Force of Will, A: The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief

Force of Will, A: The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief

by Mike Stavlund

Paperback

$14.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Eligible for FREE SHIPPING

Overview

Force of Will, A: The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief by Mike Stavlund

There is hope—even when there is no happy ending

When Mike Stavlund's four-month-old son suddenly died, a flood of cards, flowers, meals, phone calls, and gifts let his family know that they were loved and cared for. Less welcome were the books, in particular the religious books. Often impossibly upbeat, saccharine sweet, and with all kinds of confident promises, they were too painful to read and too offensive to bear.

Instead Mike wrote this book, one week at a time during that first terrible year. A Force of Will explores the stark reality of loss, the alienation from all of life, the feeling of suffocation at the hands of the well-meaning people gathered around, and the sense of being abandoned by God.

If you're experiencing difficulty, this heartfelt book will help you to confront with honesty what you are going through without making you feel guilty.

"This book is about life in all its splendor and in all its agony. Mike talks about pain without trying to theologize it away and reminds us that it's okay for us to feel darkness—for even in our darkest moments we are not alone."—Shane Claiborne, author, activist (thesimpleway.org)

"A gripping, unflinchingly honest, beautifully written model of how to live with grief in faith."—Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University

"Stavlund's unguarded account is one that you will neither put down unfinished nor soon forget."—Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the Religion Department at Publishers Weekly

"Stavlund speaks the unspeakable in a beautiful, eloquent, and moving narrative that is both deeply personal and theologically resonant."—John D. Caputo, The Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus, Syracuse University

Mike Stavlund leads Common Table church in the Washington, DC metro area. He is a speaker, an adjunct faculty member at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and a regular writer for Emergent Village at Patheos.com and at TheHardestQuestion.org.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801015113
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Mike Stavlund (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) leads Common Table church in the Washington, DC Metro area, which has been featured in such publications as US News and World Report, The Washington Post, and Voice of America. An adjunct faculty member at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, Stavlund is a regular writer for Emergent Village at Patheos.com and at TheHardestQuestion.org, and is a frequent speaker at Christian conferences. His writing has been influenced by his family's experience of infertility, threatened pregnancy, infant cardiac surgery and critical care, grueling round-the-clock home care, and the sudden and shocking death of his son.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11

Preface 15

Seeing the Course Ahead 23

Journey 23

Palliative Faith 25

Control 29

Coffee Maker 31

Finding a Pace 33

Heaven 33

Split Personality 37

Eulogy 39

Catching My Breath 43

Clothes Horse 43

Community 48

Leg Cramps 56

Funeral Home 56

Remembering Rightly 62

Sparrows 63

Black Tuesday 67

Performance Art 79

Brighter Skies 81

Breath of Life 84

Give and Take 88

Medical Missionaries 90

My Psalm 93

Anger 95

Middle-Distance Stare 99

Triage 99

Projection 105

Relief 107

Optimistic 110

Spring 113

Baptism Poems 115

Itsy-Bitsy Spider 119

Birthday Party 127

Expectations 128

On Ants 130

Hitting the Wall 134

Unwinding the Spring 134

My Confession 142

Ghosts 144

Sharing Burdens 148

Exhaustion 151

Summer 151

Belief/Unbelief 156

Letting Go 159

Lifting My Eyes 163

Overcoming Memory 163

Shift 165

Monkey 168

Friendship 171

Avoidance 173

Sunshine 175

Qoheleth 177

Frozen 181

Redemption 184

Reminders 186

Final Push 189

Physicality 189

Anniversary 194

Crossing the Line 196

Race 196

Letting the Sun Shine 197

Fall 201

Time Machine 202

Tree 205

One Year Later 207

Theodicy 208

Walking Away 213

Being Held and Letting Go 213

Embodiment 215

My 9/11 216

Walking On 217

Treasure 219

Notes 221

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Force of Will, A: The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Mike Stavlund in his new book, "A Force Of Will" published by Baker Books shows us The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief. From the back cover: There is hope-even when there is no happy ending When Mike Stavlund's four-month-old son suddenly died, a flood of cards, flowers, meals, phone calls, and gifts let his family know that they were loved and cared for. Less welcome were the books, in particular the religious books. Often impossibly upbeat, saccharine sweet, and with all kinds of confident promises, they were too painful to read and too offensive to bear. Instead Mike wrote this book, one week at a time during that first terrible year. A Force of Will explores the stark reality of loss, the alienation from all of life, the feeling of suffocation at the hands of the well-meaning people gathered around, and the sense of being abandoned by God. If you're experiencing difficulty, this heartfelt book will help you to confront with honesty what you are going through without making you feel guilty. I cannot imagine the wild emotional ride and pain that a parent goes through upon the death of their child. I don't think anyone can unless you have experienced it firsthand yourself. Mike Stavlund did and he wrote down everything he went through in this book. Is it easy to read? No, let me tell you this right up front. "A Force Of Will" is brutal and painful and a wild emotional ride. What it is, however, is honest. We all need to read this book to help us understand what our friends are going through and how to be available to them to help them. That is all they really want and really need from us. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The_IE_Mommy More than 1 year ago
A Force of Will is a sad story of loss and heartbreak and one man’s personal journey through his first year of grief after losing his four month old son. Mike Stavlund is a beautiful writer whose words are poetic and posses a depth that brings you right into his heart. As a parent, this is my worst nightmare. I can’t even comprehend the loss that I would feel but after reading this, I feel I have a better understanding of it because Stavlund is so raw and brutally honest. I could literally feel his pain in my heart because his words are so descriptive. Writing through his pain was probably a very therapeutic way  for him to deal with it. It’s a way to remain introspective while at the same time, pouring out his feelings with the raw emotion he was feeling, holding nothing back and releasing his grief and agony. The Eulogy that he someone had the strength to write and read at his sons funeral is beautiful. I wish I were that gifted with words. It’s definitely a gift and he has used it to work through his pain and it will certainly help others to do the same who may not be able to voice their own grief in the same way. A Force of Will is a poetic read, a bit dark and depressing but uplifting at the same time in some way. It’s a beautiful thing for a human being to be that in touch with their feelings and share them with the world.