In the days after my grandmother died, my aunts introduced me to Iris DeMent's song “Let the Mystery Be." As is true for many people, from the early years of Christian faith, the loss of one dear to me sparked wonderings about what happens after death. I have fuzzy, 15-year-old memories of one of my aunts thinking aloud about the possibility of reincarnation, and older family members assuring us all that my grandmother was sitting at the feet of Jesus.
The recent dramatic high seas rescue of a merchant ship captain held hostage by Somali pirates stirred a public debate on whether cargo vessels should be armed. It also drew attention to the more than 1 million mariners who are essential in transporting 90 percent of the world’s traded goods, including humanitarian aid to needy countries.
Kate Braestrup’s memoir is all about bodies: living and dead, lost and found. A chaplain for the Maine Warden Service, Braestrup writes about search-and-rescue missions to find hikers and hunters lost in the forests, mountains and bogs of the state.
Preparing students for accomplishments beyond the laboratory
Nov 13, 2007
An iconic temple of scientific inquiry has embraced a new relationship with organized religion. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall installed its first chaplain in the school’s 146-year history.
This fall Sharon Kugler began her first academic year as chaplain at Yale University—the first woman, the first layperson and the first Roman Catholic to hold that position. When Yale president Richard C. Levin announced Kugler’s appointment, he called her “one of the nation’s most creative university chaplains.”
When war causes us to suppress our deepest religious and moral convictions, we cave in to a “higher religion” called war. Yes, there is beauty in patriotism, in its unselfishness and love of country. But this beauty makes for what Reinhold Niebuhr called the “ethical paradox in patriotism”—a tendency to transmute individual unselfishness into national egoism. When this happens, the critical attitude of the individual is squelched, permitting the nation to use “power without moral constraint.”
A free association exercise: Random memories from the 18 months I spent as a chaplain intern at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
Computer lists of patients generated by the clacking dot matrix printer and folded neatly to fit into my coat pocket. My tiny notes and check marks slowly accumulating beside the names as the day went by.