Cover Story

Embrace & abandonment: A pastor and a poet talk about God

In the past few years the editors have gotten to know Christian Wiman, a poet, and Matt Fitzgerald, a pastor. Both have written for the Century. We recently learned that the two have often met to discuss faith and their different vocations.

Christian Wiman described it to us this way: “About eight years ago I began to meet every Friday afternoon with Matt Fitzgerald, who was the pastor at the church just around the corner from where my wife and I lived. I think that Matt, like anyone whose faith is healthy, actively craved instances in which that faith might be tested. So we argued for an hour every Friday, though that verb is completely wrong for the complex, respectful, difficult interactions we had. Nothing was ever settled. In fact Matt—I can say this now because we’ve become close friends—seemed to me mulishly orthodox at times, just as I seemed to him, I know, either boneheadedly literal when I focused on scripture or woozily mystical when I didn’t. Those conversations have continued and deepened over the years, and Matt and I thought there might be some benefit to sharing some of them.” We agreed.