Well, it’s been a whirlwind of a weekend for me. Lots happening in the congregations I’m serving, I performed a wedding in which the groom was a wrestler I worked out with and mentored during my time at Old Dominion University, and I prepped and made my way down to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for “Professional Naval Chaplaincy – Basic Leadership Course Phase I.”
That’s the official title. We’ll just call it “Chaplain’s School” or “Phase I.” I’ll spend the next 4 weeks with other Navy Reserve Chaplains and Navy Chaplain Candidates being indoctrinated into doing ministry in an institutional setting – Chaplaincy in the Navy.
On the drive down, I realized that my “first” Navy career also began in South Carolina – in Charleston. I spent a year training as a Nuclear Power Officer in the Navy, eventually serving on a submarine. That was back in 2001-2002 and honestly, it was my “indoctrination” into the Nuclear Navy and the Submarine Force. Now here I am today, driving down to Fort Jackson to begin a new part of my Navy career – a call to be a Chaplain.
I have mixed feelings of course. On one hand, I’m looking forward to the learning. On the other hand, the whole “indoctrination thing” – restricted freedoms – will be a challenge. I’ve been around Navy life for close to 17 years now, so it’s not like the Navy is a new thing to me.
What I’m really looking forward to though, is what I think I can treat as a sabbatical of sorts – a chance to reflect on this first year of ministry with my two congregations, to reflect on some changes I need to make in my coaching approach with my wrestlers for the upcoming year, to reflect on the gift my wife is in my life and to take stock of how we’re doing life together, and of course, to reflect on my vocation as a Navy chaplain.
That said, I thought it would be fun to utilize social media and blogging for the next 4 weeks for folks that wish to follow along with what I’m wrestling with. I’ll try to blog at least 1-2 times a week while I’m here, and there’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as well. If you search #NuclearChaplain you’ll find my pics and tweets. Did ya get the hashtag? A little combination of my Naval career!
Blessings in all you wrestle with in this life, and may you find a sense of faith and God’s presence in it all!