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! :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Various thoughts

Tonight I was walking around the base, just as the sun was setting. There were stars in the sky, and some light clouds. As I walked, I began to think about where I was. Just about 50 or 60 miles to the east is Iran. To the west, where the sun was setting, is Syria and Jordan. As I looked up at the stars I realized that you could see those same stars back at home. Along with that, the clouds are made up of the same water as around the planet. After raining and evaporating a number of times over, some of that water had probably been to North America and back. It occured to me how close I am to home, in a geographic sense, but how far away it is in any other sense.

It's just different here. Some days I think about the curse God laid on the land here at the time of Adam. Then I think about the destruction of the city of Babylon, never to rise again. It all happened here, and you can almost feel the effects. I can't quite describe it.

There are days I just think "Why can't these people get their act together?" It's bizarre if you think about it: the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world- the US- shows up on the doorstep and offers Iraq a lottery type of deal. We offer to rebuild their nation, restore its infrastructure, liberate the people, build new schools, and so much more. What makes them incapable of not killing each other? How is Iraq different from South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, or the whole host of other nations which have been liberated from totalitarian regimes?

Is it the curse? Is there something here that remains from that curse? I don't know. There is a strange mix of brutality and fear that pervades the region. I know we Americans have made mistakes, yet...mistakes are always made in war. It seems to be deeper than that. Maybe our greatest mistake has been our optimism. Maybe we failed to see the depth to which sin and oppression can take root? Is it possible that in our optimism we failed to exert the desire to see this thing through? I don't know. I'm not back in the states, but everything I read seems to indicate that our people have given up and forgotten. Ambivalence bordering on hostility, really, is the overriding impression I get.

What I do know is the people here need help. They need Jesus more than anything. While we cannot come in and impose Christ on this land, we can offer hope and a new way of living that might open the door. I don't know that I have the answers, but I will keep asking the questions as long as I'm here.


Blogger Larry said...

Gen 16:11-12
The angel of the Lord said to Hagar,"you are now with child, and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man, and his hand will be against everyone; everyone's hand against him. He will live in hostility toward all his brothers."

Thousands of years of quarrelling and feuds over land, birthright and inheritance. Age old Greed. Period.

Why do we (U.S.) not behave this way? We are merely 220 years old nation, founded by explorers and populated by refugees from other cultures who were trying to escape the type of persecution that is still happening in that region today, and will continue to occur until the end if time.

Can people change? Sure, but when you are behaving out of loyalty to your religion and your ancestors, it takes a lot more than the presence and hope of democracy and peace to change the mindset......


2:14 AM  

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