As someone who reads a lot (and I mean a lot), in the midst of the bad and average books there are some good ones. The rarity is a GREAT book. This is a GREAT book. By GREAT I mean a book which is so well written, on a topic which is important that people just have to read it. Because of the subjective nature of reading it is somewhat perilous for a reviewer to declare a book to be a future classic. However I do feel that this will be a classic.
This book tackles the most difficult and avoided of subjects – death and dying. But this is a vital book to read. Moll challenges us to think about the art of dying – an art which has been lost of the last century and a half. For Christians, we must be preparing for death in the midst of our life. Running the race, glorifying God, deep spirituality is a LIFE LONG process – not just in terms of every part of our lives, but in terms of length. Scripture says we need to persevere to the end; finish the race. Dying well is a part of our Christian walk and spiritual journey.
Too many people do not die well. They pursue anything which will give them more life, even if that is a few weeks more. Medical intervention and medical science has created a culture by which there can ALWAYS be something more to be done, another machine, another tube to keep you alive. However Moll challenges us to think about when we should say “No – no more intervention – no more drastic treatment, it’s time to go home, speak with my family and prepare for death.”
Death and dying is one of the most intense spiritual experiences. We must learn to prepare for it. This book is filled with wonderful pastoral insight and wisdom as well as stories and illustrations from the medical and hospice worlds.
Who should read this book? Firstly ALL Christians should read this book and, regardless of age – 20, 30, 50, 60 – we should begin to prepare for dying – for we never know when we may encounter death. Secondly all pastors should have copies on hand. I have already given two copies away. Moll challenges pastors to be far more proactive in speaking and helping those who are dying. Too often we can enter a room of a parishioner who is terminally ill and not know what to say or how to act. We pastors need to begin to discern when it is right to challenge people to stop the striving for more treatments which will, at most, squeeze out a few extra weeks or months of life, and encourage them to begin to prepare spiritually and mentally to meet the living God of the Universe. Thirdly, family members of people dying must read this book. It will give them a (spiritual) hope as well as the confidence to begin to face the death of their dearest loved one in a way which will help them after their loved one has died.
This is a GREAT book. An important book. Highly Recommended.