Signs of the Times

The Christian Century

Chaplain, Lt. Col., Albert F. Ledebuhr [©1966 Christian Century Foundation. Reprinted by permission from the November 2, 1966, issue of The Christian Century, Chicago.]

The military chaplain . . . provides a spiritual ministry for people where they are and as they are. Nevertheless, periodically one hears voices speaking out against the military chaplaincy, for a variety of reasons.

Some of these antichaplaincy spokesmen are against war. I can understand that. Every chaplain I know, especially those who have been in combat, is against war too; and military or civilian, we all pray regularly for peace. But to be antichaplain because one hates war or strives for peace seems to be "throwing out the baby with the bath water." Other critics seem to lack knowledge or have faulty information. Some years back I preached for a civilian brother at a Good Friday Tre Ore service. ... As I returned to the sacristy after the service the host pastor, almost with a sigh of relief, commented, "You do still preach Christ." In the ensuing conversation I discovered that he thought chaplains preached a sort of wishy-washy party line handed down from some high-level military office. It was a pleasure to inform him . . . that many a time I've preached the same sermon to both military and civilian congregations. . . .

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May 6, 1967

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