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By Douglas Connelly


131 pp., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000, $11.99, hardcover.


Have you ever had someone ask you what heaven is like? This little book has a lot to say about it. Connelly presents a comprehensive survey of what the Bible says about heaven, while taking a humble attitude about the things we don't know. Each chapter details the specific aspects that the Bible describes and then concludes with a section of "Living Now in the Light of the Not Yet."

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First, the book looks at common questions about heaven: Where is it? What does it look like? Who lives there? How do we get there? What happens at death? Subsequent chapters examine concepts such as resurrection bodies, the rapture, heavenly worship, the heavenly banquet, judgment and reward. Implications for living in the now include stewardship, accountability for the gifts God has given us, our attitudes and actions toward others and generally attempting to live by kingdom values.


Finally, Connelly compares what we can know about heaven with the way his two-month-old granddaughter comprehends the world around her. It is simply unimaginable. He summarizes that heaven will offer us worship without distraction, service without exhaustion, fellowship without fear and rest without boredom.-JAS





By Margaret Elizabeth Myers


348 pp., Toronto, Ontario: Opus Wholistic Publications, 2002, $22.50, paperback.


The book presents a clear and readable defense of parish nursing as a legitimate nursing specialty and a form of ministry. The author carefully demonstrates how the two roles fit together. She argues for the need of a nursing theory for parish nursing and attempts to fill in the concepts on which a theory could be built.

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The first component of The Integrative Parish Nursing Model examines the nature of parish nursing as ontology, ministry, mandate and calling. The second and third components focus on the nature of the client and the nature of health, including the spiritual/physical, spiritual/psychological, spiritual/social and spiritual/familial aspects. The fourth component examines the nature of the environment, including philosophy, dominant attitudes, resources and the church/faith community.


Finally, the author looks at the role of parish nursing within the larger profession, including education and curriculum development, research and evaluation, professional practice and knowledge networks. She concludes with a composite view, based on the dual competencies in both nursing and ministry.


Despite the comprehensiveness of the book in defining parish nursing and its practical implications, this volume does not present the clear theological foundation needed for a discipline that claims to be a ministry, However, Myers's careful work contributes significant material to the body of knowledge of this emerging specialty.-JAS





By Margaret Elizabeth Myers


444 pp., Toronto, Ontario: Opus Wholistic Publications, 2002, $18.75, paperback.


This companion volume to The Integrative Parish Nursing Model fills out the human story behind parish nursing. Using a research study in which she interviewed parish nurses and parish nursing facilitators, the author allows them to tell their stories.


The book begins with an extensive literature review and a brief history of nursing as a spiritual ministry. Subsequent chapters demonstrate the author's research findings that, "the distinctive discovery of parish nurses' experience and meaning of the role of parish nursing identified in this study was a process of authenticating self through wholistic theocentric interconnecting" (p. 102). Some of the research findings may reflect a uniquely Canadian experience, but most apply equally in other contexts.


The first progression showed a struggle between personal philosophy of nursing and contradictions experienced in the nursing environment. The progression was evidenced through nurses expressing: (1) a belief that they had been called to practice whole-person nursing, (2) a dissonance between a preexisting, implicit vision of nursing and perceived inability to live out this vision, and (3) attempts to overcome the perceived dissonance.


The second progression showed a consciousness of suffering and a felt moral obligation to respond compassionately to social injustice and pain. This became evident through expression of (1) personal suffering, often resulting in transcendence and spiritual growth, and (2) consciousness of the power of human caring in dealing with suffering and human misery.


The third progression was one of reflective self-consciousness and renewed awareness. It was demonstrated through (1) an aha!! moment after hearing about parish nursing, (2) experiencing parish nursing as a "call within a call," a ministry, (3) conceptualizing parish nursing as a theocentric vehicle for sacred relational healing and visioning the link between faith and health and (4) making a pilgrimage with others who share a similar vision.


The fourth progression was one of attempted professional integration, including (1) struggling with competency issues for parish nursing practice and (2) realizing the uniqueness of parish nursing. The fifth progression came when the nurses made the choice to become parish nurses. At this point they began to (1) struggle toward autonomy in parish nursing practice, (2) struggle with erroneous and inconsistent images of parish nursing and (3) struggle with remaining committed.


Finally, in the sixth progression, nurses appeared to "harmonize self with the experience of becoming more whole in the integrating process." This became evident through expressions of (1) enhanced meaning in life and (2) experiencing enhanced feelings of interconnectedness with self, with God and with others.


Throughout the book, the author allows nurses to speak for themselves. In doing so, they demonstrate a passion for parish nursing and a strong commitment to nursing as both profession and ministry.-JAS





By Mary Elizabeth O' Brien


387pp., Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2002, $43.95, paperback.


The second edition of this book maintains the excellence of the first edition, with two timely additional sections. Through qualitative research, the author demonstrates the significance of spiritual care in nursing practice. O'Brien's passion for nursing as a sacred covenant sparkles through the case studies and comments from the nurses she interviewed. It is both scholarly and personal. The book covers all of the essential elements of the nurse's role in spiritual care, including assessment, intervention and the spiritual nature of the nurse-patient relationship.

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Chapters one and two set the context for spiritual care in nursing with brief historical and theological overviews. The author surveys the current nursing literature on spirituality and spiritual care but takes a firm Christian position for her theology of caring, based on Luke 10:30-34 (the Good Samaritan). Her "Spiritual History of Nursing" in chapter two gives proper credit to nursing in the pre-Christian era but focuses primarily on the development of the formal role of the nurse in the early church and through both Catholic and Protestant nursing orders in more recent times.


The chapters that follow provide solid research into spiritual needs and the nurse's role in spiritual care. In addition to the nurse-patient relationship and the nurse's role in spiritual care, they include the spiritual needs of patients with acute and chronic illness, of children and families, of older adults and of those facing death and bereavement.


The new chapters include "Parish Nursing: Caregiving Within a Faith Community" and "Spiritual Needs in Mass Casualty Disaster." The chapter on parish nursing gives an excellent overview of the movement, including a brief history and a small research study about the significance of spiritual care provided by parish nurses for the homebound, chronically ill (one in a nursing home). The chapter on mass casualties includes an overview of disaster nursing, the spiritual needs of people involved in mass disasters and interviews with those involved in the September 11, 2001, bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.


This book is greatly needed and will be an invaluable resource for nurses researching the spiritual dimension of nursing. O'Brien's research shows a deep yearning for God in the hearts of those who face illness and points out the crucial significance of nursing intervention. She demonstrates that good nursing requires care for the whole person, including the spiritual dimension. Spirituality in Nursing provides beautiful models for expert spiritual care, as well as a basis for further research.-JAS





By Sharon Hudacek


126 pp., Indianapolis, IN: Center Nursing Press, 2000, $24.95, paperback.


This is a book of incredible stories that encapsulate the heart of nursing. Perhaps the more incredible facet, though, is that these are really ordinary stories about what nurses do every day-caring, encouraging, comforting, using their competence, critical thinking and creativity in times of crisis. Contributors include JCN author Margie Maddox and others who share their faith and their lives with patients and families. If you feel discouraged about nursing, read this book!!-JAS

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By Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries


215 pp., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998, $12.99, paperback.


I was an emotional popcorn machine when this book fell into my lap. Trying to survive after the death of my spouse of twenty years was an uphill battle. Fear, anger, depression, rage and hopelessness took turns popping off at unpredictable times.

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As a Christian, after praying for that miracle the previous seven years, and seeing it slip through my fingers, I was confused. Then came the book, tailor made, it seemed, for my circumstances. The authors address over-coming the loss of a spouse. A psychologist and a pastor speak throughout of how to over-come, pointing out that the only way is to face the winds of grief and "go into the pain" to get to the other side. They go a step further from their individual perspectives, weaving the confusion of grief into an understanding that can be taken and practically applied to the mourner's daily life, assisting in the over-coming.


Certainly, not only the mourner, but family members and those in a quandary over this phenomenon of their friend losing a spouse can also benefit from this book. The authors portray their experience in a way that the reader can get into their shoes and feel the journey of grief. For example, after having been bombarded by those who accused me of losing faith, I read the comforting words of the pastor, "Faith will not insulate you from the pain of grief."


The revelation that I was okay and hadn't lost my faith was like a shot of adrenaline propelling me through the grieving process. The psychologist spoke of "guiding your boat through the storm until you reach the shore" rather than responding "like a boat without a motor, tossed to and fro by the wind and waves." Only one who had experienced personal grief could have ministered this simply profound truth to one caught in the overwhelming throes of new grief.


The practicality of this book is demonstrated in the essential topics: dealing with self, children, sex, finances, remarriage and moving on. Each chapter contains helpful suggestions to assist the reader in moving to the other side of grief. Journaling is encouraged, and a new celebration of self is admonished. The words "letting go" became less threatening as I worked through the applications. I had felt like a lost and bewildered adolescent again, and after applying these ideas, I began to find purpose and security. I no longer felt betrayed by God.


After thoroughly covering the multiplicities of grieving, the authors address healing. In their discussion of "new beginnings," they sum up the gift that awaits us on the other side of grief. It states, "How exciting to stand on the brink of uncharted territory-to begin to dance a new and different tune."


As I am beginning my new dance, I am grateful for this couple who took my hand and walked me through the journey. I know they will be there for me, in this book, as I proceed, and the emotional popcorn machine slows to a stop. As the music box of my new life begins to play, I am grateful for the pain that these authors went through and shared to help me overcome and move to the other side of grief.-Reviewed by Frances Hansen, RN, staff nurse at Auburn Memorial Hospital, Auburn, New York. See her article on page 14.





By Megory Anderson


364 pp., Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2001, $22.99, hardcover.


The author reminds us to "never underestimate the power of the divine to facilitate a holy death" (p. 135). Creating rituals that help the dying person to experience the love, forgiveness and healing of God is central to Anderson's work with the dying. Her book describes how creative and caring ritual can facilitate communication among loved ones and family, at a time when the need for reconciliation and letting go are often paramount. Anderson's approach is interfaith. She recommends assessing dying persons' religious and cultural backgrounds, as well as their psychological and spiritual needs. If the person is connected to a traditional religion, she recommends using or reintroducing the rituals of that faith, combining the creative with the familiar. Aware that many today are not connected to the religion of their youth, or are non-traditional, she shares examples from her ministry of how one can facilitate a peaceful and spirit-filled death.

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According to Anderson, using meaningful symbols, prayers and music familiar to the person often evokes a personal connection to the divine, allowing an opening for both emotional and spiritual healing. Rituals attended to with love "have the ability to bring people an experience of something greater"; "create a safe space and time in which we can touch deeper issues of our existence"; and "bring to the surface deep feelings and unnamed blocks" (p. 40). Responding to feelings and emotional blocks, such as anger, fear and guilt, are addressed. Ritual often helps a person to safely release these emotions and find greater peace, wholeness and holiness at the time of death.


Sacred Dying, written clearly, with a good flow, is an excellent resource for hospital nurses, community nurses, parish nurses and chaplains, since it addresses issues and situations overlapping these roles. Nurses will find examples of how their unique relationship with patients and families allows them to be creative and effective facilitators of healing rituals for those in their care. A rich appendix has material including Scripture, sacred texts, poetry, prayers and readings. Although the examples refer specifically to the dying, they can also be used effectively with anyone who is suffering or in crisis.-Reviewed by Julie M. Basque, RN, MSN, parish nurse at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, Westborough, Massachusetts.




6 minutes, Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family Films, 1999, $10.00 suggested donation.


Narrated by James Dobson, this video illustrates the inherent value each of us has as a human. Genesis 1:27 is referenced several times: "So God created man in his own image." Simply put, each of us has value because God sees us as living beings "worthy of care and respect."

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At first, the viewer may see this video as pro-life propaganda. What the video actually does is make a powerful case for the vulnerable of our society: the unborn, the elderly, the disabled and the terminally ill. The viewer is repeatedly reminded that we are made in the image of God. Even those who mock God still have value. Why? They too were created in his image.


This is an excellent video to share or view with someone who is apathetic, indifferent or has doubts. As believers, we have a duty to share the great value that God has for each of us, and this video provides a helpful tool. I also appreciated the enclosed outline for churches and Bible studies as this video would be excellent for small-group discussion or a Sunday night service.


Why is life sacred? I want to scream, "Because God says so!!" but this video says it better-life is sacred because "all human life is valuable" and "because God created and sustains it." That's enough for me.-Reviewed by Nancy Andrews, RN, MSN, a clinical nurse specialist at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.



JCN receives more books than we have space to review. Book Briefs are short synopses based on the publishers' descriptions: JCN staff have not read or evaluated these books.





By Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley


204pp., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001, $15.95, paperback.


Written by a Lutheran pastoral counseling professor and a Roman Catholic liturgy professor, this book is about connecting the stories we tell with the rituals we enact. Ritual and story are common ways within a particular social context by which we order and interpret our world. They are necessary because storytelling and ritualizing together provide the vehicles for reconnecting God's story with our human stories. Chapters that will particularly interest nurses include The Power of Storytelling, Ritualizing Our Stories, Connecting Divine and Human Rituals, Welcoming the Child, Encountering Death and Creating New Rituals.

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By Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries


89 pp., Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001, $9.99, paperback.


Both authors have experienced the death of a spouse. Writing from a pastoral and mental health perspective, these five short chapters realistically address the grief associated with the holidays, especially for those who have recently experienced a loss.



By James R. White


88 pp., Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997, $7.99, paperback.


In seven concise chapters, White addresses the grieving process and contrasts healthy and unhealthy reactions. The author states, "Hope is the key to the grieving process. Hope will determine which direction a person will travel and how fully a person will experience the healing power of the grieving process" (p. 42). The book suggests ways to avoid common pitfalls while working through grief, as well as addressing the tough questions associated with loss.

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By Theresa M. Huntley


55 pp., Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2001, $4.99, paperback.


The author, a clinical social worker and children's loss and grief counselor, offers helpful insight to parents and others who care for grieving children. Chapter titles include: How Children Understand Death; Talking to Children About Death; How Children Grieve; Tasks of Grieving; Helping Children Grieve; Living with the Death During a Lifetime. The book is part of the Hope and Healing series.



By Theresa M. Huntley


128pp., Minneapolis: Augsburg, 2002, $12.99, paperback.


This revised edition guides you in answering children's grief questions and dealing with their feelings. A valuable tool for parents and caregivers to help grieving children facing their own death, it discusses common emotional, physical and behavioral patterns associated with grief.

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By Thomas Moore


313 pp., New York: HarperPerennial, 1992, $14.00, paperback.


Moore, a psychotherapist, theologian and former monk, offers a philosophy of soulful living and techniques for dealing with everyday problems of striving for perfection. He draws on writers from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, such as Marsilio Ficino and Paracelsus, as well as Carl Jung. Part three, "Spiritual Practice and Psychological Depth," will be particularly interesting to readers challenged by Merker's article on ritual (p. 27). Chapters include The Need for Myth, Ritual, and a Spiritual Life and Wedding Spirituality and Soul.



By H. Norman Wright


224 pp., Grand Rapids:Spire, 1991, $5.99, paperback.


Wright states that "with each and every loss comes the potential for change, growth, new insights, understanding and refinement." Having experienced the death of his son, Wright offers suggestions, charts and probing study questions designed for personal or group use.

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He addresses problems that stall grieving, such as absent grief or those who minimize or inhibit grieving. Sometimes grief is delayed or displaced. Loss of identity is part of grieving, and chapter nine has questions to help those wrestling with this issue. Chapter ten deals with the loss of broken relationships and the various stages of grief that result.


The author gives four major steps to avoid in helping others grieve: (1) do not withdraw from those experiencing loss; (2) do not compare, evaluate or judge the person or his responses to grief; (3) do not look for sympathy for yourself; (4) do not patronize or pity the person.





By Martha Bolton


228 pp., Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 2002, $10.99, paperback.


Grief is associated with loss. Those can include: death, loss of a relationship, loss due to divorce, loss of what is familiar, the loss of a pet. Teens share their stories of loss, reminding other teens that they are not alone in their grief, that feelings associated with grief are normal, and that one day the loss will hurt less. The book covers a wide range of losses.





By June Cerza Kolf


98pp., Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002, $9.99, paperback.


When life ends unnaturally, anger, guilt, hopelessness and unanswered questions abound. The mourning period is longer and more intense. Normal coping mechanisms do not work. Life is filled with "if only." Many families struggle with questions regarding eternity. The book helps readers through mourning to acceptance and helps release guilt and anger through the power of prayer.





By Lynn Eib


184 pp., Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2002, $12.99, paperback.


Eib, a cancer survivor, journalist and cancer patient advocate, was hired by her oncologist after surviving stage-three colon cancer. Telling stories of those with cancer, Eib provides spiritual and emotional support for patients, families and caregivers. Stories span the spectrum of newly-diagnosed to end of life, and the journey in between.

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By Lee Ezell


238 pp., Grand Rapids: Revell, 2001, $12.99, paperback.


Out of the struggles in her life, Ezell pens questions that many are afraid to ask. She informs those suffering from loss that they may never get over grief, but they can get through it, that the journey leads to freedom, and God is in charge, and he love us. From that viewpoint, Ezell walks readers through the journey of grief. Each of the fifteen chapters ends with study questions and suggestions for Bible study.





Edited by Christina Mason


188 pp., Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2002, $24.95, paperback.


Palliative care workers from various disciplines explain how and why they came into this work, their experiences and how this has enriched their lives.


Working from the premise that palliative care is total care of the patient and also their families, before and after the death of a loved one, palliative care is integrated care. Topics covered include: theoretical concepts, social perspectives, role of the psychologist, and personal stories and thoughts on how to accompany the dying on a spiritual level.



By Charles L. Allen, with poems by Helen Steiner Rice


109 pp., Grand Rapids: Revell, 2002, $8.99, paperback.


The poems and presentation of the Easter message are written to help one during the first days and hours of struggling with grief.





By Betty Free


208pp., Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2002, $14.99, paperback.


Free cared for both of her parents in their last years. She wrote this book while saying her final goodnight to her elderly mother. The book captures her thoughts, feelings, emotions and prayers during these difficult days. The book contains over fifty worship ideas, prayers, Scriptures and encouragement and personal application for caregivers and those receiving care. Readers are encouraged to express their honest feelings to God and recall that they are not alone. The book is wonderfully designed and would make an ideal gift.

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By June Cerza Kolf


80pp., Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001, $9.99, paperback.


Kolf is a veteran of hospice work and understands grief from personal loss. Grief is painful, yet necessary, and the book offers grief exercises to help one work through pain on his or her own or as part of a small group. The book is written in three sections: 1) the wound; 2) the flood; 3) the rainbow. Kolf points readers to God as the source of true healing.

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