Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian

Military Professions
· The leadership imperatives have not changed: Competence and Character manifested in presence, decisions, and actions (from Iraq research)
· The practice of the military professional: repetitive exercise of discretionary judgments amid a complex and uncertain operating environment
o For the strategic leader, most such judgments are highly visible and of high moral content (i.e., they influence directly the lives of many other humans – troops, families, enemies)
o For the strategic leader most such judgments will, of necessity, be communicated publicly and thus under broad scrutiny; leadership by presence is limited
· Thus, the leader’s daily practice must consistently be one of “professional excellence,” clearly reflecting both the leader’s military competence and moral character:
o Competence - Do the discretionary judgments you announce move the organization’s ethos to match its ethic, both in what is done (effectiveness) and in how it is done (rightly, with moral excellence)?
o Character - Do your leadership actions, verbal and non-verbal, consistently reflect integrity with the profession’s ethic; have you assumed and announced the role of moral exemplar as part of your leadership within the profession?

Under Your Christian Calling - The Imperative to Be a Witness
· “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
· “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 (ESV)
o Notice that these passages do not allow closet Christians, those who hide their faith; nor do they indicate a preferred form of witness…

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian (Pt 1)

This will begin a series in which I share one of the best short articles on military Christian wsitnessing I have read. There is great wisdom contained in it by a godly man, named Dr. Don Snider. Let me know your thoughts.

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian
By Don M. Snider, PhD

It is simply not the case that, in an environment of persistent cultural wars as exists in America, every well-intentioned attempt to witness to your faith as an Officer Christian will be successful or even well received. There are real, substantive challenges to be overcome if you are to be so well integrated in your personal approach to witness that the Kingdom is advanced while your professional standing is undiminished.

Thus, the Challenge:

Your challenge is to create an understanding and practice by which, as an Officer-Christian, you can meet the challenge of integrating authentically your witness as a Christian with your responsibilities under Oath as a strategic leader within one of America’s military professions.

Mastering the Context (Bennis, On Becoming a Leader)
· Dual callings, God and Country
· Compartmentalization of roles prohibited Biblically; your faith is to be, and will be, known by all
· Officer-Christians within military professions are free to witness appropriately to their faith
· Ethics of the dual callings are mostly compatible, even reinforcing
· Increased secularization in America, including within the military; even some overt hostility toward Officer Christians from secularists, legalists, and atheists as part of the ongoing cultural wars