Many around the world this morning are mourning the potential passing of a friend, whether he was a friend from far, or near. I've not heard if Stan Grenz has yet slipped into heaven...but the last word I received was that his death was inevitable. It was stunning "not good" news.
Judy and I met Stan and Edna 31 years ago when we entered Denver Seminary. The two of us graduated in the same class in 1976...as might be expected, him at the top of the class, and me, well...let's just say the school fathers did let me out with a diploma after a bit of debate. :)
Over the years Stan and I have stayed in touch with irregular consistency (as he did, remarkably with so many others) via email, phone and the random visit at a conference, or here in Denver when he would come visit his mother, or up on his turf in the NW/BC. Though more brilliant than most of the rest of us, his caring heart was always what impressed me most...he was not stuck in the clouds or any ivory tower...he was the real deal from his soul out.
One part of our friendship was tenacious...as he pushed, prodded and propelled me in writing...he was, in a warm, friendly way relentless...and I loved it. Over the past year he kept reminding me that he was certain that he knew what I needed to write about next. With a most mischievous smile he would not let up...knowing he was pushing me to new and better heights. I will miss that...but...he also got his point across...over and over and over again.
Though not extra close, we had the kind of meaningful relationship where we almost always sought each out when we knew we would be in proximity. He was out of town when I was recently in Vancouver, BC. Interesting, but I do wish we could have had one more conversation. But that was not to be...this side of heaven.
Waking up a bit restless today from this news late last night, I picked up the book on Madeleine L'Engle's work, titled, "Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life." This has been a pick up/put down read for several months now...and this is what was next behind the bookmark this morning...
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All of Life Is Story (p. 125)
All of life is story, story unravelling and revealing meaning. Despite our inability to control circumstances, we are given the gift of being free to respond to them in our own way, creatively or destructively. As far as we know, even the higher animals (with the exception, perhaps, of the dolphin) do not have this consciousness, not necessarily self-consciousness, but consciousness of having a part in the story.
And the story involves what seems to the closed mind to be impossible--another reason for disbelieving it. But, as Christians, we may choose to live by most glorious impossibles. Or not to live, which is why in the churches, by and large, the impossibles, the Annunciation and the Transfiguration and walkings on water and raising from the dead, are ignored or glossed over.
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Stan took all of us to and through the "glorious impossibles." He allowed us to not ignore them.
He will be missed within the larger family of God. He will be missed in much deeper ways by his beloved wife, Edna, two children and their spouses, and his first grandchild. If it has already happened, I don't know, but when this beloved friend slips into eternity...he will know what "glorious" is truly all about.
I can only imagine the conversations he will be having.....................