At least, that’s what I expect for the late Michael Cromartie.
Michael Cromartie, who passed away earlier today, was one of the most life-affirming people I ever met.
He had a radiant personality, deep and winsome faith, endless energy, and tremendous generosity of spirit. He touched and brightened countless lives during his earthly pilgrimage, mine very much among them.
I first met Mike in 1985, when we started to work together at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He has been a colleague for many of the intervening years and a close friend for all of them.
Mike was a wise counselor, a great raconteur, and a friend of just about everyone he met. He was also one of the most important figures in modern American Christianity. As director of the Faith Angle Forum, which he started in 1999, he worked to strengthen reporting and commentary on how religious believers, religious convictions, and religiously grounded moral arguments affect American politics and public life.
Through his work there, including as moderator and host of his two-and-a-half day retreats with scholars, theologians, and writers, Mike introduced a generation of journalists to the positive role faith can play in the life of our country. He enriched the public dialogue and helped shape American culture.
In addition to that, and in many respects more important than that, Mike enriched the lives of those who became part of his community with his kindness, his genuine interest in others, his light touch, and his joie de vivre. This was obvious based on the outpouring of affection as his health worsened. This was a man who left a deep imprint on people’s hearts and souls.
When I met with Mike soon after he learned his cancer had spread and was terminal, we talked about many things, including his own feelings about what lay …