Scarred, Broken, and Held in Trust

Someone else has left. Friend, family member, online acquaintance. It’s shocking but at the same time not surprising at all. They’re leaving by the dozens, by the hundreds, by the thousands. He’s found another path. Time will tell if she was called to this other path or if he was simply called away from our community, anywhere but here. You get that. You think daily about doing the same. He’s still there, of course. She hasn’t died. Well, he has died, but she found a way to live again. A different kind of resurrection.  But he can no longer identify as one of us. That’s okay. We’re still figuring out what it means to be “one of us.”

A friend once wisely commented that when someone experiences the death of a loved one or a loss of faith, ideally the community would show that there is no gap or hiccup in their love and acceptance. We are still here should you choose to return. We are always here for when you need a roof fixed, or a meal delivered, or a shoulder to cry on. We know you’d do the same for us. And those beliefs and hopes about your once-accepted sense of the world that now are shattered?  We are holding them in trust, preserving them, discarding the ones that hurt, refining and polishing the ones with potential to redeem, should you ever be ready to receive them back again. Communities don’t usually do this, of course. But they should. Continue reading

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Book Progress: Chapter Summaries

Some of you may know that I am at work on a book, which means I’ve committed the ultimate sin against my dissertation, which is writing another dissertation apart from my dissertation. But this book is genuinely haunting me and I often feel I need to complete it before I can go on. I don’t know that it will be anything particularly special, but it’s been on my mind for years and I’ve begun working on it once again, which is a good all by itself.

The book is a series of loosely connected essays primarily on my thoughts concerning suffering, mourning, and evil. I have a philosophy of religion and theology academic background, so many of the essays cite various scholars and include engagement with philosophy and theology, but I wouldn’t call it a scholarly book. I actually think of it as more devotional, than anything else, something the Twilight Zone Deseret Book might stock in a parallel dimension, spiritual heart-writing that I like to read. The stuff that moves me and grounds me spiritually breaks my heart and devastates me a bit; it connects me to other fellow-sufferers who have tried to honestly confront the heavy-laden, grief-stricken world we live in. This book tries to be like those books, however pathetically.¬†Kofford Books will publish it sometime next year. Continue reading