Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Army Chaplains

I found myself wondering about army chaplains today. Fundamentally, how do they get past trying to instill the Christian value of "love your enemies" into the troops? If they succeeded in this task, the army would fail in its task.

I've read that (in a recent debate) an army chaplain defended his ministry by claiming it was better to be involved than not: "We have to participate in the reality of the world and minister to people who are involved in actions of last resort. It is either isolation or involvement. And God's choice is involvement" (Revd Jonathan Woodhouse [ref])

Yes. God chose to be involved in this world. He became part of it and let us kill him in order to demonstrate just how non-violent we should be.

I disagree with the chaplain quoted above. Yes, we should address the spiritual needs of the soldiers, but by encouraging them to follow Christ, lay down their arms and serve their enemies, to be prepared to die but not kill.

For the majority of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and many other bits of the middle east, the only 'Christians' they ever see are the ones with guns in their hands. Where did it all go wrong?

On a related note, I've bought and downloaded the documentary "Prince of Peace: God of War" (it cost a whopping $4.99 which was only £2.59 in real money). It addresses the whole issue of how can people who claim to follow Christ take part in or defend violence of any kind. Haven't managed to watch it yet, but will review it once I have. You can see snippets of the film for free online - follow the link above.

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