Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Barry Black

On Saturday Brent Alderman, our new State Director for Maryland and myself had the opportunity to attend lectures presented by the Chaplain of the United States Senate, Barry Black.

Chaplain Black served in the Navy for 27 years, attained the rank of admiral over all naval chaplains, and has served as chaplain for the senate since 2003.

The story of his life is remarkable as he grew up in the projects in Baltimore, a story recounted in his autobiography, From the Hood to the Hill.

My favorite story he shared took place during his selection process. He went before a selection committee of eight senators, one of fifty applicants who had been nominated for the position. As the proceeding began, one of the senators opened by telling him “We have a few questions for you”. Chaplain Black replied, “before you ask my any questions, I have a question for you…have you all prayed about this selection?” The group embarrassingly informed him they had not. Mr. Black led in prayer, then and there, for wisdom as the group made this important decision.

Chaplain Black stated that several senators, members of the “most powerful club in the world” have shared their appreciation for the fact that he is not intimidated by them and their position. “I know the creator of the universe” he replies, “and you think I’m going to be intimidated by mere flesh and bone”. I can certainly learn from his boldness in his ministry to leaders.

We would certainly have some doctrinal and philosophical differences and concern with the inclusive nature of his ministry required by his position. But I can certainly learn a lot from him about boldly proclaiming the truth of God’s Word to our leaders in Charleston and around the state.

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