A friend posted this to Facebook the other day: "'Burial at sea is a weird choice, and only invites
suspicion, but I really don't want to have to see the photographs,
either.'" - Martin Luther King, Jr."
Vogan is one of the most dedicated church members I know. Every Sunday, 15
minutes before the prelude begins, he climbs up into our soaring, Gothic tower
with one goal: to set our 2,020-pound church bell into full swing. Then, for
ten whole minutes, the Old South bell calls all of Boston to pray.
If there is one thing we natives of rural northeast Missouri know how to
do, we know how to "do funeral." One of the greatest comforts in this
life--but only if we choose to ride with it--is the small town funeral.
I remember during the 14 years I lived in Columbia, going to funerals
and visitations was a somber, sterile activity.
before Rob Bell's book Love Wins (see
by Peter Marty)
came out, conservative evangelicals lit up the blogosphere with their
insistence--against Bell--that God's condemnation of the wicked to hell is a nonnegotiable part of
I am not a particularly confident pastor and preacher. I
don't think I am neurotic about it, but I do harbor my own sense of doubt. It's
not that the doubt freezes me in place and keeps me from functioning. It's more
the kind of doubt that sits off in the corner somewhere, creeping up now and
then to poke at me, asking questions like, Does anything you do really make a
There’s no doubt that Osama bin Laden had been living on borrowed time ever since 9/11 rendered him America's public enemy number one. For those of us who were still in middle school at the time, our history has been color-coded with security threat levels.
Sometimes the news of the world can take the hope of Easter
right out of you. Sometimes it's hard to believe in the resurrection.
And yet, this is how it happens: a woman, 38 years old, is
diagnosed with breast cancer and has to have a total mastectomy. Two years
later the cancer comes back, and her doctor schedules her for another