The Art of Dying
How now shall we die?
Death will come to us all, but most of us live our lives as if death does not exist. People are living longer than ever, and medicine has made dying more complicated, more drawn out and more removed from the experience of most people. Death is partitioned off to hospital rooms, separated from our daily lives. Most of us find ourselves at a loss when death approaches. We don't know how to die well.
Rob Moll recovers the deeply Christian practice of dying well. For centuries Christians have prepared for the "good death" with particular rituals and spiritual disciplines that have directed the actions of both the living and the dying. In this well-researched and pastorally sensitive book, Moll provides insight into death and dying issues with in-person reporting and interviews with hospice workers, doctors, nurses, bioethicists, family members and spiritual caregivers. He weighs in on bioethical and medical issues and gives guidance for those who care for the dying as well as for those who grieve.
This book is a gentle companion for all who face death, whether one's own or that of a loved one. Christians can have confidence that because death is not the end, preparing to die helps us truly live.
"It has often been said that medicine is both science and art. So much of a physician's training, however, is devoted to the science part, leaving precious little time for the art. As both a bioethicist and a physician, I fall prey to the same imbalance, teaching the technical and philosophical approaches to end-of-life ethics, but never teaching my patients or my students how to die. Rob Moll's book wonderfully accomplishes this task, with clarity, compassion and hope. This volume should be on the shelf of every pastor, nursing-home volunteer, layleader, and anyone caring for a dying friend or relative. It is all about living with eternity in mind."
"The Art of Dying takes the fear out of dying and replaces it with rich models of dying well. Drawn from a broad spectrum of historical, theological, bioethical, social and practical resources, interlaced with captivating narrative, The Art of Dying paints a vision of what dying and grieving with the Christian community has looked like--and once again should look like. While it is particularly relevant for every Christian who will die, other mortals will benefit from reading over our shoulders."
"We, the church, need to recover the art of dying. . . . I hope that people will read this book--and talk about it, and take inspiration from it. I hope we will let Rob Moll's insights help us become communities where people can reckon with, rather than dodge, death."
"Dying has for many today, like sex in the nineteenth century, become the great unmentionable. But this brave, realistic, well-researched and well-digested book restores the 'good death,' as the climax of faithful discipleship, to the Christian radar screen. On going home to God, and helping others on the same journey, what is said here is excellent from every point of view."
"This book is urgently needed by many churches and individuals who don't help their members or loved ones to die well. Rob Moll reminds Christians not to be afraid of their own deaths. His numerous ideas also teach us how to accompany other people to their deaths. I pray this book will enable many congregations to develop new practices and programs for the elderly and their caretakers."
"Every seminarian and parish minister should read this book. Rob Moll recovers the Christian tradition's lost teaching on preparing for death. He then offers theologically sound guidance for families and clergy as they serve the dying and then honor their legacy. Indispensable."
"A welcome call to the Church to recover a reasonable readiness for death."
"This highly readable, brief and concentrated book is a treasure. . . I had to use 14 stick strips to remind me of the very best bits. . . I recommend this book for libraries, to be studied and discussed as an evaluation of congregational unity, caring, and goal setting. It has pricks that cannot be ignored, and points to bring us to purposeful lives."
"Moll calls for us to recover the deeply Christian practice of dying through preparing for the event. The Art of Dying has much food for thought."
"The book is thoroughly researched, wide in scope, and a real eye-opener. Readers will find much to absorb and learn. It should be of value to individuals and families confronting death. Pastors, healthcare workers, and other professionals will also find it valuable. Highly recommended."
Foreward by Lauren Winner
1 When Death Arrives
2 Gradual Dying and End-of-Life Care
3 Losing the Christian Death
4 The Individual, The Church andArs moriendi
5 The Spirituality of Dying
6 The Hardest Conversation You'll Ever Have
7 Caring for the Dying
8 The Christian Funeral
9 Grief and Mourning
10 A Culture of Resurrection
11 Living in Light of Death