Of all the words in the English language, I can think of none more offensive, violent, or profane than this word.
I don't know a single person who hasn't been touched by cancer in some way. A family member. A close friend. A co-worker. A classmate. A parishioner. Everyone knows someone (probably many someones) who has encountered cancer.
Two and a half years ago, a young mother in my congregation was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. The diagnosis came with a near certain death sentence. Chemotherapy and radiation followed a rather invasive surgery to remove part of the tumor. As she was in the process of making a miraculous recovery, my good friend Jake was diagnosed with lymphoma. It was in the midst of his treatment (and eventual recovery) that he reached out to a handful of Christian scholars, pastors, and leaders. His request was simple—write essays which help people think theologically about illness and death.
There is great wisdom and candor found in each of these sixteen essays, several of which originally appeared on Jake's blog. Last week the essays were gathered into an e-book called Cancer & Theology which is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. A paperback version will be ready on February 1. A portion of all proceeds will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
These essays have helped me wrestle with how I understand God's activity in the midst my friends' journeys with cancer. If you have been touched by cancer, I believe Cancer & Theology will speak to you as well.