Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Category Archives: Military

Fourth Star to the Right, and Straight on Till Morn…

Yesterday, the U.S. Army reached a milestone, as the first ever female soldier was nominated to become a General, the Army’s highest rank. Lt. General Ann Dunwoody was nominated by Secretary Gates to take over Army Materials Command. Her nomination awaits only senate confirmation before she pins on that fourth Read more →

Faith and the Strategic Corporal

Recently, the media have connected with several stories regarding enlisted soldiers who have conducted themselves in Iraq in ways that bring into question the religious motivations behind their service. In one story, a soldier at a checkpoint was handing out proselytizing coins that ask, in Arabic, where someone is going Read more →

Never Again… Remember Me…

I thought I understood the meaning of Memorial Day. I thought that uniform hanging back there taught me the meaning of Memorial Day. I thought that growing up the child of a soldier, and the grandchild of a sailor taught me the meaning of memorial day. But I was wrong. Read more →

Changing Question 21

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I want to thank and congratulate Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the decision to change the wording of the infamous “Question 21” on the Questionnaire for National Security Positions. For those of you not familiar with the military, this is the Read more →

Keep the Faith SPC Hall and Rev. Matt

I do not usually cross-post to other blogs here on Celestial Lands.  I use this blog as my public pre-writing for sermons and other essays… to clarify my own thoughts, to get them down in written form, and to do so while practicing my public, prophetic voice.  But as many Read more →

Unitarian Universalism and Military Chaplaincy

A few years ago, at a Unitarian Universalist Houston Network event, a young woman challenged in a loud and public way how I could dare call myself a Unitarian Universalist, and be willing to serve in the military. I was not actually in the military at the time; I had Read more →

What once was lost, now is found…

I have worn a POW/MIA bracelet every April for the last three years for SPC Keith Matt Maupin, who disappeared in Iraq on the 9th of April, 2004. This morning, I took it out of its honored place on my nightstand and put it on. When I sat down to Read more →

Well, At Least It Wasn’t About Sex

It has taken me several days to write and reflect on Hillary Clinton’s claim that she had come under sniper fire when her plane landed in Bosnia in March of 1996. The reason has been that it is hard for me to properly reflect on something when I am angry Read more →

Defining Religious Language: War and Peace

War simply is. It is not a choice, it is not a spectrum between pacifism and Just War theory. It is a basic fact of human existence, and will be so until human nature evolves. War is the result of a need for conflict that lies deep within human nature. Read more →

Authority and Responsibility

When I became a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at the age of 21, my promotion ceremony was on the Normandy Drop Zone at Ft. Bragg, NC. We had just jumped out of C-130 aircraft, at the beginning of a daylong movement exercise… in other words, we jumped out of Read more →

Mr Cornet Wales

In a time in which the leaders of nations ask their countries to send sons and daughters to war, it is so often the case that the sons and daughters of those leaders are insulated from that service. He had every reason not to go. Third in line to the Read more →

Becoming Better Christians

Rev. Cynthia Cain, in her blog Isten Aldjon, Y’all, has posted the story of evangelical Methodist college students coming to the worship services of her UU congregation in Kentucky and accosting members and visitors about why they were attending a UU church. Sadly, I am not surprised by the story. Read more →

A Dream and a Young Boy

I grew up in what I can only describe as an integrated community, at least as far as race is concerned. Simply put, the subject never came up. You see, I grew up in the military. The other children that I played soccer with, played marbles with, went to classes Read more →

Living an Oath

“I, David Glenn Pyle, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of Second Lieutenant, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I Read more →

The Military and Religious Freedom — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached November 3rd, 2007 This is my first Sunday morning back here at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in over four months.  You see, this past summer I was in Basic Training myself.  It was my second time going through basic.  My first time was in 1991, at Read more →

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