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.
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.
“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