Synopses & Reviews
The church does not cope very well with dying. Instead of using its own resources to mount a positive end-of-life ministry for the terminally ill, it outsources care to secular models, providers, and services. A terminal diagnosis typically triggers denial of impending death and placing faith in the techniques and resources of modern medicine. If a cure is not forthcoming, the patient and his or her loved ones experience a sense of failure and bitter disappointment.
This book offers a critical analysis of the church's failure to communicate constructively about dying, reminding the church of its considerable liturgical, scriptural, and pastoral resources when it ministers to the terminally ill. The authors, who have all been personally and professionally involved in end-of-life issues, suggest practical, theological bases for speaking about dying, communicating with those facing death, and preaching about dying. They explore how dying--in baptism--begins and informs the Christian's life story. They also emphasize that the narrative of faith embraces dying, and they remind readers of scriptural and christological resources that can lead toward a good dying. In addition, they present current best practices from health professionals for communication among caregivers and those facing death. The book includes a foreword by Stanley Hauerwas.
"Arguing that the church has ceded end-of-life care to the medical profession and neglected or forgotten available gospel resources, the authors, themselves theologians and preachers, offer a theological rationale and practical guidance for caring for the dying within congregational settings. Accounts of 10 pastors who died while serving 'death-denying congregations,' which resulted in long-term negative consequences for their respective faith communities, provide the starting point; the authors then present challenges inherent in today's secular, biomedical culture, and they argue the need for 'a theology of dying.' The authors review gospel stories detailing Jesus' earthly ministry under threat of execution, the epistles' proclamations regarding Jesus' death, and sacramental theology of baptism and communion, before analyzing Jesus' crucifixion and last words. Identifying challenges and questions clergy face, such as whether to preach on dying in non-funeral contexts, and how to engage resistant congregations, the authors offer 10 stories of the faithful dying, including the apostle Paul, Julian of Norwich, and Flannery O'Conner. The closing chapter summarizes theological tools for 'a good dying,' with an acronym, T.A.B.L.E. Individual or small-group reflection questions follow each chapter in this accessible resource for pastors and congregations. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This book reminds the church of its considerable resources when it ministers to the terminally ill. Typically, a terminal diagnosis triggers denial of impending death and a full-scale resort to the techniques and resources of modern medicine. If a cure is not forthcoming, the patient and his or her loved ones experience a sense of failure and bitter disappointment.
Here the authors show what is lost when the church abdicates its own resources of faith in the face of dying. They outline a practical theological response to terminal illness and the event of dying, showing how the liturgy--particularly baptism--prepares Christians to die and how the Eucharist sustains us in our dying. They also discuss how to talk to a dying person and how to preach on death and dying. Thus this is not a book on grief or even on death so much as it is on the process of dying and how the church can more faithfully and effectively engage those who are dying. The book includes a foreword by Stanley Hauerwas.