Healing the Moral Wounds of War



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Moral Injury

I get ready to move to what is very likely my final assignment in the Army. I will become the Command Chaplain for the Southern Region Medical Command. From Jun 08 to Jul 11 I served as the Command Chaplain for the Medical Command in the Army. I've also been to war three times and during my Jan 04 to Feb 05 deployment to Iraq saw more of the rawness of war than I cared to. Moral Injury is the right and proper way to define it. I've gotten help and I continue to be a "work in progress". I continue to recover and view my journey as growth. I am excited about working with a smaller number of clinically trained chaplains and hope to collaborate with them to shape some meaningful, evidenced based care that will assist recovery, particularly for our wounded, ill and injured in our warrior transition units. I look forward to working with medical staffs and support staffs to provide the best science and art we can.

CH (COL) John Read more than 2 years ago


Cynthia, the journey continues. Ten years ago you joined the United Methodist Endorsing Agency in Nashville, Tenn. as we took the needs of chaplains returning from deployment seriously. Your work and others has changed lives. The ministry continues and I am deeply grateful that the UMCom has a landing page www.umc.org/military where resources are continuously being sought, added, and developed to inform and engage people and congregations to support our service members now, those who have served, and to prepare for those who will serve. Thank you for your continuous support.

laura flippen more than 2 years ago

 Notable Quotes

“Religious liberty refers to the principle that the government can’t interfere with somebody’s conscience and can’t directly interfere with how they lead their lives. But what we’ve seen is Christian conservatives defining religious liberty much more broadly. Essentially, they say, ‘If I disagree with something as a matter of public policy, it violates my religious liberty.’ That’s an unworkable definition of religious liberty in a pluralistic society. It runs the risk of making the individual religious believer a law unto himself, or unto herself.”

– Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Steve Sanders, "Can Indiana Compromise on LGBT Rights, Religious Liberty?"

"What we need is an evidence-based public health approach — the same model we use to reduce deaths from other potentially dangerous things around us, from swimming pools to cigarettes. We’re not going to eliminate guns in America, so we need to figure out how to coexist with them."

– New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, "A New Way to Tackle Gun Deaths."

Cynthia B. Astle

Cynthia B. Astle is a veteran journalist who has specialized in covering The United Methodist Church for the past 27 years. She serves as coordinator for United Methodist Insight.


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