Friday, April 18, 2014

Faith in the Military: In Heidelberg Faith Goes to My Head

In 1977 I climbed into an Army tour bus for a free trip to Heidelberg, West Germany, to see the annual fireworks.

But I missed half of the event.  From the time we arrived, I sat on the bus reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  The base chaplain gave me a copy just saying he thought I would like it.  I was entranced.  I started reading the book on the bus and couldn't stop.  I stayed on the bus and kept reading while the other soldiers wandered around Heidelberg waiting for nightfall.

Reading this book I came to understand that learning and Christianity were not mutually exclusive.  I entered Christianity through the anti-intellectual door of the Baptist Church and started to wonder if being stupid was the best path to faith.  Taking the Bible literally makes many people suspicious of all learning:  science, philosophy, economics, literature, history.  And here was Lewis bringing every branch of learning together in service of the faith.

By the end of the Heidelberg trip, I was thinking of leaving the Army to go to college full time.

Every Week in Cold War West Germany, Gas Mask Drills

Every week during my three years in Cold War West Germany,  the Tankers of 1-70th Armor had a MOPP drill. Gene Pierce, Abel Lopez and...