Boxing Your Moral Compass
Written by Ray Fairman   
The following article is based on a book review written by Wayne Ford of the Athens Banner Herald and published in the "Living" Section of that newspaper on 22 May 2006. It has been edited for composition but not for content. Now Available...


Ephesians: God's Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare

A Combat Veteran's View
CWO-4 Ray R. Fairman USMCR (Ret.),PhD
United States Marine Corps (Retired) 1963–1996
Christian Soldier (Active Duty) 1962–Present

Have you ever thought about the everyday battles you face, battles between good and evil, between right and wrong? Which battles should be fought and which should be deferred? But more importantly, how are the participants trained and by whom?

Discover your role in the spiritual battle through Ephesians: God’s Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare. Author and retired military veteran Ray R. Fairman takes God’s written instructions straight from the Bible with the Apostle Paul’s book of Ephesians. Fairman applies these commands directly to the lessons he learned from his dual career path in the military and law enforcement.

Fairman provides the "recruit" Christian soldier—one who has just made the crucial decision to enlist in God’s army—with the basic equipment and skills they need to enter into spiritual battles.

Join the author as he uses his experiences and allows himself to be directed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to provide a verse-by-verse combatant’s commentary on Paul’s book of Ephesians.

Boxing That Compass

Sometimes a book dealing with religion intentionally sparks controversy intending to take advantage of the ensuing debate. An example of such a controversy is the controversy surrounding the fictional "Da Vinci Code." While that particular book has received intense publicity, some writers of religion topics have no predetermined intentions of producing a controversial work.

Ray Fairman, a retired police officer and U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer who was ordained about two years ago, has written a book with one primary motivation: To provide Christians with the basic training required of a brand new Christian.

As a U.S. Marine, Fairman states he was well trained before he was sent into combat in Vietnam. As a police officer, he too was well trained before he was sent out to patrol the streets. But as a Christian, he said he found himself recruited into “God’s Army” and immediately involved in the “battle between good and evil” without ever receiving the basic training he should have received.
"You don't get any training before becoming a Christian," said Fairman, who is often called “Capt. Fairman,” due to his long service in law enforcement and with the active and reserve military. His military career covered 33 years and his law enforcement career spanned 35 years. Besides being the Chaplain for the Winterville Police Department, he has also occasional preached at Calvary Chapel Church in Athens.

Fairman has found his retirement years to be fruitful ones. He recently published his first book and it's one he hopes will help train new Christians, just like military or police recruits are trained before they are put on duty.
He is working on a sequel to this first ever literary effort, "Ephesians: God's Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare, A Combat Veteran's View." Fairman’s second book will be based on I and II Timothy which will assist those Christian Soldiers called to leadership roles in “God’s Army” develop a Christian based leadership.
"We're in a battle between good and evil in America and it is a war that has been around a lot longer than any war we can talk about today," he said.

Fairman's book "Ephesians: God's Battle Plan for Spiritual Warfare, A Combat Veteran's View," is a commentary of the book of Ephesians. The book, he said, was inspired by listening to his pastor preach on that New Testament book. Fairman pointed out that some books of the Bible have specific themes, like John where the focus is on the love of Jesus, and Romans a book that talks about becoming a Christian. He feels that Ephesians is really "a basic training manual for Christians."

Fairman, who has a theological past that includes the Catholic Church, Southern Baptist and Bible Teaching congregations, was finally ordained to the ministry in a non-denominational church. He feels that some very divisive Christian issues are tied more closely to denominational beliefs than they are to biblical theology. Fairman said, arguing over all these differences can pull people away from the main mission of Christ, “Salvation and Unification.”

Paul points out often if you study his epistles that "You don't fight every battle there is to be fought in Christianity," he said, explaining that some Christians argue vehemently over points like baptism and pre-destination."We are getting wrapped around the axle on the smaller issues while the major objectives are being ignored. If we’re not fighting the right battles, we’re losing the war. That's what Paul says," Fairman said.

In the book, Fairman examines and provides commentary on every verse. As an example he takes Ephesians 4:11-13 about the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and gives an explanation about each and their roles. "I've had a lot of people give me advice and mentor me over the years," Fairman said about his use of examples in the book. "I soak it all in and I can generally parrot the thoughts back, but usually if I paraphrase it, I can make it more easily understandable for someone else."

Fairman's life began in Connecticut, the son of a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II, and a factory worker mother, who died in childbirth when he was only 5. He lived with a father who faced his own personal internal wars and his maternal and paternal grandparents.
"My mother's family blamed my father for my mother’s death making their relationship strained and I don't know why he was estranged from his parents and siblings, but he was," Fairman said. "To Mom's parents, Dad was the bad guy. So, he ended up “marrying’ the Marine Corps and the bottle. He became, what I would term today, a functioning alcoholic. Alcohol never seemed to interfere with his Marine Corps job, but it sure did with our family and social lives. It destroyed them both for a generation to follow. I sensed He was always searching for something and never found anything.”

Fairman went to 17 schools during his younger years before graduating high school in 1963 in Santa Barbara, Calif. In fact, at one point he wanted to drop out and join the Marines, but his recruiter insisted he finish high school first. Also, during his teen years, he met Richard George Ernstrom Jr., who became his closest and most important life-long friend. He even lived with Ernstrom's family for several months.
"Dick and Emmy Nell Ernstrom at one time had about 17 people sitting around the dinner table at their house. Three of the kids were theirs and the 12 or so other kids in need they had taken in. They were just the greatest people. They lived their Christianity, they didn't preach it."

After high school, Fairman joined the Marine Corps and was soon in Vietnam. "I was a Christian when I left to join the Corps. The Marine Corps taught me some of the greatest lessons I ever learned in my life. They helped me learn the definition of responsibility and nurtured me into a leader, but they also showed me how to cuss, to drink, to fight, to do all sorts of things I shouldn't. I won't say you wouldn't know I was a Christian during my early years in the Corps but it would have taken an in-depth look to find the traces of my Christianity that were lying dormant. I never did anything really bad to get in trouble, but I lived on the cusp of self-sufficiency, arrogance and pride" he said.

About his service in the Vietnam War, Fairman says, "I did a lot of things that..." He paused. "How will I put it? People come back and say 'I can't live with this stuff.' Well I did stuff in combat because I knew was saving lives. I have never had trouble dealing with my military or combat service. What was done in war, was done in war. It does not always have to remain part of an individual's everyday make-up."

After his 10 active duty years in the Marine Corps, he continued serving for 33 more years in the military reserves. And during this reserve period he began his 38-year long career in law enforcement. Fairman has worked in six Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments from Anaheim, Calif. and Little Rock, Ark., to Frederick, Maryland and Sarasota, Florida. After retiring in Florida, He moved to Athens in 1999 and worked for a period of time for the Greene County Sheriff's Office. He and his wife of 38 years, Joan, have a son in the Pittsburg area who is a Major in the Army Reserves and whose wife is a University of Georgia Ph.D who has taught at Trinity International University. They also have a daughter who served as an Army Nurse in Germany during Operations Enduring & Iraqi Freedom and is now a nurse in  Texas and holds a current reserve commission as a Captain in the Air Force Reserve Nurse Corps and is married to a former Army (MD) Major who spent 15 months in Baghdad at the begining of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Fairman said when he finished the manuscript for his book, he sent it to a couple of self-publishers and one wrote back commending his conversational style of writing and desiring to publish it.

Fairman says people need to be trained as Christians to face their own and the church’s problems today. He sees two specific problems as critical to the role of the church today. One is training or discipleship and the other is blind tolerance. He says that today’s morality and ethics are the evidence of his premise. "I feel America today is still a very moral society. I say this because I can take almost anybody one-on-one and drawing on my 35 years of law enforcement and military service and all I have seen during that time, from undercover narcotics to child abuse and murder and rape, and I can set a scenario and ask that person whether it's right or wrong. I guarantee you that 98 percent of those asked will know if that scenario is right or wrong. But, America is a very unethical society because since ethics can be defined as what you do with your knowledge of right and wrong and many of it’s members will manipulate their morality for personal gain or political expediency; for profit or power, it actions validate it’s lack of concrete ethics," Fairman said.

In both the world and the church, Fairman quips, "leadership is power, but power alone is never leadership. This is a simple fact that you learn as you go through life." It is also a fact that a commitment to leadership is sorely needed in both places today.

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