Posts tagged " cultivate awareness "

Moral Injury Shows the Limits of Forgiveness – an article by Max Lindenman posted on Patheos

March 14th, 2017 Posted by Articles 1 comment

Max Lindenman explores the difficulty for veterans to experience forgiveness.

Soul Repair Center: Moral Injury Worship Guide

February 13th, 2017 Posted by Congregational, Resources No Comment yet

Suggestions for raising awareness of moral injury in worship service from the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School.


August 18th, 2016 Posted by Organizations, Resources No Comment yet

RezVets is a Veterans outreach and educational organization designed to positively impact military members and their families and friends. Its mission is to help restore, reconcile and re-integrate veterans and their families to a holistic relationship within family and community including the community of faith.

Military Outreach USA

August 17th, 2016 Posted by Organizations, Resources No Comment yet

Military Outreach USA is a national, community-based outreach program that celebrates, supports and networks with the Military Community. The organization connects our military community with churches by providing resources and referrals to help serve those who have served.

Soul Care Conversation (Faith Community Response, Cultivate Awareness)

July 15th, 2016 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

(The purpose of Soul Care Conversation is to create a place to generate dialogue, initiate thoughtful consideration for the challenges our veterans face each day, share ideas of veteran and family well-being and healing, and spark within all of us a call to be engaged with the veteran and caregiver community. Click here to visit the forum and join the conversation!)

Last week we began a conversation with a new focus. We discussed the opportunities that the faith community has to respond to veteran challenges. We recognized the importance to celebrate the faith community’s strengths and capacities for care. We discovered that each is a gift that can become a part of the foundation on which you can now move to respond in developing a relationship with a veteran and their family. This week we will specifically discuss how the faith community can cultivate awareness in order to respond to the unique challenges within the veteran community.


Self-awareness is crucial to our health, happiness, and self-worth. Studies have been made, a plethora of books and papers written, and interest groups formed; all centered on the cultivation and practice of self-awareness. In fact, career coaches offer training on cultivating self-awareness. Why is self-awareness a popular topic? Self-awareness offers one balance, objectivity, and inner stability.

Additionally, cultivating self-awareness is a critical component in our spiritual journey. Awareness opens the windows of opportunity to see the truth about ourselves and our personal behavior. It starts with a feeling that something is not right. We sense that there is a disconnect between our mind and spirit.

Discernment is the first step. Then one must decide what to do with these thoughts and feelings. Even as we know the positive outcomes of self-awareness, we still find it difficult to filter through our own stuff. We may face certain truths about ourselves we do not desire to face. This process is hard work.

Self-awareness has an additional value, it opens us to possibilities of engaging in relationships with others by;

  • discovering contentment in ourselves which opens us to learning
  • desiring to find solutions rather than complain
  • identifying the triggers that create in us uncomfortable feelings and beliefs, anger, and pain that tend to cause isolation
  • creating a desire to serve others

These tools become a good foundation in developing and sustaining relationships. As it is with self-awareness, so it is the same in awareness with others. It is hard work! Often we get so bogged down in sifting through our own agendas and biases that they become impediments in developing and sustaining relationships. Understanding this dynamic will be helpful as we open ourselves to the possibilities for veteran care.


Cultivating awareness has several levels that we should discuss with regard to veteran care. Faith community members can be a great resource for veteran care. But, faith community members can also be a hindrance or an obstacle in a healing and restoration journey of veterans. What then do we need to know?

There are three levels to cultivating awareness that are important for our discussion;

  • self-awareness
  • relational awareness
  • community awareness

First, we must have self-awareness prior to engaging a veteran mission or ministry. All of us hold to personal beliefs and biases from hair styles and genres of music, to our politics and our world view. We have differing theologies on war and peace, and ideologies on the role of the military in US foreign policy. Knowing and understanding what we believe when it pertains to warriors and veterans, and US foreign policy and the use of the military will often form our thoughts and feelings that will motivate and shape our conversations. How we say or what we say in our conversations can either be helpful or hurtful.

How can we walk with one another knowing we have different personalities, priorities, and perspectives? Having self-awareness and understanding the differences between individuals will influence how we develop our relationships. Seeing ourselves through the prism of our motivations, theologies, and ideologies will help us see and understand these qualities in others. This becomes helpful in developing and sustaining relationships.

Second, as you consider a mission and ministry with veterans, it is important to consider the following relational awareness aspects;

  • conduct an inventory of why you desire to develop a relationship with a veteran (Do you have a personal agenda?)
  • pray about your thoughts and feelings toward veterans (Do you have a desire to “fix” the veteran, or just be with the veteran?)
  • consider your theology and ideology that may be different than that of a veteran (Do you desire to convert the veteran to your way of thinking or do you desire to understand the veteran’s way of thinking?)
  • contemplate the experiences of the veteran returning from war and his or her family challenges (This deep relational facet requires time and commitment. Are you willing to go the distance?)

The stakes are high and the costs of war are very personal for the veteran. As you engage in relational awareness, consider attentive and non-judgmental listening. Many veterans have experienced telling a friend or family member their war story only to be met with silence or judgment. Experiences made normal in the military may be offensive to a civilian. I like to say, “Listen with your heart, not your ears.” Deep listening will help the warrior in his or her spiritual struggle.  For a veteran, telling even a small snippet of one’s story and feeling heard and accepted may be the first important step toward healing.

Third, in order to journey with the veteran community, we also need to have community awareness by;

  • developing cultural competency with the military and veteran community in order to understand the unique experiences and contributions of those who served
  • discovering the resource agencies and organizations within your community that help veterans
  • exploring the challenges that the veteran must overcome in your community like homelessness and unemployment

Warriors, veterans, and their families have unique needs that require a culturally competent approach in care. It is particularly important in the veteran community. If a veteran suspects a lack of understanding, they will walk away. Veterans already feel under appreciated by the civilian population at large and this shortcoming may create an obstacle for the faith community to understand or reach the veteran’s spiritual needs.

Faith communities that have a military or veteran population have the potential to develop and sustain relationships outside the walls of their campus. Cultivating military and veteran cultural competency will prove beneficial as it will translate into the acknowledgement of the veteran’s unique experience and significance.

So, next week, we will continue this conversation on cultivating awareness as we will look at some practical steps to do so. Until then, thank you for the conversation…

Soul Care: Spiritual Journey Toward Healing and Well-being for Our Veterans and their Families

November 10th, 2015 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

The church is uniquely positioned to give attention to the spiritual health of our veterans – an underserved component of veteran’s well-being. Churches have distinctive strengths and capacities for care. The church is the sacred community called forth for life and healing.

The Atlantic – Healing a Wounded Sense of Morality

October 26th, 2015 Posted by Articles, Resources No Comment yet

Maggie Puniewska, writing for The Atlantic, provides an in depth look at moral injury and various efforts to help veterans heal.

Kansas City veteran copes with moral injury from war

October 26th, 2015 Posted by Blog, Multimedia, Resources No Comment yet

KSHB’s short segment highlights the struggles of moral injury through Kansas City veteran Ted John, a retired U.S. Marine.

CBS News: Veterans Journey Home – Faith, Hope & War

October 26th, 2015 Posted by Blog, Multimedia, Resources No Comment yet

VETERANS JOURNEY HOME: FAITH, HOPE & WAR, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at the unique challenges faced by male and female veterans as they transition to civilian life. This special broadcast features the work of organizations like the Soul Repair Center that are focused on moral injury.


Click here to watch the video on CBS’s website.

The Huffington Post – Moral Injury

August 5th, 2015 Posted by Articles, Resources No Comment yet

A 3 part series of stories by David Wood on the HuffingtonPost focusing on moral injury