The End of Suffering: Finding Purpose in Pain  -     By: Scott Cairns
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The End of Suffering: Finding Purpose in Pain

Paraclete Press / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

"The extreme greatness of Christianity," wrote Simone Weil, "lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it." Cairns, one of our leading Christian poets, meditates long and hard on pain's multitudinous dimensions, using compelling insights from the early church. 128 pages, hardcover. Paraclete.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 7.00 X 4.75 (inches)
ISBN: 1557255636
ISBN-13: 9781557255631
UPC: 9781557255631
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

"The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it." –Simone Weil


"Like most people I, too, have been blindsided by personal grief now and again over the years. And I have an increasingly keen sense that, wherever I am, someone nearby is suffering now.


For that reason, I lately have settled in to mull the matter over, gathering my troubled wits to undertake a difficult essay, more like what we used to call an assay, really—an earnest inquiry. I am thinking of it just now as a study in suffering, by which I hope to find some sense in affliction, hoping—just as I have come to hope about experience in general—to make something of it."

Is there meaning in our afflictions?


With the thoughtfulness of a pilgrim and the prose of a poet, Scott Cairns takes us on a soul-baring journey through "the puzzlement of our afflictions." Probing ancient Christian wisdom for revelation in his own pain, Cairns challenges us toward a radical revision of the full meaning and breadth of human suffering.


Clear-eyed and unsparingly honest, this new addition to the literature of suffering is reminiscent of The Year of Magical Thinking as well as the works of C. S. Lewis. Cairns points us toward hope in the seasons of our afflictions, because "in those trials in our lives that we do not choose but press through—a stillness, a calm, and a hope become available to us."



Author Bio

Scott Carins is the author of six collections of poetry including Compass of Affection,  and the memoir Short Trip to the Edge. His Poetry and nonfiction have been included in Best Spiritual American Writing and other anthologies. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and The New Republic. He is professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Missouri.

Publisher's Weekly

Cairns (Compass of Affection), director of creative writing at the University of Missouri and convert to the Eastern Orthodox church, approaches the theological problem of human suffering with an elegant and inviting realism. This slim volume does not attempt to give readers every answer or, as he points out the irony of his title, provide a way to end all feelings of pain and loss. Instead, Cairns offers a new and liberating perspective, not divorced from suffering itself but appreciating the joy and illumination that may come after a period of sadness. Most impressive is Cairns’s ability to combine memoir with insightful theological interpretation. His repertoire ranges from The Brothers Karamazov to the writings of early church fathers and biblical Greek. Using his poetic skill while remaining conversational, balancing the cerebral and emotive, Cairns weaves his learning into short topical chapters that vary from the importance of communal religion to humility. This magnificent book omits the trite comforts often found in this subgenre and offers instead a rich tapestry of varied tone and content that will illuminate for readers their own experience with suffering. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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