The Long Goodbye is poet Meghan O'Rourke's account of her mother's colorectal cancer and the year of mourning that followed her death. I read the book the first time through as a companion—O'Rourke's experience is eerily like my own.
I grew up long before the age of YouTube. My Sunday school rooms were in a church basement in western Nebraska. We didn't even have filmstrips! When I think back to the story of the first Pentecost, I remember an illustration on one of those Sunday school leaflets that we kids took home each week. The Pentecost leaflet showed men in robes standing in a room looking out of some windows.
With William Willimon set to retire as bishop of the North Alabama Conference in
2012, it is appropriate to consider how the Willimon experiment in the
episcopacy has turned out. It has not been business
The day before my wedding, I picked up ten cases of table
wine from a local winery--and one bottle of sweet wine for communion. The folks
at the winery had encountered local-food enthusiasts planning receptions before,
but the communion thing seemed to surprise them. "My son always says this
tastes just like altar wine!" said the woman who rang me up.
The reading from 1 Peter seems oddly disconnected from recent lectionary themes. What are we to make of this language of fiery ordeals and roaring lions during Easter season? It conjures up images of Joan of Arc, John Hus and others who met their ends in the cruel and literal flames of persecution.
Michael Bransfield, Catholic bishop of West Virginia, seems to be taking his cues from the coal industry when interpreting Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato si’, which calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels. Bransfield says the pope’s call for ending fossil fuel use is qualified: it should happen “only after” greater progress is made in using alternative fuels, and only where economically feasible. In fact, Pope Francis makes no such qualifications. Bransfield is also promoting the idea of “clean coal.” A spokesperson admitted that the Wheeling-Charleston diocese has “energy related investments” (National Catholic Reporter, July 1).