Saturday, September 9, 2017

Should all police agencies have chaplains like Rev. Braestrup?

The UUAWOL book clubs will have articles for its nonfiction books on Fridays and its fiction books on Saturdays so that readers will have regular times they can comment weekly as articles on these books appear.

This month, September, 2017, the nonfiction selection is Kate Braestup's memoir, Here If You Need Me, describing her work as a chaplain with the Maine Warden Service. Kate's husband, Drew, a Maine State Trooper, is killed in a car crash while on duty and leaves Kate with 4 young children to raise. Drew had planned on going to seminary and becoming a UU minister after he retired. After his death, Kate decides to follow in his footsteps and goes to seminary herself and becomes a UU minister and gets a job as a chaplain to the Maine Warder Service.

It appears from the story that Rev. Braestrup provides crisis intervention, pastoral counseling, and support for staff, and people the Warden service serves.

"If you prefer applied and practical theology to the more abstract and vaporous varieties, it is difficult to find a more interesting and challenging ministry than a law enforcement chaplaincy.

Law enforcement officers, like all human beings, are presented with grand questions about life’s meaning and purpose. They consider the problem of evil, the suffering of innocents, the relationships between justice and mercy, power and responsibility, spirit and flesh. They ponder the impenetrable mystery of death. Cops, in short, think about the same theological issues seminary students research, discuss, argue, and write papers about, but a cop’s work lends immediacy and urgency to such questions. Apart from my familiarity with and affinity for police culture, I was sure working with cops would take me right up to where the theological rubber meets the road." P. 60

What do you think about the idea of law enforcement chaplaincy? If more law enforcement agencies had chaplains would there be less police abuse and corruption?

1 comment:

  1. I love the place on page 51 where she writes: “I’m religious, but I’m not really spiritual,” I told my Christian Doctrine professor. Even that probably put too fine a point on it. Mine, in reality, was a pretty plain and practical calling: I needed to do something."

    People so often say the opposite, "I'm not really religious but I'm spiritual," and I am usually at a loss to what that means. Here Braestrup is done to earth and says in so many ideas, "Don't give me that spiritual crap, give me something to do." God bless her!

    ReplyDelete