Centurions Guild Inaugural Article
Amidst marital dreams and the holy fire of patriotism, bonds are forged and refined in ways that defy words. It goes without saying that such fervor rarely is led by humble confidence or restraint, that blind nationalism is a very dangerous thing indeed. But there are a few of us that seek to follow the narrow path of considerate patriotism and genuine piety. Over a year ago three of us came together to form a new type of kinship founded in our common vocation. One of us was active duty Navy, another was a former Air Force Cadet turned conscientious objector, and a third was an Army combat veteran.
A few months ago one of us deployed to Iraq, and we welcomed into our ranks a Marine combat veteran of 8 years and an Ohio National Guardsman. However, we represent only the beginning of a movement of men and women who desire to serve their country nonviolently, to abide by their convictions as people of faith. We remember the great faith of the Centurions who recognized
Christ’s healing power at Capernaum, who approached the Baptizer in enemy territory at the River Jordan, and who bore witness to the Crucifixion and divinity of Jesus at Golgotha.
Far from abandoning our posts, we feel incredibly grateful by the oppor- tunities offered by our nation, such as the freedoms of expression and religious practice. We remain com- mitted to faith and service, concepts significant to both our national and spiritual identities. Centurion’s Guild hopes to be the community in which other airmen, marines, sailors, and soldiers will be able to discern where and when such identities may be mutually exclusive.
In 2008 alone, we counseled over a dozen service members and provided nearly $5,000 in grants to fellow warriors wounded by the scars of combat and spiritual fatigue. At the beginning of 2009, we began evalu- ating where our strengths and weak- nesses lay. We have found ourselves inclined toward pastoral care and
relational support for other Centurions, including offering our own experiences and insight coupled with a consistent theology that does not compromise our religious convictions for professional obligations.
Every few months, we will be put- ting out a new issue of Change of Command ripe with stories, social commentary, and other resources for you and yours who might be strug- gling with how to reconcile their faith in God with their service to our nation.
We welcome any comments or suggestions you may have, including books or movies to review, public figures to interrogate, or articles you have written concerning issues relevant to issues central to our communal story.
*This blog entry comes from our community newsletter, Change of Command. To see it in its original form, check out Issue #1!