I will be presenting, good reader, a weekly predicament, either actual or possible, that someone in my situation might be reasonably expected to face as a conservative Christian officer serving in the military. My intention in presenting you with this scenario is two-fold: to acquaint you with the sorts of decisions men and women in my position often face on a routine basis, and to elicit your opinion or advice as to the best way to solve the dilemma being posed.
I intend for some of these situations to be fairly simple and straightforward; perhaps not unlike something we all have faced in junior high and high school (believe me, there are people in the military whose behavior patterns haven’t changed much since then). Other anecdotes will be a bit more involved and puzzling. Some will pose true ethical dilemmas while others will address issues of Gospel contextualization, examine the application of moral principles in difficult situations, or simply serve to highlight the difference between the Christian’s worldview and the alternatives he consistently confronts in a secular workplace.
Think of this as one of the highly intriguing Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from elementary school; only in this case, you won’t be be able to hold your place with your finger while you skip ahead to see the best outcome. Join me then in this adventure into practical ethics: you won’t know the conclusion unless you join the fray. I’ll start off with something simple, and hope to increase the complexity and difficulty of the puzzles throughout the course of the series.
You just finished a long flight with your crew and are checking your e-mail while you wait for everyone to finish stowing their gear and filing their paperwork. As you get up from the computer, one of your crew, John, makes an insinuating comment about the true purpose and content of your web-browsing. You laugh off the remark and turn it around on John by replying that the only reason he would think such a thing is because he himself is guilty of the act he accused you of.
John responds with a snide laugh and snickers, “Oh, no. I’m too Christian for that.”
This comment is picked up by the rest of the crew who begin to join the chorus. “Yeah, we’re too Christian for that.” “Hey, I think they should make T-shirts with that for a slogan.” “Ha! I bet all the druggies would start wearing them!”
Now, you’ve just started flying with this crew, and so have not yet had the opportunity to let these guys know that you are a Christian—so as far as you know they aren’t making these jokes out of any particular malice towards you. Nevertheless, it is obvious that they don’t think much of Christianity, except as an appellation for hypocrites or as the butt of easy jokes.
Is this your chance to set them all straight on the subject? Is this the time to direct a little righteous anger towards them for slandering your beliefs, and by correlation, your God? Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut? Or should you laugh along with them, since the idea of a T-shirt with the slogan “I’m too Christian for that” is a rather amusing one, after all, and probably sell well on many Christian college campuses?