Requiem for a Never-Ending Conversation: Remembering Mark
Two weeks ago, I watched as one of my best friends died.
Longtime readers of my blog, Gaudete Theology, knew him as commenter Mark S. He commented here once, too.
Mark was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in early 2013.
But our conversation had begun years before that, not long after my manager had hired him. He was passing by my office when he heard me laughing while delightedly telling my officemate that the American Academy of Religion was devoting an entire session at their upcoming conference to discuss whether or not Pastafarianism — the cultus of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — qualified as an actual religion. He backtracked a couple of steps, stood at the doorway listening till I wound down, and then said, “Wait… what? You obviously take your religion pretty seriously – you have a flyer for a religion lecture on your bulletin board – but you’re laughing about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”
In retrospect I can hear him thinking, “Don’t you know the FSM was made up by a bunch of atheists who are mocking you? You’re supposed to be offended, not amused. What kind of a Christian *are* you?”
So I burbled on a bit about how fabulous I thought it was that religious studies people could use the FSM as a test particle to probe the definition of “religion.” He said, “That’s interesting, I’d like to hear more about that – maybe we can have lunch sometime and talk about it.” And so our conversation began.
Please click through to read the rest of the post and the comments over on my blog.
When I was invited to become a co-blogger here at BLT, Mark was the first person I told. I remember displaying the site on my office computer and showing it to him, saying “Look! Look at this site! I can’t believe these people actually want me to join them!” I was flabbergasted and unsure of myself. He always had more
faith confidence in my work than I did myself; this was not the only time that he encouraged me to pursue a wider audience or broader platform for my work.
I hope to gradually resume blogging more actively over the next few months.