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resources for dealing with grief

Todd Hall, Austin Grad librarian, shared his journey through grief at Friends’ Day and Sermon Seminar. Now he shares the books he found helpful.

Through my own experience, I have developed an affinity for books that offer a theological vision of grief and grief ministry. Following is a list of books that I would recommend both for those who are in grief and those who minister to the grieving.

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987). Wolterstorff, a theologian, lost his son, Eric, in a climbing accident. This is a journal of his journey through grief. It was instrumental to my remaining faithful in my own grief. Wolterstorff's presentation of grief is raw, and therefore also allows ministers to see into the emotions and thoughts of those to whom they minister.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: HarperOne, 2001). This is a side of C.S. Lewis that is rarely seen. Lewis kept this journal after losing his wife to cancer. It is a different experience of grief than Wolterstorff's. Lewis is angry, and his book reflects the experience of disillusionment common to Christians who have lost. It is a difficult read, not in terms of language, but in tone. But it is a vitally important read for those who are angry in grief and for those who minister to them.

Jeffry Zurheide, When Faith is Tested: Pastoral Responses to Suffering and Tragic Death (Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997). Zurheide's book is the best ministry book on helping those in grief that I've read. It is also excellent for those who suffer, as it provides a theological context for viewing grief.

John Mark Hicks, Yet Will I Trust Him: Understanding God in a Suffering World (Joplin: College Press, 1999). John Mark is familiar with suffering, and his book provides perhaps the best theological lenses for viewing suffering and grief. He also provides a very helpful "what not to say" section that will be invaluable to ministers and church members.




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