Hurtado on Kyrios Christos


(Here's another helpful piece by my friend and colleague Larry Hurtado) Bousset and “Early High Christology”by larry hurtadoI'm teaching a segment of our masters core course this semester, my bit focusing on the emergence of "Jesus-devotion" in earliest Christianity, and in discussions with the class and with others over recent years, Wilhelm Bousset's classic work, Kyrios Christos (ET, Nashville: Abingdon, 1970; German 1913, 1921) naturally comes up. (2013 will mark the centenary of … [Read more...]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


Sometimes its a mistake to see a movie full of pathos right after you've just had your own gut-wrenching personal experience of loss of a family member. So, it was with some trepidation that I went to see the new star-studded and widely praised film with Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, a brilliant but mute Max von Sydow, and the real star of the show Thomas Horn. Horn plays the brilliant but emotionally over-wrought child (possibly with Asperger's Syndrome) who is on a 'quest' to follow clues he … [Read more...]

Good Grief— the E-Book

1997 8

I finally have some happy news to report. Mark Galli, senior editor at CT liked the Good Grief articles so well, that Christianity Today is turning them, plus another 35 pages of my reflections that don't turn up on this blog, into an e-book which you can read on Kindle, and see the pictures in color on Kindle Fire. In addition, there will be a sample in the April print issue of Christianity Today. Finally, all profits from this book are going to be donated to a worthy charitable cause … [Read more...]

Good Grief — The Sermon on Earthen Vessels

2002 12

Christy Ann Witherington funeral 1st Church2 Corinthians 4:7-11January 18, 2012 Michael T. Powers But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7Life is so very fragile, isn’t it?  We realize that so powerfully when we hold a newborn in our arms.  This tiny life is so fragile, so dependent, so precious and so alive with wonder.  We want to protect that child from all harm forever.  We also … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Post Mortem

2000 3

Pictured here are our three kids in 2000 -- Christy, David, and our Russian daughter Yuliya.The response to this series has been wonderful and heartfelt, and so I thought I would share a few thoughts about where I am now, three plus weeks out. Grief counselors talk a lot about reaching a stage of acceptance.  But that word can mean many things.  Acceptance of what?    Acceptance that your daughter is dead?  Well, Ann and I accepted the fact that that was true almost from the beginning, once … [Read more...]

Good Grief— The Way of Grace

1979 2

I am an inveterate movie watcher and reviewer, but I must confess for reasons I don’t fully understand, I had put off seeing the movie ‘The Tree of Life’ until now. It is a singular providence of God, as Mr. Wesley would call it, that I did so, for it is a profound reflection on not only the meaning of life, but on what it means to lose a beloved child to sudden, unexpected death.The movie begins with a famous quotation from Job 38 where God asks Job where were you when creation happe … [Read more...]

Good Grief– Soundings Eight (on Praying)

1999 7

 Many books and persons have spoken to the fact that they have had a difficult time praying after they had a devastating loss of a loved one.  I must confess this has not been my experience thus far, but it is worth talking about. My constant prayer is simply a thank you to the Lord, not for what happened to Christy, but for the blessing she was to me and my family and so many others.   Most mornings when I wake up these days, I just thank the Lord for Christy even existing … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Seven – Wisdom for Consoling


One of the most obvious things that happens to a person in deep grief is that they become hyper-sensitive, even to things that previously never bothered them.   Sounds in the night.  Sudden winds whipping up.  Or thunder and lightning, a child crying out in the neighborhood, an unexpected phone call, more difficulty than usual fixing something or getting somewhere -- all this and much more can set the person off in a retrograde motion, or make them unexpectedly angry or short tempered. But th … [Read more...]

Good Grief: Soundings, Part Six – The Ante-Chamber to Eternity

2005 4

I must first admit that what I am about to share is only a small part of the answer to one of life’s great mysteries.   Keep in mind throughout this post the notion "life is not too short, when its everlasting!"Sometimes people rant and rave at God when their children die young, or when a loved one is suddenly taken away.  They think God must be cruel, indifferent, or non-existent.  None of these things is true, but usually these reactions are grounded in a false baseline assumption -- namel … [Read more...]