This summer I reread Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison in Fortress Press's extraordinary new edition of his collected works. Letters and Papers
remains almost endlessly suggestive and stimulating theologically. But
in this reading I noticed how often the imprisoned Lutheran pastor
United Methodist pastor Elise Erikson Barrett writes for women who have experienced miscarriage, pastors who help couples grapple with it and anyone who has helped a friend, spouse or relative grieve.
I used to think my grandfather had a strange affliction. He not only
read the obituaries, but he kept a log of the deaths of relatives,
friends and people he knew. If there were ever any questions about who
died when, he’d retrieve his notebook and give us the facts.
Security and risk are nothing new. Today's biblical texts deal not with
stocks and bonds exactly, but with living in the real circumstances of
a difficult and uncertain world while also accepting the possibility of
good, of help and support, comfort and security.
Lee Kravitz loved his job as editor in chief of Parade magazine.
But like his ancestors before him, he was a workaholic. Most of the men
in his family worked until they died, usually from heart attacks in
their early 60s.
Accumulation of wealth beyond meeting our basic needs doesn’t make us more content, studies show. Dr. Michael Finkelstein says that contentment takes practice. Think back on a time when you felt a sense of contentment, he says—it likely didn’t come from material possessions. “Our task is to simply discover where [contentment] resides” and focus on those times and places. It helps to “practice thinking, believing, and saying that you’re grateful and thankful for what you’ve been given” (excerpt from Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness in Utne, July).