Jeffrey Weiss

Jeffrey Weiss, a religion reporter who covered his own cancer fight, is gone. Here's his last speech

Jeffrey Weiss, a religion reporter who covered his own cancer fight, is gone. Here's his last speech

It was about 10:30 a.m. my time on Wednesday when I heard that longtime God beat pro Jeffrey Weiss had died at home at noon Dallas time, surrounded by his family. I’d last seen Jeff in September at a Religion News Association conference in Nashville. His family told me he’d probably last until January. Less than seven weeks later, he is gone.  

Last December, he learned he had glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer and the same ailment that Arizona Sen. John McCain has. Not wanting to use the word “death” to describe his fate, he came up with “egress” and used it with much humor during the last year of his life. He decided to “go out with fireworks,” as he told his employer, The Dallas Morning News, so he spent his last few months writing a column on dying for Religion News Service and  pushing the Food and Drug Administration to move quicker in finding solutions for terminally ill people like him.

See here for a fabulous sketch by Morning News staff artist Michael Hogue of Jeffrey climbing a Mt. Everest-like slope shaped like a brain.

Last month, the RNA gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to Jeff for his work. After receiving the award at the RNA banquet the night of Sept. 9, he presented a speech read by his niece, Lindsey Weiss. As you can see by my photo (above), he stood to her left during the entire thing, wearing his trademark Fedora with a card stuck in it proclaiming "Cancer sucks."

It's a bit of a tearjerker, so I’ve transcribed it below (and here’s the video of him delivering his speech)  for those of you who wish to remember Jeff’s last words to the reporters covering a beat he loved so much. “It’s kind of like his home room of beats,” his wife, Marni, told us.

I appreciate this award, even more so than when I was told my first time about this. And I’m here. I am working better than I am not working. I have loved this organization, even from my odd angles. I'll admit it might not have been a ton of angles and at times more so than I’ve expected. At the moment, I know I may have a particularly short amount of time because of my brain cancer. My glioblastoma may be setting a clock for me and maybe my egress will be at the time of my 63rd birthday this coming January.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Conservative, moderate, liberal: A few more thoughts on Baylor, Baptists and theological labels

Conservative, moderate, liberal: A few more thoughts on Baylor, Baptists and theological labels

In my post Thursday, I delved into the religious background of Baylor University's first female president — a Baptist supportive of female senior pastors.

In that post, I noted that the Dallas Morning Newsin a front-page story — referred to Baylor as a "conservative Baptist school."

I wrote:

I'm not certain that "conservative Baptist" is the best description for Baylor, particularly in Texas. Longtime observers know that Baylor in the 1990s "survived a fierce struggle between conservatives and moderates at the Southern Baptist Convention." As Christianity Today notes, Baylor maintains a relationship with the moderate (in Baptist terms) Baptist General Convention of Texas, which "selects a quarter of Baylor’s board of regents and provides a sliver of its annual operating budget."

I also suggested that describing Baylor as "conservative" was questionable given its hiring of a president, Linda Livingstone, who has attended churches affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The CBF, I said, "includes progressive Southern Baptist and former Southern Baptist congregations."

My post drew some excellent feedback from two longtime observers of Texas Baptists — and I wanted to highlight their insight in this follow-up post.

The first comment came from Jeffrey Weiss, the former award-winning Godbeat pro for the Dallas Morning News. Given that Weiss is in the midst of a cancer battle about which he has written eloquently for his own newspaper and Religion News Service, I was especially grateful to hear from him.

Here is what Weiss said:

I would gently suggest that BGCT remains "conservative" if one need not be extreme to justify the word. CBF is a different story, however. Fascinating!

I always appreciate gentle comments from faithful readers. Many thanks, kind sir!

Please respect our Commenting Policy

Hail Epiphany and farewell to Christmas (and white Santas)

First things first: I hope that readers who are into that whole Christian calendar had a great 12 days of the real Christmas season, as opposed to the six or seven weeks of whatever that is that ends with an explosion of wrapping paper on Dec. 25. So this brings us to the great Feast of Epiphany, which in our ancient churches is the second most important day on the calendar after Easter/Pascha. More important than Christmas? Well, it’s hard to rank these things, but the key element of this day — marking the baptism of Jesus — is the scriptural account of the revealing of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. That’s big. In the West, the feast tends to focus on the arrival of the Three Kings at the cradle of Jesus.

To my surprise, Epiphany has been getting a bit more news ink in recent years (surf this search-engine file for a current sample).

Personally, I think it’s the whole photo-op principle at work. I mean, who doesn’t want to show up to put the following into shivering pixels?

Please respect our Commenting Policy

60 Minutes' 'outrageously slanted' nuns story

CBS released this clip last week, previewing the Sunday 60 Minutes piece. Talk about hard-hitting! Talk about the opposite of obsequious!

Please respect our Commenting Policy