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After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken Paperback – February 3, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I admired Annan for his honesty in his first book; my respect for his work and his faith is only deepened by this moving, searching book." (Kurt Armstrong, Christian Week, March 15, 2011)

"Kent Annan walks his readers through the rubble of the January 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti unforgettably. I have known Kent for eight years since he and his wife first moved here to Haiti and lived with a family in the countryside to learn and experience Haitian life. After Shock tells the story of all of us who have lived through this terrible event." (Jean Claude Cerin, Haiti country representative for Tearfund)

"Kent Annan's writing is both reflective and purposeful. Searching for faith among the rubble of shattered homes and lives in Haiti, he lifts up lamentations of sorrow and stories of joy. This is a credible book for anyone who has ever wondered where God is in a world full of suffering." (Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners, and author of The Great Awakening)

"This is no ivory-tower exploration of faith and doubt. In After Shock, Kent Annan offers a muscular, gritty and devastatingly hopeful model of a faith lived between the questions. Like Haiti after the earthquake, it recoils from quick-fix inspiration or a sappy resolution. Instead it offers something much more powerful: truth." (Jason Boyett, author of O Me of Little Faith and Pocket Guide to the Afterlife)

"Page after page in After Shock, I've been blown away by Kent Annan's raw honesty, risky vulnerability and human sensitivity. On top of that there's his robust and clear writing style. And there's the simple fact of where he's been, what he's seen and felt, what he's asked and refused to accept, and how he's struggled to make sense of it all. It yields a rich book that has the chance, with your cooperation, to make you a better Christian and a better human being." (Brian McLaren, author/activist)

"Kent Annan asks the hard questions in After Shock. Where was God during and after the Haiti disaster? How could a loving God allow his children to suffer? The questions as well as the answers might surprise you. This is a deeply personal account of a man's walk of faith--a man heavily invested in this island nation and its people." (Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author)

"Like Kent Annan, I've walked through the devastation of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding mountains in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake. Like Kent I've seen and smelled the tragedy, and shaking questions have met my soul. In After Shock he describes palpably how Christ’s broken, resurrected body meets our brokenness in a tangible, fragile, personal way--a way so essential to a lasting faith. After Shock will summon you to a journey of real, vibrant, honest faith in the Holy God who promises to be with us always, even in the bruised and broken circumstances of life." (Benjamin Homan, president of John Stott Ministries and former president of Food for the Hungry)

"Annan has put into words the questions many of us wrestle with in silence, and done so with such humanity and humility, it's impossible to walk away unchanged. This is a raw, beautiful and courageous book, brimming with truth on every page." (Rachel Held Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey Town)

"It is hard to explain how I can say that this is a truly beautiful book, when it comes out of a background of such horror. But that was my dominant emotion as I finished it. Beautiful, perhaps, because up-close honesty is beautiful where the clichés of certainty-at-a-distance are repellant. Beautiful because it touches depths of reality where the beauty of God glimmers through the inexplicable darkness of suffering and the desperation of faith, love and hope. Of course, it is also a deeply disturbing book. But if its brutal honesty upsets you, or if the questions it throws before God with baffled anger and gritty trust seem too irreverent, perhaps you have not really spent enough time in the company of Jeremiah, Job, the psalmists--and Jesus. This is a book to read alongside the author at the foot of the cross, and at the empty tomb, where knowing, loving and trusting God make sense, even when understanding his world does not." (Christopher J. H. Wright, international director of The Langham Partnership International, and author of The God I Don't Understand)

"After Shock is one man's scrupulously honest search for God. Although Kent Annan hopes for unshakable faith, he celebrates doubt as part of the process, a necessary part of being alive. There are no easy answers. There may be no answers at all. After Shock is the perfect example of what Rainer Maria Rilke called 'living the questions.' This is a book I will read over and over, for inspiration and for comfort. I loved it." (Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life)

"Kent Annan struggles with his faith existentially. This is no simple attempt to excuse God for non-interference in the suffering that pervades Port-au-Prince following a devastating earthquake. Instead, it is the poetic confession of a Christian who faces his doubts and questions about God, and yet goes beyond them to find a newer, stronger faith." (Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus, Eastern University)

About the Author

Kent Annan (MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a writer, speaker and co-director of Haiti Partners, a nonprofit focused on education in Haiti. He is the author of After Shock and Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle and has spent fifteen years working with people in difficult situations around the world, including in Europe with refugees and in Haiti. Kent is on the board of directors of Equitas Group, a philanthropic foundation focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. His writing has appeared in publications including Christianity Today, Utne Reader, Subtropics, Geez, Adbusters, The Sun, Orion and Sojourners. One of his essays was cited as a "Notable Essay" in the Best American Essays series and he wrote a chapter for the book Global Perspectives on the Bible. He has been featured on national TV and radio shows. Speaking regularly to groups around the country, Kent also teaches adult education at his local church. He travels to Haiti regularly from Florida, where he lives with his wife Shelly and their two children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 137 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Softcover Ed edition (February 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836178
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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This is the second book of Kent Annan's that I've read, and like the 1st, (Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle) it was hard to put down, not only because of its raw honesty, but because Annan has a powerful way of drawing the reader into his stories. I finished his first book on Haiti a year ago, just after the earthquake struck, and was deeply troubled, wondering what happened to all of the people he wrote about that I had connected with through his writing. This second book answers that for me, but that's about all it answers, which is a very good thing. In After Shock, Annan takes an honest and necessary--however uncomfortable at times--look at issues of faith, hope, love, and doubt that arose for him out of the rubble of the earthquake. If you have ever struggled with questions about your faith, but didn't know if it was okay to ask them out loud, you need to read this book. If you haven't had those struggles, then it will help you better connect with those who do. This is one of the most "real" books out there on doubt and faith.
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Kent Annan wasn't in Haiti when the earthquake hit but in a way he had never left it. In "After Shock" he shows us the dark night of his soul as he confronts the what seems to be the casual malevolence of natural disaster wreaked upon an already collapsing society. An example of the chaotic absurdity following the quake is the son of a Haitian friend who was injured in a house collapse--unlike the thousands who were killed in collapses or who suffered without help, this young boy was rushed to a makeshift hospital by his father. His injuries, while frightening and painful, weren't life threatening but one the doctors realized that he was suffering from leukemia. He and his father got one of the last places on a mercy flight to Florida where he was taken to a hospital for treatment of his blood disorder. It is one of the many times that grace during times of trouble is shown--if not for the quake the leukemia wouldn't have been diagnosed in time to treat it or if discovered it wouldn't have been treated locally.

Kent Annan's Christian response is not the only valid one to such terrible suffering; existential nihilism and the realization of the ultimate nothingness of being could be another; a Buddhist might see the necessity for mindful compassion toward the injured and dying while realizing that it is part of their karmic destiny.

"After Shock" is extraordinarily well written. It reflects the jagged consciousness that afflicts everyone living in and through such entropic confusion. The short chapters jump around in time and place, going from Port-au-Prince to Miami to North Dakota, from the memories of the recent past to the sharp-edged reality of the author's present.
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This book came in on 1/18/2011. I was "itching" to read it ...got through the first early pages on the night of 1/19. It got me at the "first hello!" I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this book. It is about the CRISIS OF FAITH, which so many so-called Christians deny that they have from time to time. "Faith that can't withstand getting rocked by all of this (earthquakes and tsunamis) ought to crumble like those concrete buildings. But faith that isn't shaken by regular life isn't trustworthy either. Maybe this crisis of faith, this search for faith is something like yours."
If you've searched for FAITH during the "driest, longest desert" of your life...this is a book for you. "How Long, O Lord? How long?" I'm still searchng this question now. And it's not just about Haiti. It's about living in this world." Do you know WHAT Kent Annan means? If so...grab THE BOOK!
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In this stunning book, Annan risks it all by writing with a raw, but powerful vulnerability. In doing so, he invites readers to explore the uncertain places in our own faiths. Yet, through this honesty we come to find genuine hope. As a man who lives what he writes (and acknowledges where he falls short), Annan brings an uncommon authority.

This book is one of my most highly recommended books on faith, one reread every year.
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I brought this book along with me on vacation, but I'm an abnormal person. This is not light beach reading. This book is about a wrestling match between the author and God. It's not a flashy, staged, professional wrestling match with a certain outcome, but more of an amateur match, at the high school level. This is not an insult of Kent Annan's writing, but, if you've ever been to some of those high school matches, an analogy to the long and drawn out contests between kids who are evenly matched and make slow progress. If I may reach for a Biblical metaphor, this is like Jacob's long night of wrestling with God, from which he emerged, crippled but with a stronger faith (see Genesis 32).

The earthquake in Haiti, which killed his friends, yet also enabled others to fly to the US for expert medical care, and destroyed his friends' homes and churches, and fractured families, fractured his faith and crippled his soul. He found solace in the blues catalog of the Bible, the Psalms, Psalm 13 in particular. In the Psalms he finds freedom to complain to God. Sometimes his sentences are clipped, coming in gasps of pain and anger and frustration. Sometimes he writes with hope. He learns from the Haitians, who worship more intensely after the quake. While he brings physical aid, they bring aid to his soul by their deep faith. What he learns about faith has helped me. He writes,

Faith like this is a kind of following, and following is, of course, trying to get closer to something or someone (or at least trying not to fall any farther behind). I can follow Jesus even if he sometimes seems elusive or disappears over a mound of rubble. Faith that doesn't keep seeking dies, and the distance between God and us seems to expand.
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