In a culture that likes to pretend death does not exist, there are some vocations which don’t have the luxury of ignoring the most unavoidable aspect of human existence. People who work in law enforcement, medicine, ministry, and mortuary services experience death as a regular, if not constant, companion. Of those four, it is the minister and the mortician who are most often called only after a person has died. We show up when the
Welcome! Everything is fine. That’s what the wall in front of you says the moment after you die. Or, at least, that’s what The Good Place suggests that the wall in front of you says immediately after the moment of your death. Appearing on NBC from 2016 to 2020, The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series that traces the journeys of four “Good Place” residents (along with their celestial architect friend and his AI
The Bible is, among other things, a collection of ancient stories possessing continued relevance to the current human experience, which is to say, “the Bible acts as a mirror.” Jacques Lacan once proclaimed (rightly, I think), “All sorts of things in this world behave like mirrors.” When you look at a mirror, you see “you,” but the reflection isn’t you; only you are you. As we gaze upon our reflection, we often see what we
Over the last couple of months, I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the work of Catholic theologian Paul Griffiths (an erstwhile professor at Duke Divinity School). His most recent book, Christian Flesh, is probably the most extensive reflection I’ve read on precisely what it means to be an incarnate being—and more particularly, a baptized incarnate being. And Decreation: The Last Things of All Creatures is a sweeping work of speculative eschatology that considers the ultimate destiny of
Advent Heavy lay the snow the last warm breath just lingering inside our gloves next to fatigue it slowed and chilled me and my brothers toying with a seam at winter’s hem until the cold was far too much we stumbled home and stood like living clouds of steam our thrown scarves garlands for the railing and the chairs Mother I even began to feel afraid when the last light topped its arc those slender
Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner Two weeks ago today, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91. Almost immediately, writers rallied to denounce (or acclaim) the fraudulent idea of his “legacy.” What he left behind him can be called a legacy only in the same sense as the aftermath of a disaster. My hope is that his life’s work, like that of the Marquis de Sade, will fade to the point that while
Your view of the afterlife affects how you live now. That’s something we can learn from Nietzsche. So, do you believe in heaven, or the resurrection?
Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on
“[Christians] live in their respective countries, but only as resident aliens; they participate in all things as citizens, and they endure all things as foreigners…They live on earth but participate in the life of heaven” ~Epistle to Diognetus 6.5, 9. As a former resident of Paris and its suburbs, I have shared the grief and pain of the attacks on that beautiful city. I have always loved Ernest Hemingway’s, now almost cliché quote, “If you
Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or
Human beings have long been interested in discerning what the future holds. Throughout recorded human history, people have sought to understand “the End” and what that event entails. Some worldviews adopt an attitude of pessimism regarding the end of the things, theorizing the utter destruction of planet earth by nature or humanity. Other perspectives take a more positive approach, trusting that the ills of the world will be remedied before life ceases on planet earth.
Exhaustion is the best word for it, I think. For several days, I’d been up day and night, sleeping no more than a couple hours at a time, watching over the stray seven-week-old puppy my wife found wandering the Indian Health clinic’s parking lot. The pup was what we call a “rez dog,” one of the innumerable feral mutts that rove the town of Warm Springs, the center of the reservation of the same name.
Sometimes it’s in the very first bite Sometimes in the smooth savoring Sometimes just after it’s fully consumed But in each action there is that moment Some call it bliss, or perfection, or Heaven Or doing the hokey-pokey, turn yourself around A seventh sense, perhaps, something nous Where it seems the state you are in What you are doing at that instant The crunch and gush and swallow The rush of sensations paused, or Continuing
1 Timothy 2:1–4: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Peter 3:8–9: “But do not ignore