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Love & Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow (Paperback)
Nearing his final days, a beloved Unitarian minister meditates on life, love, and death: “The goal is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for.”
On a February day in 2008, Forrest Church sent a letter to the members of his congregation, informing them that he had terminal cancer; his life would now be measured in months, not years. 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." Love & Death is imbued with ideas and exemplars for achieving that goal, and the stories he offers—all 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.
About the Author
Forrest Church (1948-2009) served almost three decades as senior minister and was Minister of Public Theology of All Souls, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in New York City. He was educated at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in early church history. He wrote or edited twenty-five books, including Life Lines, Lifecraft, The American Creed, Freedom from Fear, So Help Me God, Love & Death, and The Cathedral of the World.
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
"Forrest Church is one of our great prophetic intellectuals and compassionate voices." —Cornel West, author of Race Matters
"Forrest Church, a deeply spiritual but always practical visionary, is a minister to us all with this moving and instructive book on the lessons of life and death."—Tom Brokaw
"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
"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."—James Atlas, author of My Life in the Middle Ages
"This beautiful book by a matchless preacher, poet, and author is Forrest Church in his finest hour."—Senator George McGovern