[Note: Of all the ubiquitous annual reviews, my favorite is The Lives They Lived in the New York Times. Death and the assessment of one’s life is among my favorite things to ponder. A good funeral makes me want to be more faithful. A good life brings everlasting inspiration.]
Jeff Krehbiel’s life is evidence that being a faithful follower of Jesus has nothing to do with the current take on Christianity as portrayed in the media. He was semi-obsessed with the belief that we should all be working to make the world as it should be, rather than accepting the world as it is. In the world as it is, money is power. In the world as it should be, justice and compassion rule.
Jeff wrote a little book about how The Bible addresses this. He believed that God created us to live and serve in community. He believed that there is always hope for resurrection. He believed that his spouse and daughters were close to perfect.
On the night that HH and I had a little party to welcome Jeff and Cheryl to Chicago from our beloved Washington, DC, we learned that his father had died. Just a few weeks later, Jeff learned that he also had cancer. And just a few weeks after that, Jeff also died.
But Jeff’s legacy lives on as NEXTChurch has fulfilled his dream for Community Organizing Training for church leaders and as interfaith organizers bring justice to the poor in places like DC and Northern Virginia and Baltimore. He lives on in his amazing siblings and his mom and his colleagues and – especially – the loves of his life. But in spite of these things, it feels strange to move into a new year without him.
Image from NEXTChurch. Thank God we can still listen to his voice.