Well, she did it, and I never had any doubts. Today, Deb completed her one-year Residency with the Houston Methodist Hospital system. The requirements for a professional National Board Certification of a Hospital Chaplain are more complicated than one might realize. For Deb, she needed a Master of Divinity, a massive degree in the neighborhood of 80 credit hours. Following that completion, there is the required thumbs up from an endorsement agency, which generally requires a chaplaincy ordination from a local congregation or denomination. Then there is the residency program, which includes regular and on-call hours in the hospital and credited hours of “Clinical Pastoral Education.” Finally, after all of this, Deb will undergo the National Board Certification examination in February, which I know will be a stroll in the park for her.
The role of a hospital chaplain is more than praying for and with patients. It is discovering where a person is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and helping them walk through their internal and external healing process. The position also cares for the hospital’s doctors, nurses, and other staff personnel. Much of it is purposefully being some very direct “salt and light” in a place of pain looking for healing. (more…)
That is the question of the hour, the day, and the reality of our present culture. Established contracts are killed, marriages are mutilated, and churches are crucified by the question of what I am going to get out of something, even at the expense of others. When I was a junior in High School, Janet Jackson quarreled with the question, “What have you done for me lately” and in a Presidential Town Hall debate, a college-aged woman rose to ask the then-candidate, George W Bush, what he would do for her if he were elected.
Suppose I were on stage that night and had been asked that question. In that case, I’d probably have responded with something along the lines of, “Well, I’m going to challenge you to take hold of every opportunity you have as an American citizen and get up and do something great.” I would have followed the call of JFK, who broadcasted in his Inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.”
That is what I would have said if I were on stage running for the Presidential gig that day. But honestly, who am I kidding? (more…)
Four times in Joshua chapter one, the great leader was exhorted to be strong and courageous. I find that interesting. Why would this be such an urgency? Because apparently, Joshua wasn’t very heroic then. The nation of Israel was about to head into the Promised Land. This military campaign was something they had not done before, and Joshua was charged with leading them. The possibility of fear was substantial. The danger was immense. The unknown was profound. God’s odd battle plan of marching around Jericho to take the city seemed ludicrous. Wouldn’t an artillery bombardment and Marine frontal attack make more sense? The “What ifs” were compounding by the moment. (more…)