My buddy Kim Fabricius has died. On the weekend I received an e mail from his loved ones. He was at his nearby coffee shop when he died, all of a sudden and unexpectedly. I didn’t realise a individual like that could die. I had assumed that a light as vibrant as Kim’s would by no means go out.
He utilised to sit at that coffee shop scribbling his prolific “doodlings” – jokes and aphorisms and insults – on the paper napkins, prior to sending them to me.
We became pals 12 years ago when Kim began writing with me on the Faith & Theology weblog. I loved the guy. He was so funny, so sharp, so extensively study, so cultured in an utterly irreverent and self-deprecating way, so more than-the-prime, so New York. He got his Christianity straight from Karl Barth and Dostoevsky and the Book of Job, which may clarify why he didn’t have a great deal patience for cultural Christianity or the platitudes of a really feel-very good therapeutic faith.
He had develop into a Christian even though reading Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans: at the commence of the book he was an unbeliever, and by the finish of it he had decided to develop into a minister of the gospel. (Later, when he had a son, he named him Karl.)
Kim spent a extended ministry in a tiny Reformed congregation in Swansea in the south of Wales. He was a pastor to these people today, as you will know if you have study any of the innumerable sermons, hymns, and liturgies that he created obtainable on the internet. Not to mention his seemingly endless provide of down-to-earth wisdom about the ministry: “When I prepare couples for marriage and come to the vow ‘till death us do part’, I constantly inform them to cheer up – it could be longer.” Or this: “It might be a lot easier to negotiate with a terrorist than with a church organist, but it is a lot easier to negotiate with a church organist than with a cat.” Or this: “A minister is one thing of a jack-of-all-trades – without having the abilities.”
In some approaches Kim was a pastor to me also. We wrote to every other hundreds (or was it thousands?) of instances. When I suffered individual griefs and defeats, I would turn to him for counsel. He was a pastoral realist, he liked to face issues squarely just as they are, and there was terrific understanding and terrific kindness in the way he could speak to you about the challenges of living with ordinary human brokenness. He was a single of these people today who tends to make you wonder if there may be a point to obtaining Christian ministers about right after all.
Kim was a individual with handful of illusions and a great deal enjoy. “What’s the distinction in between optimism and hope?” he as soon as asked, and answered: “Hope is for pessimists.”
He wrote as soon as that “God invented the church to give atheists a fighting chance” – but he devoted his life to serving the church. He railed against America – but he was proud to be a New Yorker, and he was constantly contemplating the theological positive aspects of American sports. In a extremely characteristic remark, he wrote: “Karl Barth stated that when he gets to heaven he will seek out Mozart prior to Calvin. Pretty ideal – and presumably he spoke to Calvin only to examine errors. Me – I’ll be heading for the choir of angels, to uncover Sandy Koufax, to see how he created the baseball sing.” (But the pitcher has outlived the pastor. I hope Sandy Koufax will seek out Kim a single day and bestow the longed-for benediction.)
Kim and I had formed a powerful friendship more than the net prior to we ever met in individual. We met a single day in the United States – it was in the course of a single of his annual trips to New York to go to his mother – and I was stunned to realise that he was thirty years older than me. His heart and thoughts had been so young, I had assumed that probably I was the elder brother. He was old adequate to be my father, but Kim Fabricius was a single of the youngest people today I have ever identified. In his thoughts there was practically nothing stagnant or stale. He was nevertheless curious, nevertheless supple, nevertheless exploring the possibilities, nevertheless seeing life as an adventure of faith, hope, and enjoy. At the age of 69 he died and he was only finding began.