In January 2003, Lance Kittleson's army reserve unit was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. For the next 14 months, his ministry was transformed - instead of pastoring an Iowa congregation, he now served under harsh and sometimes dangerous conditions as a chaplain for a support unit on the edge of war. Yet even in this chaotic and challenging environment, his trained pastor's eye finds the presence of God in moments both mundane and exhilarating. In this collection of e-mails sent to family and friends during his time in the Middle East, Kittleson shares insightful, poignant, and humorous meditations on faith and life. You'll get a firsthand glimpse of military life, as well as the remarkable ways of the spirit (both divine and human) at work. When the camp's altar suddenly disappears, you'll read about how Kittleson comes to understand that the crude replacement altar hastily assembled from discarded shipping crates is a better symbol of Jesus than any fancy altar in an ornate sanctuary. You'll also see how the sight of a superior officer offering a cup of coffee draws quizzical responses from servicemen accustomed to a rank-conscious army.Publishers Description
I experienced the power of God's grace in two ways as I have read these e-mails: I heard the story of faith of an ordinary parish pastor who served God in a rather extraordinary setting, and I experienced the power of God to make the ordinary precious. These letters are filled with simple moments of serving coffee and serving God, baptism by bottled water and denominational tensions melting under a desert sun. Lance Kittleson shares with all of us a small piece of God's kingdom in a far-off land. (from the Preface) Elaine Siemsen Assistant Professor of Religion St. Olaf College In January 2003, Lance Kittleson's army reserve unit was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. For the next 14 months, his ministry was transformed ? instead of pastoring an Iowa congregation, he now served under harsh and sometimes dangerous conditions as a chaplain for a support unit on the edge of war. Yet even in this chaotic and challenging environment, his trained pastor's eye finds the presence of God in moments both mundane and exhilarating. In this collection of e-mails sent to family and friends during his time in the Middle East, Kittleson shares insightful, poignant, and humorous meditations on faith and life. You'll get a firsthand glimpse of military life, as well as the remarkable ways of the spirit (both divine and human) at work. When the camp's altar suddenly disappears, you'll read about how Kittleson comes to understand that the crude replacement altar hastily assembled from discarded shipping crates is a better symbol of Jesus than any fancy altar in an ornate sanctuary. You'll also see how the sight of a superior officer offering a cup of coffee draws quizzical responses from servicemen accustomed to a rank-conscious army. Whether you are interested in learning more about what some of our men and women in uniform are experiencing in Iraq, want thoughtful sermon illustrations, or just desire inspirational reading that highlights God's presence even in the worst of life, Meditations >From Iraq is a fascinating volume for everyone. Some of the illuminating chapters include: * A Baptism In The Desert * The Spirit's Honeywagon * The Rivers Of Babylon * Tikrit And Perspective (Or Dodging Bat Guano In The Desert) * Saint SGT Murphy * Eli's Christmas Tree (Or Someone In Iowa Loves You) * The Last Convoy * SRP Blues Lance Kittleson has been an ELCA pastor since 1981. He is currently the pastor of Deer Creek Lutheran Church in Carpenter, Iowa, and St. Peter Lutheran Church in Toeterville, Iowa. Kittleson previously served parishes in Iowa and Oregon, and has been a missionary in Senegal. Kittleson's military service has included 17 years as a chaplain in the Army Reserve and 10 years as an infantry officer. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University and Luther Seminary. click here for sample
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.56" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.63"
Weight: 0.77 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2005
Publisher CSS Publishing Company
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|The Way War Really Feels Jun 14, 2006|
|Kittleson brings a wealth of personal military experience to this work. Not only was he raised in the home of an American war hero, he has personally devoted himself to serving our country and its soldiers his entire adult life. He brings the perspective and experience of the unassuming soldier---a modest level 5 leader. It is a blend of a little cynicism about the Army its practices and procedures, personal glimpses of war that you will not see in any movie, and a deep sense of honor and devotion. Kittleson is a keen observer and gifted writer. His images combine stark and jarring reality with beautifully crafted language and simple but profound wisdom. |
This is not just a work for soldiers who have been there, or guys who wished they had been, though both will find this an engaging book. It is also for anyone who values real stories about real people, struggling and sometimes failing, sometimes triumphing over what they face.
This is not a blood and guts saga, despite the fact that Chaplains probably have to deal with that horror more than the average soldier. This is the taste, the smell, the feel of war in a foreign and hot and hostile place. An example: "Here's a recipe that everyone can easily follow at home. Take a hair dryer outside on the hottest and driest day of the summer. Plug it in and be sure the setting is for `high heat.' Before pointing it at your face, add a large fan behind it and turn it on the highest setting. Next, add another ingredient: a winter heater turned on to the max. Now, bask your entire body in the stifling heat for a good twelve to fourteen hours, occasionally shifting from front to back and cheek to cheek to get an even roast. Just for added effect, turn on a bright light in your face as you bask. Before starting the broiling, take a six to eight-pound flower pot, turn it upside down and place it on your head fastened by a chinstrap. Be sure to leave enough room in the headband for sweat to trickle out and down your eyelids. Put on a heavy shirt and pants with boots geared to allow the minimum of air movement and then add a heavy winter coat or vest. Better yet, just for effect, put on a heavy corset and tighten. Throw in front of the large fan, turned on high, at periodic intervals, a good handful of powered sugar or flour so that it sticks to your body and clothes and on occasion throw a particularly large handful of powdery stuff so that it gets in your lungs and you can taste the grit between your teeth. If you aren't coughing up chunks of the stuff, you haven't thrown enough in front of the fan. After basking, broiling, roasting your body, and wearing holes in your gluteus maximus for the prescribed length of time, stop in an area covered in dirt with the churned up consistency of talcum power. Flop down on a cot under the full moon in the open and sleep the night away while trucks and Humvees hum around you all night long, throwing more and more talcum power in the air while some sort of bug bites your weary, roasted flesh."
Kittleson puts you there. You are not a hero, you are a grunt. But just as you are at the breaking point he helps you see a greater or deeper reality. In the mundane grind of war he unveils truth, wisdom, and sometimes even beauty. The honeywagon becomes a strangely jarring image of the Holy Spirit carrying away your sin. And Jesus like a saper opens a way through spiritual razor wire. You sense the hand of God even in this horrid circumstance of war and come to realize the same hand of God extends into the horrid places in your own life. Kittleson's gift is the ability to show us the magic of grace in the midst of foreign war and so make it possible for us to see it in the midst of our stateside lives.
|Understanding your faith in the sands of Iraq Jun 3, 2006|
|Meditations From Iraq is a must for everyone. The author is humble and gives the reader an insight on situations a chaplin|
may experience in his line of duty, ministering to our military
men and women far from home and family not in the comforts of a church. Chaplin Kittleson adds humor and gives us an understanding of faith at all times.Everyone should read this book before passing judgment on our brave men and women.
This is a book you can't put down. Even those who do not read because they
can't remember what they read will find this book worthwhile.
|Not Just For the Religious or Political May 11, 2006|
|Due to the bully pulpit our press gives Hollywood movie "stars", such as Jake Gyllenhaal, every American should read this true account of life in Iraq from the perspective of the American soldier/chaplain. Making a movie on the Middle-East conflict such as Gyllenhaal did with the flick, "Jarhead" does not give any man proper insight into what these brave young men and women are doing on a daily basis. Kittleson, an Army Chaplain, paints a compelling picture of the hardships these heroes endure. Religious or not, political or not, please read this beautifully crafted book, particularly before speaking out as Gyllenhaal did.|
|An Opportunity to See God at Work in Iraq May 11, 2006|
|Meditations from Iraq is an opportunity for those of us at home to experience the country, the war, and our military men and women, all in the light of God's grace. Chaplain Lance Kittleson brings all this to his readers with a wonderful blending of the poignant and the humorous. You'll love his stories! You'll see the best of those who are serving us in this time of war, their fears and their triumphs. You will read about God at work in unexpected ways, and your faith will likely be strengthened in the process.|
|Excellent May 10, 2006|
|This book brings real life to the stories of faith and witness going on in Iraq. There were so many excellent touching stories about the people fighting for our country, it's hard to choose a favorite! The author does a great job depicting the realness of human feelings. |
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