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.
Praise for the Book
Stanley Hauerwas says, "This is a book we have desperately needed. I hope it will become a book widely studied in congregations and seminaries. We must learn to speak of dying. This book appropriately helps us recover our voices as a people taught to speak by the one who died on a cross" (from the foreword).
Thomas G. Long (Candler School of Theology, Emory University) says, "This book is written with a pastoral heart and a prophet's voice. It is wise in the ways of caring for the dying and passionate in its cry for the church to remember its own christological narrative and, by doing so, to restore care for the dying into its gospel of care."
Rob Mall (author of The Art of Dying; editor at large, Christianity Today) says, "This is an essential book for any church leader, pastor, teacher, or active member. When so much is at stake, we cannot continue to fail practicing our dying faithfully."
Table of Contents
Foreword by Stanley Hauerwas
1. The Dying Pastor: Everybody Knew, but No One Would Talk about It
2. Victims of the Wrong Story
3. Jesus Christ: Lord of the Living and the Dead--and the Dying
4. The Difference Jesus's Dying Makes
5. What Do You Say to Someone Who Is Dying?
6. Preaching on Death and Dying
7. Facing Dying Faithfully: A Small Cloud of Witnesses
8. A Good Dying
[Link to Brazos site]