About a dozen years ago, I was back home visiting from my young-adult life in the city, sitting around drinking coffee with my mom and my sisters, when I suddenly heard my much-younger brother crying out in pain. I jumped up. “Where are you, buddy?” I called out.
Jonathan Merritt writes books and articles that change people. He’s a senior writer for the Religion News Service and just last week, he won the 2014 Religion Commentary of the Year from the Religion Newswriters Association.
I had the pleasure of asking Merritt a few questions about books that have influenced him.
At the 50th reunion of his medical school class, Dr. James Sabin said his classmates were able to talk freely about death. One noted that only half of them would be present at their 60th reunion. The dominant tones in their death talk were a matter-of-factness, gallows humor, and curiosity about the future of the human species and the planet. Doctors typically don’t talk much about death, despite dealing with it routinely. When they do, they call attention to the limits of modern medicine and eschew any heroic measures at the end of their own life (Hastings Center Over 65 blog, September 1).