Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chaplaincy Course Lesson 4

Chaplaincy Studies

Lesson 4 ~ Where One Ministers

By: Trent Murman


Military chaplains have been attached to the military combat units in every branch of the services:  Air Force, Army and Navy which incorporates the US Marine corps and US Coast Guard.  As we previously learned most religious denominations are represented by the chaplains attached to the US Military.  As a veteran of the US Navy I did have the pleasure of meeting and knowing several military chaplains.  The chaplains are responsible for maintaining religious training and/or guidance to the troops during peace time and war time.  Chaplains have are highly qualified in the social norms of many religious sects including even those Atheists and must be able not to judge anyone regarding his/her own beliefs.  People come to the chaplains for guidance, absolution, comfort and a great listening entity for anyone who just wishes to talk.  Off the battle fields chaplains may be called on to deliver or assist in delivering news of a death to a military members family.  They may be asked to perform weddings, baptisms, christenings or regular church sermons, after all we are all ministers of God.  Chaplains of the Presbyterian faith are a definite asset to the military services as are all denominations.  We are all here for the ultimate honor….to help our fellow man. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chaplaincy Program Lesson 3 by Rev. Murman

Chaplaincy Program
Lesson 3 – Overview of Skills, Qualifications, and Training
By: Trent Murman
Do a self-evaluation of your present skills:
I have good listening skills and an analytical mind.  Always ready to offer help to anyone that asks for it or is in need of it but is ashamed to ask for the help.   I am kind and considerate of others feelings and the need for them to keep a good positive image or self esteem.
Write a short plan of how you will seek to improve.
I do need to continuously keep and learn where to guide people to outside agencies for more complete help with problems.  After being a good listener, I feel it is important not to necessarily solve the problem for them but to assist them in coming to a conclusion or directing them to the proper agency for further help.
Research your religion's [or denomination] qualifications for the chaplaincy:
The applicant must be:
  1. An ordained minister
  2. A citizen of the United States for active duty [if military]; have a Green Card for Reserve or National Guard
  3. At time of appointment:  Normally under age 42 but waivers may be available. Check with the branch of service you're applying to. Adjustments may be considered for prior military service.
  4. Able to receive a favorable National Security Agency clearance.
  5. Physically qualified. (Military branches of service may differ).
  6. A graduate with 120 semester hours of undergraduate credit and 72 semester hours of accredited graduate or theological studies with a Master of Divinity degree or equivalency. This is the military minimum but most Presbyterian denominations require more for ordination.
The Ecclesiastical Endorsement Process
Every chaplain within the Armed Forces, the VA Service, and CAP must possess an Ecclesiastical Endorsement. It is the certification which permits the chaplain to minister in the name of the parent denomination. Furthermore, the Ecclesiastical Endorsement is the authentication by the denomination that the prospective chaplain is not only in good standing with the ordaining body, but is a person highly qualified to serve as a chaplain. For Presbyterian chaplains, it is granted by the Presbyterian Council only after an application process, very careful consideration, and a personal interview.
If application to the Armed Forces is made for a chaplain commission but the Ecclesiastical Endorsement is not granted by the Council, the military application will not be approved, and will be returned without action.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chaplaincy Lesson 2 - Rev. Heckler

 Chaplaincy Lesson 2
Describe someone you know who has the Divine Mark. What set them apart? I had a Pastor a few years back that could fill the whole church. It was sad when he had to leave, that congregation drifted apart. He was so charismatic and full of the spirit that we all are still better people for having known him. It's impossible to describe, but I can say he made all of us want to live up to what we could be, and not accept limits others placed on us.

Has anyone observed the mark in you? Write down what they have said?
             My siblings have always set me apart. To quote the Beatles they said 'in the hours of darkness Mother Mary comes to me,' I just always knew when they needed me. I do feel blessed when God reveals the needs of others, and I feel extremely blessed when God uses me to help them.

Consider your calling. Describe it in a paragraph or two.
            Being the middle of eleven children I was born into the position of helping, mending cuts, kissing bruises, and keeping track of the younger ones whereabouts, and helping my mother out. One of my younger brothers to this day calls me Mother Mary. As time passed our parents died and everyone created their own families. I raised my children, foster children, and I'm now a grandmother, they too grow. When I grew up I went into care-giving for the elderly, crippled, and those with dementia. I have always been called to help and now at this new stage of my life God is pointing me in a new direction to help his children.

Rev. Heckler

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chaplaincy Course Lesson 2 - Trent Murman

Master of Chaplaincy ~ Lesson 2 ~ Essay
The person ~ The mark of the Divine
By Trent Murman   
Describe someone you know who has the Divine Mark.  What set them apart?  
My sister has been an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church for over 25 years.  She has always been very tolerant and understanding that I can remember.  Over the last 10 years she has taken sole charge over our parents medical and social life, doing the day-to-day shopping of groceries and personal needs of both especially in their last days of life.  I believe our parents were Agnostic.  In fact they conveyed to both of us that they really didn't believe there wasn't anything to look forward to after their demise.  We both tried to impress on them there is something and He was waiting for them.  Our father was still noncommittal to his final moment.  However, our mother during her final moments in Hospice did question "why the angels did not have their instruments with them", she then laid back closed her eyes and went off to sleep.  I think my sister showed and still shows to this day signs of a great empathizer and tolerance with people she comes into contact with daily.  This, I believe, is the deciding factor that sets her apart from the other people one might come in contact with.   The greatest gift being "listen to your sheep and tolerance".
Has anyone observed the mark in you? Write down what they have said?  
I have only recently been given the opportunity to really think about my own mark.  I have not really discussed it with many people, but my wife does say she has seen a bit of a change in my day-to-day attitude.
Consider your calling. Describe it in a paragraph or two.
I believe I received the calling just recently.  However, for the past 30 years I started out a combat medic in the USN/USMC.  After doing that for 7 years I was in private practice as a Surgical Physician's Assistant for the following 30 years.  Now that I look back on my journey it is possible my calling happened back when I was 19 years old, being a medic you have to be compassionate, able to listen, direct your patients and be there for them in their times of both sorry and happiness.  Remembering some just want to talk and someone to listen to them.  Now that I look back on my journey I do feel having the ability to "listen" is the greatest asset in this new chapter in my journey.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chaplaincy Lesson #1 by Trent Murman

Role of Chaplains ~ Lesson 1
Submitted by:  Trent Murman
Many years ago when I was attached to the US Navy as a Medic some of my duties were to also take care of our fine men of the USMC (which sooner or later all Navy Corpsman are assigned).  For those of you who are not quite understanding that …it is simple….the Marines are part of the Navy however, they have their own commanders, generals etc….as does the Navy have their own commanders, admirals etc.  Since the Marine Corps does not have a Medical Division, the Navy Medical Corps takes care of our fine men and women in the USMC.
Much of the time in the USN/USMC the Corpsman is alone in the battlefield or on board ship and is required to act as the service men/women chaplain in a very limited capacity when regular clergy are not available…sometimes just a listening ear suffices for the military man or woman to vent or for them to have as compassionate shoulder to rely on. 
My first experience with Navy Chaplains was in 1972.  Having just completed boot camp and was headed out to sea the Chaplain blessed our mission and presented us all with St. Christopher chain medallions for safe passage and a safe return home.  As a youngster of 19 years I was a bit confused by this gesture and I did have the pleasure of having a short conversation with the Chaplain and he explained more to my satisfaction what exactly his role was with the Navy and that I would be their Chaplain, Priest, Minister, Rabi, Mom or Dad…..being the only medical person on board they would be looking up to me for this "sounding board". 
My first personal experience with a Navy Chaplain was in 1977, I was stationed with the 1st Fleet Service Support Group, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, CA….I was assigned with a Marine unit that was shipping out for Okinawa, Japan…we were doing pre-departure maneuvers out in the field when my wife went into labor, she was back with her parents and I was on my way overseas, unfortunately we lost the baby and the Battalion Chaplain found me in the field, gave me the news and simply asked if there was anything he could do for me….I said if you can please get my orders changed to stay state side with my wife as a hardship…..he found me 2 hours later and said…it's taken care of.  He listened to me and within his powers this Priest did his best to help both me and my wife deal with this situation.
I have the utmost respect for the Marine Corps, Navy and the Chaplains assigned to serve and help all of our military personnel and their families in time of happiness and sorrow.  Now I do understand the role of the Chaplain and I definitely feel there is role, ever growing as it may be, for Chaplains in the Military Community. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mystical Christianity lesson #3

Questions For the Heart and Mind
1. What in your opinion is the significance of the discovery of these ancient manuscripts?
That they are so different from the texts we have that make up the Bible. Like, they were hidden for a reason...perhaps they were to be destroyed and instead someone hid them so they wouldn't be burned? I can just imagine what actually WAS all burned and destroyed. The teachings, the saying, are just amazing on a different level. Being that we now have so many religions, and mystical ideas flowing through the is amazing that they would be found NOW. 
A shame that a lot wasn't canonized, but then again, if only the true initiate would understand them anyway, it is better certain people study this, anyway.

2. What is your understanding of the Essene Community?
The Essenes were special as they felt they had a secret mission, or understood Jesus' teaching far beyond any others knowledge.  Perhaps those like John The Baptist, Mary Magdalene, even the  disciples  could have been part of this special group. They aided those in need, and kept very secretive otherwise.

3. How do you define the term "gospel"? Do you feel that the non-canonical gospels have valid authority and significant messages for your life?

Gospel, or God Speak, is the 'true' word of God. The four Gospels from the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are said to be valid books with writings direct from God's command. I have read, though, like in Mark, the part of Jesus' death and resurrection reveal they were written by someone else.  The Non Canon books have a lot of hidden meanings, yet reveal a teaching, and a very Wise Jesus giving his wisdom to Mary Magdalene as well as the disciples. The Books reveal to me that more is going on than what the strict Church will teach you. In order to find God within, one must read further..examine what is out there to be found. It isn't for everyone, but those who seek will find some great reading. 

Bob Koenig