- 2011 ECPA Book Cover Awards Finalist
In the wake of a historic earthquake in the fragile country of Haiti, Kent Annan considers suffering--from the epic to the everyday--as a problem for faith. Less than two weeks after the release of Kent's book about his work with Haiti Partners, he heard the news. Friends trapped under the rubble of buildings. Friends sprinting across the city looking for family. Churches--including one Kent often attended--turned to rubble. Suddenly Kent and his friends were part of an uncomfortable fellowship: people whose faith is shaken by crisis. Taking courage from the psalmists of old and the company of his grieving neighbors, Kent has found that there is solidarity in suffering. Others have followed life to the edge of meaning and have heard God even there, calling for honest faith. Are there questions or realities your faith can't handle?
Kent wrote After Shock
to help you find out.
Kent Annan (MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a writer, speaker and co-director of Haiti Partners, a nonprofit focused on education in Haiti. He is the author of and and has spent fifteen years working with people in difficult situations around the world, including in Europe with refugees and in Haiti. Kent is on the board of directors of Equitas Group, a philanthropic foundation focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. His writing has appeared in publications including , , , , , , and . One of his essays was cited as a "Notable Essay" in the Best American Essays series and he wrote a chapter for the book . He has been featured on national TV and radio shows. Speaking regularly to groups around the country, Kent also teaches adult education at his local church. He travels to Haiti regularly from Florida, where he lives with his wife Shelly and their two children.
"I admired Annan for his honesty in his first book; my respect for his work and his faith is only deepened by this moving, searching book."
"Kent Annan walks his readers through the rubble of the January 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti unforgettably. I have known Kent for eight years since he and his wife first moved here to Haiti and lived with a family in the countryside to learn and experience Haitian life. After Shock tells the story of all of us who have lived through this terrible event."
"Kent Annan's writing is both reflective and purposeful. Searching for faith among the rubble of shattered homes and lives in Haiti, he lifts up lamentations of sorrow and stories of joy. This is a credible book for anyone who has ever wondered where God is in a world full of suffering."
"This is no ivory-tower exploration of faith and doubt. In After Shock, Kent Annan offers a muscular, gritty and devastatingly hopeful model of a faith lived between the questions. Like Haiti after the earthquake, it recoils from quick-fix inspiration or a sappy resolution. Instead it offers something much more powerful: truth."
"Page after page in After Shock, I've been blown away by Kent Annan's raw honesty, risky vulnerability and human sensitivity. On top of that there's his robust and clear writing style. And there's the simple fact of where he's been, what he's seen and felt, what he's asked and refused to accept, and how he's struggled to make sense of it all. It yields a rich book that has the chance, with your cooperation, to make you a better Christian and a better human being."
"Kent Annan asks the hard questions in After Shock. Where was God during and after the Haiti disaster? How could a loving God allow his children to suffer? The questions as well as the answers might surprise you. This is a deeply personal account of a man's walk of faith--a man heavily invested in this island nation and its people."
"Like Kent Annan, I've walked through the devastation of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding mountains in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake. Like Kent I've seen and smelled the tragedy, and shaking questions have met my soul. In After Shock he describes palpably how Christs broken, resurrected body meets our brokenness in a tangible, fragile, personal way--a way so essential to a lasting faith. After Shock will summon you to a journey of real, vibrant, honest faith in the Holy God who promises to be with us always, even in the bruised and broken circumstances of life."
"Annan has put into words the questions many of us wrestle with in silence, and done so with such humanity and humility, it's impossible to walk away unchanged. This is a raw, beautiful and courageous book, brimming with truth on every page."
"It is hard to explain how I can say that this is a truly beautiful book, when it comes out of a background of such horror. But that was my dominant emotion as I finished it. Beautiful, perhaps, because up-close honesty is beautiful where the clichés of certainty-at-a-distance are repellant. Beautiful because it touches depths of reality where the beauty of God glimmers through the inexplicable darkness of suffering and the desperation of faith, love and hope. Of course, it is also a deeply disturbing book. But if its brutal honesty upsets you, or if the questions it throws before God with baffled anger and gritty trust seem too irreverent, perhaps you have not really spent enough time in the company of Jeremiah, Job, the psalmists--and Jesus. This is a book to read alongside the author at the foot of the cross, and at the empty tomb, where knowing, loving and trusting God make sense, even when understanding his world does not."
" After Shock is one man's scrupulously honest search for God. Although Kent Annan hopes for unshakable faith, he celebrates doubt as part of the process, a necessary part of being alive. There are no easy answers. There may be no answers at all. After Shock is the perfect example of what Rainer Maria Rilke called 'living the questions.' This is a book I will read over and over, for inspiration and for comfort. I loved it."
"Kent Annan struggles with his faith existentially. This is no simple attempt to excuse God for non-interference in the suffering that pervades Port-au-Prince following a devastating earthquake. Instead, it is the poetic confession of a Christian who faces his doubts and questions about God, and yet goes beyond them to find a newer, stronger faith."