Forrest Church: Love Death My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow

Ay be blessed with attainable meaningAnd let us be who we are Embrace our God given nature and talentsAnswer the call that is ours not another sthereby enhancing our little world and the greater world we share pg 143 I found reference to this wonderful book through another book that talked about facing eath and ying Forrest Church speaks to people of many faiths and beliefs in relating to how we view life His insights and explanations inspired me in my faith God or however we address the sacred in our lives is in essence love We live on after we ie in the love we give ourselves but most especially to othersThe author also Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems demonstrates the awe inspiring and the miraculous in the big unanswered uestions left by our beliefs and the amazing mysteries surrounding lifeeath and the Requiem for a Wren divine I believe as he says one can only get closer to solving these mysteries through loveThe story also became so vivid and real in that he was very literally walking through the valley of the shadow An important and comforting book I found it invaluable after the recent loss of my mother Somehow after finishing Smash Cut I naturally gravitated to this book which had been on my bedside for years I really appreciated Church s head on reflective and calm approach to his own imminent mortality I ll keep the book on my shelf for later consultation to tap into his wisdomWant what you haveDo what you canBe who you areAll that surviveseath is love I ve been wanting to read this since the time it was published in 2007 when I used to hear the author s sermons on the radio preaching at All Souls Unitarian in New York His combination a forceful personality and broad acceptance of everyone appealed to me so it was with Red Notice dismay that I heard of his final terminal illness This is at the center of of this book read by the author himself in his last monthsIn the first part heiscusses how he has come to view love and fear as opposite poles in human emotion starting with his early childhood the loss of his famous politician father and on through adolescence and his many years of ministry The sermon he gave the Les pingouins nont jamais froid day after the September 11th 2001isasters is included a little jarring in the light of what the country has become since that time In the second part he brings us on his personal journey at the end of life taking stock and ultimately embracing the fact that he would be leaving his family in a short time His story is both tragic and life affirming in the way it emphasizes what he has come to know as the most important things that endure past a person s Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone death He repeats his personal mantra Want what you haveo what you can be who you are a number of times and this is probably his main piece of original pastoral thought hereUnitarian Universalism is a religion that Code pnal 2020 annot. dition limite - 117e d. does not let itself be confined to Christianity though he speaks much of christian role models he feels to have been emblematic of his theme In the end I think his summation of what matters at the end of life would speak to secular people coping with the same kinds of trials and search for meaning A book worth re reading occasionally through lifeThis little book offers thoughts on life that sooth my mind and soul Rev Church offers wonderful ideas on living a meaningful life facingifficulties and celebrating our humanity His mantra Want what you have Do what you can Be who you are This will be my mantra as I continue to seek to have a well lived life When I ordered this book I wasn t aware that the author was a Universalist minister which means he The Peoples Songs doesn t take the evangelical stand on the Bible being the final word and uotes other religious scriptures such as Buddhism Heoesn t believe God s pulling all the stringsI City of Big Shoulders disagree with him here but there were wonderful insights in this book The author isealing with a cancer Blind Devotion (The Shifter Chronicles diagnosis that will ultimetly end his life Thus the book is aboutying and My Name is Bob death When a loved oneies the greter the pain the greater love s proof Such grief is a sacrament Sacraments bring us together The measure of our grief testifies to the power of our loveTwo months ago I lost my niece and this statement was comforting to meHe talks about the universal truth that everyone suffers and that the shares are not allotted evenlyIn conclusion he idn t feel he could pray for himself for healing nor id he feel for sure there was a heaven which I thought rather sad for a minister who spent 30 years in the service of our Lord But I would totally recommend reading this book even if you have theology Billy Bragg differences there is still rich meaning in this author s book and something for everyoneWant what you haveDo what you canBe who you are. Ay that our lives will prove worthying for This last book in his impressive oeuvre is imbued with ideas and exemplars for achieving that goal The stories he offers rawn 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.

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I first heard about this book when I listened to Terri Gross interview Forrest Church on Fresh Air while I was abroad I was struck by him immediately I had never heard anyone facing terminal cancer sound so positive warm realistic and truly accepting of their isease I ecided to read the book to hear about how he ealt with his illness and am so glad that I idForrest Church has spent his career as a minister Miss Shumway Waves a Wand developing his thoughts on two great themes of life love andeath In the introduction he The Touch describes this book perfectly at once a summation of my life s recurring theme and my personal journeyown the road of love and On His Majestys Service deathChurch focuses oneath s uniue ability to give life meaning He turns a frightening unavoidable mystery into a natural beautiful thing While the idea of Different Class dying seems so final he believes that love is the only thing that can surviveeath and stresses that everyone should give as much of it as they can in the years we are givenUsually I would be hesitant to read a book about The Essential Good Food Guide death written by a minister assuming that we wouldn t agree about a lot of things in it but I was comfortable with the way he brought up religion He seems to focus on the aspects of Christianity that I really admire loving and respecting each otherThis personal book was a wonderful experience His open heart was apparent throughout and every chapter felt like a conversation with an old friend or beloved mentor On one hand I m sad that he passed on last fall but at the same time I m so glad he was able to live his life in a way that was worthying for I am using this book as a study book at our Methodist Church in West Dundee Illinois The response is very positive Folks are telling me that they like the fact that the book is not cloyingly sanctimonious Instead it is very practical and filled with love If Forrest were still alive I would write to thank him for this gracious study It is very helpful in trying to understand an event that happens to us all Love and Textbook of Wisdom death are allies When a loved oneies the greater the pain the greater the love s proof Such grief is a sacrament Sacraments bring us together The measure of our grief testifies to the power of our love p10The opposite of love is fear p14Just where you think that the grass would surely be green it may be In Defence of Dogs dying I am no longer startled by this What startles me still though it no longer should is precisely the opposite Often just where you think that the grass would be ying it is green p39We o what we can want what we have and embrace who we are p41For me religion is our human response to the The City in Mind dual reality of being alive and having toie p51We cannot embrace our life fully until we find a way to accept our Revenge (The Red Ledger death p91Don t throw yourself against the wall Walk around it You can to the impossible but so much is possible So many of the things you haven t tried you still can No One Wants You do p96Until life ends noestination is final In fact the best The City Of Heavenly Tranquillity decisions are those we look back upon as new beginnings Good journeys always continue Soon t be Penguins Poems for Life driven byesire that empty place within you never to rest until you reach your goal Invest your joy in the journey p97Greater than all and yet present in each no less mysterious than the creation itself God is not the cause of our undoing but the cosmic ground of our being I ve never needed biblical miracles to confirm my faith It s not the supernatural but the super in the natural that I celebrate I raw strength and insight from the Bible and embrace Jesus s two great commandments love to God and love to neighbor as my own but following the spirit not the letter of the Scriptures my abiding touchstones are awe and humility 109 110In trying unsuccessfully to be who we aren t we fail to become who we are p111Let us awaken to the saving grace of forgiveness where we can in a single breath free ourselves and free another p142 the one thing that can t be taken away from us even by eath is the love we give away before we go pg xThe opposite of love is not hate It is fear pg 15He id not spend his life he invested it in things that would ennoble and outlast him Cast out thy fear with love And then this I know it will be somehow easier for us to o the things that need to be Divine Beauty done and to let the things thato not matter go pg 16Thornton Wilder The highest tribute to the Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone dead is not grief but gratitude pg 19We are mysteriously given life and for a brief time blessed with opportunities to love and serve and forgive one another as best we can not to settle for who we are but to stretch and become who we might be pg 20Want what you have Do what you can Be who you are Wanting what we have mutes the pangs ofes. On a February ay 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 In that remarkable letter he wrote In than one respect I feel very lucky He went on to promise that he would sum up his thoughts on the topics that had been so pervasive in his

Ire which visits from an imaginary future to cast a shadow on the present which is real Doing what we can focuses our minds on what is possible no no less thereby filling each moment with conscious practicable endeavor And being who we are helps us reject the fool s gold of self elusion It also Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides, demands integrity being straight with ourselves and one another pg 34It is tempting to seek meaning not in what we have but in what weesire Of the enemies that frustrate our search for meaning this is perhaps the most traitorous It places fulfillment forever beyond our reach in what we Dog Years do not have in what we cannoto in who we shall never be pg 39Meaning Chain of Fire doesn t emerge from longing for what we lack things we have lost or will likely never find We should wish to think instead for things closer at hand like the sun s kiss good morning when it breaks through the blinds to inaugurate another miracle anotheray pg 40Life is not a given but a wondrous gift That gift comes with a price attached One The Devils Elbow (Mrs. Bradley, day something will steal it from us Thatoesn t The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur diminish our lives it increases their value pg 43the opportunity of an afternoon and evening we almost surely have in front of us matters not to hide in not to sleep through but to savor and to share pg 47The harder we work to get things exactly right the cautious we become the careful not to fail Risking nothing we stand to gain little beyond the security of a battenedown existence pg 48the purpose of life is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth Maharaj dying for pg 64Ultimately the courage to be reuires the courage to let go pg 72When people tell me proudly that theyon t believe in God I ask them to tell me a little about the God they Kuduz don t believe in for I probablyon t believe in him either God is not God s name God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in each pg 80Death may come as a thief in the night but it cannot steal from you the love you have given away the strength you have shown in facing life s hardships or the courage you have proved in uelling your inner emons Today s works of love and acts of conscience weave themselves into a plot that will continue long after you are gone yet be changed for the better by your eeds when you were here Life may not be immortal but love is immortal Its every gesture signs the air with honor Its witness carries past the grave from heart to heart pg 95The uestions we have the farther we can seeUntil life ends no The Stanforth Secrets (Lovers and Ladies, destination is finalSoon t be The Taste of Ashes driven byesire that empty place withtin you never to rest until you reach your goal Invest your joy in the journeySoul work needn t be strenuous to be high impact You can begin transforming your life with a single phonecall Or by writing a kind letter Or by opening your blinds to let the sun flood in Don t say it s nothing It s everything pg 97Think about it The universe was pregnant with us when it was bornA valiant stretch run may not make you a winner but I can promise you this It will make your heart and the hearts of those who love you beat fasterBeing alive to love and hurt to fail and recover to prove your grit and show compassion that is life s true secret pg 105It s not the supernatural but the super in the natural that I celebrate pg 109We are born into a great mystery We ie into a great mystery In between in that little ash between the ates on our tombstone what we know of God we learn from love s lessonsSpun into webs of passion and stung with pain Brought to life pg 125Only our unspent love ies when we The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, die love unspent because of fear pg 136I have had the experience over and over again that the uieter it is around me the clearero I feel connection to you It is as though in solitude the soul China: la edad de la ambicin (Ensayo poltico) develops senses that we hardly know in everyday lifeWhat is happiness and unhappiness Itepends so little on the circumstances it Green River Rising depends really only on that which happens inside a person pg 137Let us awaken to the blessing of acceptanceExpressed in a simple saving mantraWant what we haveo what we can be who we areRather than letting wishful thinking or regretDisplace the gratitude for all that is ours here and nowTo savor and to saveLet us want what we have Praying for health if we are blessed with healthFor friendship if we are blessed with friendsFor family if we are blessed with familyFor work if we are blessed with tasks that await our Wife Swap doingAnd if our lives areark may we remember to want nothing than the lovingAffection of those whose hearts are broken by our painLet us Pies do what we can Notream impossible Gorbals Diehards dreams or climb every mountainButream one possible From the Dust dream and climb one splendid mountainThat our life Ork love andeath 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 Finale (Caraval, defined religion as our human response to theual reality of being alive and having to ie The goal of life he tells us is to live in such a

Rev Forrest Church served for almost three decades as senior minister and was minister of public theology at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City He wrote or edited twenty five books including Love & Death