Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, by Anton T. Boisen, #11

Our Work of the Chaplain passage for this episode is Galatians 5:22-23 which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode is from Augustine. He said, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine book: “The Work of the Chaplain” by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack.

Our topic today is: Ministry Tasks and Competencies for the Chaplain (Part 3)

— Religious Witness

Chaplains also assume the role of a religious witness to their own faith and beliefs. Although techniques and methods vary among denominations and religions, chaplains also represent their personal faith tradition to the institutions they serve. As religious pluralists, they do not initiate a religious or evangelistic conversation, but by their character and actions — their presence — they begin the relationship that might open the doors for sharing their faith message. Because Americans enjoy the right to the free exercise of religion, proselytism — intentionally trying to convert someone to one’s personal religious faith or belief system — is highly unethical. Instead, chaplains find common ground for building the relationships that build trust and encourage discovery. Being a religious pluralist is not abandoning one’s faith. Being a religious pluralist requires strength and wisdom for the chaplain who is faithful to his or her own faith and beliefs while being respectful and supportive of people whose faith traditions and practices are very different. The result of religious accommodation is peace and unity— a place where each person can experience the transcendent and the divine without compromise, resentment, or universalism. When asked, chaplains share their own spiritual pilgrimage and witness to their own faith.

Questions