding to the outdoors. Along with its Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist chapel areas, the cadet chapel will now officially include a “pagan circle” located on a hill just above the chapel grounds.
The Academy pagan group is led by USAF TSgt Brandon Longcrier, an NCO who works in the astronautics lab within the academic faculty. Longcrier was effusive in his praise of the Academy and the Chaplains in their support for his efforts, which included pagan rituals for Basic Cadet trainees over the summer.
“There really haven’t been any obstacles for the new circle,” he said. “The chaplain’s office has been 100-percent supportive.”
According to Longcrier, the pagans meet during each Monday night (chapel-sponsored SPIRE meets that night).
It would appear that those who claim the US military is officially “Christian” are losing any vestiges of evidence to support their claim.
A New York paper covers the story of First Lt. Marjana Mair Bidwell [updated link], a US Army intelligence officer and wife of another Army officer. She “worshipped as a Muslim for 18 years,” but converted to Christianity while in college–which was the US Military Academy at West Point.
When I left Islam during college, I considered myself to have a Christian mindset because I related to a lot of the teachings. I was never baptized, though I did attend church out of curiosity.
Apparently, she began learning about Catholicism because her husband is Catholic.
I did not start with the intent of converting to Catholicism. It was just to learn more about my husband’s religion. I didn’t choose Catholicism, it chose me. Halfway through the classes, I realized that the Catholic Church is very straightforward and that there’s something very moving about the Eucharist. That was the turning point for me.
The classes to which she is referring are the religious education classes taught by the Chaplain Read more