'Outside the Wire': Chaplain Cash Speaks in Aberdeen
BY STEVE CRAIN
Special to The Pilot
Lt. Cmdr. Carey Cash, a U.S. Navy chaplain and author who recently spent nine months in Afghanistan, spoke at Aberdeen First Baptist Church the Sunday before Memorial Day.
"Many of you know how hard military life can be - for those serving and for those on the home front," said Cash, who was introduced to the audience by Aberdeen First Baptist's pastor, Mike Branscome.
Cash's book, "A Table in the Presence," describes his service with a U.S. Marine battalion in Iraq in 2003. A former football standout at the Citadel, Cash served in 2009 as a chaplain at Camp David, where he sometimes spoke in front of President Barack Obama.
In 2009, President Obama said of Cash, "[He] delivers as powerful a sermon as I've heard in a while."
Cash and his wife, Charity, have eight children. Charity is the daughter of Dr. Larry and Jan Ellis. Dr. Ellis co-pastors Trinity Christian Fellowship of Pinehurst.
Cash is slated next to serve at the U.S. Naval Academy as its senior Protestant chaplain, a position his father-in-law filled 30 years ago.
"My job as a Navy chaplain was to travel the country [Afghanistan] and look after the spiritual needs of 2,400 Navy personnel," Cash said. (Navy personnel serve in support positions in Afghanistan.)
Cash talked about moving "outside the wire."
"Concertina wire" is barbed wire formed in large coils. Along with regular barbed wire and steel pickets, it usually surrounds U.S. military combat-zone bases.
"Outside the wire is the wild and unpredictable world of Afghanistan," Cash said. "Where you are in proximity to 'the wire' is inquired about. It's also the only place where any lasting good happens. Someone has to go outside the wire ... where an old world gets to hear about a new one. ... With the people is where any good occurs."
He said the barriers are easy to see in Afghanistan.
"You know when you leave a safe area," he said. "But as Christians, the barriers are not easy to see. We Christians have become comfortable, entrenching ourselves inside the wire. We rest safe and secure in a predictable Christian lifestyle."
Christians need to step "outside the wire" in identifying with Christ in their daily lives, he said.
"The places where lives are being won and lost are outside the camp," Cash said. "When we give our lives to Christ, we are no longer our own. I've asked myself, 'Why am I doing this [serving as a chaplain]?' And the answer comes, 'You are doing this because your life is not your own.'
"Our warriors overseas are doing great things. Let us pray for them. They are living out this metaphor: 'Victory can only be won outside the wire.' May we hear and heed his [Jesus'] summons to join him 'outside the wire' to the glory of God."
Steve Crain lives in Southern Pines.
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