This is the story of Ed Dobson – the story of a dying man. In 2001, Ed was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and was given 2-5 years to live. But this is not what makes Ed’s story so fascinating and so worthy of our time. You see, Ed is a Christian whose life has taken him down a path that few within our society are willing to travel – a path that ultimately puts him at odds with political activists on both the left and the right.
Born in Northern Ireland in 1949, Ed Dobson immigrated to the United States in 1964. By the age of 23, he had earned his Masters Degree from Bob Jones University, and had taken his first post as the Dean of Men at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Just seven years later, in 1979, Ed joined the Board of Directors for Falwell’s newly organized Moral Majority. In the hopes of combating the moral decline of American culture, Falwell, Dobson and others eschewed the traditional Baptist practice of separating faith and politics; and instead sought to build a grassroots network that would lobby for a “pro-family” agenda in America.
But by the late 1980s, Ed Dobson had come to realize that Falwell’s vision of a fundamentalist “Christian Nation” was one that he could no longer embrace. While his convictions regarding Jesus and the Scriptures remained rock solid, he came to believe that the cultural problems of the late 20th century were not problems that could be remedied through political activism. So, in 1987, Ed left Liberty University and the Moral Majority, and became the Senior Pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the next 18 years, he labored to build into this congregation, before eventually resigning when the rigors of his illness became too great to bear.
Now, in the Twilight of his life, Ed Dobson has undertaken a new venture. No longer able to minister in the ways that he once did, he has released a series of short films, in which he ruminates on the lessons he has learned as a follower of Christ. These are not lessons about building grassroots organizations, nor are they lessons about ministering in the context of a megachurch. Instead, Ed is taking us on a journey to the doorsteps of death, bravely offering insights about what it means to live as a Christian at the end of a long and unexpected journey.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to sit down for 10 minutes with Ed Dobson. Listen to what he has to say. And if, by the end, you find yourself longing to hear more, you can follow this link,which will lead to you to Flannel.org. There, you can purchase all five “shorts” for just $7.99.
 Amyotrophic lateral scleosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a motor neuron disease. In the simplest of terms, it is a disease in which the spinal cord begins to deteriorate, which in turn leads to weakness, muscle atrophy, and spasticity. Generally speaking, most patients die of respiratory compromise and/or pneumonia within 2-3 years of the initial diagnosis.
 It may be of interest to the reader to know that Calvary Church is the church responsible for planting Rob Bell and Mars Hill.