Item description for Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death: Lessons on Living from People Preparing to Die by John Fanestil...
Overview While many books focus on helping the dying move from fear and denial to acceptance. Fanestil argues for a happy death and says it's not only possible, but has ample historical precedent. Using the 18th century account of one ordinary woman's death (Mrs. Hunter), he reflects on deaths he's witnessed as a Methodist pastor, showing how the tradition of happy deaths continues today.
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Studio: Doubleday Religion
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 0.91 lbs.
Release Date Feb 28, 2006
Publisher Bantam Doubleday Dell
ISBN 0385516061 ISBN13 9780385516068
Reviews - What do customers think about Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death: Lessons on Living from People Preparing to Die?
Lessons for Living or Dying Apr 7, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death. Not only did the author present a history of Mrs. Hunter's "happy death," he also included specific examples of individuals from his ministry who prepared for death in this manner. I particularly enjoyed Part 2 of the book which presented spiritual lessons on living (using concrete examples) such as the exercise of prayer, recognizing the presence of God at critical moments in ones life and living in the present. Kudos to Mr. Fanestil!
Sanctified Dying Apr 4, 2006
In Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death Fanestil re-introduces us to the ritual of sanctified dying. Through the lens of an early 19th century journal that Fanestil unexpectedly unearthed, we are led through the process that to modern ears seems oxymoronic - "happy death." Drawing on twenty-something Mary Hunter's grace-filled triumph in (not over) death, this pastoral account shows death needn't be faced with apprehension and anxiety. Dying can be a Christian achievement rather than a reluctant hesitancy.
One important decision Fanestil made was to keep this book from being a mere historical account, and to make it relevant to contemporary life. He does this by aligning Mrs. Hunter's experiences with about 20 more recent examples, largely people the author personally knew from his pastoral ministry. Fanestil's gentle and buoyant writing endears us to these winsome souls. He also connects these stories with 10 spiritual disciplines in a way that will make the book very convenient for study groups.
The book is an undemanding read, but nevertheless, it follows good theological methodology. The horizons of past occurrences, contemporary experience, and scriptural tradition are fused in this sound theological reflection. Fanestil's technique is what Elaine Graham et. al. would call "Theology by Heart." God is experienced through the "interiority of human experience...Journaling, autobiography, psycho-therapeutic accounts of self are vehicles for theological reflection..."
"Happy Death" might seem like an oxymoron. Read this book and see that death needn't mean doom; in our inevitable passing we can find great spiritual pleasure.
A real "page turner"! Mar 30, 2006
Who would have thought that a book about such a topic would be a "page turner"? What a delightful, sensitive, poignant book! Appreciated Rev. Fanestil's honesty and self-disclosure as well as his easy writing style. So grateful for the spiritual disciplines identified in the second part. I will recommend this book to many, I am sure.
Santa Monica, CA
Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death Mar 29, 2006
Every single one of us is going to die. We each have choices to make about who we wish to be at that moment. John Fanestil's serendipitous uncovering of the 18th and 19th Centuries' ritual of a "happy death" is an uplifting journey back and forth between the 26 year old Mrs. Hunter's life and death in 1801, and Mr. Fanestil's own experiences with family and parishioners in the present day. His thoughtful and compassionate writing reflects his truly non-judgmental manner, especially when discussing the fine line between "prolonging life" and "prolonging death". He is virtually silent on the question of assisted suicide, but he has provided a road map that certainly can help us decide how to live our lives with a healthy awareness of its unavoidable conclusion and the effect it can have on those we leave behind.
Captivating Mar 28, 2006
Mrs. Hunter's Happy Death captivated me. John Fanestil during his time as a Methodist minister met many people who embraced death cheerfully. He relates stories of people experiencing an enlightenment or feelings of devine love though they are ill and close to death. They are able to convey this holy feeling to thier loved ones. Then Fanestil, while reading 19th century methodist magazines learns of a common practice among methodists of the time, the "happy death". In the book he intertwines the story of one woman, Mrs. Hunter, who died in 1801 a happy death, with the stories of people he has ministered to. I found it incredibly comforting at this time when I have elderly and ill family members. He explains how the lessons he has learned can be applied now to help us live better lives. The book touched me deeply.