Life is fragile

October 15, 2007 — 153 Comments

Update – Sunday, October 21: My dad died this morning. He was at rest and my mom kept repeating the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:8 while we stood there beside him, about how Dad is now in the presence of Jesus – (as complex and mysterious as some of the afterlife sequencing is). But he is now gone. It is Sunday. Resurrection Day. It is extremely sunny in New Jersey right now as I sit in my backyard and type this. Very surreal. Jesus. Jesus.

Update – Thursday night: After taking a scan and doing another test, the doctor told us today that my dad’s internal injury is not changing and it now looks certain that his life on this earth is over any day, perhaps tonight, tomorrow, the next day… So we still just sit in the hospital room, pray and wait. It’s been 6 very long days now and reading your prayers are appreciated more than you can ever realize. I showed my mom them too. Thank you……

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

I am in New Jersey at a Barnes and Nobles right now – I am here as we got the ominous phone call at 4:00 AM Friday letting me know that my dad is in critical condition in the hospital. He was at a Yankee game last week and had a fall outside the stadium (he still went into the game and watched the whole thing) but unknowingly beneath the surface the fall caused an internal injury to build for several days, and it suddenly then resulted in a severe brain injury occurring  – and he is about to die.


100% out of the blue, something like this comes. He was healthy. He and my mom have been married 52 years. I love my dad a lot and this is a very horrific and difficult time, I would say the hardest thing I have ever had to be going through- and it is still in process now as he is still barely alive and we are basically waiting at this point. I am extremely thankful that he put faith in Jesus and and I am so thankful I got to spend time with him in August when I stopped back in Jersey and we went to the New Jersey State Fair together and saw Jerry Lee Lewis and had a wonderful weekend trip, which is the last I saw him (the photo above is from that trip) – although we talk weekly on the phone.

If you have emailed me or called me the past couple of days, I don’t have internet access and I am not sure how long I will here. So please excuse me not answering during this time. I also had to cancel speaking at the Emergence event in Austin later this week and at the Youth Specialties Convention in San Diego on Sunday.

Life is fragile. God gives us each day as a gift. I cherish the days God gave me with my dad. If you read this, and can say a prayer for my mom especially (and dad) in this process of his last days it will be appreciated.

Dan Kimball

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author of "Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess of Organized Religion" and "They Like Jesus But Not The Church" . On staff at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • dan h.

    So sorry to read this, Dan. My prayers are with you and your family. Peace, and God bless.

  • Bern

    My prayers are with you and your family. May you guys find peace in the Lord.
    Hang in there bud.

  • Fred

    Dan, I am so sorry to hear this. I am praying for your dad and for you and family. May God hold you in his arms.

  • donsands

    I will gladly go to the throne of grace for your mom and dad, and you. 52 years! I pray they have many more.

  • riddle

    praying for you and your mom and your dad my friend.

  • Brian Eberly

    Just prayed for you and your family brother. So sorry to hear the news.

  • John Dobbs

    Praying for you Dan..and I’m so sorry for this unexpected grief in your life.

  • Chip and Debra Anderson

    We pray for God’s peace to be upon you all.

  • Anne Jackson

    Praying for you and your family.

  • Michael Rodriguez

    Hey Dan,
    You don’t know me but I am a friend of Trav Osborne and 49 minutes ago you typed this blog…you have strength in God that is amazing to see. Thank you for relying on that strength and being very real and transparent. I will be praying for you my friend…

  • Lewis

    Hi Dan,
    I’m really sorry that this is happening to you right now. This cannot be easy. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Patrick

    Dan my prayers are with you and your family. May the grace of God be a wonderful shelter for you in this time.

  • scott hodge

    dan – prayed for you tonight. so sorry to hear this.

  • Kevin

    So sorry bro. I am indeed bowing in for you and your family.

  • Lonnie Smith

    dan – i’ve walked where you are now walking.your grace perspective on the gift God has given you is very comforting.we’re (my family) praying for the kimball family in these days.

  • Mike Donovan

    Dan, What a horrible thing to be going through. You are so right, life is very fragile and we must never take a minute of it for granted. I hope you have many more years with your Dad. Prayers are with you. Peace to you and the family.

  • Steve Lewis

    Prayers going your way.

  • scott

    I’m praying for you and your family.

  • Rick

    My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Kevin Rush

    In my prayers…

  • Nathanael

    Father of all Comfort,
    Grant, at this time, your peace and rest and joy to your daughter as she waits with, and watches her dear husband being ushered into your presence. Comfort her heart. Wrap her in your embrace. Whisper your promises into her very soul. Gently wipe her tears from her cheeks. Hold her hand. May she feel and know your love at this time.
    We praise you for the faith of your son, for the assurance you’ve given his family of his trust in you alone.
    And we lift up his children, as this head-on collision with the reality of our mortality hits them square in the face with no air-bag to soften the blow. We cry out to you, who alone can comfort them in this heartache and pain which words cannot describe.
    In the all-powerful name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, whose life, death and resurrection have granted to us eternal life.

  • Victor Minetola

    dan: i met you briefly @ breakforth in ’06. i’m a friend of wendy eason in ann arbor, mi. you all are in my prayers. i pray for the strength and comfort of the body of christ to surround you all when you can not be strong.

  • Marc

    Dan – I am praying and will continue to pray. I think it would be impossible to over emphasize the emotions between a father and son. I am heart broken for you and your family.

  • Jason77

    may the Lord be with you and your family and comfort you during this time…

  • Chuckk Gerwig

    I am praying for you my friend, and for your mom too. I ‘m asking Jesus to welcome your Dad home in a gentle nad joyful homecoming and to comfort you and your family during the time of separation. I love ya pal. – chuckk
    I’m pretty freed up right now so if there is anything I can do to help you out let me know

  • Kevin I


  • Stephen Williams

    Dan, It’s never easy no matter when it happens. My father passed away of an aneurysm after a short hospital stay when I was 11. I still miss him. No matter whether God chooses to grant your Dad another season here or take him home, know that the hearts and prayers of all of your VFC/1st.Pres. friends are with you and praying for your Dad, Mom, and brother as well as you.
    - Steve

  • Nate Bettger

    Praying for you, Dan. Bend, Oregon will be holding you and your family up. I know, from my own story, the feelings that come with these things and it is so tough… I’m with you.
    Nate Bettger

  • Aaron

    I’m sorry to hear Dan. My mom passed two weeks ago. It sure isn’t easy. It sounds like your Dad lived well and that He’ll hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
    I hope you hear many stories in the days to come of your dad’s impact on those around him.
    I will miss not having you at the convention this weekend. God bless you greatly during this special and difficult time.

  • robert

    i am so sorry and i will be praying for your mother and family.

  • Loren Kerns

    Thx for the update Dan. Praying brother…

  • Tray

    praying for you D. James lost his Grandad in MASS last Thurs day so wee feel you…

  • Chuck Conniry

    All of us at George Fox Seminary are praying for your Dad.
    May God’s healing grace abound!

  • Karen Renner

    I am so sorry to hear about your father, Dan. I am praying for you and your family. May God’s love and comfort surround all of you.

  • Matthew
  • Paige

    Dan – I am praying for you and your family here in Orlando. there is nothing good to say in a time like this, but know you and your dad are loved.

  • tony

    Put your peace over Dan, his dad and his mom. Give them great love and conversation. Help them weep and laugh. Cover them with insight and trust into your heart and the messy way of living life on this side of eternity with hope for the other side of the mystery.
    In Jesus’ namer forever be praised.

  • Tim Keel

    Deepest condolences. Blessings and grace to you and your family right now.

  • Randy (South Texas)


  • B Cannon

    Praying for you, my friend.
    LEC5 bob

  • Joe Wilson

    Dan, I’m praying for you and your family during this time.

  • Anita

    Dan, I’ve followed your blog for some time but have never posted a comment. Just want to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family this day.

  • Colleen

    Dan, We love you and of course will keep lifting you all up.

  • Lauren

    I have been praying since first hearing of this news the other day. May you and your family feel God’s presence and comfort. Words seems so insignificant at a time like this… just know you are loved, by many, and those here at church back in Santa Cruz will be here for you when you return.

  • Marcia

    I am so sorry for you and your family. Praying for you.

  • Matt Anderson

    I go to vintage when i’m not at school in Orange, Ca. I’m praying for you.

  • Richard

    I heard about a mansion
    He has built for me in glory
    And I heard about the streets of gold
    beyond the crystal sea
    About the angels singing
    and the old redemption story
    And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
    the song of victory
    The journey ahead is filled with wonder, love, joy, incredible peace, and SINGING! In the blink of an eye we will all be on the other side. I look forward to singing with your dad. Come join us when you get there Dan.
    O victory in Jesus
    My Savior forever
    He sought me and bought me
    With His redeeming blood
    He loved me ere I knew Him
    And all my love is due Him
    He plunged me to victory
    Beneath the cleansing flood
    Praying for you all… God is good.

  • Brian Schulenburg

    You and your family are in our prayers. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. Praying for God’s comfort, peace, and provision during this difficult time.

  • Len

    Praying too.

  • Sam Earp

    Dan: I lost my dad when I still in high school but remember the pain so very well. I can and will pray with the Spirit and with understanding…for you and your family. May the peace of Christ comfort you in your pain…

  • missional girl

    Dan, I have already prayed for you, your mom and the rest of your family. I will never forget where I was when I got my “ominous phone call” regarding my young 52 year old mom who died suddenly in my sleep. May the God of peace keep you all at this very difficult time.

  • paul sampson

    Dan and Becky….
    we are praying for both of you and your mom….Know that if you need anything, Laura and I are here for you-
    God’s peace to you……….Paul

  • gavin

    saddened to hear of your dad’s current condition. your family & his friends will be in my prayers.
    may the communion of saints welcome him with great cheer

  • daniel d

    Praying for you, your dad, your mom and family.

  • Chilly Chilton

    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    -Psalm 73:26
    Praying in Detroit,

  • matt

    Dan, strength on this difficult journey. Know you and your family are being prayed for.

  • Adam Ellis

    Praying for you and your family.

  • revolutionfl

    We’re praying for you, Dan.
    I lost my dad in a similar way this summer (no warning.) He was 52.

  • Jeff Moulton

    Springfield, Illinois is praying (or at least my little corner of it).

  • Eric Kieb

    Dan, we will be praying!

  • Randy (South Texas)

    …still praying…

  • susan barber

    Praying for your family.

  • Rob

    praying for you and your family!

  • angel

    You guys are in my prayers! Love to you & Becky.

  • Dan Wakefield

    I’m praying for you and your family, Dan…

  • Larry Boatright

    praying for your dad and mom. Sorry your family is going through this honestly.
    Blessings to you and yours…

  • James

    Our prayers are for you and your family as well.

  • Jonathan

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I will be praying.

  • Darren Johnson

    Dan, I am praying for you and your family. I pray for peace, comfort, and God’s love for you all during this difficult time. I’m so sorry this happened.

  • Laura Rodgers

    Dan and Becky,
    praying for you and the family! Staff is keeping you in our prayers! Love you guys!
    Laura Rodgers

  • Tony & Cece Dettle

    Our prayers are with you brother! Today in fact is one year since I lost my Dad. Our God is BIG!
    Bless you bro
    Tony & Cece

  • Eliezer Ronda

    I’m praying for your dad and your mom.

  • Sivin Kit

    Take care .. prayers assured on this side of the earth.

  • AnneMarie

    May you and your family experience God’s presence in a powerful way during this time.
    I am pray for you guys while here in Detroit!

  • rudy

    thinking about and praying for you and your family

  • Aj

    Blessings and comfort wished upon you and yours: I pray that Christ’s light will encompass you all.

  • Onkel Toby

    My Dad’s going through a similar thing right now, so I know how you feel. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  • Flaviu

    prayers going up for you and yours. we never met. read your stuff. God is there, right with you guys as you go through this valley, closer than ever!

  • steve

    So sorry to hear about your dad Dan. I am praying for you and your family. let me know if i can do anything at all to help at this time. –steve

  • phil cunningham

    thanks for putting family 1st and cancelling the speaking gigs, that say’s a lot.

  • ron

    more prayers Dan…that a miracle would happen. Shalom, Ron+

  • teresa wu

    Dan, I am praying for you and your family… i have been since I heard. if there’s anything i could do, please don’t hesitate to call. Are the girls with you too?

  • John Patton

    Having lost my father, I know that I don’t know what you are going through. As a result, I have a special heart for sons in your shoes. Blessings.

  • Pam

    My heart is heavy for you and your family during this time and I pray that God’s peace will be with you all.
    I am so sorry, we forget sometimes how precious our loved ones are, or maybe its just that we take them being here, for granted.
    We are praying!!!

  • Ken Storey

    Let all things give God glory. You and your family are in my prayers! Let us know if we can do anything to help and keep updated.

  • Joel

    So sorry…praying

  • Mike Morrell

    Wow Dan…I know how difficult it can be having parents teeter on the edge of life. I will be praying for you and yours.

  • Lindy

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Please know that I’ll be praying for your mom, your dad and you and Becky. I’m so glad your dad knows Christ, and that’s not a concern for you. I’ll pray for comfort, peace and wisdom, and that you’ll feel His presence during this difficult time.

  • Tony Stiff

    …praying for you…one my closest friends wife had an out of the blue tumor in her brian in their first few months of marriage, it completely rocked my buddy, but she had a shunt put in which didn’t work but in God’s time He made a way and saved her through an alternative, midnight hour moment; trust in Him bro…we’ll be praying for you Dan, God has all the ways in the world to save and heal people. May he give you guys strength in this time…and peace in the midst of confusion…

  • Randy (South Texas)

    …praying today…

  • Rick DeGirolomo

    Hey Dan.
    I remember when my Dad passed suddenly more than 12 years ago. It was easily one of the worst days in my life. It was also one of the days that I can clearly say the God was most tangible to me as He walked with me through the whole ordeal. I pary for you and your family to experience the Father’s love, and your father’s love in these days.
    You will be missed in Austin tomorrow.
    Grace and peace, brother.

  • Sebastian

    May the Lord Bless and bestow His Graces on you and your family during this time of passing. I offer my heartfelt sympathy and prayers.

  • Leo

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. You don’t know me. I am reading your The Emerging Church and have learn a lot from it. I noted from Scot McKnight’s blog about the news of your dad. I feel so sorry for that. May him rest in peace until resurrection when he will inherit the new earth once again. God bless you and all your family.

  • dwayne moore

    We are praying for you, your mom and your dad today. I just read the news on…

  • Pastor M

    May you know and experience the love of God during this time.

  • Molly

    While we are going to miss you in Austin, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It is hard to lose a parent, no matter the circumstances.

  • Karen Zacharias

    I’m sorry to hear about your father. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  • Blake

    May the Lord grant you and your family an extra portion of grace during this time.

  • Mike

    I can’t even imagine…I pray for God’s peace on your Dad and your family during this season of life.

  • Jeff Myers

    You’re definitely in my prayers. You help so many in Santa Cruz and so many pastor-people around the world – please take this time to minister to yourself and your family. Go with God.

  • Kevin

    We’re praying for you and your family.

  • Randy (South Texas)

    …still praying…

  • April

    Dan, I heard about your dad via Scot McKnight’s blog. I pray God will comfort your family during this time. I’m praying this prayer from the Lutheran Book of Worship for you. Last Monday I attended the funeral for my husband’s grandmother. This prayer was comforting to me.
    God of all grace, you sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to bring life and immortality to light. We give you thanks because by his death Jesus destroyed the power of death and by his resurrection has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Make us certain that because he lives we shall live also, and that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come shall be able to separate us from your love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

  • Randy (South Texas)

    …I am so sorry brother Dan. We, the ‘body’ of Christ, surround you and your mom and your family with prayer…

  • Rick

    My sympathies. Prayers for you and your family.

  • René

    Keeping you all in prayer.

  • Bennett

    You are loved and prayed for.

  • Chris Morton

    Praying for your family. We missed you in Austin this weekend.
    God bless.

  • Fred

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my mom and dad a little over a year ago. May God be with all of you and hold you close.

  • Glen Barbier

    Deep shalom.

  • Chad Jarnagin

    Shalom indeed my friend.
    Shalom that passes your knowledge.

  • Eliezer Ronda

    My prayers for you and your mother. I just want you to know that here in Puerto Rico we are lifting a prayer for each member of your family. I know it’s difficult since I lost my father 12 years ago. May the peace of the Lord guide you in this moment.

  • Brian

    Very sorry to hear of your trials…I pray for the deep comfort of the Holy Spirit and fellowship of family and loved ones during this time. The Psalms became a well of emotional processing when I lost my dad suddenly 6 years ago.

  • Rachel

    I am sorry to hear about your dad. Peace be with u n your family.

  • Adam Walker Cleaveland

    I am praying for you and your family now brother….

  • andrew jones

    really sorry to hear of your dad passing. Every blessing and peaceful thought to your whole family.

  • Sivin

    Take care Dan. May God cover you and your family with his presence and love during this time.

  • cameron conant

    Dan: I hurt for you and your family, but hope and believe that this is only the beginning for your Dad, and that you will see him again. Grace and Peace and Love to you and your family—

  • Mike

    when words can’t say enough, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Rick Meigs

    I lost my father a year ago. It is painful yet today, but I pray that the peace of God will be upon you and all your family as you dwell on the goodness of your fathers life.

  • grace

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom. May you feel the comfort of His Spirit, the gentle strength of His arms holding you closely, and the sweet peace of His presence during this time.

  • Bev

    I’m so sorry about your loss.
    I’ve not yet experienced losing a parent so I can only imagine the pain. I dare to believe that for your Dad life is just beginning…

  • tray

    Jesus was also a man of sorrows and aquainted with grief. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust…

  • Noel


  • Rickard

    We are also praying for you…

  • ally simpson

    Dan may God comfort you & your family circle at this difficult time

  • rcm

    Everlasting be his memory.

  • curtis

    so sorry to hear the news… hang in there.

  • Leo

    Surreal Jesus, surreal resurrection. May you and your family have peace.

  • matt

    I hope you have times of remembering and telling good stories, that in the sadness you can find peace that passes understanding

  • Josh

    Dan even though I don’t know you personally both Kristy and i are praying for you and your family at this time.
    Your Brother

  • Matt

    Will continue to pray for your family. May you and your family find comfort in the promises of God.

  • Nigel

    our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • laura

    You and ALL of your family and All who love your dad are in prayer! May the light of Jesus give you continued comfort and peace in a situation where it is hard to find.

  • Greg

    dan, i’m glad you and your dad had such a great relationship and got to do cool things together and knew that you loved eachother. i thank God that he gave you so many good years with him, but i’m also praying for you and your fam in this time…much love.

  • Paul Morgun

    Sorry to hear these news, my prayers will be with you!

  • Zachary Forrest y Salazar

    Dan, I know we don’t know each other, but I’m sorry for your loss. May God make his face to shine upon you.
    And give you peace.

  • D RHo

    Just wanted to voice my thoughts and prayers with everyone else here. Losing someone in this world as dear to you as a loving parent is terrible to say the least. God is near.

  • Rochelle

    I know this is a hard time and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I lost my step father in July. Take comfort in those who are concerned and helps in the up and down emotions you’ll feel.

  • Barry and Terri

    Hey Dan,
    We’ve been and will continue to pray you all through this. People here at Calvary (my work) are praying too. Some have already written me to express their sympathy. Judging from the many posts here and the countless ones who’ve not posted, the “Church” is praying for you and your family Dan. We love you. May the great Abba hold you each lovingly in his arms as you grieve the loss of your earthly abba and husband.

  • jeff mckim

    I’m praying that God holds you.

  • Amy

    Your family did one of the greatest things that can be done for someone who is dying–you loved him, but also let him pass into the arms of Jesus (or whatever anyone’s personal theology happens to be on the matter–I personally like this imagery.) He was loved, honored, and cherished, which is a wonderful testimony to his life. I pray for you and your family as you grieve.

  • Randy (South Texas)

    …continuing prayer for you and your mom and family…

  • Keith Kirkpatrick

    Thank you for your transparency. Your love for Jesus is evident. What a legacy your Dad has left and you too are leaving legacy in thousands of lives (including mine!).
    Praying for you and your family.
    with Christ’s love,

  • Eric Kieb

    I’m so sorry Dan. May the presence of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of good friends and family bring you peace during this tragic time.

  • Brian La Croix

    Wow, Dan.
    My heart goes out to you and your Mom.
    May the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit envelop you.

  • Makeesha Fisher

    I have been lifting you and your family in prayer Dan – God be with you as you grieve.

  • amber

    God’s love is deeper than our hurts.
    love from above,
    represent. only. one true. Savior.

  • Wendy Eason

    You and your family have been on my mind and in my heart. Words seem so insufficient. All I can say is Peace be with you.

  • greg Russinger

    joining with the saints…

  • Allen

    Just know that so many people you’ve never even met are surrounding you and your family with love and prayer.

  • Big Mike Lewis

    Sad to hear this. You are in my prayers brother.

  • todd Cullop

    Hey Dan,
    I’m jumping in late; just saw your blog and read about your dad–just wanted to say hi and lift a prayer. My father died 3 years ago; your thoughts and experiences through this echoed my own.
    We’ve met a few times at conferences, and your books have had great impact on me. Reading about your dad, well, I just feel these common experiences connect us in the body.
    Hang in there brother; thanks for sharing.