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Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief Paperback – September 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 the 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 of 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.)
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About the Author

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664232043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664232047
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Garrett is the Austin, Texas author of twenty books of nonfiction, memoir, and fiction. BBC Radio has called Greg "one of America's leading voices on religion and culture," and he has written on such topics as spirituality and suffering, film and pop culture, U2, Harry Potter, faith and politics, and contemporary Christianity. His latest books are Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination (Oxford University Press), which explores the stories we tell about death and the afterlife and why we tell them, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century (Morehouse), which explores stories from the Episcopal and Anglican traditions and their value for the contemporary world.

His most recent novel was The Prodigal (2013, written with the legendary Brennan Manning), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. His first novel, Free Bird, was chosen by Publishers Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the top debuts of 2002. His other novels are Cycling and Shame. All have been critically acclaimed.

Greg's work has been covered by or he has been interviewed by The New Yorker, USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, National Public Radio, CBS Radio, msnbc.com, The Bob Edwards Show, The New Statesman, The National Review, Poets & Writers, Commonweal, Mens Health, and many other broadcast, print, and web publications. Greg has written for Patheos, The Huffington Post, OnFaith, Salon.com, The Washington Post, Reform, The Tablet, and other print and web publications in the US and UK. He has spoken at venues across the US and Europe, including the American Library in Paris, Cambridge University, Kings College in London, Villanova University, and the Washington National Cathedral.

Greg is Professor of English and the 2013 Baylor Centennial Professor at Baylor University, where he has taught since 1989. He also serves as Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and as Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Wales. Greg is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. He is also a Fellow of the Cathedral College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and a licensed lay preacher based at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife Jeanie and their family.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Crumm on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
First, if you're considering buying this book, you may already count yourself among Greg's thousands of friends. Through a prolific series of books, Greg has been inviting readers to join him in his journey into a deep faith and, now, into the ordained ministry, as well. He is a gifted writer with wide-ranging interests. I first discovered Greg's work as this eclectic Professor of English at Baylor University was exploring the challenging spiritual themes in comic books ("Holy Superheroes! Revised and Expanded Edition: Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Film") and movies ("The Gospel according to Hollywood").

One of the powerful facets in spiritually themed writing is that, ultimately: "It's about the Voice, not the book." And Greg is proof of this principle. You may enjoy his individual books, but it's his Voice, over time, that becomes a powerful, complex affirmation of faith in the midst of daily living.

That's a perfect way to introduce this book and explain its significance. In this book, Greg writes about "the summer of 2006 when I was a seminarian working full time as a chaplain intern at ... a regional trauma center located in my hometown of Austin, Texas." He was on call at other local hospitals, too.

Given everything else that Greg glimpses in the sprawling cosmos of spiritual reflection -- in this book he takes us to the very "edge" of life, where people are suffering and where people are making ultimate decisions about the purpose of their lives.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I began reading this book (from another's library) in paperback. I found the book and the stories/case studies it offers helpful in my own ministry. Helps you think through how you and others may view God in difficult times.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small book is another example of Greg Garrett's gift for understanding and empathizing with people and for commuicating that understanding in a way that is helpful. These amazing stories of people in the hard times of life, bring one closer to God and to God's people. This book is a gift of love.
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