By Ross Engel

On January 1, 1998, MTV premiered a brilliant Claymation TV show called Celebrity Deathmatch. This vividly violent and quite hilarious show depicted clay versions of various celebrities battling to the death in the ring. While it was clever the way these clay celebrities met their demise, what was especially amusing was that announcers Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond (and the celebrities themselves) were bluntly honest about these stars. If a celebrity had a drug addiction, plastic surgery, or some major character flaw, the creators of the show would mercilessly incorporate those flaws into the clever and gruesome ways that the celebrities would fight and die. The show ran for several seasons, pitting celebrity against celebrity to the death. Its violent run ended in 2002.

By Paul Koch

On Tuesday morning, the world learned the tragic news of Carrie Fisher’s death. This news had a strange effect on me, as I had just watched her performance the day before when I took my family to go see the new blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Although, it wasn’t a performance by the sixty-year-old actress per se but a CGI recreation of the twenty-one-year-old Princess Leia every young boy my age had fallen in love with at one time or another. There she was, full of youthful vigor and elegance, receiving the plans of the Death Star to relay to the Rebel Alliance—at least, it looked like her…  almost.

By Ross Engel

My wife walked slowly up the aisle of the church; she was dressed in black, my seven-month-old son James on her hip and my three-year -old daughter excitedly holding her hand. The eyes of all those gathered watched her as they came forward. There was a slight gasp from the front row as she picked up our three-year-old and leaned over the casket so that Eliana could get a better look at “Mr. Art.” After a few sweet words, they took their place, sitting with the rest of the congregation, and awaiting the beginning of the funeral service.

By Scott Keith

“Those who lack within themselves the means for living a blessed and happy life will find any age painful. But for those who seek good things within themselves, nothing imposed on them by nature will seem troublesome. Growing older is a prime example of this. Everyone hopes to reach old age, but when it comes, most of us complain about it. People can be so foolish and inconsistent.” Cicero, How to Grow Old, pg. 11

By Joel A. Hess

This past week, I had the privilege once again to sit near the bedside of a woman breathing her last breath. Afterward, I noticed the hospice caretaker speak gently about her client to her daughter. When referring to her death, she never said “she died.” Instead, like so many within and without the community of the risen Jesus, the nurse said “she passed.”

People don’t like to say that their loved one “died.”