Is there a chaplain in the house?
John Weeks, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/23/2009 02:54:40 PM PDT
My first reaction was to give up hope. I had just read the headline on a press release that crossed my desk this week, which said, “Redlands Police Department seeks chaplains.”I thought, well, if even the police are saying it’s in God’s hands now, we’re in more trouble than I thought.
But then I read a little further. “The Redlands Police Department hopes to expand its current chaplain program and invites local clergy members to volunteer. Department chaplains serve as a resource in dealing with the public at incidents such as accidental deaths, suicides, suicidal subjects, serious accidents, drug and alcohol abuse and other situations.”OK, now I think it’s a great idea. In fact, with the state of our society being the way it is, I think we need to position chaplains everywhere. Historically, of course, chaplains have served exclusively in high-trauma environments at hospitals and war zones. These days, however, high-trauma environments are everywhere.Let me phrase it another way. Everywhere is a high-trauma environment.Every time I go to the bank, for example, I see souls who have lost their way, not to mention their money and their savings and their retirement funds, and they are wretched, tempest-tossed, and sick at heart. We need chaplains on the scene at these banks, to minister to these unfortunate ones. The chaplains can offer prayer, guidance, and perhaps free wallet calendars.We need chaplains at the grocery stores, too. Prices are so high we barely can put food on the table any more. Perhaps a little spiritual sustenance will help tide us over, until we can afford actual groceries again.

I would like to see chaplains at the gas stations, too. The price of gas is so high that filling the tank can be a real trial and tribulation. Maybe chaplains could talk to us, and calm us down, as they check our oil and wash our windshields.

There should be roving chaplains at the casinos, too, not only to provide grief counseling to those who suddenly have lost everything, but to admonish those who suddenly have struck it rich, to keep them on the straight and narrow. Personally, I would welcome the presence of chaplains at the casinos, especially if they also provide beverage service.

Come to think of it, chaplains might offer a valuable service even at churches. Sometimes we just don’t have time to spend two hours or more at regular services. If there was a sort of spiritual triage unit out in the church lobby, where chaplains were present to provide us with a quick blessing and laying on of hands, then send us on our way, it would be a real convenience.

Definitely there should be chaplains stationed in every workplace. With the ever-present threat of layoffs, pay cuts, unpaid furloughs and suspended benefits, we all need prayer breaks these days even more than we need coffee breaks.

Finally, we desperately need chaplains in the council chambers of all our elected government officials, whether city, county or state. Perhaps the presence of the clergy would help tip the balance away from the Devil, who clearly has been directing these proceedings for some time now.


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