ILLUMINATION BOOK AWARD NOMINEE ANSWERS THE HARD QUESTIONS ABOUT CANCER AND CHRISTIANITY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEMPHIS, TN – Illumination Book Award nominee and author of “Sports & the Spiritual Life: The Integration of Playing & Praying,” Anthony Maranise releases his latest title: “Cross of a Different Kind: Cancer and Christian Spirituality,” a self-help theology for people affected by cancer.
A cancer survivor himself, the book is a celebration of Maranise’s twentieth year of remission, and draws from his experiences as a cancer survivor, theologian, and hospital chaplain to guide his readers to an understanding of their current suffering and joy. The book is a field guide for anyone affected by cancer, from those who have lost loved ones to the disease, those currently battling cancer, and those who are cancer survivors. Each chapter is carefully designed with these readers in mind, to guide them through theological understandings of their experiences with cancer in an uplifting, encouraging, and informative way.
Those seeking spiritual guidance in the midst of sadness, loss, and grief will find a friend and confidant in Maranise. Through Scripture, prayer, and reflective questions, the author weaves his personal story into a practical guide to illustrate particular experiences that he sees as essential for those touched by cancer and provide hope in the face of suffering.
ANTHONY MARANISE is an instructor of Religious Studies at The University of Memphis, a certified life-coach, chaplain, and the author of 4 other books and numerous academic pieces. Primarily a theological scholar with expertise in the intersections between sports and spirituality, Anthony received his Masters from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. He is also a 20+ year cancer survivor, treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and remains active in advocacy for advancing cancer research as well as in facilitating spiritual direction for persons affected by cancer.
About the Book
“Cross of a Different Kind: Cancer and Christian Spirituality”
Anthony Maranise | January 22, 2018 | Eternal Insight Press
Hardcover | ISBN: 978-0692974148 | Price: $22.00
Paperback | ISBN: 978-0692107225 | Price: $16.00
Ebook | ISBN: 978-0692145999 | Price: $7.99
Religion-Christianity; Spirituality; Personal Growth
In an interview, Anthony Maranise can discuss:
- His own battle with cancer, and how it affected his spiritual journey
- His experiences counseling families and patients as a hospital chaplain
- The topics a theologian sees in relation to cancer
- How those who have survived cancer can express God’s love to others suffering and find fullness in the life that God has given them
An Interview with Anthony Maranise
The title gives us an idea, but what is this book about really?
Admittedly, my title may strike a strange chord with some Christians, especially since we know that there is only one Cross and that is Christ’s own. But, He has called us to carry our own crosses and to follow Him. Cancer is, undoubtedly, a cross, and because of the multidimensional ways in which it impacts our lives, it is certainly a “cross of a different kind.” Using the richness in tradition of spiritual theology, I explore ways in which the cancer-affected (all of us, in any form) can come to a deeper and more richly comforting experience of God even amidst the adversities that will certainly come with any cancer confrontation. Our spirituality can and does give us immeasurable strength. How greatly do we need as much extra strength as we can summon when up against such an adversary!
There are a number of books out there about various cancer experiences and different spiritual perspectives on such a journey. What, would you say, makes yours unique?
Without meaning to sound to braggadocious, I have lived each chapter. I have lost persons I dearly love to cancer; faced my own diagnosis and confronted my own cancer head-on; and I have survived. I want to help others survive in the only ways I know how. Trained as a spiritual theologian, I know that major adversities in life impact our spiritual lives as well as our physical, emotional, and intellectual facets. But, our spirituality is, in a very real way, the deepest part of us. It’s who we “really” are. From spirituality, we can draw incredible strength that can motivate us to fight-on in our good fights for our lives. When I was doing my own background research before writing this book, I found many titles on religion and cancer, spirituality and cancer, and like topics, but NONE of those books compiled all three ways in which persons are apt to experience cancer into one title. I do that here; and that is surely unique. The sad reality is, most of us who have a cancer-experience have more than one. If we have been diagnosed and survived ourselves, chances are we have made or will make friends who may not have been so lucky. This is a book persons can obtain and use throughout this life’s journey on multiple occasions, though I hope all are fortunate enough to only need it for one; and ideally, I hope a day will dawn when no one needs this book because cancer will have been eradicated. But, until that day dawns, please… read on.
Having experienced loss in your own life of loved ones from cancer, fighting the cancer battle yourself, and now, thankfully, being a survivor of it, where there any parts of this book more difficult for you to write than others? What made them so?
Of course there were. I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer and this was incredibly difficult, but I have, since my own survival, also had several friends face a cancer diagnosis. These terrifying and painful experiences certainly shaped my writing as well as the insights in the book itself. Though not to cancer, I also lost two persons very dear to me during the book’s composition and editorial phases: one to another form of unexpected death and one to a deep emotional distance. Both of these losses made me “feel-by-experience” the deep well of suffering and loss that those who lose loved-ones to cancer also feel. If I didn’t experience these things, I think it would’ve been very easy for me to have come off as callous in my treatment of grief spirituality, but I was grieving myself as I wrote that portion of the work so there is a palpable awareness of that pain present in that portion; and hopefully that empathy and sympathy will shine through to comfort readers. Apart from all these experiences, I also had to recall some of my own most painful moments of diagnosis, treatment, and procedures from my own cancer-confrontation. No matter how old I become, these are things that are impossible to forget. As painful as these experiences may have been, I am grateful for them for no other reason other than to be able to help as many as I can through this book and my work.
You are taking no royalties or payments of any kind from the writing or sale of this book. Would you share with us what you’re doing with those proceeds?
One-hundred percent of all proceeds from the sales of my book (in any of its formats: hardcover, paperback, eBook, or DVD lecture series) will directly benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. With God’s blessings, St. Jude is the place (and its ever-talented faculty and staff) responsible for my own remission and cancer-survival; so while I can attempt and hope to help cancer-affected persons spiritually, I also want to help St. Jude keep as many as possible physically alive.
The book is an interesting mix of spiritual theology mixed with some practical self-help & personal growth techniques. What eternal significance vis-a-vie a person’s spiritual life do you think an experience with cancer might have?
A cancer experience can (and did for me) reveal many facets about the spiritual life that have eternal significance, but there is one in particular I am fond of. I think CS Lewis said it best:
“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God… He walks everywhere incognito.” God is present in the compassion of the loved-ones who surround us in our treatments, in our grief, and in our survival; God is present in the skill and intellect of our healthcare professionals; and God is present in the perseverance it takes to meet others in their own cancer journeys. Those of us who have experienced so personal a cancer-confrontation become ontologically and fundamentally changed into a “new creation.” By virtue of our experiences, we are both “called” and “commissioned” to reflect the image of God outwardly to others.