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A chaplain's principles.

Greetings, everyone! As your newly elected DAV National Chaplain, I would like to share my heartfelt thanks to you, the members, for giving me this opportunity to impart some spiritual or general knowledge to each of you in our membership. In this issue, I would like to focus on a more specific group, the chaplains of this great organization. The Greek philosopher Diogenes said, "We have two ears and only one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less." As a chaplain, I personally believe that we need to spend less time talking and more time living as God has spoken. I have met many a faithful one who could quote scriptural principles from the word of God, but their lives were not viewed as an example of those principles of which they so earnestly spoke.

I am not implying that somehow I exemplify God's principles more than anyone reading this article, but I would say that as long as we humans are in charge, opportunities will certainly abound that could affect our example. Thus, we should always rely on God's wonderfully given grace, mercy and peace to be a scriptural example to others whom we serve.

As chaplains in DAV, we can further minimize those issues by understanding a few additional principles that should guide us.

The first principle is that we, as chaplains, are the spiritual leaders and must be inclusive and not exclusive. Chaplains serve in a pluralistic setting, and as chaplains we will serve many people who are not of our denomination or faith group. In many settings, the chaplains are considered representatives for not only the religious denominations that they serve, but also for the institutions by which they were elected or appointed.

A second principle that should guide us is that we, as chaplains, are to nurture the total religious community. Unlike pastors, chaplains operate in a mobile environment. Just as the DAV's mission is to fulfill the promises to all the men and women who served, chaplains' ministries must never contradict this mission while performing their duties.

Thirdly, the chaplain is not only the spiritual advisor to the commander, but also someone who should intervene, when appropriate, at points which bring spiritual health to the organization and community. The chaplain's ministry may not always be spiritual. A chaplain may have to conduct programs that are not religious in focus but which may be characterized by human growth or character building. In either case, a chaplain's ministry complements his or her faith and places the organization in a like manner.

It is my sincere hope that as DAV chaplains, we all operate from a standard that complements the DAV's mission and purpose while at the same time develops a genuine concern for the overall care of our members, their families and dependents whom we serve spiritually, emotionally and physically. As we walk this journey together this year, I invite you to share your thoughts with me. I do have two ears and one tongue, and I would enjoy the opportunity to listen to your thoughts!

In His Service for You.

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Author:Dover, Michael P.
Publication:DAV Magazine
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2014
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