Holy impatience

William Sloane Coffin, critic of the church
It is a little unusual for a biography (William Sloane Coffin Jr.: A Holy Impatience) to be published when its subject is not only alive but is the author of his own just-published best-seller (Credo). Bill Coffin, however, is anything but usual. As Harvey Cox says, reviewing Warren Goldstein’s biography, “There is only one Bill Coffin.”

Cox refers to Coffin’s powerful sermon on his son’s death. It is indeed one of the most helpful pieces ever written or preached about death, grief and the will of God. This preacher has used Coffin’s memorable words many times: “It was not the will of God that Alex die . . . when the waves closed over the sinking car, God’s heart was the first of all our hearts to break.”


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