Monday, December 25, 2017

Running Back to Faith with Iraq Veteran Chaplain

How I became Christian again: my long journey to find faith once more 
The Guardian 
Bryan Mealer 
December 25, 2017 

After experiencing the horrors of war, Bryan Mealer lost his faith. Morning runs with a priest – and a visit to a more welcoming church – helped restore it

Reclaiming the title is a moral protest against those who attack immigrants, refugees, minorities, and the poor and the sick, the very people whom Christ instructed us to help.’ Photograph: El Mundo Ilustrado/Rex/Shutterstock
"Our first Sunday, a man stood up and testified about being ostracized from his previous congregation because he was gay. All he’d wanted to do was worship, and the God who’d met him at Trinity did so with compassion and love, not judgment. I knew I’d found a home, one whose Christian values were suitable for my children."
A few mornings a week, I go running with a priest.
We meet at 5.30 under a streetlamp in central Austin and make our way down to the state capitol building and back, a distance of about eight miles. It’s a routine we started nearly two years ago, and it came during a pivotal point in my life.
I was 40 years old, the father of three small children, and beginning to wrestle with some of the bigger questions that loom at middle age, particularly about faith.
After growing up in the church and leaving for many years – even abandoning my beliefs at one point while covering war – I was contemplating a return. On a visit to my parents, my children had inadvertently exposed a void that I’d been trying to ignore. My three-year-old daughter asked my mother, “What is God?” only to have her brother reply: “Don’t you know, silly? God is Harvey.” 

Harvey is what we called our Honda. The look my mother shot me is still burned into my retinas.
David was a priest at an Episcopal church in south Austin and the author of two books. He was also a former marine and chaplain in the army who’d served in Iraq. read more here