Bury the Dead: Stories of Death and Dying, Resistance and Discipleship

Book, 2013, 160 pp
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Bury the Dead is a collection of personal encounters with death: stories of Alzheimer's, AIDS, cancer, hospice, suicide, murder, systemic violence, genocide, and war. In this book a teenager tenderly washes her mother's body, a community organizer cries outrage over his blood-soaked comrade, a father builds a coffin for his infant son, martyrs are honored by a former political prisoner, a young scholar's experiences in Palestine shape her reading of the Exodus narrative, and a community of gardeners plant trees at urban-core murder sites.

Drawing from sources such as the peace movement, the Catholic Worker, and Occupy, these stories make connections between medicine delivery, labour picket lines, and PICC-lines; between jazz funeral secondlines and the front lines of countless struggles.

Part pastoral theology, part movement history, this book powerfully demonstrates that resisting the power of death is at the heart of Christian discipleship, and that in a culture that fears death, we will only find resurrection in facing it.

"This bespeaks the reality that for Christians, death never has the last word. The spiritual narratives that shape this book witness to the power of lives given over to love and justice. I recommend it for anyone whose life has been touched by loss and grief, and who wants to learn and be changed by them. Clergy, spiritual directors, and activists will also benefit from these luminous narratives." --Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook, Claremont School of Theology

"In Bury the Dead, participants in the Catholic Worker, L'Arche, and related communities share tender stories of what may be the most marginalized act of all: accompanying those whose bodies are returning to the earth. The result is at once an album of memories for the extended family of the Christian left, a passionate rebuke to a society that denies life by denying death, and an invitation to all of us to touch the fragile flesh of our companions." --Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School

"What a difference it makes when people are prepared for death and surrounded by loved ones who do not interfere with but walk with the one dying. Those memories never fade. Putting them out there for others is a way of inviting us all to prepare the walk with all the hope and joy we can muster out of lives lived with love and meaning. Thank you, Laurel." --Liz McAlister, Jonah House

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