Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Growing Up

I knew I would catch some flak for my last post. Here is a comment posted to my blog anonymously. Anonymous wrote:

Do you think Jesus was a Coward??????Grow up Chris.... You're views and your _expression of them are a disappointment. You sound worse than the politians you are criticizing.... What would of Jesus done? I don't recall him trying to correct corruption by military force.... He certainly wasn't quoted calling anyone cowards...Step back a moment... take a breath and grow up....."

My response:
First of all, I'm not surprised that my comments have disappointed someone. Taking a stance on something often does that. Funny that someone takes exception to the term coward, but doesn't sign their comment. :) It's never wise to lecture someone on growing up when you don't sign your name.

Second, I don't understand the question about Jesus being a coward. I think I implied that Howard Dean is a coward! Regardless, I don't recall Jesus ever shying away from speaking his mind, calling people hypocrites at one point, turning over tables in the Temple, and doing all sorts of things that good religious people weren't supposed to do. Maybe someone told him to grow up. Who knows.

Anyway, As a chaplain, my first job is to bring the love of Christ to soldiers in all that I do. Yet there is something powerfully unique about the love of Christ: it comes in the face of sin. It acknowledges sin. Lutheran Christians understand that there is a tension between Law and Gospel. The Law shows us our sin, our brokeness, our wrongdoing. The Gospel is God's offer of grace to take away that sin and pain. The Law acknowledges the reality of sin in this world, the Gospel is God's answer.

As Christians we cannot be blind to speaking about the evil in our world. Gospel without Law is cheap grace. If we are unwilling to speak to evil in our world, we offer nothing but feel-good, cheap grace. The Gospel does not negate the necessity to take action against evil; in fact, it compels us, and sometimes evil is stopped by force.

Here is the deal: terrorism is evil. Saddam Hussein is evil. Al Qaeda is evil. We cannot be meek in the face of evil. As a chaplain, I remained convinced that the work our military is doing- though imperfect- is being done to combat evil. We have not got everything figured out and we make mistakes, but I remained convinced that to withdraw- to quit this fight- is an act of moral cowardice.

So, to "anonymous:" I feel pretty grown up, and I disagree with your assessment. I love you anyway, whoever you are. And remember, one of the greatest blessings of this country is that you can believe whatever you want, and be free to say it. God bless you for speaking your mind... and keep on commenting.


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