The highlight for me of AUSA Family Forum III was hearing from Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, the Army’s chief of chaplains. As someone who loves to be involved with religious life on post, I’m always very interested in hearing from the chaplaincy leadership. I also happen to take a major interest in military marriage support -- and the chaplains are the go-to guys for that subject.
Gen. Carver’s message on the important of spiritual support was a strong one. In his own words:
“As we think about resilience, let us not forget the spiritual dimension.”As one commenter pointed out later, he used the word “spiritual” instead of “religious.” This is important because, as you well know, much of our military doesn’t consider itself “religious.” But of those, many would still consider themselves “spiritual.” Rather than turn off a huge chunk of his potential audience, Gen. Carver instead recognized that distinction and talked about ministering to soldiers’ spirits, not just their religiosity.
His presentation focused largely on the Strong Bonds program (something I plan to write about extensively in the future) and the positive outcomes they have seen from it.
But I think more than anything else he managed to remind his audience that soldier resiliency isn’t necessarily just about physical health -- it can and should be about soul health, too. And the chaplains are there to meet that need. As he said:
“As we have gone through this long war there really are some soul needs we need to focus on.”