Charley Honey: Ed Dobson assimilated in ALS tour by distinguished West Michigan … – The Grand Rapids Press

November 9, 2014 - als


The initial time we met Ed Dobson, we was struck by how gaunt and wiry he was. This male who pastored a megachurch had a slight nonetheless clever build of a runner, that he was.

He was also a soccer player, carrying grown adult kicking a round and personification rugby in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He competence have incited pro had he not left into ministry.

Today, some 20 years later, Ed Dobson has a opposite kind of body. It has been eaten divided by a ravages of amyotrophic parallel sclerosis, improved famous as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, since he was diagnosed 14 years ago this month.

He can't do many of what we and we do instinctively: eat, dress, hug.

But that suggestion inside of him – man, is it strong.

It’s a fighting suggestion of a long-distance runner, striding into a imperishable headwind that blows stiffer by a day.

Now a former priest of Calvary Church has been assimilated in his unpleasant marathon by a associate hermit in a faith. Incredibly, it is another distinguished apportion — and Dobson’s longtime crony — a Rev. Clifton Rhodes Jr., priest of Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.

Like Dobson, Rhodes is one of West Michigan’s many venerable clergy, carrying shepherded Messiah’s vast group for 42 years. Dobson and his wife, Lorna, have worshipped there mostly given Ed left Calvary in 2005, and Dobson infrequently preached there.

Rhodes was diagnosed with ALS in a summer of 2013, a fact we schooled usually recently. we was stunned. So was Dobson, when he found out final fall.

“I wouldn’t wish ALS on my misfortune enemy,” he said. “I couldn’t trust it.”

Dobson creates that criticism on a just-released video, that portrays in relocating fact a common distress of these dual good group of God. “Ed’s Story: Grateful” is a sixth in a array of brief films providing glimpses into Dobson’s tour with ALS, and insights he has schooled along a way.

Produced by Flannel, a Grandville-based nonprofit that combined a renouned NOOMA videos featuring Rob Bell, the video can be noticed online. The seventh and final video will be online, and all are accessible to download here.

For a story about dual group pang from ALS, a pretension “Grateful” is counter-intuitive. But that view comes by strongly in a beautifully constructed eight-minute film that is during once inspirational and heart-breaking.

We see Lorna Dobson disconnecting her husband’s respirating appurtenance in a morning, assisting him out of bed and feeding him by a tube. We see an help putting on Rhodes’ priesthood dress and a priest holding oxygen during his desk. We hear both group reflecting on their loyalty and a doubtful temperament of a same cross.

Recalling a initial time he met Dobson, prolonged before his possess diagnosis, Rhodes says, “I was not a same fella when a assembly was over. We were brothers. Now, we didn’t know he was a foregoer in my life, with a same disease.”

Dobson tells of how most he schooled about thankfulness from attending a black church, where a shadows of labour and prejudice lend combined fun to only waking adult in a morning. He is shown walking into Messiah, being embraced by Rhodes’ wife, Martha, and nodding along to a rousing gospel hymn.

“He claims I’m half-black, nonetheless we don’t demeanour it,” Dobson says, shouting with Lorna – a smashing sound some-more than ever these days.

“The some-more we struggle, a larger a gratitude, since there’s so most we can’t do,” Dobson says, his difference entrance with difficulty. “So we concentration on what we can do, and that gives me gratitude.”

The videos began in 2011 after Dobson’s son, Daniel, a filmmaker, due a array formed on Dobson’s 2007 devotional, “Prayers and Promises.” He and his father brought a thought to Steve Carr, executive executive of Flannel.

It so happened that Carr had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Like Dobson, he knew a feeling of a alloy observant “I’m sorry.” Connection happened. Filming began.

Since then, a videos have been seen some-more than 1 million times in some-more than 150 countries and in 14 languages. They have been shown in churches and in a post-traumatic highlight commotion sentinel of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

From seniors and students to a suicidal atheist, many have been speedy by a messages of strength, redemption and appreciation of any day in a midst of mortal trial.

“The things Ed has to contend are elementary and nonetheless deeply profound,” Carr says. “He offers really unsentimental things we can do that get us out of that dim place we can get stranded in when life falls apart.”

Dobson has spasmodic common a dim places with me, and Lorna too. As her father has prolonged outlived a common two- to five-year approaching lifespan of an ALS patient, she has been his consistent caregiver and declare to his light decline.

“I am training how to lamentation when there is something to be unhappy about – to suffer over a waste of what he feels in his body,” Lorna tells me in a splendid still of their condominium. “In all that, we know God hasn’t deserted us in any way.”

She, too, is beholden for what Ed can do. And a some-more that is taken divided from his body, a some-more he says he is beholden for a blessings that remain: “My wife, my crony and God, and my grandchildren.”

So is Pastor Rhodes, who says in a film, “My jar’s got some cracks in it. Ed’s jar’s got some cracks in it. But a genuine value can’t be damaged.”

Rhodes is 71, Dobson 64. Each has asked a other to evangelise during his funeral.
Until that day comes for one of them, any will gaunt on a other, as friends and brothers, pity in pang and faith.

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