An intimate and compelling work from a beloved minister facing his own imminent death, read by Forrest Church
On February 4, 2008, Forrest Church sent a letter to the members of his congregation, informing them that he had terminal cancer; his life would now likely be measured in months not years. In that remarkable letter, he wrote: “In more than one respect, I feel very lucky“; he went on to promise that he would sum up his thoughts on the topics that had been so pervasive in his work love and death in a final book.
Church has been justly celebrated as a writer of American history, but his works of spiritual guidance have been especially valued for their insight and inspiration. As a minister, Church defined religion as “our human response to the dual reality of being alive and having to die.” The goal of life, he tells us “is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for.” This last book in his impressive oeuvre is imbued with ideas and exemplars for achieving that goal. The stories he offers-drawn from his own experiences and from the lives of his friends, family, and parishioners-are both engrossing and enlightening. Forrest Church’s final work may be his most lasting gift to his readers.
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“I read Love and Death as soon as it came out. The greatest gift I could give every one of you is to just tell you to go read this book.” —President Bill Clinton
“Truly a gift, one that will echo in my own preaching and teaching, and in my own life as well. Like Moses gazing at the Promised Land he would not enter, Forrest Church blesses us with his eloquence, his faith, and, mostly, his love.” —Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Love & Death is transformative. I was not prepared for the power of this splendid, soaring book. It totally captured me.” —Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Creating a Life
“In the midst of an extremity for which there is no euphemism—the prospect of his own imminent death—Forrest Church has written a book that defies the usual adjectives. It is poignant, moving, candid, and eloquent; but it is also so much more. Love & Death, a meditation on the end of life, is really a book about life—a book that shows us how to love ourselves and others, how to know God, how to live. I read it with inexpressible gratitude.” —James Atlas, author of My Life in the Middle Ages
“Forrest Church is one of our great prophetic intellectuals and compassionate voices. His poignant and wise words on the two ultimate realities of our journey-love and death-reveal his grand courage and vision.” —Cornel West, author of Race Matters
- Love & Death has been named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2008 by Spirituality and Practice
- Listen to Forrest Church's interview on The Diane Rehm Show
Watch Forrest Church on PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly