You are here

Cancer Is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo

Cancer Is Funny: Keeping Faith in Stage-Serious Chemo

Author: 
Jason Micheli (Author)
Request a Review, Exam, or Desk copy.

Request a Review copy

Please select a version:

Digital

Digital copies are fulfulled via Edelweiss, an external trusted partner.

×

Request an Exam copy

Please select a version:

Physical Digital

Digital copies are fulfulled via Edelweiss, an external trusted partner.

×

Request an Desk copy

Please select a version:

Physical Digital

Digital copies are fulfulled via Edelweiss, an external trusted partner.

×

Request an Exam/Desk copy

This title is not available as a gratis copy.
To discuss your use of this title for a particular course please e-mail the Textbook Adoption Consultant for review.
Click here to email

×

Description

“This is not a book for people who have cancer. This is a book for people who are mortal.” –Brian Zahnd, Pastor of Word of Life Church

Jason Micheli, a young father, husband, and pastor, was diagnosed with a bone cancer so rare and deadly that his doctors didn’t classify it with one of the normal four stages—they simply called it “stage-serious.” As Micheli struggled with despair and faced his own mortality, he resolved that although cancer kills the body, it would not kill his spirit, faith, or sense of humor.

Micheli knew that the promise of faith makes hope possible. And approaching cancer as fodder for some bowel-busting humor helps, too. His reflections are not trite. Instead, he writes honestly about being stricken with lethal cancer in the midst of a promising career and raising two young children. He struggles with his commitment to the God who, as he writes, may or may not be doing this to him. Because figuring this out for himself—not to mention explaining it to his congregation and his sons—is so important that theology is now a matter of life and death. This is a funny, no-holds-barred, irreverent-yet-faithful take on a disease that touches every family. Micheli’s story teaches us all how to stay human in dehumanizing situations—how to keep living in the face of death.

ISBN: 
9781506408477
Price: 
$24.99
ISBN: 
9781506408484
Price: 
$24.99
Release date: 
December 1, 2016
Pages: 
248
Width: 
5.50
Height: 
8.50

Interviews

Religion News Service interviews author Jason Micheli 

Interview with Jason Micheli on Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang on SiriusXM Radio

Interview on The Drew Marshall Show podcast

Reviews

"Laughing at what’s not funny": review in The Christian Century

Review on Ponderings on a Faith Journey blog

Review on Pop Theology

Review on Alexandria Stylebook

Review by Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus on his blog Faith Matters

Review on Foreword Reviews

Review on Midwest Book Review

Review on The Englewood Review of Books

Endorsements

This is not a book for people with cancer, this is a book for people who are mortal.

"I don't know if cancer is funny, but I can tell you that Cancer Is Funny is often hilarious! And the parts of Jason Micheli's astounding book that aren't hilarious brim with profound reflections on life, death, God, and the absurd wonder and tragedy of being human. And it doesn't hurt that the writing is superb. This is not a book for people with cancer, this is a book for people who are mortal."

Brian Zahnd | pastor of Word of Life Church, St. Joseph, Missouri, author of 'A Farewell to Mars and Water to Wine'

A book that makes you think, laugh, drop some tears, and want to grab a drink with the author.

"Sometimes you read a book you have to finish. Sometimes you know you have to read it again. On occasions you read a book that makes you think, laugh, drop some tears, and want to grab a drink with the author. Jason has done that, plus I have a list of people who will be getting this book as a gift. If you love solid theology, powerful testimony, and a text you will ruminate over, you will love this book."

Tripp Fuller | author of "The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus"

This is the real thing, people. If you have friends with cancer, parishioners with cancer, family members with cancer, or have cancer yourself, you’ll find this book indispensable.

"This is the real thing, people. If you have friends with cancer, parishioners with cancer, family members with cancer, or have cancer yourself (and who does not fit into at least one of these categories?), you’ll find this book indispensable.

Jason Micheli has learned that the only answer to the question ‘Why is God doing this to me?’ is, ‘We don’t know.’ This gifted pastor-theologian tells rivetingly authentic stories of encounters with dread illnesses—including his own—and with sudden or imminent death, including the possibility of his own. It is all presented in a no-nonsense way that most such books, for all their good intentions, do not achieve. Like every honest sufferer, he is one of those who ‘perpetually wander in and out of belief.’ He reads the Psalms of lament the way they are meant to be read—with anger and anguish and protest and the wrenched-out-of-pain insistence that he will continue to hold on the God that seems to be either absent or actively against him.

Black humor is the best weapon against our common Enemy, but rarely today is it wielded, literally in extremis, with the cultural expertise, razor-sharp intelligence, and—best of all—keen theological understanding as here in Pastor Micheli’s book. He will cure you of any platitudes you might be tempted to fall back on when addressing life’s most excruciating tests. He rages against God in the best Hebrew-Christian tradition, and he rages against explanation of evil in a way that teaches us to resist until Death swallows us up—always clinging to the promise of Scripture, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

In any case, Pastor Jason will have you laughing out loud over and over, and you will learn something important along the way."

Fleming Rutledge | episcopal priest and author of "God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament"

A non-preaching, truly meaningful book that will bring greater understanding to anyone who does not need parental guidance.

"Ironically and maybe similarly the last peaceful words of hard drinking and tuberculosis-ridden Doc Holliday, the former dentist and calm deadly gunfighter, were "This is funny.” In Cancer is Funny, Jason Micheli, a Methodist preacher, presents surprising and fearless sarcasm and unexpected perspectives of his emotions, challenges and reverence in his daunting battle with deadly cancer. Having heard Jason's good use of irony and humor in church, one sees all of his unvarnished, unleashed creative thinking in this non-preaching, truly meaningful book that will bring greater understanding to anyone who does not need parental guidance."

George Allen | former U.S. Senator, Virginia

Invites us to plumb the depths of suffering with telling honesty...where we discover a God whose name is hope

"Some authors impose order and hidden blessing on suffering at a distance from the experience, unmoved by its weight. Others surrender to it with thinly veiled fatalism. Stripped of artifice and excuse, Jason Micheli invites us to plumb its depths with telling honesty, where we discover a God whose enemy is misery, whose pain is forever joined to ours, and whose name is hope."

Frederick W. Schmidt | author of "The Dave Test, A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times" and Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Lets readers engage with the most important questions of life and faith . . .

"Jason Micheli’s sardonic yet truthful account is moving to those of us who dislike autobiographies, perhaps because it isn’t one. On the way to disclosure, Micheli lets readers engage with the most important questions of life and faith: What is suffering? What are moments of genuine encounters with another human? Why pray to God? When and how does love happen? As Micheli relies on humor in tackling these issues, he enacts the conceptual distinction set up in the introduction between deflective coping mechanisms and the shedding of pretense. Cancer is funny, in other words, not because your comedy evades sincerity more effectively with jokes about full-body hair loss, but because vulnerability is as inevitable, inescapable, and existential as your humanity. Micheli navigates this distinction deftly, weaving it with thoughts on the incarnation, and his self-deprecation never betrays him. Self-deprecating humor can easily become for the reader the doughy pancakes that lose their appeal and swell as you’re chewing them. But because Cancer is Funny sticks with the initial motif of a true rather than a resembling ontology, the exploration of human precarity remains compelling. Micheli is as equal to the task of writing a cancer pathography as to the task of writing an accessible treatment of human struggles with pain, love, fear, and God."

E. Johanna Hartelius | University of Pittsburgh

Micheli shares his struggle with cancer with good humor, the most fundamental quality for a well-lived and faithful life.

"Illness creates loneliness but Micheli resists that development by sharing his struggle with cancer. He does so with good humor which is not only a gift because, as he suggests, cancer is only funny in a tragic way, but also the most fundamental quality for a well-lived and faithful life."

Stanley Hauerwas | Gilbert T. Rowe Emeritus Professor of Divinity and Law at Duke University

Don't feel guilty if this book makes you laugh, but don't be surprised if Jason tricks you into loving God more in the process

"This book is completely inappropriate and that's exactly what it needs to be. Jason has perfected the art of pastoral irreverence. Cancer isn't funny except when it is. Don't feel guilty if this book makes you laugh, but don't be surprised if Jason tricks you into loving God more in the process."

Morgan Guyton | author of "How Jesus Saves the World from Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity"

Brutally, humanely and laughingly honest

"Jason hits the mark with his book Cancer is Funny. While most people view a diagnosis of "stage serious" cancer as a somber and sober topic, Jason brilliantly shows the humor that can be found in so many mundane and scary steps along the cancer path.  It is brutally, humanely and laughingly honest."

Susan Allen | author of "The Remarkable Ronald Reagan"

Jason Micheli write​s serious theology for everyone with a mortal body and a questioning spirit.

"Don't let the title of this book fool you.  It's not just funny, and it's not just about having cancer.  Jason Micheli writes serious theology for everyone with a mortal body and a questioning spirit.  Just top notch."

R. Kendall Soulen | Candler School of Theology, Emory University

This book will grab you and remind you of what matters in life.

"Put down that outdated magazine in your oncologists office! Cancer is Funny will take you on a journey from Jason's mind all the way to the inner parts of his body that ends up revealing his soul. Jason lays himself bare so that you can look, laugh and feel better during the often faith-testing, twisted ride that is cancer. What is funniest is that this book will grab you and remind you of what matters in life."

Brian Stolarz | attorney and author of "Grace and Justice on Death Row"

Jason Micheli shows us that life is a gift, even in the midst of great suffering.

"Writing with the brutal honesty and wit of Annie Lamott, Jason Micheli takes his readers on a harrowing journey of discovery . Smart enough to know that easy answers about God cannot be found—ever–Micheli is a theologian of the only theology that matters—the theology of death and life. Cancer may not strike you as funny, but Micheli certainly is as he confronts his (and our) worst fears and shows us that life is a gift, even in the midst of great suffering."

Jeffrey C. Pugh | Elon University, author of "The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the End Times"

As hilarious as it is thoughtful and deeply faithful

"Coming to terms with death ain’t easy. And yet, as Jason Micheli says, none of us is getting out of life alive. Thankfully Jason Micheli has given us a surprising book like Cancer is Funny, which, it so happens, is as hilarious as it is thoughtful and deeply faithful. Cancer is Funny is funny. It’s also personal and reflective, urgently so. It will not only teach you about yourself, it will teach you about God too. A riveting journey through the suffering that, as he puts, God may or may not be doing to him—a question everyone of us has asked, or will some day soon. Don’t be fooled by the title. Suffering, it turns out, can lead to laughter because you can’t face death without rediscovering the wonder of life."

David Fitch | BR Linder Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary and author of "Faithful Presence"

A stunning monument to human perseverance and divine grace amid the specter of finitude.

"Cancer Is Funny is a stunning monument to human perseverance and divine grace amid the specter of finitude. The very fact of its construction, like that of the ancient pyramids or the Taj Mahal, is as improbable as it is awe-inspiring and beautiful. The result is a wonder to behold. Jason Micheli is that rare Christian minister who serves up truth unvarnished, live-blogging with graphic honesty his experience of ingesting deadly poisons designed to spare his young life, against sobering odds, from an unforgiving cancer. Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers. There is turbulence ahead. Prepare to laugh and cry. Prepare to live and die."

Robert C. Dykstra | Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Staring down the barrel of a life-threatening disease, Micheli proves that irreverence can be the flip side of faith.

"If smart-ass humor is the best evidence of fighting spirit, Jason Micheli is Charles Bronson of cancer patients. He disrupts all the cliches of cancer chronicles: he’s not old or saintly and peddling comfort or resolution. He’s a preacher who’s not at peace, a GenXer who acknowledges that irony is his security blanket. Staring down the barrel of a life-threatening disease, he proves that irreverence can be the flip side of faith."

JC Herz | author of "Learning to Breathe Fire"

Jason Micheli shows us with raw candor that wherever God is to be found, joy and laughter are possible.

"What gets lost in all the stories about the decline of religion is how many people have left church because they find its leaders uninspired and institutionally minded. Jason Micheli is neither. He is as funny as he is smart and both come through in refreshing, irreverent ways in Cancer is Funny. If you’re spiritual but not religious or if you’re religious but have forgotten how to be spiritual, Jason Micheli reminds you that God can be found in the world beyond the Church, even in incurable cancer. And Jason shows us with raw candor that wherever God is to be found, joy and laughter are possible."

Diana Butler Bass | author of "Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution"

Jason’s wit, faith, and genius turns even that tough journey into a pilgrimage toward God.

"Jason Micheli is one of the most hip, funny, deeply-theological-without-being-boring pastors in my church today. Jason is an engaging, always substantive-without-being-showy communicator of the faith. Now that he’s got Stage Dangerous Cancer, Jason’s wit, faith, and genius turns even that tough journey into a pilgrimage toward God. Only Jason could transform cancer into a source of comedy but also a great occasion to teach the rest of us how to think like Christians about life, sickness, death, and God. Jason is able to do this because he, as much as anyone I know, believes in a living, redemptive God who is with us, in good times and bad. A funny, faithful book."

Will Willimon | Duke Divinity School, bishop in the United Methodist Church