Your Body and God

I recently had the privilege of pre-reading Rob Moll’s forthcoming book, What Your Body Knows About God (November 2014, IVP).  In it, Moll distills difficult scientific research, making sense of it in light of historic Christian practices–particularly those targeting personal transformation.  Moll’s own ministry experience and anecdotal accounts season the chapters, adding personal interest to this smoothly-written [Read More...]

Dying the Modern Death

Republic of Suffering

Welcome to this fourth installment of Death Wednesday here at the Anxious Bench. In my last post I described the nostalgic appeal of Trappist caskets and old-time burial practices at the bucolic Abbey of Gethsemani. For me and my students, Gethsemani seemed awfully appealing as we contemplated the likelihood of our own deaths in an [Read More...]

Recovering the Ars Moriendi*

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”  – Luke 24:5b NRSV According to the accounts found in the Synoptic Gospels, the female disciples that travelled to Jesus’s tomb the first Easter morning expected nothing spectacular.  They merely intended to finish preparing the corpse for its [Read More...]

Bourbon Fudge and Trappist Caskets

Merton grave

This past semester for me focused inordinately on death. I taught a course called “War in the American Memory” and covered the Holocaust in World Civilizations. And then—even though commencement was already over—fellow blogger Miles Mullin piled on with a terrific post on how modern Americans outsource death and dying. It’s the semester that won’t [Read More...]

Outsourcing Death and Dying in America

Replica of Lincoln's Coffin

Once an intimate family affair, death and dying are now outsourced in America. Set in different centuries, stories from two of America’s greatest storytellers highlight the manner in which American encounters with death and dying have changed over the last two hundred years. Culled from Stephen King’s novella The Body (1982), the plot in the [Read More...]


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