Cancer, Trauma, and Ministry
by Deanna Thompson
Pub Date 31 Jul 2018
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In Glimpsing Resurrection, Deanna A. Thompson combines recent trauma research with compelling first-person narrative to provide insight into the traumatic dimensions of living with a serious illness. Her aim is to help those who are ill and those who care for and minister to them deepen their understanding of how best to offer support.
"The tendency for Christians to move almost immediately from death to proclamations of new life risks alienating those for whom healing and new life seem out of reach," says Thompson. Glimpsing Resurrection focuses less on the "why" to help readers instead come to terms with the "how" of living with a serious disease. In particular, Thompson provides a framework and concrete suggestions for how to be a church where those who are undone by illness can be undone, as well as a place that can love and support them to hope.
Thompson resurrects. She resurrects Christian traditions that the dominant
narratives about cancer so often ignore. She brings to life the space in which
we can live with the honesty of suffering, lament, solitude and community.
Thompson raises up proposals with psychological, biblical, theology and
pragmatic integrity. Not only all Christians touched by the experience of
cancer, but all students of theology will want to consider Thompson’s heartfelt
constructive response to one of the most significant challenges to faith.”
—Monica A. Coleman, author Bipolar Faith: a Black Woman's Journey with Depression and Faith, Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions, Claremont School of Theology
“In this ground-breaking work, Deanna Thompson
connects the enigmas of cancer stories with a spacious telling of the Christian
story, showing how the category of trauma can bear theological fruit. As she
does so, Thompson creatively orchestrates a conversation between a range of
theological voices about how to address the challenges raised by a traumatic
experience with cancer. Throughout, she guides the reader toward a constructive
vision of Christian hope that avoids triumphalism. Highly recommended!”
—J. Todd Billings, Author of Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland MI
breathes new life into the most familiar sites for Christian engagements with
suffering—the Psalms, Job, crucifixion, Pauline resurrection—and insists that
faith resides in the uncertainties, that Christ appears there, and that the
church can hold space for grief and loss. Bringing life-threatening illness
into the sphere of trauma, she rewrites the relationship between the cancer
story and the Christian story."
—Shelly Rambo, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston University School of Theology