Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief  -     By: Greg Garrett
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Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief

Westminster John Knox Press / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

In Stories from the Edge, Greg Garrett examines the question of where God can be found in times of tragedy, explains how biblical stories and American myths shape our beliefs about him, and explores how we experience his presence in our pain. For pastors, chaplains, counselors, and anybody who walks with others through suffering.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 131
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0664232043
ISBN-13: 9780664232047

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Publisher's Description

Where is God in the midst of suffering? How do people find strength and comfort in times of terrible adversity? Award-winning writer Greg Garrett addresses these questions and others as he helps readers grapple with the question of where God can be found in times of tragedy. He explores the theological themes of biblical stories and American myths and discusses how these stories have shaped our beliefs about God. He further examines what these foundational narratives reveal about our understanding of God, how they inform how we live our lives, and how we experience God's presence in the midst of grief and suffering. This well-written volume is engaging reading for clergy, chaplains, pastoral counselors, and all who must find the courage and faith to support individuals and families in times of suffering and grief.

Author Bio

Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He serves the Episcopal Church as Writer-in-Residence at the Seminary of the Southwest and as lay preacher at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including the critically-acclaimed novel Free Bird.

Publisher's Weekly

This is not a book about the stages of grief, or the 10 steps to overcoming it. In fact, it's more about suffering in general than bereavement in particular. Garrett (The Gospel According to Hollywood) draws on a summer he spent doing clinical pastoral education—a kind of boot camp for hospital chaplains—to discuss age-old theodicy questions. The book challenges certain myths that American Christians have swallowed about God—e.g., that God is a transactional ATM who is obligated to dispense good things to the faithful, or that it's Satan, not God, who makes rotten things happen. Some of these myths are eloquently debunked, while others—such as Americans' persistent faith in consumerism and their ability to "buy" health and happiness—deserve more ink. Garrett scores points with the powerful stories of the hospital patients he prayed alongside as well as his own autobiographical discussions of dealing with severe depression. Christians who are looking for theologically nuanced ways of thinking about suffering can learn much from this brief book. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Greg Garrett
Located in: Austin, TX
Submitted: August 09, 2008

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm a writer, university professor, preacher, and retreat leader. I have two sons, Jake and Chandler, and enjoy the outdoors, listening to and performing music, watching movies, and travel.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  In the summer of 2006, I spent 400 hours working as a hospital chaplain in a trauma hospital in Austin, Texas. That experience--and my own experience as someone who has known a great deal of grief and suffering--brought me to do some theological reflection on the stories we live our lives by and how they hold together or fall apart when we are faced with tragedy.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  My great hope for this book is that it will not only lead them to a better understanding of the stories that they have knowingly or unknowingly lived their lives by, but that it will also lead them to find a story of God's love for them that they can accept and live into.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  The work of chaplaincy shook my middle-class world; I learned as much about unexpected trauma and death in 10 weeks as I'd learned about grief and suffering in a whole hard life. It made me grab hold hard of a faith I could share with others, especially with those who felt they had lost theirs. Writing about the experience is a way of honoring the suffering and the heroism I witnessed, and of taking what I learned to the largest audience possible.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  I was very strongly moved by sermons, theological writing, and spiritual autobiographies as I wrote this book, as well as by novels and short fiction on the subjects of suffering and death. I'm sure I'll forget some, but some of the writers I'd want to acknowledge: the novelists Walker Percy and Cormac McCarthy, theologians and Bible scholars NT Wright, Rowan Williams, Stanley Hauerwas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Walter Bruggemann, and preachers Barbara Brown Taylor and John Claypool.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  This is a book intended for everyone who wrestles with grief and suffering, whether personally, in companionship with someone they love, or in a professional capacity, as pastor, chaplain, or counselor.

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