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Lesson 3

#1 User is offline   DAS4283284 

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:44 PM

Self-evaluation of present skills

I have been a companion for the elderly, youth with cancer, those with terminal illnesses, and men dying from AIDS; I worked with adults with severe physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities; I worked for 8 years as a Counseling Social Worker where I co-facilitated a psychoeducational group for recently exonerated female prostitutes; I provided HIV testing and counseling sessions; I was one of four of the State of Ohio’s Trainer of Trainers for Client-Centered Counseling; I volunteered for over a year-and-a-half as a Crisis Counselor; I went through three semesters of an MA program in Counseling Psychotherapy that included a year of Therapy Practicum; and I currently work as a client-centered Mental Health Case Manager with adults living with persistent, chronic mental health illnesses. Yet, I am sure that I still could learn more – especially since there are currently roughly 7 billion human ways to communicate on Earth. I have noticed that animals are very keen on body language, so lately I have been watching how animals both communicate with body language and how they read/look for signs in others’ body language. I am sure that CPE training at Harborview Hospital, which I will apply for tomorrow (8/9/17) and hopefully begin in January 2018, will provide me insight on my strengths and areas for improvement.

Qualifications for Chaplaincy

I identify as a Buddhist Christian, focusing in the Tibetan Vajrayana and Gnostic Christian traditions. As I understand it, neither of these traditions have internal requirements for aspiring Chaplains.

I have an MDiv in Buddhist Chaplaincy, which I obtained from a partnership between University of the West (founded by the Fó Guāng Shān order of Chinese Buddhism), Claremont School of Theology, and Fó Guāng Dà Xué (Buddha’s Light University, Taiwan). UWest’s mission is to join East with West, and the Buddhist Chaplaincy program was founded as a new endeavor toward that goal. Incorporating this program into a Chinese Buddhist organization has been a difficult road, however, as the idea of a “Buddhist Chaplain” is a relatively new concept for Buddhists of all traditions.

To explain: as I understand it, this is largely because the term “Chaplain” is especially a Christian and western one. It is difficult to apply western concepts to eastern philosophies, or for eastern philosophies to fit into western forms. In eastern Buddhist communities, there is no Chaplain per se. Largely, the role of a “Chaplain” would be done by an individual’s Guru, the local temple’s spiritual leader, or the lineage master. There would be no one “lower than” the spiritual leader who would be assigned to a specific “Chaplaincy” role.

The differences between the Buddhist and Chaplain communities continue from there. Unlike today’s Christian Chaplains, the eastern Buddhist Guru often remains within the local spiritual community to offer their spiritual or religious services in time of need. In the East, Buddhist spiritual leaders usually would not be found in hospitals, prisons, universities, or the military. This remains true in the West, where especially immigrant Buddhist religious leaders tend to stay within their own communities, visiting hospitals only upon request. This continues to, with some exceptions, be true for western convert Buddhists (who are usually the ones pursuing a career in Buddhist Chaplaincy). This is because much of convert western Buddhism continues to have very close ties to its Eastern origins. For example, the vast majority of Tibetan Buddhist Lamas, Rinpoches, and monks coming to the West to teach and found organizations, universities, and retreat centers were born – and, in many cases – live in the East. Therefore, many western convert Buddhist structures are built upon eastern foundations.

To further exemplify the differences between East and West, in eastern Buddhist communities the process for becoming a spiritual leader can vary greatly from one master to the next, while the topics of study usually follow an age-old format handed down from an enlightened master but which can also vary greatly from one Buddhist school of thought to another. This incongruent way of doing things continues even here in the West, with a few exceptions, and clashes against the western process for becoming a Chaplain, which is quite regimented. In contrast with the eastern way of doing things, Chaplaincy has become an organized profession with church-based qualifications, standards, and processes dictated by a board of professionals from mostly western, prophetic religions. Additionally, the western military has its own school of sorts for Chaplains, which is itself disciplined and standardized.

All said, bringing the world of the eastern-based western convert Buddhist religious community into contact with the professional Chaplaincy world is a tenuous and complicated endeavor; in fact, it is actually a new endeavor only a few decades old. There are only a small handful of accredited Buddhist Chaplaincy programs in the world (all in the US), the majority of which are less than 10 years old. So, within the Buddhist community, there are no requirements for becoming a Chaplain; all Buddhist Chaplaincy programs strictly follow APC (Association of Professional Chaplains) education and practicum requirements, standards set up outside of the religious, Buddhist community.

As for Gnosticism, the Gnostic community is varied, somewhat scattered, and loosely-defined; it could almost be said that there is no Gnostic community per se. With some exceptions, the organized Gnostic institutions that do exist do not seem to have much connection to institutions outside of this amorphous Gnostic community, such as hospitals or prisons. Furthermore, Ecclesia Gnostica, which my local Gnostic Christian community Hagia Sophia is part of, is not officially connected to any other Gnostic entity, say nothing to any entity outside of the Gnostic community. So, there appears to be no one Gnostic way for doing anything. Additionally, among the offices held within the Ecclesia Gnostica, “Chaplain” is not even listed as one. Therefore, I am not clear on whether there is a Gnostic Chaplain path to Chaplaincy, nor would I know how to follow one were there an actual path.
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#2 User is offline   Rev Mickey Gollahon 

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:42 PM

I am a person that people feel secure around. They can tell that I am a listener not so much as a talker. I have sat for hours listening to friends and family alike go on about their problems, love lives, jobs even things they do like. It is better to listen and learn than to talk and spell something you should have kept quiet about, learned that by being a Cop for 24 yrs. So my biggest asset to the Chaplaincy Program is that I listen, pay attention to what others are saying, I can tell by body language if they are emotional, in pain, hiding something or just blocking things they should be talking about. As a Cop I learned to read people very well, sometimes to well and have always tried to help. There again is my weakness, I want to help everyone and sometimes I get involved with people that are spitefullest and are just trying to get away with something. To improve myself and my skills I am trying to learn to separate what I would like to do for them with the fact of what I can do for them.

As a Spiritual Healer, which I have had the gift for since birth and been using it for decades for those at the last stages of life. I will gain the skills and training to help counsel those that they leave behind. Working with Police, Fire, Rescue and others will help me to comfort those in need of counseling due to fire, death, incarceration of family, etc. Visiting Hospitals and Retirement Homes I can help the older generation in just being there for them to talk to, play cards or checkers with while they talk about family and their lives. It is all part of God's plans for me and how I can help the rest of his children return to God and learn the Love I have for him.

As for the requirement of my faith for Chaplaincy, there are none other than the fact that you have to believe in God or what some religions call the Supreme Creator, be of good Faith, Strong Character, Morally Upright, able to listen, ability to teach and a concern for your fellow mankind.


Rev. Mickey D. Gollahon
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#3 User is offline   Chpln. Abdullah Rashid 

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 04:59 PM

I am an Ordained minister, spiritual director, and educator with an year of experience in education, ministry, pastoral care, and counseling with a diverse population. I counsel individuals on spiritual discovery, also those undergoing through difficulties in their lives, or facing end of life issues. I am a Worship leader, and provide spiritual support to hospitals and correctional facilities. I am a life-long learner seeking to incorporate my educational background and pastoral ministry.

I have two major weakness and they are anxiety and not being fluent in the Arabic language. My plan is to continue in coping with my anxiety and studies in the Arabic language.

Research Findings:
Depending on the employer some qualifications will differe. Such as for a Muslim chaplain in a hospital the basic qualifications will be the chaplain must have a Bachelor's in Divinity, Master's in Theology with two to three years of experience, at least one unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and obtain a ecclesiastical endorsement from a Muslim endorsing institution such as ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America).

The basic qualifications for a Muslim chaplain for correctional facilities is that the chaplain must be a recognized member of clergy (ordained) with an ecclesiastical endorsement and or in good standing from/with an institution such as their ordaining institution or ICNA.

For the military the required qualifications are much higher. A Muslim chaplain must have a Bachelor's in Divinity, Master's in Theology, be a recognized member of clergy (ordained) with an ecclesiastical endorsement and or in good standing from/with an institution such as ICNA. Then you will have to under-go a three month Basic Chaplain Training or Chaplain Initial Military Training.
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