69 posts

A collection of all my articles relating to lament and the Book of Lamentations.

Thank you

This has been the worst year of our lives and yet we are so thankful for all the love and support we have received. Today is the first anniversary of Mack’s death. It was sudden, swift, and completely unexpected. So was the response. From all corners of the world, around Penn State and State College, you sent us your love, your support, and your prayers. College friends of mine and Elizabeth’s flew in from all […]

How do we make sense of it all?

A month or so ago I was talking to an old and close friend and we began discussing reviews of our work. This led to discussing how one reviewer misunderstood my conclusions in The Rabbinic Targum of Lamentations: Vindicating God. Curious to look at it all again, I pulled up the text to my introduction and conclusion (see below). The reviewer, by the way, thought I was espousing the Targumist’s interpretation and explanation of events. […]

The value of lament

I have written a lot about this, as you might expect from someone who spent more than a decade working on lament, but it is always good to hear others say the same thing. Peter Enns has a nice summary of a lecture by Walter Brueggemann on “God’s Infidelity.” Brueggemann is “Mr. Psalms” and he was addressing the fact that a majority of psalms take God to task for seemingly abandoning his people and reneging […]

To every thing there is a season.

New perspectives on the future, Revelation, the Second Coming, and all that.

Yesterday I had the regular pleasure of meeting with an academic and administrative colleague who is also an Episcopal priest. (We share a fair amount in common, as you can tell.) Understandably our discussion turned towards how I and my family are coping nearly ten months after Mack’s death. One topic in particular we dwelt upon was the envisioning of heaven. I have written elsewhere on this blog of my “back of the napkin” concept […]

Leading in loss

This was written for the students in our Presidential Leadership Academy. It is clich√© to say that leadership comes in many forms, but of course it does. It also often comes upon us when we are not expecting or even wanting it. Such has been the case for my wife and I since¬†our son died. We have unexpectedly become models for others in our loss. This is the kind of loss that no one should […]

"Forever Silent" by Dan Piraro

(A pie) in the face of tragedy

I have mentioned before that Mack and I would read comics together every night. For a while it was hard to read comics again because of that fact. But at the same time comics and cartoonists have also helped me cope. So last week when Dan Piraro posted this comic I knew two things: (1) he would get vilified by some for tasteless humor and (2) Mack would find it hysterical. So I do too. […]

Term of the Day: “Agentless Injustice”

Today I was talking with a colleague about another tragic death of a young person. The runner collapsed and died during the Pittsburgh Marathon apparently with a “coronary artery abnormality.” No one was to blame for his death. He was born with this condition, although he was unaware of it. There was no person with a gun, a knife, or a bomb. It just happened. I called it “agentless injustice.” It is not “just” that […]

It’s just a hat

But not any more. This picture of Mack was taken shortly after Christmas 2011. You can read more about the studio session on my PhotoBlog. That fall I had purchased this silly little gray fedora from Target. I am a practical person and my head gets cold in the winter, but I am vain so I wanted something other than a stocking cap to wear when in a suit and tie. For whatever reason Mack […]

Nothing to say, nothing to do

It has been over 5 weeks since Mack passed and while I have posted about one or two other items besides our grief I think you can understand why it is a topic that will be with us for a while. Perhaps the hardest aspect of grieving is that there is nothing to do about the situation. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am used to problems or circumstances where there is at […]

Grieve not, unless you you have something to grieve about.

One of the many books on grieving that have been sent to us is a slim little volume Good Grief by Granger Westberg. It is an excellent, brief summary of the various stages of grief that most of us go through, with particular emphasis upon the role of faith in grieving. He also makes the valuable point that we often grieve for a variety of reasons, not just the death of a loved one. The loss […]