The 'Jesus nut': A study of New Zealand military chaplaincy
Since the earliest days of the Christian Church, ordained ministers and priests have accompanied soldiers into battle. The religious presence in the war machine has been the subject of many debates, particularly those involving the conflict of ethics presented by the representation of a gospel of peace and love participating in a profession of violence and killing. New Zealand is a secular country with a relatively well-developed system of secular pastoral care services. However the New Zealand Defence Force continues to request the churches' involvement in the military and those churches which respond continue to participate in work which appears contrary to their teaching. This study examines the relationship of church and military. It investigates the place of the church in the New Zealand Defence Force through an examination of the appropriate literature and other relevant information, and an empirical survey of the work and views of current, and some retired, chaplains. The global military scenario has changed in recent years with the development of war technology. The New Zealand military focus is now largely directed towards policing New Zealand's economic zone and the preservation of independence of smaller neighbouring island states, while its active service role is one of participation in international peace-enforcement and peacekeeping. This thesis considers these changes and looks at the possible effects they may have on the future of military chaplaincy within the secular, multicultural context of the New Zealand state. The study concludes with a rationale for the presence of the Christian Church in the New Zealand Defense Force and presents issues which the current chaplaincy-providing churches need to consider if they wish to continue to provide effective chaplaincy for the military.