Fighting liturgy with liturgy : a study of the effects of liturgical catechesis on the civil religious formation of Army Ranger students.
This project studies the effects that historic Christian liturgical worship and liturgical catechesis has on the civil religious beliefs and dispositions of United States Army (USA) soldiers who are students at the USA Ranger School. Critical to this study is the understanding of religion not solely the relationship between a person or group and their deity. Rather, religion throughout is regarded as a cultural phenomenon centered around symbols that give meaning, unity, and order to a society. Religion, properly defined, cannot be separated from politics or economics, these domains are interlocking and interpenetrating categories. The theological foundation explores the rise and embodiment of American Civil Religion (ACR) through history as encapsulated in the American soldier. This thesis investigates the role of the soldier within ACR as its “G.I. Messiah” and how the citizen becomes the soldier through “thick” Army liturgies. The biblical foundation investigates the Revelation of Jesus according to John’s polemic toward Roman Civil Religion (RCR). This project relies upon “liturgical anthropology” as a foundation to understanding both civil religion, RCR and ACR, and the Revelation. The project tests the effects of liturgical worship, liturgical catechesis, and daily office prayers and reading on Army Ranger students through qualitative and quantitative research. Areas measured are patriotism, nationalism, ACR beliefs, and GI Messianism. This project measures the effect of corporate historic Christian liturgy and personal devotion, on the spiritual formation of soldiers. This project presents “a way” for Army chaplains to form their soldiers more into the likeness of Jesus and less in the likeness of the G.I. Messiah.