A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness

A Pastoral Theology
of Childlessness

Author Emma Nash
Publisher SCM £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334060512

The Bible, except for Ecclesiastes, portrays childlessness as a curse. How, then, can we support people who are unable to have children? In this searingly honest account of her own experience, Emma Nash reveals the painful history of her attempts to conceive and carry a child through pregnancy. Is childlessness a disability? She reports the often wounding comments others have made in unfortunate attempts to provide pastoral support. She confronts the many difficult biblical passages and endeavours to make sense of them in the light of her own experience. Holy Saturday is a day where she finds space to contain her grief but where does the Resurrection fit? In the conclusion, we read, ‘I no longer believe God is in control. I am wounded.’ This is not a memoir but the account of deep theological research and reflection emerging from personal trauma. We are taken from such telling insights as ‘People do not talk in fertility clinics’ to ideas for helping involuntarily childless people feel included in services. Reading this book was rightly uncomfortable, yet it provides such helpful advice for all who lead worship or provide pastoral care.

Reviewed by RONA ORME

Theology, pastoral care

 

Rowan Williams in conversation

Rowan Williams in conversation

Author Greg Garrett 
& Rowan Williams
Publisher SPCK £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281083718

So much touched on so wisely but, of immediate relevance to Readers, are gems like the description of the sermon as a space for human engagement/flourishing – no pressure. Then, there is the burning question, ‘How do we rebuild world and church after a time of crisis?’ Answer: ‘When we find out what God is doing and join in’. This necessitates a listening to God (contemplation) that takes no more effort than sunbathing, but only happens if you turn up faithfully. There are penetrating exchanges on faith and politics and on the limits of utopian thinking. A conversation on poetry and the power of redemption in Shakespeare speaks not of happy endings but of ‘grace left dangling’. How can you engage with modern culture if you haven’t considered the theological implications of Doctor Who, vampire literature, Harry Potter? The exchanges close with the question, ‘What is saving your life today?’ These conversations are a rich
buffet of tasters leaving you to choose what
to engage with more deeply later.

ROSIE BUDD

 

Theology, Contemporary society