Healed, Not Cured

Article by Margaret Kim Peterson

After my husband, Hyung Goo, discovered he had AIDS, the question of healing came up repeatedly especially after we began to tell people about this illness. A lot of his relatives, in particular thought that what you should do about AIDS was pray for healing. Hyung Goo wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this. …

How the Church Can Help the Chemically Sensitive

Article by Mary Davis

Aids is not the only illness that seriously damages the immune system. An increasing number of individuals suffer from immune system dysregulation, also known as chemical sensitivity or ecologic illness. Since this problem cannot be transmitted from one person to another, its victims, unlike those of AIDS, are not deliberately ostracized by society. However, their …

Intensive Care: The Crucifixion of the Dying?

Article by Dan C. English

A 75-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital for treatment of a malignancy that had spread throughout her body. "Dismal prognosis" was noted on the chart. Many laboratory tests were performed and chemotherapy — requiring intravenous punctures — was resumed, even though studies had shown that this type of cancer does not respond significantly, if …

Living with Alzheimer’s: Body, Soul and the Remembering Community

Article by Stephen Sapp

The way people deal with Alzheimer’s disease is greatly influenced not only by theological beliefs but also by the nature of this particular illness, an illness that the late medical essayist Lewis Thomas in 1981 labeled the “disease of the century.” One should not downplay the horrors associated with any illness. But Alzheimer’s and other …

Making It Safe to Grieve

Article by Ira Nerken

"I’m so ashamed," the young widow told me over the phone, weeping softly. She had called about a self-help support group I lead for the young newly widowed. Her husband had died of cancer at 38, after only three years of marriage. Her tears were occasioned not by the pain of her horrible loss, sharpened …

Making Prenatal Choices

Article by Amy Laura Hall

Expecting Adam, by Martha Beck. Berkley, 328 pp., paperback. Testing Women, Testing the Fetus, by Rayna Rapp. Routledge, 361 pp., paperback. The Future of the Disabled in Liberal Society, by Hans S. Reinders. University of Notre Dame Press, 280 pp. Choosing Naia, by Mitchell Zuckoff. Beacon, 301 pp.   We woke one morning last November …

Pastoral Care for Persons with AIDS and for Their Families

Article by Richard L. Schaper

A scene of pathos awaits anyone undertaking ministry to a person with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The pathos may be glimpsed in this portion of a letter written by a mother whose son had recently died of AIDS-related causes. The letter was addressed to the pastor who briefly attended this small-town family gathered around …

Spirit at the Solstice

Article by Martin E. Marty

A wintry heart: a “being toward death.” Winter, the season when a pole of the earth slants farthest from the sun, finds the shadows longest at noon. Somewhere around December 21 in the northern hemisphere, or June 21 in the southern the tilt is the greatest. The long chill begins. Before that time, in the …

The Goodness of Grief

Article by John C. Raines

If life is to be meaningful and satisfying, we must attach ourselves deeply and fully to people and causes. Yet everything to which we can and do attach is finite. There are, of course, steady things like family and friends, but even in relationship to these, we ourselves are constantly changing. Because of this ever-changing …

The Prize Is Life

Article by Liston Pope, Jr.

I:  Ritual How should I act, when I get in there? What should I say? My steps sound along the empty corridor, deceptive with its yellow-papered walls and neat reproductions, linoleum gleaming. NO VISITORS. CAUTION. AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. How do you play with someone who is half-paralyzed? I enter; the ritual begins. In the first …

The Wounded Body in Early Christian Thought: Implications for the Care of HIV/AIDS Survivors

Article by J. Jayakiran Sebastian

Introduction   Any decision regarding the nature and necessity of care, especially the attitude towards and the care of AIDS/HIV survivors is not a decision that is made in abstraction, but a decision that impacts on the meaning and understanding of life, not just the life of the individual in question, but also life in …

The Wounded Self: The Religious Meaning of Mental Suffering

Article by Louis Dupre

We usually speak of mental illness when the dynamic synthesis of diverse and often opposing forces which constitutes the self becomes seriously unbalanced. But such a classification is misleadingly selective, for the commonly recognized states of self-estrangement are certainly not the only possible ones, perhaps not even the most important ones. Through the very awareness …