Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Golden Chair

Hi again.

I’ve missed you all.

This past week, thoughts of meeting again at this intersection between life and God have crossed my mind between writing deadlines, bedside conversations with dying patients and funeral planning. (Last week was full in so many rewarding ways, and also exhausting.) But the thought of returning to this intersection for a breath of fresh air seems a bit like that old, cozy chair in the den that you’re dying to curl up into. We had one of those growing up— “The Golden Chair,” we called it, and it was ugly.  Big, padded arms with a hulk-like frame, all in 1970′s gold velour that over the years became worn and a bit ragged but was always comfortable and homey, something you could fall into.  Our family had picked it up at a Salvation Army store during Dad’s graduate school days and it managed to hang around for years until one day, a move from California to New Mexico rendered it homeless and on the curb.

The Salvation Army store where we bought The Golden Chair is also where we met Art. If I’m not mistaken, Art sold us The Golden Chair. Art was a gentle, world-weary soul recovering from some hard knocks in life, including some time on the street himself and some ongoing struggles with alcoholism.  When The Golden Chair became part of the furniture of our living room, Art became a friend for that year of graduate school.  But when Art mysteriously drifted away, quitting his job at The Salvation Army store and no longer returning our calls, The Golden Chair stayed.  I still wonder about Art on occasion and hope he’s okay.  The Golden Chair, in contrast, ruled our living room for more than a quarter century, surviving a cross-country trip, coffee spills, the grubby hands of children, and the interior decorating tips of my mother’s friends.  It’s possible one reason we kept it for so long was that it was a way to remember Art and hope he was okay.

We also kept that chair because it was just the remedy for tired limbs.  No other chair would do for come-as-you-are bodies, be they sweaty from a workout or exhausted from a work day or dying to put their feet up.

This past week, in the absence of a Golden Chair, I’ve taken occasional solace in knowing this intersection is here, and that even when I can’t be here, you may show up—restless souls pausing to find a break in the endless rush of many commitments and distractions all competing for your attention.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you can be as you are here, not as you think you should be, and that even if and when circumstances may conspire to keep you away for a time– as they did me this past week– you can find rest here.



  • Kristina Robb-Dover

    Hi, Whitney—I love the association! I’m so glad it came to you. Thanks for sharing it. Best, Kristina

  • http://www.roofcrashersandhemgrabbers.com Whitney Rice

    This post made me think of Hebrews 4:16 in a totally different way! “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Now instead of a cold, shiny throne I’m seeing a big golden comfy bedraggled chair when I think of that verse–thank you!

Previous Posts

Christian Purity: Is God's Mission Possible When Purity Rules?
I had a really weird, somewhat distressing interaction this week, and it is still on my mind days later. It's one of those uncomfortable encounters that you would like to press the "replay" butt

posted 1:40:13pm Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Jesus and the Rich Man: A Sermon on the "Hitler" of Passages.
It's rare that I find myself thinking about Sunday's sermon midweek. This Sunday our pastor Drew Ditzel preached on the familiar story of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10). The rich man, who says he has kept all the commandments perfectly and has lived a righteous life, comes to Jesus asking what mor

posted 10:40:08am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Lie of Invulnerability
This last week has been insane. Family sickness, repairs, car issues, multiple calls from school nurses, including one in which the nurse expressed concern my 7-year-old son had been bitten by a brown recluse spider...and just when I thought it couldn't get worse...viral pinkeye. Two puffy, leaky, r

posted 11:00:49am Sep. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Humor Relief for Religious Extremism
Once again, humor and satire are coming to my aid this morning, this time in response to the twisted and evil extensions of religion that seeks to coerce and control with violence and worldly forms of power (best embodied these days in the form of ISIS and its affiliates). The Palestinian televis

posted 10:36:57am Sep. 03, 2014 | read full post »

"AA" Recovery Groups—Spirituality for the Non-Religious, Hope for the Church?
[caption id="attachment_5326" align="alignleft" width="271"] Bill Wilson co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Dr. Bob Smith in 1935. Their affectionately called "Big Book" is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold more than 30 million copies since its publication. (Photo credit: Haze

posted 11:27:26am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.