Title: Stumbling on Open Ground: Love, God, Cancer, and Rock ‘n’ Roll
Author: Ken Mansfield
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2012)
My Rating: 3/5
This book made me wish that I was a Beatles fan. I know that I would have really loved this book if I knew the Beatles as people or as musicians. Ken Mansfield is the former US manager of the Beatles’ recording company, and the book has numerous references to his years with the British rock group.
Outside of his musical connections, Ken is also interesting for his faith and his fights with cancer. Yes, fights plural. Ken has twice been diagnosed with life-threatening cancers, and twice God has seen him through. Stumbling on Open Ground reads at times like a memoir and at times like a short lesson on Christianity in the midst of cancer.
Conservative Christians may not love parts of this book, particularly when Mansfield mentions his female pastor or in the fact that Mansfield never explains his personal theology or view of God’s role in suffering. Instead, Mansfield praises God and uplifts him throughout. He focuses on God’s beauty and His love, rather than attempting to teach the reader about how God is glorified in our suffering. This book is much more a memoir than a systematic theology of suffering.
I was greatly encouraged by Mansfield’s honest portrayal of the pains and trials of cancer. Having watched family members go through cancer, treatment, and recovery, I know just how brutal they can be, and Mansfield opens the doors wide to reveal his own suffering. He shares his doubts, his fears, and his faith.
This book is partly a memoir, partly a collection of nostalgic Beatles memories, and partly a hymn in praise of God in the midst of trials. Readers struggling to trust God in the face of their own pains will find encouragement and hope in these pages, and this book would be a great complement to books that focus more on Scripture and theologies of God in the midst of suffering.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.