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Spirituality Becomes "Resilience" and Joins the U.S. Army (Includes Self-Test)

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In our preview issue, we were the first to publish a self-test to measure the strength of our connection to what theologian Paul Tillich called the “Ground of Being,” our spiritual core. Then a U.S. Army chaplain took the test in the magazine and phoned its creator, psychologist Jared Kass. Much to everyone's surprise, that test has since joined the Army and has been helping to save lives among our troops.

This article appeared in our December 2003 issue. For better and worse, armies throughout history have called on a connection with God or gods to motivate troops to battle and keep them from despair, but what’s happening now in the U.S. Army is perhaps unique. Because our Army comprises men and women from so many backgrounds, races, and religions, it has recently come around to the idea that spirituality — an inner resource that helps us make sense of a world that is sometimes cruel and usually chaotic — is key to its soldiers’ overall resilience and well-being. Part of this difference in thinking results from the ability to measure a person’s connection to his spiritual core. Thanks to Jared Kass’ Spirituality Resilience Assessment (SRA), first published in this magazine, the Army can now put numbers to the words “spiritual fitness.” “Soldiers must practice spiritual fitness in the same way they practice physical or mental fitness,” says Captain Scott McCammon, a battalion chaplain at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Hartford County, Maryland, who uses Kass’ test to evaluate his soldiers’ …

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