Wk8 ex7 research project

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Wk8 ex7 research project

  1. 1. “Wk.8 Ex.7 Research Project” Dennis Powell 407 Intro. To Chaplaincy Spring2 2012 Professor Quiros
  2. 2. The work of chaplaincy in the Veteran’s Administration setting is important because post military lifehas always been, and will always be a challenge to those that have faithfully served our country. We willalways have to especially consider the effects that military life have on the average person. Some willseem visibly unscathed by the military life. Some even handle life after war better than others. Thereare however, those that are not able to shake the life changing effects of war like others. Not tomention the physical impact that comes from war. In an instant many lives can be changed forever, orlost forever. To me the VA Chaplain in involved in front line ministry much like the Military Chaplain. Thedifference being that the weapons that were faced during actual combat are no longer there, but theeffect of those weapons can last a life time. PTSD can turn a strong constitution into a fearful, unsure,childlike personality. To become a healing presence to someone who has become a fraction of who heor she once was can literally change a life, for the better. I can only imagine how much of a positiveeffect can be had for someone in the post military hospital setting who is engaged by someone whounderstands what it is to be a healing presence. I say this based on the book, “ The Art of Being aHealing Presence: A Guide for Those in Caring Relationships”: by James E. Miller with Susan C. Cutshall.In this book Miller and Cutshall define healing presence as, “the condition of being consciously andcompassionately in the present moment with another or with others, believing in and affirming theirpotential for wholeness, wherever they are in life”. As the title of the book implies, “healing presence isan art, not a science”. The idea that we as chaplains, or prospective chaplains should minimize aspectsof who we are in order to help others maximize who they are, or their perception of who they are, canbe life changing. Another aspect of chaplaincy that is used in conjunction with being a healing presence is “listening”.The book, “The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships”, has left an
  3. 3. everlasting impression on the way I interpret listening. The author Michael P. Nichols has a way ofbasically shaming one into realizing the importance of true listening. He takes true life examples andcombines them with common sense practical application. I was very impressed and challenged by thisbook. I think most people would be surprised at how much they actually “don’t listen”. We tend tothink that helping another requires some type of action. We don’t put active listening into thatcategory. My desired setting would be that of a VA Chaplain. Since I’ve started the class of “Introduction toChaplaincy, I’ve realized that one of the reasons that I may have chosen this area is because of my manyyears of being closely linked to the VA back in my hometown through my mother and my grandmother.For as long as I can remember my mother worked at the VA. My grandmother went back to school inher early 60’s to become and LPN. She also worked at the VA for several years. I literally played on VAproperty when I was a child. Somehow that has stuck with me all these years. I think chaplains areneeded in the VA setting because of the broken spirits that return from military duty. The active dutymilitary can literally suck the life out of some. Along with reassuring those that risked their lives for ourcountry, they also need to understand that there is life after the military. Chaplains can help provide asolid foundation on which a new life can begin. In the VA setting a chaplain would most likely encounter those that have low self-esteem, mentalissues, physical issues, broken spirits, those that may carry guilt for some of the things they had to do tosurvive. There would also probably be a wide variety of religious, or non-religious preferences. Therewould also probably be interaction with family members, which could also be stressful for the VApatient. 2
  4. 4. I feel that “knowing thyself” is very important for a chaplain to be successful. I think it is important tobe aware of ones own potential and limitations in any ministry. It also helps to have a strongprofessional and personal support system. No matter what walk of life we work in or come from, we allhave strengths and weaknesses. I think that to prepare oneself for chaplaincy training would be of the utmost importance. Thereseems to be quite a bit responsibility that goes with being a chaplain. There is a large amount ofschooling required to be a chaplain. There is also the task of keeping up to date via the differentsupport/training organizations. It also goes without saying that a deep and mature relationship withGod is the most important aspect of any work in ministry. More is found on what it takes to be achaplain in “The Work of the Chaplain” by, Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack. 3

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