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?
So common are visitations in reports of near-death experiences (NDEs) that I, for one, do not expect to die alone. As I say this I dread the eye-rollers and scoffers who will label me as an eccentric if not an outright nut.