Editor's Note: The short film accompanying this story, called "My Garden," comes from EdsStory.com. CNN.com is premiering the latest installment in the "Ed's Story" series.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Ed Dobson is not afraid of dying. It’s the getting there that really scares him.
A former pastor, onetime Christian Right operative and an icon among religious leaders, Dobson has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. When he was diagnosed, doctors gave him 3 to 5 years to live.
That was 11 years ago.
“I am a tad happy to be talking to you right now,” joked Dobson, whose voice has deteriorated since his preaching days, in a phone interview. Speaking with him feels like being exposed to a brief moment of clarity. He speaks slowly, but with an understated confidence and authority.
As pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he held for 18 years, Dobson would regularly preach to 5,000 people or more on Sundays. Back then, Dobson said he looked at himself as a man filled with lessons, proverbs and, most of all, answers.
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After retirement six years ago, the massive crowds went away.
“I went from 100 miles an hour to zero miles an hour overnight,” Dobson said. “That was a shock to my system.”
Dobson says the answers vanished with the crowds.
“I know that sounds a bit lame,” he said. “I know that that I should have all the answers, but the truth is, the more I live, the fewer answers I have.”
And yet the people Dobson comes in contact with – those who call him dad, husband and friend, or those who have read one of his 12 books and watched his short films, don’t agree with that assessment. To them, the last six years of Dobson’s life have led to a remarkable ability to put life into context. To them, Dobson is a man filled with lessons.
From 5,000 to 1
In the 1980s, Dobson rose to prominence as an executive at the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell's evangelical political organization, which had influence with the Ronald Reagan White House. Dobson’s rise continued when he accepted the pastorate at Calvary Church in 1987. He cut a national profile, with Moody Bible Institute naming him “Pastor of the Year” in 1993.
After being diagnosed with ALS, Dobson suddenly felt unsure of himself. At times, he said, he didn't want to get out of bed. After years of intense Bible study, Dobson said this is not how he thought he would react to news of his own mortality.
“I thought that if I knew I was going to die, I would really read the Bible and if I really was going to die, I would really pray,” Dobson said. “I found the opposite to be true. I could barely read the Bible and I had great difficulty praying. You get so overwhelmed with your circumstances, you lose perspective.”
Eventually, Dobson regained perspective. But feelings of listlessness led him to take his preaching to a more personal level. He now meets with congregants one-on-one. Sitting with them in their homes or offices, Dobson provides whatever help he can. “Most of the people I meet with have ALS and basically I listen," he said.
“When I meet with someone and look into their eyes, it is like I am looking into their soul,” Dobson said. “We are both broken, we are both on the journey and we are both fellow pilgrims.”
Going from 5,000 congregants to one at a time was a big change for Dobson, forcing him to reevaluate his job as a pastor. “I am trying to learn that one-on-one is just as important as speaking to thousands,” he said. “I reemphasize – I am trying to learn that.”
During his one-on-one meetings, Dobson says he remembers Adam and Eve being charged by God to work the Garden of Eden. For years Dobson’s garden was Calvary Church – the baptisms, weddings, the Sunday preaching.
“Whether it is preaching to 5000 or meeting one on one, I am trying to take care of the garden,” he said.
The wind knocked out
One way Dobson strove to tend the garden is by writing a book about dealing with serious illness. In 2007, he wrote “Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness.”
Dobson’s son Daniel read the book while deployed in Iraq. After returning home, Daniel made it his mission to turn the book’s stories into videos.
He pitched the idea to Steve Carr, the executive director of a faith-focused production company called Flannel. “When I met Ed, when he came to our office, something really spoke to me,” Carr said. “Not too long before that, I had been diagnosed with Leukemia.”
“I thought that this guy, he has been where I am right now and he has somehow mastered it,” Carr said.
So far, Flannel has released five Dobson films, available through the company's website. There are plans for two more. Though the films range in topic, from loss and forgiveness to healing and growth, all are centered on lessons Dobson learned through his battle with ALS. The videos toe the line between a dark look at a dying man's life and an uplifting glimpse at someone who exudes clarity.
"My Garden," the most recent title in the series, centers on Ed’s struggle to deal with ending his preaching career.
Dobson talks about the films as if they are his swan song, his last words of encouragement to a group of supporters he has inspired for decades.
“My desire is that people who have had the air knocked out of them, whether divorce or losing a loved one or illness, that they will get a sense of hope by watching the films,” he said.
Surviving (with help)
The series’ first short film opens with Dobson explaining what it was like to be told he had ALS. After lying in bed, Dobson gets in the shower, brushes his teeth and starts the day. Even he would admit, however, it is not that easy.
Dobson has lost much of the function in his hands and is seen struggling to brush his teeth, his frail body using two hands on the small brush. Though he is able to do a lot, including drive, Dobson wouldn’t be able to make it on his own, a fact he is keenly aware of when about when describing his wife, Lorna.
“She is my right hand, my left hand, my left foot, my right foot, my heart and my brain,” Dobson said. “Without her, it would be impossible to go on.”
Standing in the kitchen in one video, Lorna helps puts Ed’s belt and gloves on. The two don’t speak on camera, but their love is obvious.
“Our love has grown each year of marriage,” Lorna said. “I didn’t want to just wither in the sorrow of how our life was changing. It took a while to get used to what our life was going to be like but I realized that I needed to be more available to him.”
Dobson says he is also more available to her.
“I am no longer a preacher,” said Dobson. “Today, I would say I am a Jesus follower. Period.”
Lorna said she continues to learn from her husband. Throughout their life together, she said she learned by being in church with him, by raising three kids together and by loving one another.
The last 11 years, however, their love has changed. Dobson's illness has taught her to focus on the important things, she said, primarily their kids and five grandkids.
After tending the garden for decades, Dobson is now being tended himself, largely by Lorna. “ALS forced me into a situation where I grew in understanding of what it means to obey Jesus,” Dobson said in the latest film.
“It took me quite a while to find an alternative purpose," he said. "But the good news is out there – there is a purpose for everyone.”
The first question for you: Is there a God?
If your anwere is no then there is no amount of arguing that will change your mind but I suspect that by your tone that you know there is one and you are resentful of something in your life.
If your answer is yes there is no other diety that has as much historical evidence of his interaction with this world than the God that was revealed to us through the person of Jesus. The gospel of Mathew was in circulation within 30 years of the crucifixion and there is a enormous amount of historical evidence to support the claims of Christians. No other religion even comes close.
Given that most of thier "claims" are works of fictiion on from second hand sources I wouldn't put a lot of faith in them. There might very well be an after-life but there certainly is no heaven. God does not discriminate, unlike most of His followers. I think t his guy is just beginning to realize he spent most of his life blowing smoke.
chefdugan – So we have one of the oldest texts in human history which has held up to every attack since to tell us about the glory of the KIngdom of Heaven. You have told us, as a fact, that there is no such place. Please explain further. "IF" There is this Heaven, it is greater than anything our minds could craft or even comprehend. With that, do you think our "God" is just going to give it away? Since all of this is anonymous anyway, may I respectfully ask why you hate God so much? If its "His people" that make you mad because you think they are stupid, you may as well give up on that one. Everyone thinks people are stupid, but it doesn't make you right. Also, my life is so full and rich ( i'm dead broke financially) I can't contain my smile. There are people who call themselves men and women of God who represent him horribly, especially in the church. Again, is it God you hate or people? Is it what God has said that you don't agree with? Or is it the slick looking preacher who has video screens and flashy lights and acts like coming to Jesus will make you never have another ache again? The ones that steal from the congregation and buy nice things? Thats not God, thats an evil spirited person. ( who just because they are up on a pulpit isnt exempt from evil) God has spoken against this, so hey maybe you agree on one thing..id say a great starting point :-) Great day to you..
Held up to every attack? Either you don’t read much or you are more delusional than most.
Also, it is not even close to one of the oldest texts available. There are ancient Babylonian texts that tell the tale of Gilgamesh that are the same tales but with different people, and gods. Your old testament was just a conglomeration of older tales that were spread around the campfires. Your new testament is just a work of fiction designed to ens lave minds.
Get this through your head, if you don’t believe in God that is your decision. Attacking the belief of another human being is disgusting and shows me how disgusting Human Beings can be. The world will never be a better place with those who attack others who have a difference in belief or opinion. I feel sorry for the people who attack a dying man because he chooses to believe in God, you must be very depressed, lonely, and an angry human being. You want people to respect you and treat you equally then stop treating others unequally and with disrespect.
Belief without evidence is not rational and it should be mocked.
Ps- respect from religious people is worthless, personally I could care a less what fairytales-believing adults think of me..
I only care because many of these religitards make laws that do effect me..
I have respect for him as a human being. I do not however have respect for his beliefs. Believing insane supernatural things and actively trying to convince others to do so without any evidence is destructive to our society and this man is participating in it.
I'll die to protect his freedom to do that but it doesn't mean I'll pretend I don't think he's nuts.
I could not agree with you more and I am not even Christian.
"...She said, attacking the people she didn't agree with."
The ability to believe without evidence is not a 'choice'. One either believes, is agnostic, or does not believe. One cannot CHOOSE belief. You can choose to *act* as though you believe (or not). You can choose to *say* you believe (or not). You can even *live* as though you believe (or not). But belief, or non-belief, is not in itself a choice. I would RATHER have the comfort of a church family...but I cannot force myself to believe. I would RATHER have the comfort of knowing I'm one of the majority...but I cannot force myself to believe. I would RATHER have a 'how-to" book to help guide my life...but I cannot force myself to believe. I've tried, as has every other atheist/agnostic that I've ever met. I've come to the conclusion that some people are simply UNABLE to suspend their skepticism...not even to enjoy the comfort of the herd. And some others are simply unable NOT to believe..even when confronted by the paradoxes and outright contradictions inherent in their Holy Book.
When I think of God, I think of the highest idea of Love, so when taking that into accord, what's wrong with that? People who rebel against the idea of God are in essence rebelling against their own inner selves and what they inwardly know is right.
Love???? Worship me, trust me, I'm a mystery... and if you don't, I will make you suffer throughout eternity. Gee! How loving! Your definition of love is truly warped.
Love? Yahweh killed countless children in his various genocides, and he ordered the Israelites to massacre people several times..
"When I think of God, I think of the highest idea of Love so when taking that into accord, what's wrong with that"
In theory, nothing. But Christianity is all about obedience, not love. "Obey, or be tortured for eternity" is the bedrock basis of the religion. Yeah, dressing it all up nice with that 'God is love"-'Love thy neighbor"-"Judge not lest ye be judged" mumbo-jumbo is great PR, but not necessarily the truth. (Seems to me that one of the biggest draws of *any* religion is the "right" to hate, judge, and condemn those with whom you disagree.)
YOU may *believe* that love is synonomous with God, but that doesn't negate the *fact* the the one, single over-riding law of Christianity is "OBEY God".
Everyone has their own version of what God is, that's why there are different religions. Even if you were to get let's say, 10 people together who are of the same religion, I imagine they'd have differences in some way or another. This is no different. As I stated above, my idea of God is the highest form of love imaginable. A person can always be more loving, there is no doubt, and as a result, you will experience more peace and joy, there is no doubt about that either.
This conversation just makes me sad. I see a bunch of people just blasting each other about this man who has done MANY good and great things for others in His life. I am a follower of Jesus, and I always will be. But this act of bashing a man for your own worldview of him.... please think over what you say before you say it. I say this to non followers of Jesus and Jesus followers alike.
Dobson is a charlatan because he claims to know things he couldn't possibly know.. Namely what the creator of the universe thinks.
Dobson is a fraud and the world will be better off without him..
I looking forward to buying some champagne wheni hear the news that he's a corpse.
Let's telepathically communicate with Yahweh and Jesus!
God bless you Mr. Dobson. Praying for you and Mrs. Dobson.
Why pray? Doesn't God already know what's going to happen? Are you asking him to change his mind about the future? He has a plan. It's ugly, but it's a plan. Prayer is a waste of time!
She likes o telepathically communicate with bronze age, middle eastern deities
I am truly sorry that Ed Dobson has had to experience this terrible disease. However, all religions are the result of myths, legends, and fables woven into traditions, which is what the Bible or Koran represents. For reasons which I cannot explain, Americans embrace ignorance in contrast to science, as illustrated by the present GOP campaign. None-the-less, I wish Mr. Dobson the best in his last moments.
I have degrees in chemistry, zoology and physics. The more i learn about science the more I am assured that God exists. I feel sorry for those who do not believe. they will enjoy the self fullfilling reality that after death there is nothing.
So, who created God. In your final analysis, you have just said that it would take a god to create something from nothing. So tell me... does it take a God to make a God?
Yahweh exists? Evidence please.... Mr scientist with 3 degrees
Sad, the guy wasted his entire life on fairy tales. You don't get a do-over, don't squander your one chance to be alive in our amazing universe on 2000 year old pretend garbage.
Excellent post !!!
And what exactly do you think he missed out on? According to this story, he had a pretty fulfilling life. A loving family, a place on this earth where he felt he had a purpose, and the opportunity to help others with a terrible disease. I'd like to understand specifically what you think he "missed out" on?
Yes, imaginary friends are not real. And I don't see one interceding in your "immortality", (nice editing, CNN, it's 'MORTALITY'). Pray away, we'll be fertilizer one day, and that is all. We're highly EVOLVED apes, nothing more. We're not divine, we're not chosen, we're not special. We're animals sans tails, no more important in the scheme of things than an average bacterium. Enjoy your delusions, a big surprise is headed your way.
So true... so true. Funny though, I've never wanted to be anything but temporary visitor to this planet. Not sure why all these people want to live forever in some mansion on a hill. I mean, after a few hundred years, even that would become dull.
Dobson, see you in hell u right wing piece of garbage.
We can only hope you die a painful death.
Welcome to the beast called 'liberal tolerance'
The atheist attacks on this blog come as no surprise. Evil likes any opportunity to hate....
"Evil likes any opportunity to hate...."
You mean like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Westboro Baptist freaks accosting people at funerals, etc., etc.? You're going to H&LL! TURN OR BURN!
Everyone should hate religious charlatans who have made a career (and large salaries) from promoting bigotry.
Ps- These preachers worship a bronze-age, middle-eastern, genocidal, megomaniac deity (Yahweh)..
These people are some of the most ignorrant fools in our country today, yet they wield political power due to all the undereducated idiots sitting in the pews..
Your comment says alot about who you are and what you stand for.
May God have mercy on you and when your time comes, I hope it will be a pain free death.
Since leprechauns and yahweh have an equal chance of being real, May the leprechaun gods have mercy on you..
"The DOLT proposition is
Disease(God's will)=Medicine(Devil's will)
Disease(Devil's will)=Medicine(God's will)
My answer from Gen 2 is
Disease(Man's will)=,edicine(Man's will)
God took immortality out of the equation to give us a shot at eternal life rather thaan eternal death."
You were responding to my former post:
I. If disease is the will of "god" then medicine must be (a) against the will of "god" and/or (b) the will of "satan."
II. If disease is the will of "satan" then "god" is (a) not all-powerful after all since "he" couldn't even prevent "satan" from having such power over man, and/or (b) "god" is a sadist piece-of-$hi+ not worth worship.
Either way, FVK "god"!
WOW, NII! I'm going to a-ssume you were just really tired when you wrote that. You eliminated the all-important "and/or" part of both of my conclusions, which changes the meaning entirely. Nevertheless, I will be complacent with a repost and will avoid pointing out your mistakes of interpretation individually.
However, I will attack your answer from Gen 2:
“Disease(Man's will)=Medicine(Man's will)”
This is ludicrous! You’re saying man has the power to create now? Only “god” has the power to create in the universe, right? According to your bible? Right? Though I would say that “satan” must surely have power to create since you people can’t come to terms with “god” having created evil (which it says “god” did in the bible, as I have quoted in a previous post about Amos and Isaiah). So “god” and presumably “satan” have the power to change things just so to either benefit or torture man. But nowhere in your theology does it say man has the equivalent power of “god” to create! Please prove that man created micro-organi-sms or the mechani-sms by which they infect the cells of our bodies, or that man created the relationship between certain viruses and the cancer which can result from exposure (such as HPV), or that man created the mechani-sm for DNA to become damaged during cell division such that cancer results, or that man created the process by which neurological pathways break down and lead to ALS, multiple sclerosis, etc. I could go on and on, but I’m taking up too much room here.
“God took immortality out of the equation to give us a shot at eternal life rather thaan eternal death."
HA HA! So “god” took away eternal life so we might have a chance at eternal life? Brilliant! Sorry, notwithstanding the ridiculous contradiction in your statement, eternal life in this body is rather impossible simply because all matter decays/changes state. Nothing in this universe lasts forever. Life is not special and is not exempt from this principle.
DOLT I don't know what kind of X'tian u were but we typically understand God to have created Man in His own image to mean tht He gave us His attributes including to create. Two of these attributes were restricted from us becuse they were mutually exclusive i.e. Immortality and Judgement.
Nii: I don't care how you interpret your religious doctrine (on the fly, of course, at every turn you must make up some way to keep everything jiving). Man does NOT have the power to change the laws of physics. Things are the way they are and we had nothing to do with it. Man did not manufacture HIV or ebola and yet they're here and they have an effect on us. No man/woman wishes that their children are born with defects and yet plenty of children are born with defects, some quite debilitating. This is a violation of man's will if he can't just merely will his children to be healthy when they are born. Get your head out of your @$$!
Dobson also suffers from the Three B Syndrome i.e being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion, in his case, Christianity. Said syndromes are based on the hallucinations, myths, embellishments and lies of the founders of said religions. And what is almost hilarious about this is how we have bought into this fictional stuff for so long.
A quick cure via a prayer:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
If you choose to not believe in Christianity or any religion for that matter, that is your choice. But save your mockery for someone else. Have some respect for someone who did NOTHING to you, doesnt know you personally. He just exists.
Death, we all will encounter it. It is nothing to fear because you will not know you have died. You move from this life to nothing. Just as it was before you were born. Nothing. So what is to fear? Enjoy this life. Live it to the fullest. Don't worry about what lies beyond death because it is nothing you will know of because you will have ceased to exist. It's actually a wonderful thing.
Nothing scares me more than the death of my conscience. I fail to see how that is a wonderful thing. I hate how my fellow atheists try to trivialize death. There is nothing trivial about it. Death is incredibly scary, I'm just not idiotic enough to believe that some sky daddy can make everything better.
Before you were born God knew you. Your spirit, (soul) was given to you by God. It is the very essence of who you are and is the real you from before conception through the rest of eternity. You were foreknown, as it is written Levi was in Abraham's loins when Melchizadek met him. You are quite wrong to assume you came from nothingness and will return to the same and extremely foolish to bet your being on that lack of belief.
If one assumes there is a god:
As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:
Church: The Human Story of God,
Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)
"Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."
"Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.
Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.
For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."
PCT, what basis do you have to assume a god created you?
I'm afraid you're in for a big surprise.
As a pastor, I encountered ALS in a mall town in Arkansas in about 1982. The man was retired Air Force, as am I. His wife attended the small church I pastored – there was not much known about ALS believe it or not. I was with them until he died a few months later. Then, I had an older lady who also contracted ALS later on. The main thing I worried about was support for the wife – this lasted for some time before he died. It is a bad disease because of the disease itself, and the effect it has on the family. I will pray for Ed and his family and church. He needs support from his family and his former church – which I am not certain he is getting. He is still a pastor, church or no. Ed you will be in my prayers and thoughts daily. Shame on the church if they are not supporting you also; I would hope some are. May God's healing come upon you and your family during this time – you don't hear much about ALS but it is a bad disease – may God's blessings be upon you and your family at this time. Shalom!
Prayer changes things .
When you pray you are talking to yourself and "hear" what you want to hear. It is not healthy for adults to play make believe. Below is a great video of how through prayer you can establish a personal relationship with "Jesus."
Prayer is the joy of talking with God
Prayer is the delusion that you are talking with an invisible super friend. Watch the video above.
Come on guys (and gals), dont feed the trolls.
Thank You for the article, and when we do finally follow the Lord Jesus, we understand then that we are not in front of Him, nor beside Him, but behind Him. And it is He that makes us to lie down in green pastures, and not we ourselves; and it is He that leads us beside the still waters, and not we ourselves; and it is He that restores our souls, and not we ourselves; and it is He that leads us in the paths of righteousness for His Name sake, and not we ourselves; and we fear no evil, and are comforted, because He is with us, and His rod and His staff is what comforts us, and not we ourselves; and it is He that prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, and not we ourselves; He it is that anoint ´s our head with oil, and makes our cup to run over, and not we ourselves; and finally, it is He who gives goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives, and makes us dwell in His house for ever; and certainly not we ourselves.
And it is he who allows his representatives on earth to abuse children. And it is he who allows natural disasters to kill millions of people. And it is he who creates diseases which kill innocent children. Gotta love him.
human beings need a " God" to explain the unknown and fear about the unknown; what it tel;s us that those who need a God figure are frieghtened and have no faith in mankind but need a father like idol who has special concerns for mankind.
Looking at the current republican presidential hopefulls, they represent insecurity of american citizens and want that status of americans to exist into iternity
You really believe a Christian cares about what happens to this world system after he dies... Read the Bible ok. You are insecure.
Also don't be frightened into trusting humans. They can do good or bad like you. You do not have to believe people over whatever they say. Maybe Americans vote for X'tians because of the values they represent. Have u thought of that? A human who fears a Higher Power n loves 2 stay in His good books.
According to the Bible man has a will and Judgement so he has the ability to choose without God interfering and can kill. We chose deaath which manifests as sickness. Therefore we can remedy it with medicine. We however can only go so far. We need eternal life or we die eternally. These are choices
The DOLT proposition is
Disease(God's will)=Medicine(Devil's will)
Disease(Devil's will)=Medicine(God's will)
My answer from Gen 2 is
Disease(Man's will)=,edicine(Man's will)
God took immortality out of the equation to give us a shot at eternal life rather thaan eternal death.
Immortality is God's attribute n that of angels(and so demons as well) Eternal life is God Himself n Eternal Death is being without Him. The Devil is immortal and that is Y he must b punished eternally. When we resurrect we'll b immortal but we need de eternal Life 2 b angels or we become demons.
Your answer is finished at where my post is.
people 'choose' to get sick?! LOL!! Because a good tumor or a nice case of Meningitis are so very difficult to pass up......
Teach us to number our days aright that we may become wise.
Thank you. That was a good word and I needed to hear it.
Atheism cheapens everything it touches-look at the results of communism, the most powerful form of atheism on earth.
Communism is a system of government, not a form of atheism. To your point though the most religious countries have the most violent crime and the least religious are the most peaceful. You will find this video informative:
@ Jesus Loves You: I find this video hot.
No. you got it wrong once again. Organized religioin cheapens people's lives but enriches those strutting fools called pastor, preachers, ministers and especially priests.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.