Magazine article The Christian Century

The Why Question. (from the Editor/publisher)

Magazine article The Christian Century

The Why Question. (from the Editor/publisher)

Article excerpt

I DIDN'T KNOW Lewis Smedes very well, but I miss him. The Fuller Seminary professor and author who died late last year was the kind of generous and open evangelical who gives me hope for the unity of the church at a time when that hope is hard to come by. We met just once, under peculiar circumstances. We were both scheduled to tape a program for the 30 Good Minutes television show in Chicago, and were in the make-up room at the same time, sitting beneath white drapes while a young woman applied powder to our foreheads. We each knew who the other was, and soon were lamenting and laughing about how conservatives in both our faith families were unhappy with us.

Smedes was smart and also consummately pastoral, the kind of person who invites confidence and trust, a person with a special gift of grace. And because of that his books were helpful to this preacher looking for an idea, a story, an anecdote.

The excerpt from his memoir that appears in this issue (p. 38) tells us something about Smedes's own theological journey. If there is a common experience that binds the pastors of the land together, it is that of being present with people when tragedy strikes, as it did to Smedes and his wife--of being the one who is asked, "Why has this happened? …

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