a testimonial by Commander Joe Borovicka
Rev. Andrew writes:
UUFP member Joe Borovicka presented this reflection at the Veterans Day service we held at the Fellowship last year. The service included such reflections from, in all, two enlisted service members, a military spouse and two veterans, and in each case I asked them to respond to a specific question: What are the most important things at the intersection of faith and service that you would like non-military Unitarian Universalists to know? Joe serves in the United States Army and I am pleased that, shortly before leaving for a new deployment, the UUFP welcomed in dedication Joe and his wife Ashley’s children, Oona and Sylas.
Reflecting on the intersection of faith and service, it’s inescapable that the two, if taken seriously and internalized by an individual, cannot be at odds in too many ways, or perhaps at all, lest due diligence in either be impossible.
To participate as a Unitarian Universalist is far from mutually exclusive to serving as an Army Officer. In my unit I’m surrounded by individuals of all backgrounds, colors, and creeds. Some aren’t American citizens yet. We work together toward a common goal and it sometimes feels like a small glimpse of the future. The UU vision of world community seems close at hand at an off-duty informal unit function: a gentlemen from Harlem trading jokes with a young Harley-Davidson leather-suited red-headscarfed southern boy, and a young lady from Wisconsin discussing politics, philosophy, or the latest reality show with an immigrant man from Sierra Leone. While we see this on campus and in businesses across America, the expectations, responsibilities, and immediacy of the military’s role throw these diverse people into a close-knit family with sometimes alarming speed, and it shows without a doubt that the vision of world community is possible if people share goals, understanding, and perhaps a leader. I believe a leader need not always be a person; common principles and values make excellent invisible leaders.
Speaking of values, the United States Army has seven published to define the organization and what is expected of an American Soldier: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Academically they mesh nicely with the seven stated principles of Unitarian Universalism.
I’m not certain what came first: my spiritual belief in the one-world one-team vision, or my dedication to the defense of what small piece of that we have here in this country. I’m not certain because to me they’ve always worked together. Participating as a Unitarian Universalist is an expression of personal belief as much as is being an active duty servicemember. Being a part of the UUFP teaches me, reinforces my convictions, and often comforts me when it seems the world isn’t working to its own great potential.