I have no doubt that Dr. Charles Stanley is sincere in his desire to encourage the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq. But his “Messenger” struck me as, well, a garish idea.
It’s not so much the smack of self-promotion in the guise of “filling a great need” by providing the army with “spiritual nourishment.” It’s the aura of pronouncement, of the square-toed Sunday school teacher who tells you what it’s like, what you need, when you know he has never been where you’ve been.That is, it’s “In Touch’s” envelope of safe and willing ignorance of what really goes on and what happens to the psyche of soldiers in war, specifically this sad and detestable war. (Here I would implore Charles Stanley’s “In Touch” readers to go out and pick up Chris Hedges’, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”)
Now, I’ve disagreed sharply with Stanley on a couple of previous posts–over his Biblical justifications for war, which in effect is a Christian sacralizing of war–so maybe I’m over-reacting, or maybe I’m reacting to him, personally. I’ll let you decide. If you’ve a moment (to squander) here’s what’s on his site:
Thousands of U.S. troops are now stationed around the world. Far from their families, friends, and churches, they have a tremendous need for encouragement and truth from the Scriptures. But their missions often carry them far from a chapel and chaplain.
Understanding the need for spiritual instruction that men and women in combat areas have, Dr. Charles Stanley said, “In Touch wants to help military chaplains share the love of Jesus with U.S. soldiers. Today’s technology is providing amazing ways to share the gospel with people around the world.”
The In Touch Ministries Messenger is a nearly indestructible solar-powered audio device designed specifically for the American soldier. It holds more than 70 hours of messages from the ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, including these powerful series:
-Facing Life’s Obstacles
-Living the Extraordinary Life
-The Ways of God
-How to Release Your Burdens
-Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit
The need is great, and the Messenger will be a vital tool to provide spiritual nourishment to members of the U.S. military. Its lightweight construction, earphone jack, and solar panels for recharging make it the ideal audio player for troops in the field.
In Touch Ministries is committed to delivering 20,000 Messengers to U.S. troops in August 2007. This initiative is powered by Dr. Stanley’s desire to share the Word of God with military men and women everywhere. But its level of success will be a direct result of the support we receive from In Touch partners.
The good news here is that this is something you can feel good about not supporting.
Just one more thing Dr. Stanley. While your helping the strafed and hunkered troops to “Face Life’s Obstacles,” and “Live the Extraordinary Life,” perhaps you take a couple minutes of those seventy hours to explain how their President, with supporters such as yourself, concluded that their lives were necessarily expendable for the illusion of containment of a terrorist element that will only grow as a result of the war and ongoing occupation, and how, again, the war has nothing to do with the control of a diminishing natural resource. And again, how the gospel endorses all this. Or is everything explained in your new book , Landmine’s in the Path of the Believer? (Yes that’s the title.)