Sunday, August 13, 2006

Most Will Preach Better Dead

James Kiefer;

Keywords: chaplain, ministry, life, death

An English chaplain in the First World War, Studdert-Kennedy, gave an address to his fellow-chaplains in which he said (approximately):

"The one thing that you absolutely must do as chaplains is to go into the line with the men. The Army does not require it. As far as regulations are concerned, you are free to stay out of the trenches, well behind the front, and minister to the men before they go into combat and when they come back out for brief intervals. But if you do that, you will do no good at all. There is no way that you can talk about the meaning of life and death to a man who is facing death and knows that you are not. But if you go into the line with the men, if you get shot at and shelled and gassed along with them, then they will listen to you. And it doesn't matter whether you are eloquent. The fact that you are there with them when you don't have to be, doing your Master's business, will tell them something about your Master. Of course, taking this advice means that you may be killed. So be it. The more chaplains that die in the trenches doing Christ-like deeds, the better. Most of us will preach far better dead than alive."

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