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Death

The Difficulty of Drawing Near the Suffering

The Difficulty of Drawing Near the Suffering

This comes to us from Father Kenneth Tanner.  When I first came to the parish I serve, there were about twenty persons over the age of seventy. We have since buried a few, some have retired to Florida or warmer states, but until recently about half were still active participants in our worship and community. […]

Requiescat in Pace: The Naming Power of HBO's The Leftovers

Requiescat in Pace: The Naming Power of HBO’s The Leftovers

Last week, the Earth made a seismic shift, though mostly unnoticed. A gentle giant among us in terms of Anglican church music, John Bradford Bohl, died unexpectedly at the young age of 37. I had the joy of serving with him at Saint Paul’s K Street in Washington, D.C., and when I took over the venerable […]

Ordinary People: The Only Possible Path to Healing in Sorrow and Tragedy

Ordinary People: The Only Possible Path to Healing in Sorrow and Tragedy

Many people say there is no wrong way to grieve. Every person mourns differently and to try to prescribe a formula that fits all is foolish. Indeed, those in mourning need to be given a great deal of grace, freedom, and patience. However, there is one horribly wrong way to grieve, a way that can […]

My Most Selfish Prayer

My Most Selfish Prayer

This one comes to us from Andrew Taylor-Troutman: Dear Lord: let me die before my wife. I’m bouncing our baby daughter on my lap as she drools on a wooden rattle. Her mom makes pancakes every Saturday morning, but the baby has only recently gotten her first taste. Our middle child, age two and a […]

PZ's Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

PZ’s Podcast: Bells Are Ringing

EPISODE 251 This is a short riposte to the politicization of basically everything just now; but not in the way of taking sides, but rather in the way of digging deeper. I mean, digging deeper to the best and true interests of human beings. The best and true interest of human beings, the necessary condition […]

Suicide, Our Darker Emotions, and the Goodness of God

Suicide, Our Darker Emotions, and the Goodness of God

I’ll never forget my first therapy appointment fifteen years ago. I told my counselor at the time, Dr. Gordon Bals, about my anger and rage and how it scared me. I told him about other things, too, but the anger and rage were my main concerns because I didn’t think I had any reasons to […]

Walking Away from a Murder

Walking Away from a Murder

His girlfriend had recently got back together with him. He’d have been better off without her. But tell that to an eighteen year old who’s in love. She was all he had, and all he wanted. So when he lost her, he thought he lost everything. And when he got her back, he thought he […]

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

The Weight of Masculinity, Toxic or Otherwise

In our house, emotions were embraced. I was never told that “boys don’t cry;” it was never implied that men hide their emotions. When your dad is a professional opera-singing pastor-psychologist, and your mother a high-powered hospital executive, you get different messages about gender norms than most. As if you needed proof: my parents let […]

Jonah's Reluctant Obedience, and Ours

Jonah’s Reluctant Obedience, and Ours

The absurd thing that happens in the book of Jonah is not the fish swallowing a man…it is the grace Jonah receives after he basically tells God off! The fish, which consumes the prophet, serves as an indictment on how sin turns everything topsy-turvy. It reverses God’s order in the worst way. Man was made to […]

For Once in Your Life Just Let It Go: The Terrible Mercy of Lament

For Once in Your Life Just Let It Go: The Terrible Mercy of Lament

My all-time favorite YouTube comment has to be this one, left underneath a clip of the penultimate scene from 1982’s film, Blade Runner. Taking place immediately after an epic battle between Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, we are witness to a self-delivered eulogy: boxerking1000 Best…Death…EVER!!! I sometimes sit down in the shower naked and quote this […]

The Trauma of our Empty Hands

The Trauma of our Empty Hands

During Lent, we ponder our sins. We begin with a reminder of being but dust. We sing in minor keys, which stirs in us lament and grief. We remember our desperate need to repent. We look to what Christ endured and grieve the passion of our Lord. And it is meet and right so to […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty Seven Verses Three Through Five

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Twenty Seven Verses Three Through Five

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the […]