My first notions of the spirit world came not from the Bible, but from 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, a collection of ghost stories written by Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh. When I was in fourth grade I gave a report on this book.
The Areopagus--the former location of the Athenian
equivalent of the Roman senate--was a center of civic life. The name comes from
"Ares," the Greek god of war, and "pagos," which means "hill" or "rock." The
Roman equivalent of Ares is Mars, hence the translation sometimes used: the
Walk through most people's houses, and you'll quickly get a sense of what they love. The art on the walls, the books on the shelves, the kitchen gadgets, photographs, knickknacks and pets, the size and number of TVs—all reveal where the occupants' hearts lie.
An elderly family member with Alzheimer’s was incapacitated after a fall in her apartment, and my family and I became responsible for her care. Unfinished work mounted up, we had taxes to do, and we felt all the swarming nibbling host of worries that fray the nerves without sinking the soul. I would be an ungrateful sod if I thought such trials anything exceptional.Yet Christian hope pertains to the lesser as well as the greater trials of our life. The short petition that follows the Lord’s Prayer in the Roman eucharistic rite expresses the idea beautifully: “In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
On the night before Thanksgiving, a clergy friend and I went to hear maverick preacher Rob Bell, who is touring the country on his “The Gods Aren’t Angry Tour.” Most folks were home dressing their turkeys, but an interesting crowd of baby boomers, Generation X pastors like me, punk “throw back to the ’80s”–looking young adults, and high school–age