Cross of a Different Kind: Cancer & Christian Spirituality
by Anthony Maranise, M.A.
Eternal Insight Press

"People need to grieve and that is perfectly normal, natural, and healthy. How quickly so many forget that even Jesus Himself had to grieve."

At age five, the author was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and it is that life-changing experience which gives him firsthand knowledge of what it means to live a life altered forever by cancer. Additionally, like many, he has lost a good number of friends and family members to various forms of the disease. Maranise addresses his book to three general groups: those who have lost loved ones to cancer, individuals who are “currently fighting the battle,” and those who are cancer survivors. His book introduces—indeed celebrates—the idea that one’s deep Christian faith and a life dedicated to Jesus Christ is a life well-equipped to handle the myriad challenges cancer throws one’s way.

Anyone touched by a diagnosis of cancer, either firsthand or vis-à-vis friends or loved ones, who is also interested in how living with the disease can be informed by Christian theology and faith, will find much to behold in this text. Maranise’s work is a nuanced guide, deeply considering the intersection of Christian theology and life with cancer. In his “guidebook," the author provides a swath of spiritual and religious guidance to soldier forward, connect with others, and ultimately find peace knowing that the medical diagnosis in this life pales in comparison to eternal afterlife with the heavenly Father himself. Admittedly, the book is exclusively aimed at Christian believers, who have full faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This does not take away from the work; it simply defines its audience. Writing that through his own experiences with cancer and his chaplaincy, he has learned about the “questions, ideas, needs, and concerns” unique to cancer, Maranise further encourages the reader to add his or her own experiences to supplement that which his book aims to provide.

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