October 24, 2017

A time for theology

I am not a professional theologian. Never have been, never will be. I am a Christian who practices my faith in the Lutheran tradition. I am a minister of the gospel and, by specific vocation, a chaplain who serves the dying and their families. I have also served as a parish minister, a setting in […]

Some friends I’d like you to meet

Last week I attended the death of a man who had been a police officer and then an investigator for a major corporation. Sometimes he was asked by the company’s HR department to deal with employees who were being dismissed. He would go to that person’s desk or office, watch as they cleaned it out, and then […]

“Touch Me, Lord Jesus”

Yesterday, I was with a black family in the city after their loved one passed. The spouse wasn’t home at the time, and the other family members didn’t want to let him know until he arrived, for fear it would affect his driving on the way. When he did get home, he was shaken and […]

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 […]

Mark

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

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 […]

Breakfast

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. […]