There are amazing chaplains in the military right now — but so few of them are progressive. So few of them are able to provide a sacred space for tough questions that doesn’t insist on a narrowly Christian perspective. There are rules against it but there are too many stories like this one.
We need a progressive voice for the military community.
As churches sell their buildings and religious structures of every shape and kind adapt to meet the needs of a changing world, why shouldn’t that innovation come within the military community as well? Why shouldn’t there be an open table for our service members of every faith and no faith to do the holy work of building progressive community?
I admit that I get stuck in my Christian language as much as the military community stumbles over acronyms — but this is my hope. It’s a community Beyond Acronyms. It’s a community that hopes together, prays together and gathers together. It’s beyond any one military branch and even beyond the internet — though that’s where it’s starting. I believe we need this. I believe this kind of progressive ministry is necessary for the kind of people we hope to be.
This is what I dare to believe is possible — and what I’m calling this possibility after I fell in love with a man in the US Army. It’s called Beyond Acronyms because that’s what we’re all struggling to push against. Inside and outside of the military community, we so quickly fall into the trap of defining ourselves that we end up talking more about what we’re not — rather than what we are. It is my hope that we can find a place to be so real and honest together that we truly find a place Beyond Acronyms.
I wouldn’t be true to my faith if I didn’t say that God is doing a new thing here. I don’t know exactly what shape this possibility will take anymore than we know what our religious institutions will become — but I do know that we need this. Our service members need this. Their families need this. We all need this possibility. Learn more about this unabbreviated community especially for military families at Beyond Acronyms.
The Rev. Elsa A. Peters is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a longtime member of the RevGalBlogPals web ring. She studied studio art at Skidmore College and received a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.
Elsa has served churches in New York City, Maine and Washington. She believes in the power of community, that poverty can end in our lifetime and that everyone needs a little more love. Elsa also loves a good book, an excellent cup of coffee and an afternoon in the kitchen.
Are you a clergywoman engaged in an innovative ministry? We would love to hear from you. Email RevGals Director Martha Spong at revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.