Rambling on the Council of Jerusalem

[author’s note: from my time of preparation and deployment to Iraq.]

May 9, 2010

The living conditions at North Fort Hood Texas are what you would expect given that we are Soldiers living here temporarily until we go overseas. There are about one hundred Soldiers on my floor alone in an open bay barracks. Fortunately, I again have a bottom bunk. In the bunk above me is a private who is scared to death that the Lieutenant Colonel Chaplain above him will have him court martialed and shot for making noise—I like the situation. The shower and other necessities are limited and there can be a wait. Fortunately, again, I am older and sneaky and know the best times to clean up with little hassle.

The military is big on details. Which hat to wear, how to wear the hat, which uniform to wear are worries almost every day. A current detail crisis revolves around athletic socks. They must be white, cover the ankles and have no logos. Apparently some would be trouble makers were not paying attention to those details and were promptly shown the error of their ways. Another detail is our bullet proof vests. They are not minor details, but how you take them apart and put them back together are necessary details. I’m not a detail person, major or minor, so when I had put my vest back together the trainer proclaimed it wrong by saying, “That wouldn’t stop spaghetti thrown by a two year old.” I asked her if we were facing children throwing pasta in Iraq; if so my vest will work. She didn’t appreciate my question.

In the Acts of the Apostles 15:1-19 we find a lot of detail. Again we have to make a distinction between necessary details and unnecessary details. The reading is commonly referred to as the First Council of Jerusalem. Some new Christians thought that other Christians must first become Jewish before they could be followers of Christ. The Apostles rule on what is necessary and what is unnecessary to become Christian. Christ came to offer salvation to all and there are necessary things that must happen for us to receive this salvation e.g. repentance, baptism. Other things, as becoming Jewish first (circumcision, etc.) were unnecessary. When we look at our personal faith, do we see what is necessary or do we focus on unimportant details?

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