Faith Under Fire

An Army Chaplain's Memoir

By Roger Benimoff; Eve Conant
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307408815, 288pp.)

Publication Date: March 24, 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

“Running away from God doesn’t work. I had tried.”
—Roger Benimoff

As he left for his second tour of duty as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Roger Benimoff noted in his journal: I am excited and I am scared. I am on fire for God...He is my hope, strength, and focus.

But not long after returning to Iraq, the burdens of his job–the memorial services for soldiers killed in action, the therapy sessions after contact with the enemy, the perilous excursions “outside the wire” while under enemy fire–began to overwhelm him. Amid the dust, heat, and blood of Iraq, Benimoff felt the pillar of strength he’d always relied on to hold him up–his faith in God–begin to crumble.

Unable to make sense of the senseless, Benimoff turned to his journal. What did it mean to believe in a God who would allow the utter horror and injustice of war? Did He want these brave young men and women to die? In his darkest moment, Benimoff wrote: Why am I so angry? I do not want anything to do with God. I am sick of religion. It is a crutch for the weak.

Benimoff’s spiritual crisis heightened upon his return home to Fort Carson, Colorado. He withdrew emotionally from wife and sons, creating tensions that threatened to shatter the family. He was assigned to work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he counseled returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder–until he was diagnosed himself with PTSD.

Finding himself in the role of patient rather than caregiver, connecting as an equal with his fellow sufferers, and revisiting scriptural readings that once again rang with meaning and truth, he began his most decisive battle: for the love of his family and for the chance to once again open his heart to the healing grace of God.

Intimate and powerful, drawing on Benimoff’s and his wife’s journals, Faith Under Fire chronicles a spiritual struggle through war, loss, and the hard process of learning to believe again.




About the Author

ROGER BENIMOFF was a chaplain in the U.S. Army from 2002 to 2008. He spent two tours of duty in Iraq and was a chaplain in residence at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is currently a chaplain at Methodist Hospitals of Dallas. He lives in Texas with his wife and two children.

EVE CONANT is a staff writer for Newsweek, covering the evangelical movement, politics, social issues, and health.




Praise For Faith Under Fire

“In this moving and elegantly written book, Roger Benimoff provides penetrating insights into the human, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of war as well as how combat experiences affect those who fight. Faith Under Fire will be one of the classic memoirs of the Iraq war. It is brilliant.”
—H. R. McMaster, 71st Colonel, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and author of Dereliction of Duty

Faith Under Fire is a highly significant book. I gained more knowledge about the Army chaplaincy while reading it than I had in all my forty years of experience. This is an emotional and challenging book that will grab readers and pull them into Roger’s fight for faith and intellectual honesty.”
—Richard Dayringer, Th.D., chaplain supervisor and author of six books, including The Heart of Pastoral Counseling

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