Don’t skip leg day; or the winter Alpha program

whitman padreChaplain’s Corner

Padre Andrew Whitman

The Military Christian Fellowship and Saint Mark’s Chapel organized an Alpha program last fall to the encouragement of all who participated. If nothing else, it was a chance to talk to other (adult) people. I’d say that it was a chance to get out of the house during a lockdown, but it wasn’t – we did it over Zoom (groan) – but it was like getting out of the house. Getting your headspace out of the house and interacting with others’ headspace in thoughtful conversation.

I’ll tell you more about what we were talking about, but before you lose interest, I want to invite you to the next Alpha, starting on 3 February at 1900 (7 PM). It’s going to be on Zoom again, so you are cleared to attend no matter what the COVID posture is by then. Like I said, the best part about it is, if not to get out of your living room, it’s like having folks over to your living room, to get to know each other, and explore questions that matter, and permission to say what you think.

The Canadian Armed Forces has identified ‘spiritual resilience’ as one of the six pillars to overall resilience. The spiritual side of resilience has to do with what we believe about the world, what gives us purpose and meaning, what satisfies us, fulfils us. What gets us out of bed in the morning? Like physical resilience is built up through physical exercise, healthy spiritual resilience is built up by flexing those spiritual muscles: exploring what we believe, challenging it, testing it against reality, and with each other.

One proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another.”
What’s Alpha? Alpha is one way to flex your spiritual muscles. It’s a place to ask things like, “Is there more to life than this?” “Why am I here?” “Is it possible to know God?” It’s a chance to talk, push back, dig deeper, and laugh together. And that was the best part. We came in as strangers and left as friends… even though we still didn’t agree on everything by the end of it! It is worth logging on just to talk to real people who aren’t your work or your children for an hour. If you know someone who would enjoy this, but may not regularly read the Chaplain column in the base newspaper, pass it along to them! Invite them to come with you. For a Zoom link, contact padreoedwards@gmail.com.

Alpha is just one spiritual resilience ‘fitness routine’ offered by one of the faith communities in the area. The chaplain team encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity to practice this (often neglected) muscle. Explore your own tradition, or maybe someone else’s (Alpha is perfect for that). Talk to a chaplain if you have ideas about running other events like this, or if you are looking for opportunities to put your beliefs in practice. Friends don’t let friends skip leg day, so don’t skip spiritual day. See you then.

andrew.whitman@forces.gc.ca