Hospital prayer

As a pastor then, as a chaplain now, I often navigate in a space bounded by positional obligations and patient (and family) expectations, and God’s invitation. So in that space, when it occurs in hospitals (or other places of pastoral care), what does it look like to talk to God on behalf of and in the presence of other people? And, perhaps, to talk to people on behalf of, and in the presence, of God.

Practical daily research

How can I get better at pastoral care? I can pay attention to my own practice, my own interactions with husbands and wives, parents and children, moments of excruciating difficulty. In each of those moments (or immediately after) I can ask myself, "What am I learning that will help me with the next one of those moments. What questions can I ask myself and others? What can I learn about attending to bits of information and infusing them back into the care all of us provide?"

Honest funeral messages.

A funeral message is a place for respect and for integrity. It’s a place to acknowledge a person’s actual humanness and God’s actual grace. With a heart toward the healing of the family and friends, we can gently describe what we know. Elliot’s daughter found a little peace in the honest description of the dad who abandoned her and the Father who didn’t.

A conversation with kids about death.

I think they were nine and twelve. But I’m terrible with figuring out the ages of kids, and I’ve decided that asking isn’t helpful. Instead, I start listening and start talking and calibrate my vocabulary and concepts to the responses I’m getting.  Thirty feet away, through an open door, a public hallway, and a closed … Continue reading A conversation with kids about death.