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! :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Little Down Time

I've had a little down time, so I went out for a run. It's actually a beautiful day outside today, although I went to the gym to run. The Army does not allow the use of headphones while running outside, so I find myself running the gym more often than outside.

I ran my two miles, and did it on the treadmill in 15:15. That's ok... nothing special by Army standards. But I always feel good after running.

As I mentioned, it is a beautiful day out there today. It almost makes you feel like you're not in a combat zone, aside from the occasion rumbling, and the poof of smoke in the distance.

That's the crazy thing about war: it is so close to "normal" in many ways, and it causes one to stop and think "We can't we just stop?" In other words, why can't we "all just get along?"

If only it were so simple. There are hatreds here going back 1400 years here. It makes the differences among Christians seem quite trivial. While there has been warfare- at times- between Catholics and Protestants, it is really a very short period of time in Christian history, in comparison to the overall history of Christianity. On the other hand, Sunni and Shia Muslims have been fighting going back to just a couple of decades after the death of Muhammed. Another way of saying it is that I'm not hopeful these rivalries will be solved soon.

As a Christian, I pray daily for the people of Iraq, that they might know Christ. That may seem naive to some, but that is what will make the only difference, in the long run. I know an Iraqi woman here, who comes to our service. She converted to Christianity 7 years ago, after being visited by Christ. She faces persecution from her family, and said she fears that her brother would kill her if she went home. Those types of stories seem unbelievable to some in our world, but it's precisely the sort of thing that has happened throughout history. People willing to die for their faith- how different that is than people wanting to kill for their faith!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chris:

You are so right thing about the conflicts in the Middle East. They have continued since the time of the Sumerians more than 4000 years ago. The battles between the various factions in the Middle East including the Israelis have persisted throughout the history of the region. Europe was also a continent of tribes with warfare going on continuously until the past 50 years.

Your comment that really struck with me today was that people should be willing to die rather than kill for their faith. If that were the case, the world would be much better off.

We all love and pray for you here.

Love, Dad

3:27 PM  
Blogger TheMadZak said...

As an American who has never traveled the Middle East I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding between our cultures. It seems to me that many Muslims - especially the extremeists - belive that we wish to destroy all Muslims and their faith. If they understood how much we cherish the Freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights they would see that we strongly belive in Fredom of Religion. If there was a movement in the USA to ban the Islamic faith, outlaw the Koran, and destroy mosques, we would have American Christians, American Jews and American Muslims gathered together side-by-site to protest the movement. And, if necessary, true Americans of all faiths would defend this Freedom with their lives.

Please note that I am not labeling all non-Muslims as believing this way. Every faith have extremeists. We Christians have groups like the KKK who claim to be one of us, but promote acts which are in direct contrast to the core beliefs that the vast majority Christians hold dear.

If any Muslim extremeists happen across this blog please understand this: While there are exceptions to every rule most every American hates war and loves peace. We see military action as a last resort. We do not wish to destroy you or your faith. We wish to live in peace together. As for Christians, we know that we cannot convert or save someone at the point of a knife. We tried that during the Inquisition, and we learned that it was a mistake and a sin against God to do that. We welcome you to explore and join our faith, but it is your choice to do so.

Peace be to all.

6:36 PM  

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