Mapping Moral Landscapes: Zachary Moon
Professor Zachary Moon of Chicago Theological Seminary takes us on his journey from pacifism to military chaplaincy, as he tells us about his recent book, Warriors Between Worlds: Moral Injury and Identities in Crisis
Military recruit training reengineers pre-existing moral orienting systems and indoctrinates a military moral orienting system designed to support functioning within the military context and the demands of the high-stress environment of combat, including immediate responses to perceived threat.
This military moral orienting system includes new values and beliefs, new behaviors, and new meaningful relationships. Recognizing the profound impact of military recruit training, this project challenges dominant notions of post-deployment reentry and reintegration, and formulates a new paradigm for first, understanding the generative circumstances of ongoing moral stress that include moral emotions like guilt, shame, disgust, and contempt, and, second, for responding to such human suffering through compassionate care and comprehensive restorative support.
Professor Moon’s project calls for more effective participation of religious communities in the reentry and reintegration process and for a military-wide post-deployment reentry program comparable to the encompassing physio-psycho-spiritual-social transformative intensity experienced in recruit-training boot camp.
Zachary Moon is assistant professor of practical theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and author of Coming Home: Ministry That Matters with Veterans and Military Families