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! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Settling In and Prayer

It's been one month now since I arrived in theater. I want to share a thought on getting acclimated, as well as answer Rick's question about prayer!

First, I know I'm now acclimated because loud noises don't startle me. :) After the first few mortars and rockets here, my adrenaline would skyrocket. That has started to change.

At dinner tonight, as I sat with my chaplain assistant and our battalion doctor, who is a friend, there was a loud explosion. It didn't feel close enough to jump under the table, so none of us missed a beat, and kept on talking until a sergeant came through and asked (well, it wasn't quite asking) everyone to go get out of the dining facility for accountability. It turned out to be "nothing," (it was an explosion, but for OPSEC reasons, I won't be specific... no one was wounded, hence I use the term "nothing"). Anyway, I realized that my adrenaline didn't start going nuts like it has when other explosions have gone off, and I guess that means I am somewhat acclimated. Also, I'm acclimated in the sense of really getting used to the weather. During the day it has been around 100 (it's fall, and cooler now), and it actually feels comfortable. (I do still wish I was on a snow covered mountain, skiing, though)

Second, Rick asked a good question in the comments section. He wondered if it's true that chaplains have been told not to pray in the name of Jesus in services. I was asked this quite a bit back home, and there are many rumors floating around in the US. The answer though, is no, that is not true. We are completely free to pray and worship in the name of Jesus in the Christian worship services. The concept of the free expression of religion prohibits the government from telling us we cannot pray in the name of Jesus at a worship service, Bible study, prayer breakfast, etc.

Now... in a generic ceremony, where all soldiers are required to attend (i.e., not a worship service), a good chaplain should be sensitive to the fact that non-Christian soldiers may be present, and offer a more generic prayer-ending, such as "In Your Name, I pray." Or, I may say "please pray with me as your faith allows," and then I pray in the name of Christ. It's about common sense and being sensitive.

But, to be clear, the Army does not interfere in the worship services in any way, whatsoever. It is part of the free expression of religion, and I can pray just as the Spirit leads during worship.


Anonymous Carole Hamil said...

The way you answered that question in regards to whether or not you can talk about Jesus in prayer -- the people you are with are so blessed to have you -- you are so sensitive to those around you. It is evident that you are aware of all of those around you in that we are all one body and you are able to be respectful at the same time. You have certainly found your calling -- (Of course we are selfish and we want you to come home when God's time allows!!!!)

10:27 PM  

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