My blog shift was intended to make this blog more of journal of The Big Trip, my Adventures in Asia, a story of Activities in Afghanistan, a record of what I saw both figuratively and literally on my journey on the other side of the world. Today, I am returning to the previous theme. A story from the perspective of The Hole on the End of the Bible Belt during A Year Without Wearing a Tie.
During my time in the military I became extremely disillusioned with Army Chaplains. So much so that I would fight vehemently for my soldiers to be able to attend services when we were in the field, but wouldn't darken the threshold of a tent where one was being held. If you have ever seen a Protestant service conducted by an Orthodox Priest you would have a glimpse of my dissatisfaction. No doubt I missed something in my boycott. I did attend church, including a Southern Baptist church in Tacoma that was the stereotypical Southern Baptist church to include multiple visits with cakes, pies, and gifts each Tuesday for several weeks after our visit. But not to any military services, with the sole exception being the funerals I attended (twice serving as pallbearer, once for a friend).
Several weeks ago my main right hand man was in my office talking when his wife came by and said they'd be late for church. I took this as my opportunity to eschew work and go to a service so I invited myself to join them. We have been a few times since, today being another. The message was not that memorable to me, but the thing that stands out the most was a guy who stood at the beginning and told of a praise during the prayer request portion.
This gentleman works with a man he described as a Saracen. His initials are A.M. or M.A. depending on where you consider his surname to fall. Apparently A.M./M.A. had a close aunt pass away recently, and despite the thorns around his heart concerning his being a Saracen has approached him clearly questioning about Jesus and this man's Christianity. Listening to him speak, I turned to John sitting next to me and posed the following question:
What if that is the reason for this whole thing?
Not, what if we are in Afghanistan to reach people like that. Not maybe we're here to reach Muslims and tell them of the love of God. No, what if this whole thing: twelve years of conflict; two thousand plus American military deaths; multiple billions of dollars of American taxpayer money spent on operations, construction, relief; contractors mobilized and working; the Corps of Engineers presence; and even our own physical sitting in Fraise Chapel on Kandahar Airfield, what if it was intended JUST FOR THAT ONE MAN.
It may well be.
The real problem I have with writing in a literary style is that I want to go on. I want to support why I think it is. I want to explain. I don't want this to end leaving a sour taste on the mind of the reader as I'm sure it may.
Unless, you are the one person this very post was intended for.
I don't know who that reader is. But there is one. That one reader will read this and get the point. It is always about just one person. Leave the 99 in search of the one. Because it was all about the one.
It always will be.