Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Conversational Angler

Most of my blog entries concern people or events of the day. The subject of tonight's entry is not unique, which may be why I don't usually discuss the religious side of my job. It's just not unique enough. However, it is more exciting than all the jumps and bullets and explosions because it is eternal.

The best part of being a chaplain is the conversations guys strike up. Nine times out of ten the conversations begins with, "Hey Chaplain, if there's a loving God why would he allow..." (fill in the blank) or "I used to go to church but people..." or "Hey chaplain, I'm a pagan!". I get all kinds and thrill with each one. Tonight at dinner, a soldier started one such conversation. He began with seeming innocuous questions about various religions and belief systems. I answered as best I could. He had lots of comments and opinions about religion and faith as a general topic. One of my more enjoyable strategies is to try to engage the soldier in a moderately prolonged conversation loud enough to be heard by anyone nearby without seeming to be broadcasting what we are discussing. After five or ten minutes we had a decent sized audience full of soldiers who didn't know I was aware that they were listening. This is what makes it so fun and rewarding. I answer questions that one guy asks for all of them. Then I pounce. I told him his problem is that he is making excuses and asking all the wrong questions. As always, he is taken back and not sure how to respond. Every listening ear immediately tunes in because of my tone and his befuddlement as I slam em with the Gospel. And they don't even realize what's going on.

Now a dozen soldiers know the gospel truth and soon 3 or 4 of them will come ask me some follow up questions when no one else is around.

I love my job.

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