LMM News

A Summer with LMM: Charles Stehlik

Hello! My name is Charles Stehlik, and I’m one of LMM’s interns from John Carroll for the summer. I have been asked to begin blogging with a brief introduction, as well as a discussion about my decision to come aboard with the team for the season.

I served in the Navy from 2009 until 2016 as a psychiatric technician. I enjoyed the work but missed autonomy and spending time with my wife. So, after two duty stations, a handful of schools, and a deployment, I made the decision not to re-enlist. I attended JCU a few months after separating, where I completed my B.S. in Psychology in 2018 and an M.A. in Theology and Religious Studies in 2019. I am currently halfway through my Masters in Nonprofit Administration.

I enjoy volunteering with my church, Redeemer UMC. I also garden and cook in my free time, although note that neither has happened in the recent enough past. A pleasant summer’s day off is spent with a turkey in the smoker, book in hand, watching my tomatoes grow.

Just like this sentence, good theology should interrupt. It’s very easy for us to find ourselves lost in a moment’s flow, floating disengaged in a normalized slumber. That moment, without intervention, can last a lifetime. Theology is the flick to the forehead that many of us need to be present when the workings of empire would ask us to dawdle and dream. There is nothing wrong with smokers and books and tomato watching—so long as they’re not one’s highest aim. When one is immersed carelessly against the needs of justice in the world, one’s ultimate concern is at least a little lacking.

That brings me to the “why” behind my time here with LMM. Although I believe that good theology can and should inform just works, there is no question that I have space to grow in practical understanding of public policy, civilian leadership and operations, and communications to a broader audience. We have all met ambitious and educated persons who found themselves dwarfed by the demands of real-world leadership challenges. I believe that it is worth my and the industry’s time for me to pause, look and listen within a workspace, and contribute meaningfully to our shared cause before stepping in with fullness. I believe that LMM will teach me how to flick others in the forehead for the benefit of all.

Now is a good time to listen, look, and help. Our imminent avalanche of evictions, the present culmination of centuries of racial mistreatment and marginalization, and the ongoing threat of a novel pandemic are braided together into a cord that we cannot unravel. Helpers across the country have long known the intractable fury of our systemic injustices; how much more so in this time of crisis! For as easy as it would be to feel helpless, though, we must recognize that helpers’ mitigating efforts are needed. It would be easy to feel helpless, but dwelling in that feeling for those who can act would be self-indulgent masochism. The world with helpers will be better than that without, and so, helpers help.

I am thankful to be with you during a time that needs helpers.

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