When I heard of Robin William’s suicide the news hit me harder than I’d imagine.
I am aware that each and every human life is valuable. Likewise, I know that our culture’s participation in the cult of celebrity can range from unhealthy to idolatrous. But we humans cannot feel the impact of the death of every human equally (and if we could it would drive us to madness), so for one reason or another (I’m sure there is a neuroscientist out there would can explain “why”) we create a taxonomy of mourning. Those who we knew, closely, or those who impacted our lives greatly — even if we didn’t know them personally — receive the majority share of our emotional energy. Those who we may not have met face-to-face in this life, whose loss may feel as though we did, sometimes includes politicians, athletes, actors, writers, and other artists because of what they brought to our lives through their gifts and talents. Personally, Williams is one of those people I never met face-to-face, but whom I mourn because of what he brought to my life.
Somehow I avoided Church History and still got out of seminary with a degree. This year, however, I’ve found a rising interest in the topic. When I burned out of Brad S. Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation around page 150 (halfway through Chapter 2), I was looking for something a little more digestible. It was then that I discovered Matthew Paul Turner’s Our Great Big American God (in stores Aug 19).
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in school, I was fascinated with outer space. I thought I wanted to be a scientist and work for NASA. Over time, I discovered more about my natural gifts and inclinations, not to mention limitations and so I quietly gave up this ambition without any real fanfare.