Sunday, March 27, 2005

So, what does a chaplain do?

Over the years I have led, facilitated and team-taught programs, discussions, presentations, and reflections on subjects as diverse as time management, meditation for busy people, poetry workshops, and writing on the right side of the brain. I’ve also offered programs on social ethics, men’s spirituality, the Enneagram and the Myers Briggs Type Inventory, and the life and thought of Thomas Merton. I’ve presented several series on spirituality and religion with films from a spectrum as diverse as Monty Python, Steven Speilberg and Ingmar Bergman.

All this in addition to taking part in annual programs on pastoral care and listening skills for campus leaders, and serving - on request - as an occasional mediator for student organizations in crisis. Each semester also meant sponsoring and organizing group outings to Cathedrals, Temples, Art Museums, and award winning plays, as well as ongoing work in fundraising, planning, publicity and preaching in nearby venues. And one memorable year I even was one of the stars in one of the annual campus musical!

And with this list of wide-spectrum and seemingly ceaseless activity it is of crucial importance that one of the highest compliments I ever received came when a student told me I was a “creative loiterer.” “You hang around and let things happen,” she said. I take her remark as pointing to the very essence of chaplaincy as well as very serious praise indeed.

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