1. #1
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    Default your faith or departments faith ?

    ok simple or complex really havent thought this one out as well as i should be doing but heres something,

    Ok im Catholic raised in NYC where a lot of people i knew were/are catholic and there was a catholic church everywhere you looked but now that i moved south and now it is dominated by Christians and Baptists thats all i see is mostly baptists churches. Now im not knocking their religion by any means but one thing im not used to is the praying before every meal. I do forget sometimes to wait for the prayer at dinner but im not used to it.

    SO any other guys run into this maybe not the same religion par say or vice versa.

    anything at all ?

    Rob

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    really havent thought this one out as well as i should be doing
    Now that right there sums it up perfectly.
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    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Remember, Baptists and Catholics are Christians, and you both already have something in common. It's all about respect you show for the other person, their faith, and how they practice their beliefs. In the end, that is what's truly important. You could ask God, your priest, or some other spiritual leader if you need more specifics. Hell, ask the Baptist who may wonder about the same things and you could learn from each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davjohnson View Post
    Remember, Baptists and Catholics are Christians, ...
    In theory, yes. The differences in doctrine make you wonder sometimes though...

    This really isn't a "your faith" versus the "department's faith" issue. "Department's" don't have faiths. You've just run into a situation where your faith doesn't happen to be the same faith shared by your new community. Welcome to being a religious minority!

    If the religious practices of your new group bother you, you don't necessarily have to take part in them and they shouldn't pressure you to do so. That being said, it may be easier for you to bend a bit as long as it doesn't compromise your faith: "When in Rome..."

    As far as the department itself goes, it should be neutral with respect to religion altogether.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Default On duty and praying before the meal

    I am a Christian, i.e. that I believe Christ died for my sins and I accept him as my savior, and I attend a Presbyterian church as well. As a firefighter, and later an officer, I never wore my faith on my sleeve, which may have been a good thing by the way I acted and spoke sometimes. The guys and gals knew that I attended church every Sunday as well as other church and parish activities. I have a "Life's short. Pray hard" sticker under the brim of my helmet, and that's about as close to being able to identify me as 'religious', using something material or commercial.

    I prayed at my locker before every shift, that I would make the right choices to keep my friends and myself safe. I prayed silently before each meal, at the same table as the others. No one felt awkward and neither did I. When my wife and daughter would come and eat with us, the three of us prayed likewise. When my wife cooked and brought us Thanksgiving dinner each year, I asked the guys if we could say a prayer out loud before the meal, no one objected or seemed awkward.

    A bit after 11 September, we (the department) went to the homes of some of our first-due residents, who were killed (one family on one of the flights and a person in the Pentagon) and I was asked to say a prayer aloud for the families. I was also asked to say a prayer for our members injured in an apparatus accident as well, during a meeting.

    I've ridden with career guys and volunteers, college kids and men my senior, Catholics, Presbyterians, Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, and those who believe organized religion is a crutch for those who can't think for themselves. I had one career member who used to joke with me that because he got a tatoo he would be going to hell. It was simply fun and humor, kidding around. We didn't offend each other.

    I never had a problem with any of them, and vice versa.

    If everyone on your shift bows their head before the meal, that's fine, but you should be allowed the choice to do so or not. If you feel a little guilt or awkwardness, you should at least talk to your officer, so you know what each of your positions are on this matter.
    William Carey
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    bcarey said: "but you should be allowed the choice to do so or not. "

    And

    Deputy Marshal said:"and they shouldn't pressure you to do so."

    It seems there is a propensity to automatically cover your butts and allude that the "christians and baptists" are or could be singleing him out or pressuring him into conforming.

    I did not gather from his email that he was facing any kind of coercion to convert, participate or conform to the dept. "majorities" religious practices.

    To each his own i suppose, but i also do not see why 'they" should have to conform to his "not praying" before meals.

    DM said it best and it is what i would recommend as well: Bend a bit .

    FWIW, the Catholics i study with all pray before a eating a meal and cross themselves before eating. Those in the N.E. do not practice "giving thanks"?
    Just asking.

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    Not covering my butt or such at all, but sharing an example and advice for consideration. Nor did I say one had to conform to the other. Just like everything else in life, the easiest way to keep a mole hill from becoming a mountain is for people to talk to each other, one on one, first.

    For all we know they could be praying that he'd lose his accent. (joke)

    William Carey
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    In order to keep this thread civil, Ill keep my own thoughts on this to myself.

    My department doesn't have a "faith". We are a government agency so religion is a private matter. There are no group prayers before dinner or any other time.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    My department doesn't have a "faith". We are a government agency so religion is a private matter. There are no group prayers before dinner or any other time.
    But does your department have a designated chaplain or chaplains?

    I myself am a Methodist , just for the record...

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    oh boy.. I can see this thread getting locked in short order...

    This was a post on another forum I frequent... it was 2 years ago. The original topic was abaout being able to be a firefigighter and Christian at the same time... I saw it and said "what the frack is this about? It was someone pushing his own book about the subject.

    Here was an answer to the original post... I won't psot the original as it would violate the terms of the FH Forums...

    I just got back to this forum and I'm glad that I did. What an uplifting book. I haven't gotten through all of it yet, but it has really held my attention. I think it shows much promise and is a very badly needed tool in our arsenal of weapons for the job. My wife was a bit skepticle of me trying this profession (I'm a volunteer, but trying to actually get paid for this!) because of the stigma of the profession (rowdy, Godless drunkards, basically). Then we met a true man of God firefighter who worships at our church. What a change of heart my wife had and fully accepts and supports me now in my efforts. Your book will do wonders for so many who may shy away from a profession that so badly needs more than just a few good men (and women).
    Thanks for the encouragement John.
    My answer...
    As a 24+ year career firefighter, I found your mentioning of the "stigma" of the job quite offensive. If you really want to become a volunteer or career firefghter, I suggest a few things...

    1. Drop the "holier than thou" attitude. Trust me... when the bell rings, it doesn't matter if your partner on the hoseline is a fellow Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist.. you are there to do "da job" and save lives and property, not souls... saving souls is not in the job description.

    2. Don't look at the firehouse as way of proselytizing. If someone is willing to listen, share your faith. If they are not intersted or have different beliefs or none at all, nothing will turn them off faster than having you try to verbally pound them into submission.

    3. The fire service has it's share of people with drinking problems, as does any profession, including the clergy.

    3. There are some firefighters who rarely use any form of profanity, and some who drop the F-bomb in just about every other word in a conversation.

    Sometimes it is used on the fireground for extreme emphasis.. as in "get the F*** out of the building now...it's about to collapse!

    The word A**hole can be a term of endearment, an insult or both at the same time!

    4. The stereotype of "rowdy, Godless drunkards" is just that... something made up in someone's mind and impressed upon others who are foolish enough to believe it.


    5. We use terms that others look upon with horror, for example burn victims are "crispy critters" "well done" or "roasted" Heart attack victims are in the "eternal care unit" or "DRT.. (dead right there)". Fatal car accident victims are "sliced and diced" or "part of the pavement". Gunshot victims have "lead posioning", etc.

    The Rescue is the "gut wagon", the ambulance is the "bone box" or just "the bone"

    We use these euphemisims as a coping mechanism to distance ourselves from the horror that we see... something that would make John and Jane Q. Public recoil in horror and get violently ill if they ever saw it.

    Been there (CPR on a close family friend, a infant SIDS case, and finding dead children in primary and secondary searches), done that, not fun whatsoever.
    By the way.. in before the lock!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 09-29-2007 at 11:35 AM.
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    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I work in a very religious place. I do not share their particalar "flavour" of religion but to me it doesn't matter so long as there is mutual respect.

    They also bow their heads to pray before every meal. Sometimes, I just put my head down, and sometimes, I just wait for them to finish before I start eating.

    You get the respect that you give and earn in return.

    As far as anyone trying to "convert" me; I have told them in a nice tone that I actually do have my own religion and that I do not intend to turn my back on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightnPBIArmor View Post
    But does your department have a designated chaplain or chaplains?

    I myself am a Methodist , just for the record...
    Yes, we do. He is a member of the volunteers and does private counsiling, for members of faith. We have also called him out to speak with victims on occasion, at their request.

    But what does that have to do with being expected to pray before a meal at the firehouse? Or did I read the original post wrong? I understood that crew members are expected to join in prayer at the table. Perhaps I'm mistaken.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    In theory, yes. The differences in doctrine make you wonder sometimes though...

    This really isn't a "your faith" versus the "department's faith" issue. "Department's" don't have faiths. You've just run into a situation where your faith doesn't happen to be the same faith shared by your new community. Welcome to being a religious minority!

    If the religious practices of your new group bother you, you don't necessarily have to take part in them and they shouldn't pressure you to do so. That being said, it may be easier for you to bend a bit as long as it doesn't compromise your faith: "When in Rome..."

    As far as the department itself goes, it should be neutral with respect to religion altogether.
    vey well written and here same thing,the department should be neutral with religions.but you know sometimes,you have to deal with many different point of view about religion and that can be hard.
    "sauver ou périr"

    "courage et dévouement"

    2 french mottoes in french fire service.

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    I think Rook said it best....

    Quote Originally Posted by ROOKIELZ View Post
    You get the respect that you give and earn in return.
    If you feel uncomfortable, then quietly sit there (or don't be there when they are praying).

    Later, speak privately to your officer about your concerns if you must.

    Earn it by giving it!
    Be safe y'all!
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    I think that this has less to do with religion than it does culture shock. It might be hard to keep this civil, but I believe the original question to be an honest one and worth answering.

    My department has firefighters/stations/shifts that are more outwardly religious than others - that is, some pray before meals, etc., while others do not. The thing is, even if my beliefs are identical to those I work with, if we express those beliefs differently, each may think the other strange.

    When I worked with a crew that said a prayer before meals, I'd have to consciously remember to wait for them. I've always thought it odd to pray at mealtime for the simple reason that I'm greatful for what I have (and don't have) all the time. Now I suppose I could have gone ahead and eaten, but waiting was one way of showing respect for them and their beliefs/practices/culture. I think it's worth repeating that we might have had exactly the same views, just different ways of showing it.

    While my department's culture is predominantly evangelical Christian, I would never go so far as to say that I am a member of a Christian fire department. Perhaps the Vatican or some other religious institution has a fire brigade that could truly be identified with a particular faith, I don't see that as the case with many departments.

    My advice is to show respect for your fellow firefighters' practices and expect to receive the same respect in return for your own peculiarities (we all have them).
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    I agree with Marshall.......

    It was like he read my mind!
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    Religion is a topic that SHOULD not be a common fire house topic. It can only lead to trouble.


    With that being said, just because I'm of a different religion that most doesnt mean its time to jump on the band wagon to attack one another and vice versa. But, if they want to bring it up, then they should be prepared to get it thrown right back at them.

    Although, it is fun to watch at times.

    Almost as bad as bringing up politics

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