A Force of Will, by Mike Stavlund is 5 star stuff.

This title is not for the faint hearted. This is robust and challenging stuff. It’s the material of parental and faith nightmares. Stavlund has crafted a beautifully written memoir about the loss of his infant son. 

Searing honesty is mixed with emotions and questions about faith emerging from that raw place. Mike Stavlund is a talented and compelling writer whose words posses a depth that brings you right into his heart. This is a poetic read. Its also a dark and foreboding read, weaved with authentic hope and solid belief.

During grief or loss, the cheap language of  ‘there’s no right or wrong way to grieve’, can mislead – for it is very possible to avoid the pain, lie about it, mythologize it with sugary visions of a benevolent Santa Claus God typology who is ‘out there’. This book not only succeeds in avoiding such cheapened narratives but through the ache offers depth, meaning and healing.

Stavlund’s unique offering around ‘palliative faith’, that presumes change and openness to our ideas of God over time–is a real theological nugget. As one of my pastor-friends concluded: this is “a refreshing meditation on the messy-unresolved-nature of suffering, for a post-resurrection people!”