Archives For Cancer

 

Humor and Theology
at the Chemo Pump

 
A Review of 

Cancer is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo
Jason Micheli

Hardback: Fortress Press, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Alex Joyner
 
 
 
Most of what Jason Micheli has to tell you about cancer, you don’t want to know.  The title of his new book, Cancer is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Cancer, may hint at optimistic self-help with some humorous anecdotes laced throughout, but cancer is not ‘ha-ha’ funny.  Micheli is glad to tell you, in harrowing detail, that “cancer f@#$ing sucks.” (ix)  This book is as raw as the sores running down his esophagus in mid-stage chemo.  Yeah, there’s a lot here you don’t want to know, but it’s a story told by one of the most honest and profane pastors you’ll ever meet and along the way he spins out the heart of a battle-tested theology that is clear-eyed, unsentimental, and fully alive.  Plus, too, he’s funny.
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Sensing Death So Close at Hand

A Review of

And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye
Kara Tippetts

Paperback: David C. Cook, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Tiffany Malloy

 

When I first heard about Kara Tippetts, I was sitting in a circle of moms, talking and sipping hot tea while our kids were gleefully wreaking havoc on the playroom downstairs.

“Hey! Have you all heard about that woman in Colorado who is dying of cancer and blogging through it? This woman is amazing. You have to check out her blog, it’s called Mundane Faithfulness. But I’m warning you, you’ll definitely shed some tears….”

While the rest of the moms continued talking, I turned my attention to a toddler who had found an abandoned pile of goldfish crackers on the table.  As I watched him happily enjoying some other kid’s snack bounty, I tried to think about something, anything, other than that dying momma of 4 young children. Any parent knows it doesn’t take long before our imagination gets the best of us and suddenly WE’RE dying of cancer and how-in-the-world-are-our-kids-going-to-make-it-without-us and–oh no – we need to make an appointment with our lawyer to make sure our will is up-to-date.

It was too early in the morning for that kind of heartache.

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An excerpt from
this elegant new book…

And It Was Beautiful:
Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye

Kara Tippetts

Paperback: David C. Cook, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Life without a Bucket List

 
I can confidently say that I don’t live with a long list of things I want to do, see, or complete before I’m done in this place. I carried a dream for years of having a farm. I was in love with all things Wendell Berry. I could picture it, the life of routine created by the land and its rhythms. But beyond that I’ve never longed for having a list and checking things off. I’m happy with my old cars, my simple wardrobe, my lack of fancy things and vacations. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good concert, but I also love an organic dance party in my kitchen. I love great food, but I also love a hot dog over the fire pit in my backyard. I love a hike in the mountains, but I also love a walk around the block with my people.

Last week, when I heard I may have another long road to travel on this journey, I turned to Jason and cried. I told him how day after day this place is losing its grip on me. Driving down the street this place sometimes feels so slutty, so wanting my money without a care for my heart. Billboards blare at me what to buy, what to think, how to vote. But the tie that binds me here is relationships. Sickness makes those bonds more real, more important. It’s people who grip my heart.

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Facing Death Without God.

A Christian’s Response to

Mortality

Christopher Hitchens

Hardback: Twelve, 2012.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

An Essay by Alex Dye

 

“Once more into the fray, into the last good fight I’ll ever know, live and die on this day, live and die on this day.”
-John Ottway from The Grey

 

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,”  -Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (NIV)

 

Editor’s Note: Page references are to Mortality unless otherwise noted.

 

Christopher Hitchens never met a cow so sacred that he would not gleefully serve it medium-rare with a glass of red wine (or more-likely scotch), if the mood struck just right.  As a journalist, he endeavored to explore, unravel, and critique the largely unchallenged parts of society.  In doing so, has taken on Christianity and religion as a whole, the Pope, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and even dear Mother Theresa in his short work Missionary Position:  Mother Theresa in Theory and in Practice.  For some, he has been on the radar for quite some time as an author, speaker, and avid spokesman for atheists.  For others, his name has only recently cropped up with the much hailed release of his series of essays entitled Arguably and his posthumously released memoir on the process of dying from cancer, Mortality.  It is the latter that I would like analyze and respond to in this article.

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The Opposite of Dying

A Feature Review of

The End of Your Life Book Club

Will Schwalbe

Hardback: Knopf, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon.

 

You might imagine you know how this story is going to go.

 

With a title like The End of Your Life Book Club, and the introduction of a diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer near the beginning of the book, it might be tempting to bring a set of presuppositions to this memoir. I am loathe to judge a book by its cover – or title – but in the case of this particular book, I confess I was expecting a downer of a read.

 

I was so very wrong. Author Will Schwalbe tells the story of his mother Mary Anne’s nearly two-year long battle with a terminal disease, but the book is about life, love and literature, not impending death. Mary Ann wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

 

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