Yesterday was an interesting day for a chaplain’s ears. I heard two interviews that I would like to call to your attention. As will not surprise regular readers, both were from NPR, my most common news source.
The first was on Fresh Air. There host Terry Gross interviewed the Rev. Carroll Pickett. For 13 years Pickett was the death-house chaplain at the Walls prison in Huntsville, Texas, where he ministered to inmates executed by lethal injection. What caught my attention early in the interview was the fact that after each execution he recorded his thoughts and experiences on tape. He did it as a means of self-care, based on his own experience in CPE; and the reference to CPE caught my attention. The interview is about 40 minutes, but it’s well worth the time. (Chaplain Pickett was also interviewed for the 1999 Frontline episode, “The Execution.” You can find a transcript of that interview here.)
Later in the day I caught a portion of All Things Considered in which Melissa Block interviewed Chinese Christians and clergy in the area of the recent earthquake. She asked the clergy how they cared for their parishioners, and how they discussed the earthquake. It was a classic discussion of the problem of suffering; and as one who has to address that problem with some frequency, I was interested in their responses. Take some time, and hear for yourself.