On April 6, 2012, Thomas Kinkade, who was among the most popular artists in the world at the time, died in his California home from acute intoxication from alcohol and Valium. His death shocked both his fans and the media, which was quick to point out the irony that the Painter of LightTM had lived and died in such darkness. Kinkade’s paintings were, and are, incredibly popular. At the peak of his popularity in 2001,
I faced the first weeks and months of the COVID-19 crisis with a combination of steely eyed defiance and glib dismissiveness. The media never lets a crisis go to waste, I said, and this was just another lost Malaysian airliner on which CNN was capitalizing. I blamed social media for contributing to hysteria, and for promulgating false information. I cited statistics about how many people die from the flu in America (80,000 in 2019) and
In “Floating in the Forth”, Scott Hutchison of the Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit, sings, Fully clothed, I’ll float away Down the Forth, into the sea I think I’ll save suicide for another day We hoped this “day” that Hutchison sang of would be indefinitely deferred. We wished that Hutchison’s life, which was accompanied by depression, would not have such a tragic end. But on May 11th, we learned that this day had come.
This article is Part II of the Scandalous Sacredness: A Note from the Chaplain Chronicles series. To view Part I, click here. “Doubt is Christian participation in the weakness of God, the weakness of the cross” — E. Frank Tupper My mentor told me, time and time again, that one day I would have a patient that got to me. My supervisor and several senior nurses told me it’s inevitable for anyone in a
I spent a little over a year in a Clinical Pastoral Education program as a Chaplain Resident at a major hospital in North Carolina. Throughout my tenure there my most difficult and emotionally rupturing visits concerned the end-of-life of young parents with teenage children or younger. My parents were monumental to getting through my teenage years. We were close. My confidence, esteem, personality quirks, and idiosyncrasies (although I hesitate to admit it) would probably not
The cover photo of this article depicts a highway, near my house, running through a farm that is now an eight-foot lake. In my region of South Carolina last week we received around 16 inches of rain in two days, 24 inches in the course of a week. Across the state there have been at least a dozen deaths, 19 dam breaches, hundreds of swift water rescues, and over 1000 people are now in shelters.
Having dabbled in entry-level rock climbing in my preprofessional life, I’m fascinated by movies exploring the subject. I was nowhere near proficient: just hiking up Colorado’s 14,000-foot Mount Elbert was an unforgettably grueling experience. Needless to say, I have great admiration for those who face the savage physical test that is Mount Everest. Such a feat, however, carries with it extreme risks to life and limb. “Everest” depicts the 1996 disaster that claimed the lives