Century Marks

Century Marks

Thinking about death

Chaplain Rob Ruff encourages people to start early in life to prepare for death. Think about your death a moment or two each day, he says, keeping in mind that death is a natural part of life. Don’t give in to the idea that to think about death will somehow make it happen. Make a list of the things you want to do before dying and then check them off. Prepare an advance medical directive, designating who you want to make decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself and what your end-of-life preferences are. Use your prayer life to prepare for death. Finally, say the most important words to the most important people in your life: Forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you (KevinMD.com).

Churches found

People once found churches by looking for steeples. Now they look online. A study by Faith Communities Today (FACT), authored by Scott Thumma of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, shows that seven in ten churches surveyed had websites. Four in ten had Facebook pages by 2010 (USA Today, April 17).

Lifeline of books

Writer Mari­lynne Robinson says that after she spoke at a women’s prison in Idaho one of the women said to her, “Tell your students to write good books. They’re all we live for.” Robinson, who teaches at the highly regarded Iowa Writer’s Workshop, said in an interview in the May Atlantic that it’s easy to forget how important books are, especially for a person like herself whose house is groaning with books. “But then you realize that they’re really bread to people who absolutely need them,” she said.

No first class

In 1979 the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador visited an urban slum where people lived in shelters made from scrap tin and cardboard. A reporter traveling with Romero asked: “How do you feel when you see a community like this?” Romero responded: “I just think of what I have already preached. There shouldn’t be first-class people and second-class people” (Spiritual Life, Spring).

Theological wit

Wit and humor were an integral part of Martin Luther’s theology. Writing against rationalistic, good-works-oriented religion, he declared: “As soon as reason and the Law are joined, faith immediately loses its virginity.” Luther used bathroom humor, which he directed against the devil, the pope and death. He called the pope “dearest little ass-pope.” About the devil he wrote: “If he devours me, he shall devour a laxative (God willing) which will make his bowels and anus too tight for him.” Shortly before his death Luther said to his wife Katie, “I’m like a ripe stool and the world’s like a gigantic anus, and so we’re about to let go of each other” (Word and World, Spring).