Disease and Suffering

When You Come Into My Room

This poem from Professor Stephen A. Schmidt, EdD calls into question the utility of a reductionist approach to health care, calling instead for empathetic physicians who treat their patients as people, not merely the sum of their diseases. “When you come into my hospital room, you need to know the facts of my life that […]

Medicine and Religion

Medicine and Religion is the first book to comprehensively examine the relationship between medicine and religion in the Western tradition from ancient times to the modern era. Beginning with the earliest attempts to heal the body and account for the meaning of illness in the ancient Near East, historian Gary B. Ferngren describes how the […]

The Patient as Teacher: What Dr. Dan learned from Fred

Medicine is a genuine ministry. All one need to do is to read the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles to know that the ministry of Jesus and his early disciples was a ministry of preaching and healing. Similarly, St. Francis of Assisi and the early friars preached in city squares and cared for […]

Suffering Presence: Theological Reflections on Medicine, the Mentally Handicapped, and the Church

“Hauerwas, professor of ethics at Duke’s Divinity School and an authority on biomedical ethics, has written a consensus-shattering volume. Arguing forcefully for a radical reexamination of the assumptions of personal freedom, self-determination, and the utilitarian “bottom line” that pervade current bioethical decision making, he demonstrates how profoundly medicine and theology are intertwined when we address […]

Poster Child: A Memoir

Emily Rapp Emily Rapp was born with a congenital defect that required, at the age of four, that her left foot be amputated. By the time she was eight she’d had dozens of operations and her entire leg below the knee had been amputated. She had also become the smiling, always perky, indefatigable poster child […]

Lament for a Son

Nicholas Wolterstorff Wolterstorff, a well-known Christian philosopher, lost his 25-year-old son to a mountain climbing accident. His reflections in the wake of that tragedy are at times deeply personal, but always he expresses a prayerful anguish with which most bereaved parents will identify. Above all he refuses to turn from the “demonic awfulness” of death […]

Spirituality in Mental Health Care: Rediscovering a “Forgotten” Dimension”

John Swinton A person’s sense of spirituality informs his or her awareness of self and of the society around them, and is intrinsic to their mental well-being. In this balanced and thoughtful book John Swinton explores the connections between mental health or illness and spirituality and draws on these to provide practical guidance for people […]

Raging with Compassion: Pastoral responses to the problem of evil

John Swinton In “Raging with Compassion”, Swinton argues for a practical theodicy, one embodied in the life and practices of the Christian community. This practicality does not seek to provide an explanation for the existence of evil, but rather presents ways in which evil and suffering can be resisted and transformed. This, he insists, will […]

The Theology of Illness

Jean-Claude Larchet This book offers us fresh insight into the mystery of evil, sin, and illness, and their place within our struggle towards holiness… It gives us renewed hope, by locating the “problem of pain” in a profoundly theological framework, in which ultimate resolution of the mystery of illness and suffering is provided by the […]

Caregiving: Its Role in Medicine and Society in America and China

In this article, the author examines the undervaluation of caregiving—taken to be the day-to-day provision of material and emotional support necessary to enable life and alleviate suffering—in contemporary biomedical training and practice. Taking a crosscultural approach, the author highlights the institutional structures, practices and values that support an increasingly technocratic and bureaucratic model of care […]

Theology and Dementia

Presentation by John Swinton: ‘Theology and Dementia’ from the 2012 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability Conference, an interfaith perspective on topics related to developmental disabilities, discussed by international theologians, scholars and authors. A beautiful lecture which helps viewers to think about the nature of dementia and the identity of those suffering from it. “Our […]

Upholding the Vision: Serving the Poor in Training and Beyond

The Hebrew prophets described the flourishing that God intends for creation as shalom, which we could today translate as health in the deepest and most holistic sense.  And nowhere is the lack of shalom more evident today than some of the most broken and economically-deprived places.  We would do well to work toward to health […]

Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine

Joel Shuman and Brian Volck One of the best books dealing with the intersection of faith and medicine. Written by a Catholic pediatrician and a Methodist theologian. Very thought-provoking for medical professionals and “laity” alike, especially in its polemic against “medical Gnosticism. From Ed. Get this book.

The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society

The Wounded Healer is a hope-filled and profoundly simple book that speaks directly to those men and women who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found the traditional ways often threatening and ineffective. In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures […]

Medicine as Ministry

Margaret E. Mohrmann Mohrmann is a pediatrician and philosopher at the University of Virginia who thoughtfully examines how Christians should approach medicine. Well worth the price of the book for her chapter on the idolatry of health and medicine. From Ed. Get this book.

The Problem of Pain

In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis, one of the most renowned Christian authors and thinkers, examines a universally applicable question within the human condition: “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?” With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial […]

Making Sense Out Of Suffering

This book is for anyone who has ever wept and wondered, “Why?” Peter Kreeft observes that our world is full of billions of normal lives that have been touched by apparently pointless and random suffering. This account of a real and honest personal quest is both engaging and convincing. Written from a deep well of […]

Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness

Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier How are Christians to live in a violent and wounded world? Rather than contending for privilege by wielding power and authority, we can witness prophetically from a position of weakness. The church has much to learn from an often overlooked community–those with disabilities. In this fascinating book, theologian Stanley Hauerwas […]

The Gift of Pain

Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey In this book first published as Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants,  Brand and Yancey describe how pain can be one of God’s great gifts to us. Physician Paul Brand draws on his decades of ministry to patients with leprosy to probe the mystery of pain and reveals its importance.  The Gift of Pain […]

The Anticipatory Corpse: Medicine, Power, and the Care of the Dying

Jeffrey Bishop Bishop, a philosopher, ethicist, and physician, argues that something has gone sadly amiss in the care of the dying by contemporary medicine and in our social and political views of death, as shaped by our scientific successes and ongoing debates about euthanasia and the “right to die”–or to live… He argues that a […]

Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Transformation, and Unconditional Love

Expecting Adam is the beautifully written, poignant, achingly funny true story of John and Martha Beck, and of the extraordinary child they brought into the world. John and Martha were an exceptionally ambitious and driven all-American couple. With six Harvard degrees between them, and living in the refined and competitive atmosphere of the Harvard campus, […]

Brain Surgery with Words

Ray Barfield is a pediatric oncologist at Duke University interested in the intersection of medicine, philosophy and theology. Most recently his medical research has focused on immune therapies for childhood cancer and on improving of the quality of life for children with severe or fatal diseases. His work in philosophy focuses on ethics and the […]