January 18, 2020

“All them 1001 deaths have taught me”

I work with people who are grieving. Grief is our human response to loss. We normally use the word to speak of someone who’s lost a loved one through death, but grief is bigger than that. Much more fundamental to the experience of daily life than that. In fact, we might think of life itself […]

Make the Way by Walking

Note from CM: My work requires me to be around death and dying people every day. That means I am also with the people from whom these loved ones’ lives are being torn. From one perspective, life is a series of losses and we all find ourselves bereft. Therefore, the simple human ministry of supporting […]

Another Look: Chris

The chaplain stood in front of Chris’s casket and nodded as mourners filed by. Glancing around, he saw a flower arrangement behind him with an interesting note on it: “From your friends at Green Lake Campground.” It was striking to him that owners of a campground would send such a lush bouquet and that it would be displayed […]

The Cruelest of Teachings

Kate Bowler is an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School. She has written an informative book which has put a lot in perspective for me about the origins and development of the “prosperity gospel” in the U.S. I highly recommend it; it’s called Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity […]

Richard

This is Middle America. This is the generation of “older people” that I grew up respecting, the people who ran or worked for local businesses, tended to their families, and were involved in their communities. This is the group of people who essentially built the world as I have known it. They fought in World […]

Epiphany II: Grief and Fear

Epiphany II Grief and Fear In the small country church where I am preaching this morning, I will face a congregation filled with grief. A young woman in the congregation died of cancer this week, leaving a husband and family behind. In addition, the pastor lost a relative this week and has been away tending to his […]

Lottie

Lottie When first we met in summer it seemed as though that fall would be her last, one final Christmas if by strength. But she from tough Kentucky stock and hills that had withstood the mines and stills and feuds, determined, spoke of other plans: I’ll plant my flowers in spring, outlast the winter and get […]

Jan Richardson: This Luminous Darkness – Searching for Solace in Advent and Christmas

Note from CM: One of my favorite sites on our blogroll (listed as “J Richardson”) is Jan Richardson’s The Painted Prayerbook. Her art is evocative and profound, her love for the seasons of the Christian Year instructive, and her writing talent remarkable. She maintains several different sites, including a blog for Advent called, “The Advent Door: Entering […]

Beverly

“I had a dream about not long ago,” she said. “My sister and I were at the roller rink, skating together to that wonderful music. I never did get very good, but she could really skate. In fact, we all saved up and bought her skates and then later we even got her a case. […]

Nathaniel

“So, would you like to meet Nathaniel?” she asked. “Of course, I’d be honored.” We left the living room, where the hospice nurse was talking with the woman’s husband and doing her assessment. She led me down a narrow hall to a back bedroom. “Please excuse the mess,” she apologized, “I’ve been using his room […]