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

Tag Archives: War

Beyond Military Borders — Homily at PSWD-UUA District Assembly 2012

I have received multiple requests for copies of the homily that I presented at the UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly this year, and instead of continuing to email it out, I thought I would publish it here at Celestial Lands.  The task was to reflect on what “Beyond Borders” meant Read more →

How Can You “Come Home” When You Are Homeless? — 2011 Veteran’s Day Reflection

When I reflect on the few years after “coming home” from Bosnia, the years before some friends and a veteran counselor helped me to “get my head back on straight”, I realize that I had more than my share of luck.  I was lucky to be in a university that Read more →

Religion and the Four Great Fears

My dear friend, Chaplain the Rev. Seanan Holland visited us this weekend, and as usual he and I got into one of our hours-long rolling discussions about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  This time in particular, we were rolling around the origin and nature of religion, the fundamental flaw in Read more →

Is the Constitutionality of Military Chaplaincy in Danger?

This week, I received an email from an organization I track, known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  It is an organization that advocates both legally and in the media, for the protection of the Free Exercise of Religion in the military, often with more passion than restraint. Yet, over Read more →

My Seminary Graduation Gift: A Year with Honor Harrington

I was determined to give myself a gift at the end of 5 years of seminary, church internship, military chaplain basic training, hospital internship and hospice residency… and I did not know what I wanted.  Could I be craving a vacation on a beach in the Caribbean?  Well, always… but Read more →

Is Libya a “Growing-Up Moment” for the United States?

For all our power in the world, the United States is still a very young nation. Unlike the modern states in Europe, in Asia, and in the Middle East, we do not stand upon thousands of years of history in the location where our nation is. Because of our youth Read more →

Why Even Good Militaries Do Not Make Good Governments

Hidden amidst all the celebration and joy these last 24 hours in Egypt, and in those who support democratic movements around the world, is a piece that seems to have been lost… and that is that, contrary to the Egyptian Constitution, President Mubarak ceded power not to the leader of Read more →

A “Real” Chaplain

The next person who even hints to me that, because I am a reservist I am not a “real” military chaplain, I might just scream at them. Fair warning. I’ve been somewhat defensive about this for awhile, and quite frankly I’ve moved beyond defensive to feeling darned angry. I’m not Read more →

Gun Control, Militias, and the Second Amendment

I have chosen never to carry or use a firearm ever again. I made that choice not because of a fundamentalist attitude toward guns, but rather because I am entirely too good with them. I reached a place in my faith journey where I realized that I would rather die Read more →

Generations of Veterans

Our common conception of how Veterans share a the same experinece of combat is belied by the way that combat actions and environments have evolved over the last 70 years. There is no generalized understanding of what a Veteran is. Read more →

A Call of Christmas Peace

It was Christmas, so I called home. That may not sound like much, but after the day I had just had, it was everything in the world to me. I had woken up that morning in my bunkbed made of plywood and 2×4’s, in a bombed out hotel room in Read more →

It’s Time We Studied War

The few weeks around Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day tend to be heavy preaching for me. In several of the services this year, I was reminded of one of our standard hymns during this time, declaring that we will “Study War No More”. What struck me is that, though it Read more →

On Trial…

There are probably very few people in the United States who are interested at all in the trial of Radovan Karazdic, former President of the Republica Serpska, and the leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian war of the mid-90’s. For myself, it has been a long emotional journey, Read more →

The Journey Up Diamond Head

I would like to tell you all a story about my father. I’m not certain why I feel compelled to write this story, but I woke up having dreamed about it.    My Dad was my hero as a child. He was a career Sergeant in the Army, and later Read more →

Ministry and the Moral Implications of Combat

As I was researching for a speech I am giving this weekend, I came across this short essay I wrote on my theology of war and of military ministry when I was at the Chaplain School.  It is an attempt not only to define where I stand on the moral implications of Read more →

The Arrest of Radovan Karadžić

In 1996, when I arrived as a Peacekeeper and an intelligence analyst in Bosnia, there was a mission at the top of our list… find Radovan Karadžić. My team and I knew he was most likely in Serbia, probably Belgrade… where we had no jurisdiction and where the U.S. Government Read more →

Depends On the Part of Town…

Over the last 17 days, I have been working with the North Central Chaplain Recruiting team, mostly answering phones, visiting schools, and doing database work. Mixing that with my Summer Ministry and my work for the Central Midwest District of the UUA has been why the blog has been a 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 →

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 →