Friday, June 08, 2007

I am still here

I am not lost even though I am not exactly sure to get home from where I am, except by waiting 'til the Army takes me home. As you may have guessed the websense turned back on and blocked me from blog sites again. Well given my new amount of free time I was able to find a place to write to all of you. Thanks for being patient and checking back all the time even the updates are "rare" :) I have been packing and making ready for going home. Now that the packing is over with I have time to get into trouble.
Anyway most of my time lately has been spent helping the Pagan circle on base get established. They are an interesting group to say the least and working with them for this past year has encouraged me in my own faith more than I think they know. I feel like relating with you some of my thoughts that come from working with them.
Initially I was voluntold to help them, but I would have anyway. The 'mayor' chaplain at the time did not want to help them and passed them on to me. I was glad to help them mostly because I really do believe in religious freedom no matter how wrong your religion is (bit of sarcasm there):) also because I have some Pagan friends back home that I would like to better understand, and it is always good to learn new things. In the grand scheme of things I was also thinking that it would be better to help them and remain a positive influence in their lives, rather than shun them and have no influence on them. I truly believe that God brought them across my door for our mutual edification.
They have brought me a far better understanding of the Pagan/Wiccan religion than I had when I came to this place. And from several small teachable moments I have shown them the gospel in action. I believe that it is our place as believers to be a light to the world, but what light are we when we do not let it shine. Avoiding others of a different religion only keeps the light that Christ has given you out of their lives.
As I leave this place I am somewhat alarmed that they are having difficulty finding another chaplain to sponsor them.
What I have learned:
They really really like to worship. They enjoy practicing their religion. It is heartwarming to see people who actually celebrate their religion. It also reinforces the words of Romans 1 to me. That every man knows in his/her heart that God is there. There is an inner unsupressable urge to worship the divine in every heart.
They are dedicated more so than many of my christian brotheren (and sisteren.) Despite ridicule and passive-aggressive persecution they persist in their practices. Really I have to say as far as they go, they really have more faith than I do. For me it is easy to believe in Jesus Christ. It makes so much sense to me the more I learn and understand. What they cling to is a belief that is far more mysterious. I mean for me it is hard sometimes in a hard line scientific world that presses itself against God and belief, but I know that I have facts in my corner. Facts that are bolstered by awesome coincidence. I really don't know what they have. Some of their beliefs are so fantastic I really marvel at their faith.
Plus they have always been very nice and respectful to me. Some of that may be because I am the one who makes their meetings 'legitimate' in army's eyes. But I get the feeling that it is more that that. They respect me for my religious beliefs not in spite of them as so many of my officer peers often do.
All in all I cannot stop my own belief and I hope that in some way they Holy Spirit touches their lives and they come to find Jesus as their savior. I want them to feel the comfort and forgiveness of the God of Israel. Funny thing is that I know that they know that about me and it is alright to them that I believe that they need Jesus. I hope to someday know more about who God is and why our hearts are so quick to make idols (I know my own heart is as such) So quick to put anything and everything in front of worshiping God. I guess one last thing about this group is that they are willing to recognize and name their idols, whereas many Christians who pay Christ lip service are blinded to their own idolatry. I do not know which is worse.

P.S. Scorpians ok Spiders not that great. I happen to like spiders too much to eat them. And hope to see you all face to face real soon.


Blogger Archie said...

I applaud you for your willingness to support the Pagan group even though you find their beliefs mysterious and wrong. I think that Jesus would do that sort of thing, even though, like you, he would clearly maintain his own beliefs. I look forward to getting to know you as I have come to know Anne and Connor a bit as their pastor. Blessings, prayers, and good journey to you.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Judy Schletty said...

My former husband used to bartend when he was in college. He used to say that it was one of the best paying jobs for a student. However, his mother said she was worried because she was afraid he'd "get like them."

I just let that go in one ear and out the other because I believed (and still do) that if your beliefs are strong and if they are nurtured, your personality won't change.
Besides, there is good to be found in all of us.

We have much to be thankful for this summer. You'll be home soon and I will be getting two new nephews from Russia hopefully next month too. One of them will be just a few months older than Connor.


4:07 PM  
Blogger Roland said...

Good for you Todd.
I think we are very close to the same place in our journey with Jesus.
Do you cook the scorpions, or eat them raw and wriggling?

7:28 PM  
Blogger Judy Schletty said...

Hi Todd,

On a lighter note, I remember babysitting my nephew when he was just a little older than Connor. He still wasn't making long sentences, so I was quite startled when he said this to me: "Witches on broomsticks, flying over haystacks." Must have been close to Halloween and maybe he had been watching Sesame Street.

Oh, the amazing things you have to look forward to, soon!

Take care and God bless you!

Love, Judy and Uncle Randy

1:51 AM  
Blogger Judy Schletty said...

Just got the word. They're back! Grandma called Randy after Todd called Grandma. Said he's in Wisconsin.

Wonderful news! I bet Anne is happy and I know she'll be down there as soon as she can.

I know I can say for Todd and all of his family, thanks for your prayers and thanks for your support. We've been in this together as members of the Body of Christ.

Right now I hope our soldiers get some much needed rest and relaxation while we prepare official celebrations.

We wait to greet them and thank them for their courageous service.

Love, Prayers and Peace,

Judy Schletty and Uncle Randy Luken

11:42 PM  
Blogger Roland said...

I wonder if the back again has happened??

3:23 AM  
Blogger Roland said...

Who is Chaplain Luken and where is he?

7:53 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

God bless you Pastor Luken!

May our Lord bless you and keep you!

Tell all those wonderful guys and gals over there that Steve Martin (not the real one) is praying for them and thinks that they are the greatest!

- Steve M.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Arlen said...

Sir, as a Pagan myself who is slowly working towards becoming a military Chaplain I would like to thank and applaud you for your kindness and care towards the Pagans on your base.
I think it shoes that you are a truly devout man and genuinely caring for their souls and happiness by supporting them on their own spiritual journeys, weather you agree with them or not.

Kudos to you and thank you for your service!

1:15 PM  

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