My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Review: Chaplaincy: A Comprehensive Introduction

Chaplaincy: A Comprehensive Introduction Chaplaincy: A Comprehensive Introduction by Mark A Jumper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I am not an exact match for the target audience, not being an Evangelical Christian, am I close enough (in formation to be ordained as a Catholic Deacon) to potentially find the information presented to be interesting and helpful … and for the most part I was correct. The book is divided into two parts; with part one providing a basic foundation to understand the specifics cited in part two (which talks about where chaplains are typically found along with what is typically required in that specific ministry. As might be expected with multiple authors, there was a but of repetition and a bit of a bipolar feel to part one, where I assume the intent was to demonstrate the tension between being true to the principals championed by your organization ordination and the need to minister to a plurality of faiths, some of which may not be compatible with your own confession. This includes an excellent discussion on the Constitutional Separation of Church and State and how public chaplains can still fit within that framework. In addition, a fair amount of part one involved talking about how chaplains need to live there faith … which wasn’t really much different that how christians in general should live their faith … so … they need to be Uber Christians? That actually was not as helpful as the authors might has expected (given a presumption that most of this was probably already covered in depth in their formation process). This gave part one more of a motivation feel than a practical guide with specific tips and examples on how the chaplain was different.

Part two introduction ten (10) areas of our society where chaplains are currently serving, with a rough comparison that allows the reader to get a good feel for how each ministry might be different (extremely helpful for anyone discerning a call to be a chaplain). Each Chapter is further divided into a brief history of chaplains within that functional area, a summary of the culture and ethos in which these chaplains serve, a few tips and recommendations about the work a chaplain does in this capacity, and an outline of the requirements and supporting organizations that can help someone discerning a call to be a chaplain in this segment of our community. Each chapter finishes with a section on leadership and an overall summary of the chapter material. Each chapter was also concise and well organized, leveraging much of the terms and ideas presented in part one. Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone either discerning a call to be a chaplain, or even for those who might otherwise work with or hire a chaplain for their own organization.

The chapters and sections in this work are:

Part One: Chaplaincy Examined
1. A Brief Introduction to Chaplaincy
2. Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Foundations of Chaplaincy
3. Chaplains in History
4. The Constitution and religious Freedom in Chaplaincy
5. Evangelical Identity
6. Endorsement and Employment
7. The Person of the Chaplain
8. Chaplaincy Case and Chaplaincy Skills
9. The Ministry of Presences
10. Chaplaincy Leadership

Part Two: Ten Functional Areas of Chaplaincy
11. Corporate Chaplaincy
12. Healthcare Chaplaincy
13. Military Chaplaincy
14. Education Chaplaincy
15. Prison Chaplaincy
16. Community Chaplaincy
17. Disaster Relief Chaplaincy
18. Public Safety Chaplaincy
19. Recreation Chaplaincy
20. Sports Chaplaincy

Some of the other points that really got my attention are:

We are thus defined by our location not outside something but inside something—with unparalleled access to people’s lives. Our paradigm is to serve in the workplaces of those outside the church with all the ministry that’s possible, rather than going on mission to attract people to our church or to build new churches.

A chaplain is a minister (or priest or holder of another such office) who represents a recognized religion and who joins an institution or organization, usually secular, as one of its people in order to support and minister to its members from the inside.

Much of the chaplain’s ministry is focused on helping people with their relationships, whether in the workplace, at home, or in their play.

Essentially, GC2 is all that God calls chaplains to do. The Great Commandment directs the chaplain to enjoy an all-consuming love relationship with God and then to share that love relationship with others—a task that is accomplished by fulfilling the Great Commission.

Chaplaincy offers unparalleled access to people’s lives and access by those people, regardless of their religious beliefs or affiliation, to a clergyperson serving as a chaplain.

The good chaplain does not just show respect for all but takes the trouble to hear deeply and learn who others are, whatever their beliefs or religion. The good chaplain serves as a via media, a “middle way”: a person who, while standing strong in their own faith, can love those of other faiths while daily living and working with them as a colleague.

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) has expanded dramatically in practice and influence since its founding almost a century ago. Many areas of chaplaincy encourage CPE qualifications, and some—especially healthcare chaplaincies—require it.

Confessional pluralism is the maintenance and accommodation of a plurality of forms of religious expression and organization in the community. Structural pluralism encourages each community to maintain and accommodate a variety of social units that foster religion, such as families, schools, charities, churches, and synagogues.

The endorsement of chaplains by federally recognized religious groups allows the government to ensure that the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion is afforded to military members, hospital patients, and many other people, while at the same time not establishing religion. To this end the ecclesiastical endorser serves as the sole religious authority for chaplains.

Chaplains working in pluralistic settings should seek to make sure every individual’s religious needs are met without violating their own biblical convictions, their ordination vows, or the endorser’s policies. When a chaplain cannot provide direct religious care to an individual, the chaplain should seek out another chaplain or clergyperson who can help meet the need.

Some evangelical chaplains have found a warm reception among religiously diverse audiences by making the following statement prior to voicing their Christian prayer in order to show respect for all: “Thank you for the opportunity to pray. I will be praying from the perspective of my Christian faith tradition. Please join me as you desire, according to your faith tradition.”

Ninety seconds is more than sufficient for a prayer of invocation. A benediction is a prayer of supplication and blessing for the future, asking for God’s help to strengthen all involved to accomplish all that they hope to achieve. Sixty seconds is more than enough time for this prayer of benediction as people fidget to leave the ceremony.

Examples of theoxenic hospitality exist throughout Jesus’s ministry. Many people invite Jesus to their homes, providing dinner, wine, and conversation. Jesus enters their homes as a guest, partaking of the hospitality of the host. As the dinner progresses, the home—the safe space—of the person becomes a holy place and a sacred space in which Jesus transforms into the Good Host.

When chaplains enter a room, their presence elicits responses from people, including the avoidance of offensive language, the hiding of certain books and magazines under couches, the changing of TV stations, and the cessation of negative behaviors. People respond as if Christ is entering the room. Through evangelical chaplains, God’s presence calls people to a sense of accountability.

Northouse explains transformational leadership’s main focus as being “concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. It includes assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings.”

A relational style of leadership means leading from the bottom up in that the leader will guide others by fostering relationships, practicing a personal kind of management, and caring for others.

A servant leader is a person of character who puts people first, is a skilled communicator, is a compassionate collaborator, demonstrates foresight, is a systems thinker, and leads with moral authority. These descriptions are also known as the seven pillars of servant leadership.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Chaplaincy #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.