Bethel University, with campuses in St. Paul and Arden Hills, MN, has cut thirty faculty and thirty staff for the fall semester. Professor Chris Gehrz fears the college may not survive if other factors reduce enrollment.
Even if we could somehow suspend our fears of an invisible contagion spreading a potentially fatal disease, many of us at Bethel are experiencing the death of dreams and ideals and relationships. Losing a faculty position at a place like Bethel means the loss of income and stability, but also threatens a loss of calling. Most of those who lose their positions will struggle to find anything like a true replacement; many will have to leave academia and seek work in a depressed economy.
None of the anger, anxiety, and loss that people are going to feel this week is magically eliminated by a resurrection that left scars on Jesus’ own body.
I still believe my late friend Glen Wiberg was right that nothing, not even the brokenness and grief of mortal existence, is wasted, that God is “gathering up the fragments in resurrection so that nothing goes down the drain, nothing at all is lost.”
“Nothing for your journey,” The Pietist Schoolman
Occasionally I pick up a work of contemporary fantasy, especially if I have some acquaintance with the author. I know Mike Duran, author of The Resurrection, slightly through Facebook. He’s a writer who shows promise.
The Resurrection centers on a small, struggling church in a little California coastal town. The pastor is having a crisis of faith, and the elders are divided and contentious.
Ruby Case, one of a trio of faithful church members who’ve never quit praying for their congregation, attends the funeral of a teenage boy. To her amazement, a miracle happens, through her, and overnight she becomes the focus of a media frenzy, and her family is brought under stress, and even into danger. Meanwhile the pastor is being led, by an apostate seminary professor, into dangerous spiritual byways.
Author Duran has genuine gifts as a storyteller. There were moments in The Resurrection when I was authentically moved. The book reminded me, to be honest, of nothing more than my own novel Wolf Time (which is not to suggest in any way that it’s borrowed. It’s just the same kind of tale).
The author does need to work on the tools of his craft, though. He sometimes selects the wrong word, and he often throws verbiage at a passage when he would have done better to pare the words back and find the exact ones he wants for his desired effect.
But I read it all the way through, which I can’t say about a lot of Christian fantasy books, and as I told you it gave me some genuine thrills. So I recommend it. Suitable for most readers.