Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church’s Voice in the Face of Death

Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith. Brazos, $19.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-58743-323-8
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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)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
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