Wednesday, April 24, 2013
A Calling To Consider
What’s more, the therapeutic community, which has been given the responsibility to help, is not the first choice of the men and women with the hidden wounds of war. Recent studies reveal that the clergy or a mature religious person is the first and preferred choice for military personnel looking for assistance. That may come as a surprise, especially in our secular society, but service members learned to trust the chaplain while in the military as a person to go to for confidentiality, for caring, non-judgmental warmth and positive regard as a valued person. Seeing the chaplain also avoids the stigma that is associated with mental-health problems.
The first thing that the Christian community should do is be welcoming to the returning service members who need assistance. Individual congregations might want to study the wounds experienced in these current conflicts. Congregations should educate themselves as helpers, which means knowing what can be done by members in the church and knowing when to find professional help for the people who need it. The church needs to understand how to communicate with these young men and women, who are distrustful of institutions. In helping these young men and women the church members need to stifle opinions on the morality or the immorality of these conflicts. These wounded need love and acceptance, not political conversations on the rightness or wrongness of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.A big part of the problem here that the author does not discuss is the politicization of the chaplaincy corps in all branches of the service, and limitations being placed on religious expression since the military is a government institution.
I find myself wondering if now is not the time for a specific military focused parachurch. Imagine a small non-descript building next to military bases foreign and domestic where soldiers can go to get what they are not getting on the bases = that can act as abridge for the soldiers to churches in the area and when the finish their service and go home.
Good or bad idea? What say you?
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