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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Death Archives

A Glorious Dark: A Review

Three years ago, when pastor, seminary professor and author A.J. Swoboda’s first book Messy made its debut, I said I hoped the book would not be his last; so when a review copy of Swoboda’s second book, A Glorious Dark, […]

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Dying Stanford Neurosurgeon—On Heidegger, Graham Greene and Time

I’m finally emerging from hibernation on my latest book project, this one now definitively titled The Recovery-Friendly Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press) and slated for release this fall. (Last week the book’s publication with IVP […]

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Lessons from the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Just over six months ago, a member of our congregation announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer: Steve Hayner, the outgoing president of Columbia Theological Seminary, and his wife Sharol, have come to be most associated in my mind […]

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Deathbed Wishes

Yesterday I visited a dying woman at the hospital.  I do this sort of thing pretty regularly these days as a hospice chaplain.  Her daughter was there, tearful but steady. She said her family was Christian and that they were […]

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A Mother’s Day Tribute to Peggy Hight-Robb (a.k.a. “Grandmom Peggy”)

A few days ago my grandmother died. It’s poignantly fitting that “Grandmom Peggy” made her exit from this life just before Mother’s Day. She was after all a mother to six children. I only quite recently discovered how much Grandmom […]

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Praying for Dead People?

And what the dead had no speech for, when living They can tell you, being dead: the communication Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond with the language of the living. —T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets Last night at dinner […]

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Words on the 90th Birthday of a Dear Friend and Teacher

The longer I live, the more I’m learning the importance of celebrating the people whose lives have touched mine—not just after they die, but when they are still alive. “Emilia Pavlovna” (as she’s been called since I sat in her […]

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Spongebob, God Pumping Iron and Thoughts on Growing Older

[Apologies for the delay in posts: technical difficulties on the heels of travel and Thanksgiving have kept me away. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Tomorrow, our series “Holy Space” recommences with photojournalist Katie Archibald-Woodward.] This past weekend I […]

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Remembering Joyce and Little Things With Great Love

[A correction has been made to Joyce’s age in this latest version of the post.] And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:13 Right now my father-in-law is waiting […]

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5 Tips for Facing Our Fears

Early this morning, I was just drifting off into the halcyon waters of deep sleep REM when my son woke me up to say he was scared. I was non-plussed on a third consecutive night of one or another or […]

The Power of Memory and Commitment

I’m a sucker for great stories, and usually I don’t look for them on ESPN. When I can’t sleep, I’ll turn on sports radio.  There’s something about the endless buzz of the commentary that helps me drop off. But when […]

“When Death Comes”

It’s good to be back at this intersection between life and God- I’ve missed you all! Yesterday’s traveling companion home was the last chapter of Parker Palmer’s gem of a book, A Hidden Wholeness.  (It has convinced me that in another […]

Prayers in Wake of Colorado Tragedy

I’m struck this morning by the prescience of yesterday’s poem, coming as it did (without my knowledge at the time of posting it) in the wake of the tragedy that struck  late Thursday night at a movie theater in Aurora, […]

Observations on Grief

I’m learning more about the nature of grief as I make my way through Hilary Spurling’s fascinating biography of Pearl Buck.  Pearl’s only child, Carol, was born with a rare, degenerative condition that left her mentally disabled for the rest […]

The Easter Grouch Speaks

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:10 —————————- “Christ is risen!”  My cup is running over- or so I’m told. […]

Ending Our Savior Complexes: Station 3

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.  But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he […]

Jesus on the Mount of Olives: Station 1

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” Then he withdrew […]

Last Words

My great uncle passed away two days ago at the age of 89.  Uncle Sandy was someone who spent a lot of his time investing in the next generation.  He had a heart for teaching younger people about the importance […]

Indecent Exposure: “Jesus the Light,” Epithets Continued

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, […]

The Only Begotten Son: Jesus Epithets Continued

“No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” John 1:18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him […]

The Haves and Have-Nots: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“You’ve been given the gift of knowing the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus replied, “but they haven’t been given it.  Anyone who already has something will be given more, and they will have plenty. But anyone who has […]

“A Very Brief History of Eternity”

I recently finished a wonderful, little book by Yale historian Carlos Eire. The book lives up to its name: it manages to cover in relative brevity the breathtaking expanse of “eternity” from its very first beginnings in antiquity to its […]

Spiritual Dissonances: Ground Zero and the W Hotel Bar

Today is the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Probably the closest thing for my generation to that surprise attack by Japanese planes on Pearl Harbor in the year 1941 is 9/11.  On Saturday evening a friend and I visited the […]

For a Saint Named Betty

For all the saints, who from their labors rest, Who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!… Betty died peacefully in her sleep last week.  She was 88.  I had coffee with her husband […]

Previous Posts

In the Clear: Meditations on Cleaning House
The last few weeks have comprised a massive de-cluttering initiative in preparation for a home renovation, as we clear out junk from our basement, attic and just about anywhere useless stuff has managed to accrue. What Do We Throw ...

posted 2:04:34pm May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

For All Restless Souls—The Love-Hate Memoir of One Churchgoing Gal
My review of Rachel ...

posted 12:13:35pm May. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Upcoming Review of Rachel Held-Evans' Latest Book
Yesterday I submitted a final, much-revised manuscript for The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press, 2015)—which hopefully means I can be back at this intersection between God and life at ...

posted 3:55:35pm May. 12, 2015 | read full post »

"The Power of Introductions," Via Bruce Strom and Gospel Justice
I've featured the work of my friend and inspiration Bruce Strom, a lawyer who directs the organization Gospel Justice Initiative, at this intersection before. Bruce once had a cushy job as the senior partner at a corporate law firm, but he gave ...

posted 11:06:21am May. 05, 2015 | read full post »

5 Spiritual Lessons from Editing The Recovery-Minded Church
The edits to The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Additions (IVP) have been substantial and time-consuming, thanks to a ...

posted 10:23:02am Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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