When we talk about grief, we often speak of it in terms of letting go, moving on, and getting over it. People want to know when they will be back to normal. But the loss of a loved one is not a bump in the road that we go over and then the pavement is smooth again. Grief fundamentally changes who we are.
The collar says something to parishioner and stranger alike: while this doesn’t have to be the most important conversation of your life, it can be.
Empathy made it big in an era some call the "me generation." By discovering my feelings inside you, even you are about me.
When we work with others or with ourselves, we cannot let the diagnosis define us, as humans. We need to resist the temptation to identify one another by our sickness or defects--even though the act gives us a certain power over one another. Looking beyond the label to the context forces us to think theologically about people.
“You have to grow tougher skin, Carol,” my colleague told me when I invited him to lunch and asked for his advice on a church matter. I inhaled deeply. That was the same response I heard repeatedly for the first ten years of my pastorate. Whenever I got frustrated, well-meaning friends and colleagues would tell me that I needed to miraculously grow some sort of Teflon epidermis.
Roberta insisted that although her first husband had abused her, Hank had never hit her. Neither Ian nor Abigail believed these assurances.
Salvation requires repentance. But of what do the righteous repent?
After 48 years as a minister of word and sacrament, I will retire at the end of January.
Can I be a minister for others, many students wonder, if my own beliefs are in flux?
When I became a student pastor I had no idea what I was getting into. The first thing that happened after we moved into the tiny parsonage was that Johnny Johnson died.