In early 2014 Laidlaw College and the School of Theology at the University of Auckland hosted a two-day interdisciplinary symposium exploring spirituality and cancer. The symposium engaged academics and practitioners, including religious ministers, chaplains, counsellors and healthcare practitioners in related areas, as well as those with personal narratives concerning cancer. From this dialogue the book, Spirituality and Cancer: Christian Encounters, was produced that brings together a number of the presenters’ papers and talks for a wider audience to engage with.
Spirituality & Cancer: Christian Encounters
Cancer disturbs most lives at some point. The contributors to this book all seek to find meaning within that experience, as carers, sufferers, medical professionals, pastors, theologians, and scientists. They offer no easy answers, but speak with an honesty that reveals the anguish and hope that arises from the presence of cancer in our world. The result is a rich reflection on the spiritual and theological meaning of cancer.
- Public faith and private pain: a quest for authenticity / Catriona Gorton
- Dancing with cancer: a different metaphor / Alistair McBride
- Healer in need of healing / Brian Brandon
- Practice of presence in a hospice context / David Nuualiitia
- Soul nursing in palliative care: spiritual care of the dying / Hannah Walker
- Pilgrim’s progress: learning to journey with the dying patient / Caroline Blyth
- Physician, cancer, and spirituality / Briar Peat
- Jesus heals? Faith claims in the public square / Stephen Garner
- Physics, free will, and cancer / Jeffrey Tallon
- Eternity and dust? Considering humanity, cancer, and God / Tim Meadowcroft
- Disruptive power of Christian hope: suffering, cancer, and theological meaning / T. Mark McConnell
- Fruitful dominion or hubris? Creation, vocation, and cancer / Sue Patterson
- Whole new life: hope in the face of evil / Nicola Hoggard Creegan
- “Cancer is not a disease. It is a phenomenon”: finding God in a cancer-strewn world / Bob Robinson
- Spirituality and cancer: “Not a saccharine additive” / Richard Egan
- Finding hope and yearning for love / Tim Meadowcroft.
Real-life, honest, vivid stories provide grounding for a variety of contributors – including nurses, doctors, theologians, ministers and scientists – who help us make spiritual sense of cancer. Many who have been touched by cancer will find this book immensely helpful.
Rev Dr Lynne Baab, Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, University of Otago.
This is a thought-provoking book, which offers an inspiring reflection on the mystery of living with both suffering and hope in the midst of an “encounter with cancer.” It will be invaluable to anyone grappling with the notion of human suffering – professionally and personally.
Dr Pat Neuwelt, Physician and senior lecturer, Auckland.