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Wise Christians Clip Obituaries
I was puzzled by my reaction as I watched the sportscaster wave goodbye to the camera. I rarely watched his sportscast, but like many of the people in the Washington, D.C., area, I was moved by news of his death. I listened as radio talk-show hosts devoted entire mornings to the story. Local newspapers gave him a week’s worth of obituaries. His station ran a half-hour memorial program—the show I was watching. He waved to the camera, walking, symbolically, into the shadows. It was ironic that in a city dubbed the murder capital of the nation, in which victims of violent crime die every day, the passing of one 44-year-old-man would cause such a stir.
As people called talk shows to express their shock, I heard a refrain: “It was so unexpected. He was so young, in such good health, and then all of a sudden.... I just can’t believe it.” . . .
Gary Thomas, Pastor, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Western Washington University in 1984. He studied under the Christian theologian J. I. Packer at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, receiving a master's degree in 1988 in systematic theology. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, in 2006 in recognition of his contributions made in the field of spiritual formation. Thomas is a regular teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church Houston, the fourth-largest church in the United States in 2013, with over 21,000 in weekly attendance. Thomas is the author of 20 published books. His most notable works include Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, and Authentic Faith.