My mind has been whirling with phrases, and the whirling has not been such a good thing. Phrases like, “abandonment of post,” and “ministry of presence.” Of course, lots of other phrases are now mantras for everyone: “an abundance of caution,” and “shelter in place.” For chaplains and pastors, pastoral care has meant, at its […]Read More A Ministry of Prescience
A few days before Christmas, as I was walking from the parking ramp where I’d left my car to the hospital, I saw a patient transport vehicle leaving another parking garage. The driver hollered out the window, so I walked back to where they were, noticing the passenger in the front seat wanted to say […]Read More Is There Joy?
I was placing an office supplies order at work and searching through available items to help some of the family members of our hospital patients pass the time while in crisis. I came across a ready-made box titled “Thoughts and Prayers.” What an incredibly handy item to be able to order! I checked the contents: […]Read More Thoughts and Prayers in a Box
After a full day of reminding people that they are dust, mortal, and needing to repent, I’m ever more aware of how many times my colleagues and I try to help people make decisions about their loved ones’ care. Most often, the realities of today’s words about our mortality are seldom integrated into family conversations […]Read More Remember that you are…dust. And mortal.
Our hospital’s administration has occasionally rolled out an ice cream cart as a way to offer encouragement to our staff. The chaplains get to be “in” on this adventure, serving as good-will agents and wayfinding guides for the cart and others who assist with ice cream distribution. As you may know, hospitals are fairly controlled […]Read More Ice Cream Grace
While I was in college, I asked Philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff if I could sit in on his liturgy class. I knew I didn’t have time to do the homework, but still wanted to peek in on what he was teaching. He let me! And it was wonderful. We learned about Orthodox liturgy, in particular, and […]Read More Open Table
Halloween’s pretend scares are meeting some very real terror in the awareness of the spread and tragedy of the ebola virus. Reading the news of ebola becoming an ever-more real threat is sufficient cause for all of us to wonder about diseases, the nature of fear, and a renewed appreciation for health care workers. The […]Read More Ebola Terror
Is it possible to correct someone’s beliefs? Is it even desirable or “right” to attempt to do so? It’s certainly not a popular concept. Early in my years as a hospice chaplain, I met a kind, welcoming woman who summed up her beliefs by saying, “God’s in his heaven, and all’s right with the world.” […]Read More Beliefs… Revised
I’m one of the liturgical nuts who gets chills on my spine when I have the opportunity to be in a large cathedral, where the procession is a big, grand affair, and the pomp and circumstance of things conspire to remind us of the big, majestic, holy God we worship. I like processions, from parades […]Read More Processional
I’m quite sure my spouse will roll his eyes several times over if someone asks us to compare the numbers of pairs of shoes he has versus the numbers of shoes I have. It’s the cultural expectation, after all… gotta have blue dress shoes for a blue skirt or dress, black for black, and summer […]Read More Good News Shoes