In late June, weary of another long year behind a desk, I headed toward Ring Lake Ranch, an ecumenical retreat and study center in northwest Wyoming. A week in the high desert country of the Wind River Range, with time for silence and solitude, sounded just about right.
When George called to ask for help with his grandson’s funeral, I didn’t hesitate. I’d do anything for the man. George is a gentle soul, born with an impulse for counting others first. When he’s not helping his wife shuffle through her daily maze of Alzheimer’s, he’s at the hospital, sitting with hurting people for hours on end. I’ve seen his patience.
In 1993 John Patton coined the phrase “paradigm shift” to describe a dramatic turn in the practice of pastoral care. Patton pointed out that pastoral care was focusing more and more on social and cultural concerns, moving from a “clinical pastoral paradigm” to one that Patton named “communal-contextual.”
For those trapped in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon, that fiery hell must have seemed apocalyptic. In the fleeting moments before they leaped from windows or were crushed under melting I-beams, what passed through their minds?
Pastor Jeff Sumner was attending a health screening program led by members of his church when he learned that his blood sugar level was unusually high. Until then, it had not occurred to him that some of the physical changes he was experiencing were symptoms of diabetes.