is faith mismatch a problem?

Military chaplains are faith mismatch for personnel

they serve

This is the headline of an article by Tim Townsend in the  Seattle Times that points out (among other things) that the demographics of the chaplaincy corps do not reflect the make-up of the military.  Even if they did, you could argue,  there will always be troops in a given unit who do not share the worldview of their chaplain.  So the burning question is whether and how military chaplains find ways to minister to  troops of all faiths and no faith.

Certainly one of the things we  learned in our time downrange is that it isn’t a chaplain’s theology that determines his or her effectiveness.  It is the chaplain’s ability to approach all troops with  love and respect — something that  probably applies to hospital chaplains and prison chaplains and corporate chaplains… and, for that matter, all of us   non-chaplains.

(the above is a still from Chaplains Under Fire — a chaplain visiting with patients as they land at Ramstein AFB and get transferred to the hospital at Landstuhl)

back to Chaplains Under Fire home page

1 Comment

Filed under chaplains, military

One response to “is faith mismatch a problem?

  1. There are hundreds of endorsing agencies (faith groups) for chaplains and hundreds of self-identified religious preferences for service members. Matching was lost long ago, even before there were only three imprints for ID tags – C (Catholic), P (Protestant), and H (Hebrew). Chaplains should spend the vast majority of their time with counseling and command support and a tiny portion of their time with worship services and faith-specific ministry. More soldiers profess no religious preference than evangelical Christian faiths, yet 66% of chaplains represent evangelical Christian denominations. It’s clear that ‘faith match’ isn’t the intent.

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