Wow. That's all I could say. As a pastor, I would occasionally visit with people who reported Near Death Experiences (NDE) on an operating room table, a hospital bed, during a car accident or heart attack. Without the necessary and pretty impossible to get research, I wasn't sure what to think about these very similar but unusual events in people's lives. All I could say was Wow.
This article, published April, 2012, in the online magazine Salon, is written by psychology professor and research scientist at the University of Montreal, Mario Beauregard. It is excerpted from his book, "The Brain Wars," and talks of recent research into this quite common human event.
I was always talking about life after death, but was quite sure I knew, really knew, nothing about it. I would speak in the language, images and ideas of my Christian faith tradition. Here is new brain research that confirms what many have said about their experiences, and points to a new truth: that the brain, while very much another part of the body, the Executive part, managing and processing our experience as well as coordinating all of our other body function, may, in fact, exist in some way beyond our living, breathing life.
That is simply amazing. Science finding that we are not just materialistic human forms. As a therapist, I now have some science to back up what we have talked about before as mystery. AWESOME.
Here's the link: Near death, explained
Monday, September 29, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
I contribute to a regular newspaper column every couple of months for the local paper, and have done so since 1997. That's well over 100 different Spiritual Reflections on faith, the world, church and us.
This round, my column is being published on Holy Saturday. Because I agree that the newspaper has first shot at publication, I can't print the whole thing here. But I am going to print out my last two paragraphs because, well, I want to. The whole thing will be in the Savage Pacer tomorrow, and on their website Monday.
Here's how the essay ends. For any and all who may read what I have here, I wish you the grace and faith to see yourself as one for whom this resurrection happened. Happy Easter.
Easter, which will be celebrated in countless churches around the world tonight and tomorrow, and for weeks afterward, is the celebration of a completely improbable rebirth. The experience of the early disciples that this very dead and gone young Messiah was, by the unique action of God, raised up. It doesn’t make sense, this dead body given new life, but our scriptures tell several stories of encounters, of conversations, of visions, of meals that person after person had of a newly alive Jesus. At least some kind of life that was touch-able, converse-able, and physical in the way that bodies are physical things. Something happened to Jesus that dozens of different people in different contexts experienced, and the only words they had to tell of their experience was to call it being raised from the dead, of his resurrection. Christ is risen, they said. He is reborn from the dead.
Easter celebrates this miracle, this unique intervention of God upon the physical world, to bring dead Jesus to life again. We don’t understand it. But we cling to it as a promise: that in Jesus, death doesn’t win. Not finally, not in the end. And that he leads any and all who would follow to new life at their death, too. Which is why there will be lots of singing about our own deaths in Easter songs and hymns tomorrow. Why we will remember with full, hopeful hearts those we love who have died. Why we will smell lilies and see new hats and share meals with loved ones tomorrow. In these bodies, death appears to win. But in God, death is a big, fat loser. That’s what all the fuss in church tomorrow is about. As Jesus was raised from the dead, so shall we be. Hope and faith sing together: Alleluia, alleluia.