Note: This article is a sidebar to our cover story, “The Positive Prophet.”

According to Campolo’s doctors, it’s a wonder that after his airborne stroke he can speak at all. The area of his brain ravaged by the blood vessel’s rupture controls his motor skills, and while Campolo prayed for deliverance, partial paralysis seemed likely. By the time the plane landed, however, Campolo’s body was only tingling.

After he spent the night in the hospital, Campolo’s doctors warned him against maintaining his plans to speak as the first “Easter Missioner” at Harvard, where his son-in-law is university secretary. Despite the warning, he preached the morning sermon at Harvard’s Memorial Church, followed by three evening worship services, three morning prayer services, and several talks at the graduate schools throughout the week. He didn’t miss a single scheduled event.

“I know that sounds crazy, but in this case it was the right thing to do,” Campolo wrote in a letter to supporters the next month. “I felt a distinct leading of the Holy Spirit about this.”

As he concluded the week of evangelistic services, Campolo finally heeded his doctors’ advice. He canceled speaking engagements for the next five weeks and flew back to Hawaii, this time for rest.

Campolo used to joke that his life was too much like The Simpsons: his son is named Bart, his daughter is Lisa, his wife’s first name is Margaret (though she usually uses Peggy). But having lost 30 pounds since the stroke, he looks a lot less like Homer. Dieting on the advice of his doctors, he has brought his high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and diabetes under control.

His speaking schedule, ...

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