Thursday, July 22, 2004
He's Coming Home Today, Iraq veteran
My son-in-law, having served with the 1st Armored (extended) in Iraq for 15 months, is returning stateside to his family today. We will pick him up at SeaTac airport tonite, bring him to his home where he will be reunited with his family (wife and three children).
This has been an amazing growth year for me personally, as what has become an almost singular focus for me is the evolution of political events since 911 to the war in Iraq, to my son-in-law going to serve, to an amazing need to shore up my understanding of political process, to lending my own small voice to activistism and speaking out against not only the war, but many of the actions taken by President Bush.
The sermons I deliver on my assigned Sundays at church (I am preacher-in-training at our church) have taken on a definite bent that speaks at every opportunity against the war as not among the teachings of God or Jesus. I was feeling a disconnect with my own parish as the subject of politics, war, global events seemed to be non-existent. The first time I introduced the topics in my turn to deliver the sermon, I guess I thought that there would be boos and throwing rotten eggs (okay, that wouldn't really happen among our parishoners). But it wasn't just my local church, rather there seemed to be a non-voice amongst many of the churches and faith beliefs while the "Christian" voice of the President seemed to take on more and more weight and pretty much seemed to be setting up the defining of what it is to be christian. My thoughts, distressed, kept wondering why I wasn't hearing more from the collective churches.
Maybe the churches were speaking out and I just wasn't tuned in or finding the places where that was happening. By now, nearly a year later, the churches are coalitioning and speaking out. In those many, many anxious months while we waited at home, supported my daughter's family while we listened to the news, scoured the internet trying to learn as much as we could about the war efforts in Iraq, it sure seemed to me that the churches were being strangely silent on the subject. In frustration and helplessness, I had to find places where I could speak my own thoughts, ask questions, challenge and wonder aloud, and one of those venues was to use my sermons for that purpose. It wasn't quite what our little church group was used to hearing, yet they did listen and comment positively on the content of my sermons, or maybe it was my passion for the subject since it was so close to home.
We have two in our family, actually, both served with 1st Armored in Iraq, both 15 months, and my nephew arrived safely to Germany in early July, with my son-in-law arriving to Germany a few weeks later. Tonite then, we will collect our veteran soldier son-in-law and bring him home to his family. There is so much yet to be learned from his first-hand observations, but for now, it is closure to an anxious chapter in our lives.