Next week, the Delaware County District Library will host a virtual class on a subject that many people find extremely difficult to talk about – death. It’s amazing that even though we all know that death is inevitable, it is a subject that is sometimes altogether avoided in conversation. Many would even consider themselves death-phobic (thanatophobic if you prefer the scientific diagnosis).
Jacki Mann has spent decades in the medical field as a hospice nurse and has seen firsthand the deleterious effects of being unprepared for death. She now calls herself an “End-of-Life Doula” who challenges individuals to stop avoiding the inevitable and, instead, start planning for it. She vowed to use her skills and comfort with end-of-life care to educate and empower others to begin some of these difficult conversations.
Jacki’s program, titled “Difficult Decisions at the End-of-Life,” will take place virtually on Tuesday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required and can be done at www.delawarelibrary.org/event. She will lead participants in a conversation to begin thinking of some difficult decisions, including the presentation of real-life hypotheticals as a catalyst for discussion and deep thinking.
All who attend will be entered to win a copy of Jacki’s book “Attending to the End: A Good Death Guidebook,” which is formatted in a 3-ring notebook with labeled dividers so it is a useful tool in the planning process. If you’d like to know more about Jacki and her services, visit www.inthecircleoflife.com.
Let’s look at the broad scope of titles this week that fall into the spirituality and religion genre on DCDL’s shelves.
• “The Invention of Power: Popes, Kings, and the Birth of the West” by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. The somewhat obscure but incredibly monumental 1122 Concordat of Worms, which set into motion a series of social and political changes that completely transformed the relationship between the medieval Catholic Church and the rising nation-states of Europe. It features the original power players: Popes Paschal II and Calixtus II; and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V.
• “God: An Anatomy” by Francesca Stavrakopoulou. A thought-provoking exploration of the concept of God through ancient eyes. Read it for the evocative, tangible portrait of God and the divine that author Francesca Stavrakopoulou manages to pull through the mists of time, putting scriptural imagery in its original cultural context. Reviewers say, “Stavrakopoulou has drawn a masterful line from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to that of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas” (Library Journal).
• “Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine” by Anna Della Subin. Mortal men so revered that they became divine figures, and the social forces that motivated their followers to grant them this exalted status. Author Anna Della Subin’s thoroughly researched scholarly analysis is rich in detail and will provoke powerful questions in readers. Accidental Gods is “a stimulating and challenging look at a fascinating historical phenomenon” (Publishers Weekly).
• “The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith and Meaning” by Paul Blaschko and Meghan Sullivan. A candid, accessible exploration of big, existential questions and the roles faith and philosophy play in determining what it means to live a “good life.” The engaging material deals with religion alongside the secular work of philosophers like Kant and Descartes, which may not appeal to readers looking for something with a more spiritual focus.
• “Filled with Fire and Light: Portraits and Legends from the Bible, Talmud, and Hasidic World” by Elie Wiesel. The thought-provoking collected wisdom of notable figures in Jewish history including rabbis, sages, kings, and prophets. Look for appearances by the prophet Elisha; Josiah, King of Judah; scholar Reish Lakish; and Rabbi Schneur Zalman. Reviewers say that late Nobel Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel “casts a wide net” and “astounds with these timeless lessons drawn from ancient texts” (Publishers Weekly).
• “Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color” by Lorraine Monteagut. The increasing popularity of ancestral spiritual practices among young Black, Latinx, and indigenous people looking to connect with and celebrate their cultures. Topics include the melding of indigenous and West African faith traditions in Central and South America; the legacy of colonialism; and the power of spiritual practice as a community-building tool.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!