Facing Death with Grace and Courage

A Brief Review of 

Walking Home Together:
Spiritual Guidance & Practical Advice for the End of Life

Michael Mercer

Paperback: 23rd Publications, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Facing our own death, or that of a loved one, can stir up much anxiety in us. When we inevitably must take this journey, it is wonderful to have a friend who knows what to expect and can walk this journey with us. Michael Mercer, a hospice chaplain here in Indianapolis, has walked this road with many people, and captures much of his own wisdom about this journey in the new book Walking Home Together.

One would expect a book about death to be a bit on the gloomy side, and although he is frank about the challenges that lie ahead, Mercer is a masterful storyteller and gracefully works to remove unnecessary fear and anxiety from the dying process. The chapters of this book progress from the time of finding out that death is imminent to the time of death.  Along the way he asks insightful questions that orient our attention away for the imminent weight of death: for instance, how can I accept and not give up? Or, how can I experience God’s presence in my final season of life? (Short answer: look for God’s love and presence in those who most closely surround you) Or, how can I make my death a gift to others? These questions remind us that despite the looming reality of death, we still can (and should) provide light and life to those around us.

Walking Home Together is a book that I will share with others when they have a friend or family member who is approaching death. It is also a book that I will undoubtedly re-read as I walk with others in the final leg of life, so that I might be able to walk kindly and faithfully with them. Michael Mercer draws upon his deep well of experience as a hospice chaplain to help us make this slow and painful journey with grace and courage — examining not only the spiritual and relational dynamics, but also practical matters that will need to be addressed along the way. I would recommend reading this book initially when you are not yet faced with the imminency of death, in order to recognize the contours of the journey before we must set out on it, and then also re-reading it when death becomes imminent.

Certainly, there are a flood of books on death and dying, but few that bring both rich practical wisdom and theologically keen faith to shed light on this journey, as we must take it in the twenty-first century.
 


Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

 

Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son

Tony Campolo / Bart Campolo

Watch the book trailer video… 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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You are More…
 
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Ruined: A Memoir
Ruth Everhart

Paperback: Tyndale House, 2016
Buy Now:  [  Amazon ]   [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Jasmine Smart
 
 
What I love most about this memoir is that it is a gift, primarily for her daughters, but by extension to other young women and ultimately Christian culture in general.  Purity-culture theology has real-world, damaging  consequences, and Ruth Everhart has an insightful lens in which she explores those consequences: through her personal journey wrestling with the traumatic events that happened to her,  and the way her theology held up to those events and community responded.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Alan Hirsch, Bruce Cockburn, NPR, MORE )

 

99 Classics available
as 99c Audiobooks!

Via our sister website Thrifty Christian Reader
To keep up with all the latest ebook deals,
be sure to connect with TCR via email or on Facebook

#1:
The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church

Michael Frost / Alan Hirsch

*** $3.99 ***

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This week marks the release of George Saunders’s debut novel:

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders

Hardback: Random House, 2017
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

George Saunders has been renowned over the last two decades for his short stories. Since we are running a review of the book by Brent Schnipke in our Lent 2017 magazine, I asked Brett Wiley to write a short reflection that was less review and more setting the novel in the context of his earlier work…

By W. Brett Wiley

George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, like many of the stories in earlier collections, creates a strange version of the real world, but, remarkably, it all seems entirely plausible. The novel, Saunders’ first, meets Aristotle’s famous requirement for art: “a probable impossibility is to be preferred to a thing improbable and yet possible.” The impossible is easy to identify. The novel is populated, mostly, by ghosts of Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery who, as the title of the novel suggests, are in the bardo, a liminal space between death and rebirth described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The novel opens with three main characters, all ghosts, welcoming Willie Lincoln—the sixteenth president’s second son who died on February 20, 1862—to the afterlife. The historical event of Willie’s death suggests that the book is historical fiction, but it is not. In fact, like many of Saunders’ short stories, the genre is difficult to nail down. Previous stories have taken unusual forms including a lab report, a corporate complaint letter response, a memo, and diary entries.

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This week marks the release of the latest book by Makoto Fujimura, the renowned artist and author!

 
In honor of its release, we’re giving away
THREE copies of this new book…
 

Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life
by Makoto Fujimura
Paperback: IVP Books

 
 

Enter to win a copy of this book!

Enter now to win (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

 

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

George Saunders

Read the starred review from Publishers Weekly… 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

 

Continue Reading…

Speculative Autobiography?

 
A Feature Review of 
 

Moonglow: A Novel
Michael Chabon

Hardback: Harper Books, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Cynthia Beach

 

A shadowy horse lopes in a long pasture at night, sliding in and out of the full moon’s bright glow. This image captures well the new book by Pulitzer prize-winner Michael Chabon.

The protagonist, Chabon’s grandfather—a fictionalized grandfather—strides large and complex and strangely sympathetic, a man who moves with riveting power, yet a man whose dreams don’t ever come true.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Sarah Bessey, Christopher JH Wright, Elizabeth Gilbert, MORE )

 

99 Classics available
as 99c Audiobooks!

Via our sister website Thrifty Christian Reader
To keep up with all the latest ebook deals,
be sure to connect with TCR via email or on Facebook

#1:
Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women

Sarah Bessey

*** $3.99 ***

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CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

We are super-excited about our Lent 2017 print magazine, which just came back from the printer this afternoon.

The issue features interviews with Kate Hennessy (the granddaughter of Dorothy Day) and Tish Harrison Warren, as well as reviews of new books by Bruce Springteen, George Saunders, Roxane Gay, Makoto Fujimura, and MORE!!!
 
 

SUBSCRIBE NOW ]

to ensure that you receive this issue. 

Print and digital copies will be sent to subscribers next week.
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