Obit-Worthy

Syrian Christian Priest Francois MuradI am struck by the fact that the New York Times didn’t cover the death of Phyllis Tickle last week.  The Church World (including denominational people, non-denominational people, the  Emerging Church crowd, assorted religious writing fans) noted the loss of Phyllis last week across social media and beyond.

The Times considered the deaths of Ali Salem, Jeremy Tarcher, and Leon Root obit-worthy, but the author of 38 books – many of which altered our ministry considerably – was not.

Why?  Because Church World is not the same as Secular World.

Most people in the universe do not care about the things Phyllis researched.  I’ve heard many people laud Nadia Bolz Weber for hitting #8 on the New York Times Bestsellers list two weekends ago. (A progressive Christian is embraced by the world!)

All of us appreciate being “known” in some way.   Some clergy become well-known – but only in very limited circles.  Some churches become well-known for both laudable and nefarious reasons.

I preached in Cincinnati yesterday to (mostly) strangers and it made me feel good when someone said he read my blog.  That’s really nice.  But honestly, most of the world will never care and that’s just fine.  Why are we doing what we do anyway – whether that’s helping people, serving the poor, writing books, preaching sermons, teaching classes, or picking up trash on the side of the road?

For followers of Jesus, we do it – ultimately – because it’s the best way to use our gifts to God’s glory, right?  Most of the world will not read our obits and that’s okay.

Image of Franciscan Priest Fr. Francois Murad who was murdered in Syria in 2013.  His obituary wasn’t in the New York Times either.

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One response to “Obit-Worthy

  1. Andrea ( aka rokinrev)

    Not surprized. Only obit for a few “lesbians” was paid for and in Lesbian Connection, which of course came out long after the death. Leslie Gore, Adrienne Rich, and Mary Daley. Ronnie Gilbert’s best obit is her new autobuography: A Life in Song. Go figure

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