Army C.O. Application by Nate Wildermuth

“Under no circumstance can I participate in war. The only organization I can put my trust and heart into is the Kingdom of God. The only mission I can support is the mission of salvation and love. With faith and trust, and courage to follow the example of Christ, I am filled with a joyful optimism for a future guided by the hand of God.”

Ed. note: Parts 1-10 of this statement were personal info and are omitted.

(11) Was application made to the Selective Service System (local board) for classification as a conscientious objector before entry into the Armed Forces? If so, to which local board? What decision, if any, that was made by the board, if known?


(12) Was any previous application made in service for classification as a conscientious objector? If so, for which status (1–0 or 1–A–O)? Where and when was application made? What was the final determination? Attach a copy of the previous application(s), if any.


Training and Beliefs

(1) An express, specific statement as to whether the person requests classification as a conscientious objector 1–0, or as a conscientious objector 1–A–0.

I request classification as a conscientious objector 1-0.

(2) A description of the nature of the belief that requires the person to seek separation from the military service or assignment to noncombatant training and duty for reasons of conscience.

I am sincerely opposed, because of religious and moral beliefs, to participating in war in any form.

I believe that the purpose of life is to love God and our neighbor, putting our complete trust in the divine plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ. Always asking us to come closer to Himself, God presents one final and ultimate goal for our soul—perfection. By demanding the impossible, God asks us to rely on his eternal offer of forgiveness and mercy. Moments after Jesus demands his followers to “Resist not evil…turn the other cheek…and love your enemies”, he admits that we must “Be made perfect.”

I have come to realize that I though I can not completely emulate such unconditional and divine love, I must try.

The word pacifism has little to do with the beliefs I hold. I hold faith in God and in Love, because God is Love.

This simple statement, that God is Love, sums up not only all my thoughts and beliefs, but my very existence.

God loved me when he created me.

God loved me when he sent his Son Jesus into the world.

God loved me when I rejected him.

God loved me when I accepted him.

God loves me always, and whispers only one command:

Love me, and Love others.

I have come to realize that it is only by truly loving others that I love God. True divine love is unconditional. God incarnate, Jesus Christ, came down to earth and gave his life for all humankind – for the sinners and righteous alike. As men nailed him into a cross, Jesus asked for their forgiveness. He spent night and day with the sick, with prostitutes and lunatics, with the fringes of society, the lost and hopeless, the poor and downtrodden. He spoke of joyful suffering, of loving one’s persecutors, of being a vessel for God’s Love.

I can not deny my conscience, which recoils from violence, hate, and fear. I can not deny the clear commandment of Love which appears both in scripture and life, but also in my heart.

Under no circumstance can I participate in war. The only organization I can put my trust and heart into is the Kingdom of God. The only mission I can support is the mission of salvation and love. With faith and trust, and courage to follow the example of Christ, I am filled with a joyful optimism for a future guided by the hand of God.

(3) An explanation as to how his or her beliefs changed or

developed, to include an explanation as to what factors (how, when,

and from whom or from what source training received and belief

acquired) caused the change in or development of conscientious

objection beliefs.

I grew up in a Catholic household, and was sent to Catholic private schools for most of my childhood life. This education, especially my high school years at a Jesuit College Preparatory school, laid the groundwork for my knowledge and interest of Jesus and the Scriptures. But I rarely gave it thought outside of the classroom or the occasional Sunday service. I did not yet have the desire to truly understand who God was, or why he was important in my life.

At college, my life turned upside down. My grades faltered, I squandered money, and had few friends. I turned, as all the suffering do, to God. Eventually I dropped out of college and spent a year in Africa with my parents. There, among the poor but happy people of Cote D’Ivoire, I found what I had been searching for—faith in God. I understood that a selfish life could only make me unhappy, and I set out on a path to follow God no matter the cost. I joined the military confident that I was serving God.

Yet the excitement that propelled me into the military soon dampened as I read the bible more intently, and I began to listen to my heart and conscience. I found some passages to be quite confusing and contradictory, and put my doubts in the back of my mind as I trained to become the best soldier I could be.

My time with 3rd Ranger Battalion energized me militarily, but hurt me spiritually. We used darkly savage humor and sarcasm to counter the anxiety we all felt for our deadly and lethal mission. Yet I found courage with the Rangers, and a willingness to take risks amidst harsh discipline. These tools enabled me to succeed at West Point, but they are also the ones that drove me to know God more intimately than I was prepared for. Instead of ignoring the hard questions of war and justness, I pressed forward with the intent to discover the truth, no matter what I might find.

My uneasiness with war started in the months following September 11th. The intense hatred directed towards terrorists and against middle easterners in general bothered me a great deal. Unconcerned with the politics of war, I focused on what standards God put on conflict.

For months, I struggled with the clear words of Jesus concerning one’s enemies. No matter how I looked at the bible, or how I looked at my existence, the commandment of Love shined as the most important part of a life devoted to God. The question in my mind became: “How do I love my enemies and forgive them as a Christian, while participating in war?”

Over spring break in March of 2002, I stumbled across the book, “The Kingdom of God is within you” by Leo Tolstoy. I had admitted to myself that Jesus quite clearly seemed to be preaching nonviolent love, but could not accept the changes that I would have to make in my life if I truly followed his teachings and example. But within this book, I found that others had thought about the same issues—many others. I found the intellectual counterpart to the feelings that I had harbored in my heart. Within the writings of Tolstoy, I found clear and convincing arguments for the peaceful nature of God’s love. I had finally found someone who agreed with the thoughts racing through my mind. Reading the history of the book, I soon found that it inspired Ghandi, who inspired Martin Luther King, and as I delved further into the history of non-violence, I found a great wealth of knowledge and support for an idea that had seemed so out of place in my world.

Nearly one year ago, I became convinced that I could not participate in war and avoid great sin. I came back from that Spring Break fully prepared to leave the Academy. But I lacked the faith and character required to make such a radical change in my life. Though convinced of the truth, I saw no way to leave the military. With an enlistment contract running through 2006, I realized that I would have a rough road ahead of me.

I decided not to make any rash decisions and “ruin my future” overnight. I would talk to others, find those who disagreed with me. I would completely dissect both arguments and most importantly—my heart. Though deeply troubled and affected by being at West Point and in the military, I pressed on with my studies and worked even harder to prove to myself that I could succeed. I ended the year ranked 4th in my class and as a member of the parachute team.

(4) An explanation as to when these beliefs become incompatible

with military service and why.

Though convinced of war’s immorality, my friends posed a question that I could not easily answer: “Couldn’t you just be a medic, or do some other job that wasn’t combat arms?” My beliefs were not completely incompatible with military service, because I was not completely convinced that I could not take a peaceful job within the military.

I grew to truly enjoy life at West Point during my yearling year. I made wonderful friends, I became addicted to skydiving, and I even found a wonderful girlfriend. Selfishly, I began an earnest search for some way to stay in the military, while maintaining a clear conscience. The question in my mind became, “how can I stay in the military and still live with myself?”

Yet the question tore me apart. I spent most of my time writing and thinking about my future. The more troubled I became, the less attention I paid to what I was doing at West Point. I lost my girlfriend, and my grades slipped. The conflict in my soul began showing in my performance as I came closer and closer to making a final decision.

I thought I found the answer in January of 2003, when I found that I could branch medical services and fly medevac helicopters. My friends and family gave a sigh of relief, and I finally had a purpose at West Point. In hindsight, I could fool everyone except my conscience.

Over the past month, three important events occurred. My grandfather died, the war started, and I spent some time with my parents over Spring Break.

My grandfather went through three months of pain in a hospital before finally dying. I fly out to San Francisco for the funeral, and began thinking about death. If I died right then, what would happen to me? What had I learned over the past year? Was I following the truths that God had revealed to me? My father was at the funeral, and we argued face to face for the first time about my beliefs. After explaining how I thought God wanted us to love everyone equally and fully, he told me that “if you ever reach that goal, you will be inhuman.” I realized that he was right, that I was describing the love that God showed for all humans, and that it was not human love—it was divine love. It is the love we are called to emulate. I looked back at my life, and saw it as a failure. Given clear, convincing, and condemning evidence that my life lacked such love, that my involvement in the military necessarily caused such condemnation, I began to break down.

I spent my Spring Break skydiving with the parachute team in Florida. We watched the war start on TV, and the vitality of my life began draining away. Skydiving, the most thrilling sport in the world, began to feel empty to me—just like my life. I was not depressed, but I finally began to appraise my life honestly, and found it lacking. I had the clear commandment of God, and I had disregarded it selfishly.

I spent another two days with both my parents, and we discussed my options. They tried to scare me away from leaving West Point, pointing out the fact that if my discharge was rejected, then I would be sent to the military as a private in a time of war. Was I prepared to accept that? If not, was I prepared to accept jail? Over the next few days of intense prayer and thought, I came to the conclusion that I’ve always wanted to do the right thing, no matter the consequence. I had often failed to do the right thing from weak character, but once set upon a course, I would follow it through to the end. The moment I decided to accept full responsibility for my beliefs was the moment they become truly incompatible with military service. They are, and I do.

Could I simply apply for non-combatant status? Handling weapons or not, there is no job in the Army that removes one from contributing directly to the essential mission of the Army—waging war. Every man and woman is a soldier first, and their specialty second. Medics provide valuable medical attention that allows commanders to take riskier missions, knowing that they can sustain greater casualties. While I was in the Ranger Regiment we all received first rate medical training, not only to save lives, but to increase our survivability and lethality on the battlefield. Every support branch of the Army takes great pride in being a “combat multiplier.” If I can not morally participate in combat, I certainly can not participate in its multiplication. I can not morally object to warfare while enabling others to fight for me. I can not serve both the military and God.

(5) An explanation as to the circumstances, if any, under which

the person believes in the use of force, and to what extent, under

any foreseeable circumstances.

I don’t believe the use of force is ever justified, not in self-defense, not in the defense of others, not ever.

The question is often posed, “What would you do if someone was attacking your mother. Would you sit by idly while someone killed her?”

While I don’t believe in the use of force—going up to the thug and shooting him or wrestling him to the ground, I do believe in the most powerful weapon God gives us. He gives us himself, he gives us Love.

Is it foolish and impractical to use Love against an enemy that wants to kill you? When I think of such situations, I don’t have to make up any scenarios. I only have to open my bible and watch as Jesus is led like a lamb to the slaughter, out of his love for all humanity. There is nothing foolish or impractical about living up to God’s expectation for my soul.

I am more concerned with the soul of the thug than whether my mother goes to heaven now or in forty years. Using force and giving into hate and fear can only hurt the sinner, while Love and God are the only true thing which can save him… and me.

(6) An explanation as to what in the person’s life most conspicuously

demonstrates the consistency and depth of his or her

beliefs that have rise to his or her claim.

I have a very good life here at West Point. I am in no danger of being sent to war anytime soon. Recently, I received the opportunity to train in North Dakota over the summer and receive my private helicopters license. I am on perhaps the hardest team to get on at the Academy—the Parachute Team, and I won the gold medal for accuracy (intermediate level) at the National Collegiate Championships. I have amazing friends who have stuck with me through this entire affair. Even under the strain of my guilty conscience, I still remain 33rd in my class, and am receiving a free world class education.

Leaving right now means exposing myself to the possibility of being sent to war. It means that I lose credit for the work I’ve done this semester. It means that I will lose the only things that have kept my spirits up over the past year—my friends and skydiving.

The very act of applying for Conscientious Objector status is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. The only reason I can do it is because of my faith in God and my belief in his will. The depth of my belief is reflected most strongly in this application itself.

(7) An explanation as to how the applicant’s daily life style has

changed as a result of his or her beliefs and what future actions he

or she plans to continue to support his or her beliefs.

Going to church or not does not necessarily make one sincerely religious or spiritual, but for me, it is important that I spend time with God daily. For the last year, I have gone to Catholic Mass in the morning every day, with few exceptions. I often attend one or more nightly bible studies or prayer sessions each week. I pray constantly, because I am always reminded that God is there giving me good things. Every time I do well on a test, every time I have a hot meal, every time I share a good moment with a friend, I try to realize that I only have what God has given to me, and that the good things in my life are not the result of my own efforts, but are a gift of his mercy and Love. I also pray when bad things happen. Over this brutal winter, I would often find myself praying on the way to class, thanking God for the biting icy wind, thanking him for letting me know just how little my own comfort should matter to me. When someone close to me dies, like my old college roommate or grandfather, I thank God for showing me how short life is, and how to waste any moment of it is suicide. I find that nothing bad every really happens, that God disciplines me to bring me closer to him—especially when I become self absorbed.

My daily life style is an attempt to remember what I learned so long ago—that we must Love God and neighbor. Yet I can not separate my daily life style with my profession, and God willing, the two will be reconciled within my life, and my conscience will finally be free from a conflict that has torn apart my soul.

With such peace in my heart, I plan to continue my education in languages (I am a Russian and Arabic major), and pursue a career or vocation in either overseas missionary projects, or international humanitarian organizations. The exact path has not been chosen, but the final destination always remains the same—service to God and others, under the reassuring love of Jesus Christ.

Participation in Organizations

(1) Information as to whether the person has ever been a member

of any military organization or establishment before entering upon

his or her present term of service. If so, the name and address of

such organization will be given together with reasons why he or she

became a member.


(2) A statement as to whether the person is a member of a

religious sect or organization. If so, the statement will show—

(a) The name of the sect, and the name and location of its

governing body or head, if known.


Pope John Paul II

Vatican City

(b) When, where, and how the applicant became a member of the

sect or organization.

Baptized in Aviano, Italy in June of 1984.

(c) The name and location of any church, congregation, or meeting

that the applicant customarily attends; the extent of the applicant’s

participation in the church group or meeting.

Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel. I attend daily weekday services in the Catholic Chaplain’s office, and the Catholic Chapel on Sunday’s.

(d) The name, title, and present address of the pastor or leader of

such church, congregation, or meeting.

Father Vincent Burns

Catholic Chaplain

USCC West Point, NY 10997

(e) A description of the creed or official statements, if any, of

said religious sector organization in relation to the applicant’s participation

in war and if the creed or statements are known to him.

From the Catholic Catechism:


The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

 the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

 all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

 there must be serious prospects of success;

 the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.


Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.

(3) A description of the applicant’s relationships with and activities

in all organizations with which he or she is or has been affiliated,

other than military, political, or labor organizations.



I have attached the following:

Four Letters attesting to my character and sincerity:


CPT Brian Manus: My company’s Tactical Officer during my sophomore year at the Academy.

Father Jerry Deponai: Has counseled and encouraged me since I approached him in the fall of my sophomore year to discuss my feelings about war.

2nd Lt. Kevin Brown, USMC: A friend of ten years and graduate of the Naval Academy. My closest friend, and one of the first I confided in.

CDT CPL Robert Johnston: My roommate from 2nd semester of my freshman year. For nearly a semester, we argued over the justness of war.

I have also attached pertinent passages from my personal writings over the past year. They show my progression from an uneasy seeker of war’s morality, to a conflicted man of a guilty conscience, to a full fledged and determined conscientious objector. They were written over the period of October of 2001 to March of 2003.

To the investigating officer,

Cadet Wildermuth asked me to write a letter addressing his desire to leave the military for religious reasons. My name is Second Lieutenant Kevin Brown, USMC. I am a 2001 graduate of the US Naval Academy and am currently in flight training at NAS Whiting Field, FL. Nate and I have been friends since 1993, our freshman year in high school at Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit prep school. Though we have taken different paths over the last ten years, we remain best friends and I feel confident in my ability to write to you about the sincerity of his beliefs, though I personally disagree with them.

Nate first discussed the topic of pacifism with me over a year ago, early in his freshman year at West Point after reading Tolstoy. I was somewhat shocked by his interest in the subject; I held high hopes for my friend. With his intellect and experience as a Ranger, I felt strongly that he had a good chance at being a top cadet in many areas. I served as a Deputy Honor Chairman at the Naval Academy and I shared with him my experiences on the honor staff. I believe that Nate could have been First Captain or Honor Chair had he set either as a goal, and served with honor as a leader of Rangers and eventually Green Berets. Instead I am writing this letter to his senior officers that they might judge whether his beliefs are genuine. I know that they are. We have had many discussions over the last year about serving in the military as a Christian, just wars, and pacifism. Nate challenged me to honestly evaluate my own beliefs, and more importantly, to justify them. He has done the same, and though well meaning friends with common education and experiences often agree on controversial issues, this is one on which we remain divided. I remain his friend and admire his commitment to his beliefs, even if this means that we will not be serving together as we had once discussed.


Kevin M. Brown


To the investigating officer:

When Nate asked me to write a character reference for him and talk about the sincerity of his beliefs I first thought this would be an easy task. Having known Nate for 2 years and through countless conversations it is obvious to me that his beliefs are genuine. Then I realized that quantifying something such as someone’s sincerity, no matter how obvious it may be, is a difficult task. All I can offer when speaking to Nate’s character and beliefs is merely my own observations as his good friend.

One way of determining the value someone truly places on a subject is the amount of time they dedicate to that topic. As Nate’s former roommate I have a good picture of where he spent his time and what was important to him. Nate devoted hours to reading, meditating and writing on the subject of God’s love. He actively searched for the answers to questions that were noticeably weighing on his heart.

When he first told me and our other roommate of his belief that war was wrong we tried to persuade him that his views were inaccurate. Both of us, who were Christians with good knowledge of the Bible, actively attacked his beliefs, and at times discussions lasted late into the night. Throughout this he never faltered in his stance that God’s love transcends all. Not only was he dogmatic in his beliefs but they were also founded in both the Bible and common sense, not speculation on his part.

I have been a Christian all my life, and I consider myself to have a strong faith in God. My father was a solider and I have also seen the justness of war being within God’s will. Yet as I have talked with Nate I have had to reevaluate and reaffirm my own beliefs on war and ‘loving thy enemies.’ That is the strength of Nate’s character and beliefs, beliefs that are so genuine and strong that others around him must take a hard look at themselves.

Nate has been a good friend to me, and throughout knowing him I have never once had to question his character or integrity. The sincerity of his beliefs have become obvious to me and to anyone who knows him.


Robert E. Johnston

CDT CPL Co. G3 2005



When will the human race get its act together.doc

“There is no excuse for the brutality, cruelty, war, and bloodshed. What is there to fight over?”

“What is there to fight over? Those who are jealous, what is there to be jealous of? And God, why argue over God? Does not each God tell us to do the same thing – to treat our brothers and sisters with compassion? Which God says slay your neighbor? Which God demands war and blood?”

“What is there to fear in this world except that what lies in our souls?”

“What could be worth our humanity? The world is bent on self-destruction, and there seems little end to the violence.”

“Self defense does not have to be lethal!”


The meaning of life.doc

“The existence of God isn’t in doubt.”

“I have no personal doubts about the existence of God, his eternal state, or his perfection. I have doubts about our place in his design. How do we fit in with creation? What is creation? What is the point of having a plan at all?”

“The world that humanity has created for itself sickens me. It is brutal short, vicious, dirty, petty, ridiculous, and empty. We are born, we spend our days trying to avoid death by living, and in the end we still all die. We still haven’t found a way to live. Even with Jesus, Abraham, Mohammed, Buddha, Socrates, and countless others to guide us, we still war, we still live shameful lives. Or perhaps it is just my life that is shameless. But that is a different question.”


So I wonder.doc

“I think that perhaps I am all alone on this journey. I don’t trust the Church, but I don’t trust myself either. Every man comes to his own personal conversion through individual experience, and I wonder if that is the case with me. I feel torn between what I should do. Should I continue in the Army, finishing West Point and defending my country as an Army officer? This doesn’t seem likely. It seems that once again I am prolonging the inevitable. There is only one purpose to life, to love god and neighbor…To live for the glory of God, to become his complete servant, to become the stick in his hand… to embody his will on earth. Of course, everything we do is in accordance with his final destiny for the universe, but one must not be content that his actions, good or evil, are condoned because it eventually ,,,

My faults are so many that I find it unbelievable that I still exist. It makes me want to tear my hair out. It has been years since I thought I was back on to the path to God, and really, I have gone nowhere. I’ve just been running in place. For all my theological musings, I haven’t improved myself one bit. I am still selfish, I am still undisciplined, I am still an awful creature, one without any faith in God, one that continues to be bent on self-destruction.”

“I am not improving, I am simply getting worse, going down the path that leads to death and destruction, down the path to hell, and I can’t stop myself. Is there hope? Does it matter where I am? Does it matter that I am at West Point – cannot a person change his soul wherever he is? Isn’t that one of the precious things that God gives us? If we cannot change others or our environment, at the very least we can change ourselves. The freedom to choose God or not is ours, unaffected by our surroundings… Yet still, with the sure knowledge of God’s presence, I have not reformed. With sure knowledge of right and wrong, why have I so consistently chosen the wrong? I know that it is right to choose God, yet I continually ignore him. I ignore my basic duties to God and man, and am bent on self satisfaction. Is there no hope?”

“What have I learned since being in the Army? What have I forgotten? I thought I had everything figured out in Africa. But I solved nothing.”

“I suppose if I put my faith in Jesus, that would point out that my entire life is a lie, that nothing I do is in accordance to his will. It would point out that I would have to change.”


Dear Erin.doc

(A letter I wrote to my oldest sister)

“So now I am in the Army, at West Point, studying to become an officer in the United States military. I won’t ever be rich, and I don’t want to be. But I just might end up helping other people through service to my nation. It isn’t perfect, and it has many faults that make my conscience uneasy, but it is better than where I was before. Now I try to do things for the benefit of others. I don’t always succeed, but at least I am going in the right direction… and I am much happier for it.”


everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.doc

I collected the most important sayings of Jesus into a document, with these at the top of the list:


“Offer no resistance to injury”

“Love your enemies”

“If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that?”

“You must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”


Perhaps the secret to unraveling the question of the just war dilemma is in the questioning of heaven and hell.doc

“Perhaps the secret to unraveling the question of the just war dilemma is in the questioning of heaven and hell. If evil can be punished in the afterlife, can we not follow God’s lead and punish those in this world who would do evil? Isn’t that the very basis of society. There are deeper problems than simply is war justifiable. Are laws justifiable? We are to turn the other cheek… so does that mean we let murderers go unchecked?”


So are we ever going to come up with a comprehensive worldview that encompasses religion.doc

“Aren’t there things in the world that ought to be changed? Aren’t there concepts and principles that today are actively being used and discarded? Things like abortion. Things like war. Things like rampant materialism. Things like these… things that ought not to exist anymore. Idealist? Perhaps, but where would the world be without idealism? And where would the world be without God? It would be where we are now… stuck, and headed towards annihilation”

“What have I learned over the past 22 years of my life? One crucial thing: that there is a God, that our goals on earth should revolve around our love for him (for creating and loving us) and loving all of the rest of creation – including our fellow man and our world. This is a crucial principle which seems so overlooked. How hard is it to understand that war is not love? How hard is it to understand that we need very little in this world, other than love of God and others. From this simple concept springs an entire worldview.”

“Is there any room for this idealistic love? Is there any room for another to turn the cheek? Is there any room for this trust in human nature – that your worst enemy, the one whose hate of you fills his entire existence… can that hate be replaced with love? Can it be done simply by loving your enemy? How many true martyrs exist in modern times? How many would be willing to lose their life because of their love of those who hate them? That seems to be asking a great deal of the average human nature. There are few who would die for their favorite pet, or perhaps even parents, let alone their enemies. But this is how the Church started. This is how all religions started. Those who love supersedes the value they place on their own life. This is how one man, or one God could die on a cross, and sweep across the world. There is undeniable power there, but from the beginning, it was abused. The emulation of Christ lasted no more than a century… after which … well, it is plain to see how his ideas were either forgotten, misinterpreted, or simply ignored.”

“Pacifism. There can be no doubt that love asks us to embrace everything peaceful and reject everything hurtful. But even pacifism can have different spectrums. You can either say, I’ll let you slap me over and over again until I am either dead or you give in. Or you can tie him up and try to rehabilitate him, or exile him, or imprison him. None of this includes killing. None of this includes punishment or retribution. It is not up to humans to judge, it is up to God. The ideal love is something that evades even the most pure of us, and the true martyrs are few. But there are choices.”

“Where is the voice of sanity? What in the world are we fighting over? There are no winners in this, nor is either side right. Both are terribly, terribly wrong. And I am caught in the middle, and I know it is wrong, and yet… I do nothing. And where is the church of God in all of this? Where have the children of God gone in this affair? Why has all of this not been pointed out? How can all of this possibly be condoned?”


Still no conclusions.doc

“Still no conclusions, still no answers… still an abundance of questions.. and not any nearer to their solution. Days and minutes go by and I still remain in the state that I was born with – ignorance of everything and anything that is imaginable or in existence. Though I think I know things, I really only know the subtle aspects of what we call reality. To think that we can understand this world around us is folly. The only defined things in my mind are the supremacy of God and our ability to control our own internal thoughts and character. Beyond that, there seems little to agree on. I can control myself, that much is clear. I cannot exactly control the world around me, as much as I would like to think that I could.”


no conclusions.doc

“Still no conclusions?

Isn’t that a cop out? You do have conclusions, you are just afraid to listen to them. You might not like what they tell yourself about your life. You might not like what you see in the mirror that shows truth!Your world might come crashing down, and your black heart, were it capable of filling with anything, would brim with despair. Your life would not diintigrate, but … how could something that doesn’t exist be destroyed?

Have we forgotten to turn the other cheek? Have we forgotten to love our enemies?

Have we forgotten not to judge lest not we be judged?

Have we forgotten the power of the muistard seed, the power of faith in God?

Have we forgotten what it means to be a follower of Christ? What it means to take up his cross?

Have we forgotten all of these things?

There are no just wars. There is no justified killing

Turn the other cheek.

Do not Judge.

Trust in God.

Love God with all your heart and all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

What else is there….?

What else is there?

There is a God. This is our first necessary truth.. the first given… the eternal truth from which all other truths spring. To deny this is to deny existence and grip death, to love deceit… to know nothing and lovee nothing.”


I have sincerely endeavored to learn the truth.doc

“I have sincerely endeavored to learn the truth. I have looked within my heart and soul and found it lacking. I have read and discerned nothing from religious texts and philosophical tracts. Nothing but the one eternal truth—that God exists.

But the argument is not over existence. The debate is over form and substance.

Who is God?

Is God an individual entity separate and superior to existence, or is he just another name for reality? And how does Man fit into God’s world?

Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and all the philosophers from Socrates to New Age spiritualists say the same thing. The individual derives meaning from God. Without God, there can be no purpose to life. But what is the purpose? What is God?

The religious factions of the world have lose whatever meaning they once held. Mark Twain may have been right in declaring Jesus as the first and last Christian. The unambiguous commandments have been trivialized and tradition has been elevated to divine authority. The age of apostasy is upon Man. God is not so much ignored as forgotten, not so much dead as buried.

God is eternal and perfect. Man is finite and flawed. If there can be any goal in life, it must be to strive for the ideal, to attempt an unattainable perfection.

Perfection is an immaterial goal, one of soul and faith rather than body and works. The power of humanity lies in freedom of will. In a world of cause and effect, where all that goes up must come down, our power lies in the uncaused choice of the soul. This is the divine spark that makes us human. It is our connection to God, and our salvation.

Regardless of the past, oblivious to future ramifications, our will transcends the material world. Yet we are flawed. Though uncaused, our freedom sways with the animal instincts created by our corporeal existence. Though above the world, we are gripped by its manifestations.

It is this struggle which makes us human. It is this struggle that defines life.

Few of us prevail.

Most fail through ignorance of what we are to struggle for.

You cannot go back again.

The greatest commandments are simple: Love God with all your being, and others as yourself.

But what does it mean to love God with all our being? It takes a recognition of the miracle of your existence. God created you. He created you and gave you the divine spark to choose as he does, to go beyond cause and effect. We can never be grateful enough for such a gift. We can never offer enough praise. We can never earn what he has freely given. But we must try.”


Is an ideal society possible.doc

“Must we simply accept the futility of civilization and admit defeat in Caesar’s world? Indeed, how can one live in a society when being part of the society means contributing to immorality? Are we only responsible for our direct actions, or must we accept all indirect consequences of our actions?”

“Christianity is dead, but Christ is not. Was Christianity ever meant to be more than the salvation of souls? Has institutionalized religion destroyed the message of our Creator? Jesus received all he asked for in prayer because of his faith. His faith brought him to perfection that no man has attained before. It allowed him to conquer death.”

“This world defies explanation and understanding. Jesus prohibited angry thoughts, let alone killing. Yet what faith accepts this simple teaching? Somewhere along the line it became okay to kill in self defense of innocents.”

“I wish I had something to say that would add any meaning to all of this… but I don’t. It is so simple, yet so complex – because to follow Christ as he asks would be to abandon everything we have been taught to love. It is clear that we would be scorned by society for living as God asks us to. One cannot simply live in isolation from the rest of the world. The question is how to live as God wants us to within the society that has effectively excluded him?”

“Does the world not need to be reminded of what Jesus said to us? Is it so hard to understand the laws that he laid down for us? But we ask how we can possibly live under those commandments of love? Turn loose murders? Offer no resistance to robbery? Live without possessions? Wouldn’t our economy crash? Wouldn’t we be invaded? Wouldn’t we suffer astounding losses? Wouldn’t we suffer from starvation and disease? Wouldn’t progress and technology come to a halt, returning us to a world of tyranny and chaos? But a man of faith cares not for these worries, because he knows that God loves him and always gives him good things. It is because we lack faith that we are afraid to follow Christ. Does this mean the total dismantlement of civilization?”

“In the search for meaning, have I found nothing? Or has nothing found me? Either way, I feel no better off than I was two years, four years, however many years ago…I once said that I am a different person, but if I was, am I back? Am I different? Yes, surely I am. But I am still in transition.”

“I don’t know what to write, or what to ask for. Perhaps I just need sleep. I am tired all the time. I feel lost once again. No matter how well I do, no matter how much praise I heap upon myself, no matter what… I still feel empty. But do I have to feel this way, or does my mind just retreat to it when it needs an excuse or rationalization? Either way, I am … in the wrong. Nothing I do will ever be good enough. Not for them. Not for me.”

“It is better to die and save your soul than live and lose it.”

“Do good without resorting to evil. I am trying to get my mind to take the truths handed down two thousand years ago and wrap them around today’s world. It is frighteningly difficult… but how, to discover, or to accept? Is it so hard to accept because of the indescribable state of apostasy? Jesus was killed. Peter was killed. Paul was killed. Many were martyred. Hope resides in death. It matters what you do.”

“Is civilization inherently flawed, and does that mean man along with it? Does being flawed mean that you are justified in giving up the quest for perfection? “I’m not perfect” doesn’t seem like a sound reason for not trying to be good.”



“Is it moral to kill a person if it is the only way to prevent them from killing an innocent human being? The implications of this question are far reaching. Should we kill to save innocents from death?

The debate on abortion clarifies this muddled question. Some believe abortion is wrong and should be outlawed, some believe abortion is wrong but think it is a personal decision, and some believe abortion is okay. There are radicals who are so strongly Pro-Life that they kill abortion doctors. When they perform these killings, both sides of the abortion debate condemn the action. But one must ask – is it moral to kill a person if that prevents him from murdering an innocent human being? If it is moral, then a person who believes abortion is murder is justified in killing the doctor. In fact—one could say it is his duty. But common sense and conscience tell us that killing an abortion doctor is hypocritical—that two wrongs do not make a right, that one who loves life so much should not be willing to take it himself—even to save it. But what does this imply about Capital Punishment? What does it tell us about War?

If we can not kill abortion doctors to prevent abortions, we can not kill terrorists to prevent terror. We certainly can not kill innocent Afghani villagers to prevent terror. Some say it is okay because it is unintentional, but how unintentional is it if we admit that these things happen in war? How can we admit war is hell, that war is a necessary evil, and maintain a clear conscience at the same time? If war is not only wrong, but evil (necessary or not), then why do so few admit it openly? Why are Generals not resigning? Why aren’t there millions marching upon Washington in favor of peace? It is because we lack the character and courage to follow that which everyone admits. It is because we are afraid of what living our beliefs might mean.”


If you believe in God.doc

“If you believe in God, then you have two choices. You can follow his will, or you can ignore it. One leads to life, the other to death. Yet who really believes that crap these days? CNN is more reliable than the local pastor, and certainly more relevant. In this modern age, what room is left for a God who resolutely refuses to show himself? Even two millennia ago, Thomas the Apostle couldn’t be convinced until he had seen the “risen Christ” for himself, before actually probing the crucifixion wounds with his hands. With the advent of the scientific method, with Hubble peering back to the big bang, and with the human genome catalogued, what signs have we of this mysterious God?

But no one said faith was easy. No one said you could find faith. Faith isn’t knowledge—it is a choice. It is the choice to follow God’s will… whatever that might be.

“To you who hear me, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you….If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, how can you claim any credit? Sinners do as much…

Love your enemy and do good…

You will rightly be called sons of the Most High, since he himself is good to the ungrateful and the wicked.”

“When they ostracize you and insult you and proscribe your name as evil… rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven…Woe to you when all speak well of you.”

Is death the best sort of love we can conjure for Osama bin Laden, or is there a different way to love this particular enemy? Are collateral damage and civilian casualties an acceptable byproduct of our love for terrorists?

“Thou shalt not kill.”

Is it really so hard to understand? It isn’t, but the choice… the faith… certainly is.”


big news.doc (An email to my parents)

“Things here are going nearly perfect. Class rankings came out a few days ago, and I am fourth in the class. I am doing very well on the skydiving team, and feel like I am improving every day. It is also the most exciting thing I have ever done in my life. I have many friends, and am well thought of. In many ways, I am quite different from the son you knew in High School and College. But however much I appear to have changed in terms of success in the Army, it pales in comparison to the inner transformation I have undergone. It was a transformation that started in Cote D’Ivoire.”

“In Africa, I found that God truly did exist, and I discovered that we are meant to follow Him. Nothing else could take priority over that fact. I had no idea how to follow God, but I resolved to do so.”

“I buried these thoughts as Basic Training went on and I became focused on becoming a soldier. Yet I couldn’t keep God out of my mind. Nearly every free minute I had throughout my training (all 10 of them) was devoted to studying the bible and what God had in mind for us. I did begin to feel uncomfortable with some commandments of Jesus, but I put my faith in the noble profession of arms whose mission protects life and freedom.”

“With success in the Army and West Point, I should have felt satisfied with my life. The opposite occurred. As I looked at my life, I began to feel dread. I had forgotten the God that had brought me to West Point – not for myself, but for others. I began to read the bible again, and to pray for the strength to follow God’s will.”

“This is not some liberal tree-hugging pacifist ideology. This is a faith deeply rooted in the belief of an all powerful God who commands us to Love everyone, including our enemies. I won’t go into the scriptures that show this commandment. Evidence exists in both the Old and New Testaments, but it is most clearly shown by the example of Jesus himself, who died, forgave, and saved rather than lived, fought, and condemned.”

“I cannot ignore commandments because they are not pragmatic. I cannot ignore the law of God, even if it means giving up everything that I have worked years for. More simply, I cannot ignore my conscience, which weighs and tears at my soul.

I cannot serve both God and the Military.”

“I don’t want to look too far ahead, but supposing I am discharged, I plan on going on some sort of mission after leaving West Point. I have a few tentative ideas about with whom and where, but it is a little early in the process to be making concrete plans. It is however my goal. I believe being good takes practice, and I need a lot of practice.”



“Words. Just words. Take some action. Make a change. I am ready for it. I have written some things – to my parents, etc. But it is my actions that speak louder. My actions have led me to the Catholic Church, where I have found a friend. This new friend was there all the time, I just had ignored him. God has let me conquer (somewhat) feelings of lust, violence, anger, and vanity. Though I still am all of those things, he has given me the strength, will, and determination to fight through it and come closer to Himself. I have so much to be thankful for. The time is drawing closer. But I still have so much to learn. I yearn to become a better person, but the old enemies still present themselves to me. What am I to do about Women? A new addiction to skydiving is not helping me spiritually either. My friend Erik Lenhart, my Buckner pal Jason Meloy, and of course, Adam Lynch – have all helped me greatly on my quest to come closer to God. I could not have made the progress I have without them. It is not a great deal of progress, but I am truly grateful to them. I am leaving, and soon. With faith in God, I entrust my life to his plan. I may actually be happy.”



“The very basis for the beliefs that I am about to describe must have a solid and unshakeable foundation inside a strong Faith of God and Jesus.”

“The whole point of admitting to the power and involvement of God in our lives is to understand that we should not regard pragmatism in our understanding of God’s commandments. God’s way is better than our way. If he is perfect, and all powerful, then no matter how stupid obeying his commands might seem, we ought to follow them. If it is an ambiguous command, then reason obviously must be applied. But I think you will see that Jesus’ commandments are anything but ambiguous.”

“There are enough words in the bible to find an argument for any case you might want to build. Yet, consider the greatest commandment that Jesus points out. Consider his message of Love. The message of forgiveness. The Gospel, which means the “Good News.” God does care. God is all powerful. Nothing happens to us without His involvement. And in the end, he calls us to love him and others.”

“It is a simple commandment, the Golden Rule. But do Christians really follow it? Are we truly willing to follow the commandment of Love? If we did, then we’d have to change a lot – starting with our ideas of freedom, our ideas of community, and certainly our ideas of law, justice, and government. “

“Give it some thought. Ask yourself what Jesus main message was, instead of what contradictions might be found in obscure passages, tangential teachings, and inscrutable parables.”


livejournal post –

So yes, the war on Iraq may indeed bring peace and prosperity to the region and the world. But it is fool’s gold. In the end, our desire to solve problems through force will end in far greater destruction and chaos than we can imagine. Our vain efforts are a reflection of our apathy towards God. How long will He continue to save us from ourselves?


livejournal post –

“Since coming to West Point, I have developed a stronger devotion to God. Viewing America through the lens of faith, I can say that my perceptions of society have certainly changed. Where I once saw necessary drive towards progress, I now see irresponsible ambition. Where I once saw government assistance, I now see unjust meddling. Where I once saw a world in need of men with big sticks, I now see a world in need of men with big hearts. America hasn’t changed its values, but I have. The most important question any man must face is the question of life’s meaning. I found the answer through fear of death. When death no longer matters, when suffering becomes an opportunity to grow in faith, when selfish desires are seen for what they are – hurtful to both self and others, then one begins to question much that was once held for granted. One begins to question the very core of America’s being – that I have “inalienable right(s) to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” When such rights conflict with my core value, with my fervent desire to follow God, then I am in a dilemma. My right to life should never conflict with my obligation to my nation, to my family, to the neighbor across the street. My right to liberty should never prevent the outpouring of Christian love. My pursuit of happiness, as it happens to often in America, should never come at the cost of another’s. America can often be selfish, indulgent, and gluttonous. As a consumerist secular culture of violence and sexuality, America has no hope. As a peace loving nation of an ambition based on love of neighbor and God, America has a brilliant future.”


livejournal post –

“An amazing thing happened to me this afternoon. I found out what I am going to be doing in the Army. It is in the Medical Services Corps: Aeromedical Evacuation (67J). Description of duties. Serves as a specially trained aeromedi­cal evacuation aviator in a variety of key positions. Pilots assigned aircraft on aeromedical evacuation missions which supervise in-flight treatment to sustain human life and relieve suffering. Pos­sesses full knowledge of AMEDD doctrine, organization, and equipment. Tactically employs medical aircraft, personnel, and equipment in support of land combat operations in varying tactical, terrain, and climatic environments using a variety of flying techniques and equipment. Duties include staff positions at various levels, service schools and/or training centers instructor, aviation maintenance and safety, research and development, advisory duty with Reserve Com­ponent Aviation units, and other roles as required. Duties are per-formed in a variety of MTOE/TDA organizations, both CONUS and OCONUS. Basically, a MEDEVAC pilot. I can’t find the words to describe how wonderful and loving God is. He is perfect. For the first time in over a year, I can see a future in the Army. And it is a great one!!”


livejournal entry –

“Its always so wonderful talking to you. Things are created with a purpose by God. Snow melts. Trees grow. The sun shines. Humans Love. We become less human when we love less. God created us in His image – the image of Love. I feel like the snow that has just arrived and is still fresh, or the tree that has just sprouted, or the sun that has barely begun to rise over the horizon. The beginning of me being truly human has its source in my growing love for you. It is like on that cold morning, when the first rays of the sun hit your face. You are still somewhat cold, but immediately, your blood gets going and you feel warmth rush inside you. Truly, I am eagerly anticipating the day when it is high noon in my soul. I hope you’ll be there with me.”


livejournal post –

“A great old movie with Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons. Basic storyline: First scene is of a Catholic Missionary being strapped to a cross in the middle of a South America jungle. Then the natives put the cross in a river. He floats down the river for a time, and the current gets stronger…it gets really strong. Then we see the 100 foot waterfall, and watch as the cross carries the priest to his death. Next scene: Spanish slave trader and mercenary kill natives, traps them, sells them. (Robert DeNiro) Long story short – Slave trader kills his brother in jealous rage over a woman and resolves to change his life. He joins another missionary and they convert many natives, build a new community within the jungle, and are for the most part quite happy. Yet while the land is protected under portugese rule from the slave trade, the catholic church gives the land to spain, and the slave traders come and destroy the settlement. The missionary dies holding a cross, refusing to use violence and begging the mercenary not to either. The former mercenary returns to his violent ways, but this time to protect the poor tribesman. He dies too, as do almost all of the natives. The only ones left are small children, who retreat down the river to the deep jungle, where they assumedly live a peaceful and happy life away from both churches and civilizations. I pray for the peaceful and simple life, but wonder if that is what God wants for me. But I wonder what is in store for me…. Am I to be the reformed mercenary? The zealous missionary? The retreating children? The assaulting slave traders? The only thing we truly control is our own choices, and I intend to make the right ones. I choose… God vs. Myself Good vs. Right Life vs. Death Happiness vs. Misery Freedom vs. Slavery Faith vs. Doubt Hope vs. Despair Love vs. Hate The apple sits in front of me, and I wonder who could possibly think God doesn’t love us, or doesn’t even exist. They say money doesn’t grow on trees… but can’t you sell an apple? Water falls from the sky. Can’t you sell water? But you can only sell what you hoard, you can only sell what others lack, you can only sell what you own, and you can only own what you take. Go ahead… Take my apple, put a pricetag on it, and see how stupid I am. I’ll probably work a job for you, fighting your war, defending your right to take my apple, and I’ll buy it with the money you give me. Which route to take on the river? Over the waterfall, to the deeper jungle, or waiting on the banks for the slave traders?”

JAN-13-2003 livejournal post –

“Jesus makes it very clear what the most important thing in life is: “Teacher, which commandment of the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments the whole law is based, and the prophets as well So how do we love God? Easy – by loving our neighbor. You can’t separate being close to God from being close to others. “The man without love has known nothing of God, for God is love” – 1 John 4:8 The truest and surest way to come closer to God (love) is to share love (God) with each other. He who obeys my commandments he has from me is the man who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal myself to him. – John 14:21 And you’ll probably recognize this parallel passage: If you live according to my teachings, you are truly my disciples; then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:31 The truth is Love, the truth is God, and if we embrace Him and His nature, we will know God once and for all – and will truly be set free.”

JAN-29-2003 livejournal post –

“As much as I want to bring freedom to the oppressed, as much as everything Bush said made me want to go out there and start toppling tyrants and thugs, as much as I understand and love Bush’s dedication to God… Only God can save us. The one voice of reason is the one voice ignored from the beginning. It is the voice that I only barely hold on to, not on my own, but by the love of God, and those who I know are always praying for me. The voice of God repeats the same word over and over again. Love”

JAN-29-2003 livejournal post –

“I’d like to pack them and just take off. I’m tired of being a slave to myself and others. I’m tired of being put in situations that make me fumble around in darkness, searching for a match while it rains anyways. And even when I find love, all I find are roadblocks. I could tear my hair out, if I had any. Life isn’t supposed to be this complicated and absurd. I’m tired of living by other people’s rules, when God only gives one: Love”


livejournal post –

“Luke 10:25 On one occasion a lawyer stood up to pose him this problem: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?” Jesus answered him: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He replied: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you shall live. Luke 18:18 One of the ruling class asked him then, “Good teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?” Jesus said to him, “Why call me good? None is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not kill. You shall not steal. You shall not bear dishonest witness. Honor your father and your mother. He replied, “I have kept all these since I was a boy.” When Jesus heard this he said to him, “There is one thing further you must do. Sell all you have and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” … Peter said, “We have left all we own to become your followers.” Matthew 19:21 If you seek perfection, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow me. Matthew 5:48 My command to you is this: Love your enemies… In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Within War and Wealth, Wisdom Withers… Perfection might not be attainable. But my fullest efforts certainly are. I am failing, but with God’s help, nothing is impossible.”


livejournal post –

“So I guess I should write in this thing. It has been a while. Last week just plain out sucked. Big time. Lots of different reasons, but mostly because I was concentrating on myself again. It is funny how I always forget the source of my own unhappiness – myself. I have a headache. Am I imagining all this?”


livejournal post –

“Be the change you want to see in the world” But I am nothing if not in and of the world. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself” Yet have I ever seen the present without seeing to the future? “Love one another” And how can I Love, if I reject Love itself – God? ”When will it be time? Have I no heart?”

“I am Nothing. God is Everything. In order to be anything, I must find that Love which is God. “ ”Only then will the dreams cease, only then will I find peace, only then will I become more than myself, more than my own god, more than nothing at all…”


livejournal post –

“No matter where I turn, I see only darkness – for I am blind. No matter where I am, I feel only alone – for I am lost. No matter what I do, I find only failure – for I am caged. No matter who I am, I seek only myself – for I am dead. Dead to God, Caged in Life, Lost and Blind in the solitary darkness… I feel a light touch on my shoulder and pray for the courage to take His hand.”


livejournal post –

“I still struggle with whether or not I should stay here at West Point. I realized about a week ago that I truly am scared of failure. I never thought I was, but I had a lot of academic pressure on me, and I could tell that I was getting stressed out. Weird, because I usually don’t stress out. I guess maybe there were other factors – one being the fact that every girl I meet in my life has an excuse as to why we can’t be together. I know that is just God looking out for me, but it tears me up that I always want what I can’t have. But back to the failure bit: I think that I have a real problem. Every time I do something well, I set the standard for success a little bit higher. This creates a situation where I inevitably must fail due to higher and higher standards of success. It gets to the point where instead of working harder, I just give up. And I hate giving up. I can’t even go on a 20 minute jog without sprinting the last part of it, and nearly hurting myself. I feel like a loser if I quit, but I would feel even worse if I gave it my best and fell short. The same applies to how I see my relationship with God. I honestly feel like staying here, taking the cow loan, extending my commitment to the military when I know I don’t belong in the military, and trying to maintain a relationship with a Christian girl in the hopes of a future family… I feel like these things are all fundamentally selfish. I see Jesus having no possessions, having no home, no wife, having nothing but the will of God. And I see how far my life is from that perfect example…. and I want to be perfect. But in wanting to be perfect, I know that I am a failure from the start… and so I have the tendency to give up at the beginning, to lose hope. But I won’t quit. Never. I honestly don’t know what the future holds. I could bear down and get good grades so that I am able to branch medical service. I could stay with Stephanie and build a relationship that could go somewhere after graduation. I could put away ideas of being perfect, and concentrate on doing the best I can in the situation that has been handed to me. Or I could jump out of the airplane once again. I could be the person I am supposed to be. The world has its hooks in me, and tearing away from it would be painful, and I would lose a part of myself in the process. But I would only lose the part of me that was dead anyways. The person I am must die. I am filled with pride, vanity, lust, sloth, fear, and hate. This can be done anywhere, at any time, by a simple request to God. It just matters whether I really want these things taken from me. I do.”


livejournal post –

“If I could talk to the class of 2005

I look at myself, and I see the epitome of our class. Undisciplined. Foolish. Arrogant. I am a complete disappointment. A disappointment to myself, to my friends, to my classmates, to my family, to my county, and ultimately, to my God. I am not content to destroy my character in solitude. I must flaunt my degradation. I must bring others with me. I am addicted to idleness and apathy – an addiction fueled by an attitude that demoralizes those around me. If I can bring them down, I can feel so much better about my own purposelessness. But its not as if I don’t have a purpose. I don’t have a duty that was handed to me – I have a promise that was given to others. I promised to serve. It was a promise made in sincerity. It was a promise that included passion, drive, determination, and perseverance. Somewhere over the past year and a half, I forgot that promise. I forgot that the least important part of life is my own. Only through service to others does my life hold any meaning. How can I serve others if I can not control myself? How can I serve others if I am fixated on where my next laugh comes from or where my next score will be. In the final analysis – I am looking for that ultimate score. Whether it is fun and excitement, or contentment and ease, I am looking for a drug to soothe the guilt of a diseased conscience. The addiction to myself must end. The service must be regained. The promise must be kept. We must free ourselves before we can free anything else. Keeping ourselves alive, 2005.”


livejournal post –

“Into the grinder again.

A wrote a long little letter, full of self-pity and feeling sorry for myself. I had to erase it. The basic fact: I live a privileged life. The basic truth: I have God given gifts that can make my life and others fulfilling and happy. The basic tragedy: I fail to utilize them, I fail myself, I fail others… needlessly, selfishly, and sinfully. Everything else: Fuck me.”


livejournal –

“The path is clear for me. I must leave. Part of this struggle is the idea that I am doing this for selfish reasons. I don’t want to leave West Point because I am tired of education. That would be a pretty absurd reason to leave. Granted, I hate it. I can barely drag myself to class, and have become quite apathetic to the entire thing. The only reason I pay attention at all in class is because I know that if I stay in the Army, I have to maintain my class rank so that I can go medical corps. There is analogy here: I was driving a car down the highway, pedal to the metal – going full throttle, living life in the fast lane, knowing where I was going. But then up ahead, I saw a brick wall across my lane. Instead of switching lanes, I initially put on the brakes a little, to give me more time to think about what to do. That is last year, when I decided not to make any rash decisions about leaving West Point. I slowed down a little, but was still working hard and pretending that everything was okay. Then the summer hit, the military training. That’s when I really started to put on the breaks. Motivation was at a definite low, as I could barely stand to train for war. It only reminded me that the brick wall was getting closer and closer. The brick wall is the day I would be required to be a warrior. So I really put on the breaks, and started to slide a little, but kept the car in the same lane. Just about this time, I almost did what every sane person would do – change lanes. But I hate quitting. I searched for something to keep me in my lane. In retrospect, I knew that the only thing that could hold me at West Point was a girl. And I found one. I found a person to sit with me in the car, and instead of breaking, I started speeding up. Perhaps we could crash through the wall at such a speed and weight that it would crumble. Perhaps the wall wasn’t really made out of brick. But as the wall got closer, I knew I was deceiving myself. I hit the breaks full throttle, have started fishtailing, and now don’t even have enough control over the car to change lanes safely. It feels like my life is spinning wildly out of control. But you know how to stop a skid… turn in the direction that you are sliding, and don’t break. I’m sliding right out of the military, but I don’t know how it will turn out. Will I face jail? Nothing is ever easy, but I’m prepared to go as far as necessary to do what is right.

Knowing that God loves me keeps me going, and knowing that he will take care of me no matter what I do gives me the comfort and strength to do what I know I ought to do. On the brink, once again. :)”