December 5, 2020

Forgiveness: Should it be the first word?

Historically, black churches have nurtured the politics of forgiveness so that black people can anticipate divine justice and liberation in the next life. This sentiment shaped non-violent protest during the civil rights movement. A belief that displays of morality rooted in forgiveness would force white America to leave behind its racist assumptions. But Christian or […]


Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? • James 2:5, NRSV • • • We stood and sat on a quiet green spot at the cemetery under sunny blue […]

Adam McHugh: When Someone is in a Storm

Nothing shuts down a person in pain like quoting the Bible at them. As I write that, I can hear the sirens of the Heresy Police surrounding my building. Yes, the Bible contains the words of life, the promises of God-with-us that have comforted saints and resurrected sinners. But the Bible can also be the […]

Death Letter, part one

Sometime, somewhere in Iraq, I died. . . . For my brothers and sisters I will record the events that led to my death and the death of the God who was on our side in love and war. • David W. Peters • • • As a hospice chaplain, my work is done mostly in […]

The Art of Comforting Presence

Who would have thought that a conservative political columnist would write an article that a hospice chaplain would find perfect for sharing about what it means to do my work and what it means for anyone to accompany sufferers in their journeys of pain and loss? But that’s what David Brooks did in his wise, […]


Bess was “really something.” I heard that a number of times over the course of my visit. Her family loved her, but fully acknowledged that she was her own woman, independent to a fault. She knew what she wanted and usually got it without a lot of fuss or bother. Bess was “really something” and […]


He sits across the table from me as we enjoy our biscuits and gravy. A good ol’ boy, a true Hoosier. He had been a pretty good baseball player when he first met her. But he was rough around the edges and she thought him uncouth. He didn’t know how to eat properly, she said. […]

Isn’t It Hard?

Mouths move without vision — without regard for consequences Eyes fill with memories poisoned by intimate knowledge of failure to love Sometimes, sometimes, doesn’t the light seem to move so far away? You help your sisters, you help your old lovers, you help me but who do you cry to? ‘Cause isn’t it hard To […]

Another Look: The Bible Does Not Speak to That

Originally posted in March 2011. Edited and updated. The other day I was reading a blog that will remain unnamed. I’m not interested in interacting personally with the author or “answering” his post. I simply want to use his take on a particular subject as an illustration to make a point here today. That point […]

“I remember it as dark”

Today, as part of my hospice duties, I will be with a family whose ten-month old child died. I will have to come up with some words for the parents, the other children, the extended family and friends, and members of our care team. Mostly I will go to be with them, to mourn with […]