heatherdean

Posts by heatherdean

Book Review: Zero at the Bone: Fifty Entries Against Despair by Christian Wiman

[1] Christian Wiman grew up in an evangelical church in Texas, living a dark childhood with “my father vanishing, my mother wracked with rage and faith, my siblings sinking into drugs.” [2] Now a professor teaching religion and literature at Yale Divinity School, he is the author, editor or translator of thirteen books of poetry […]

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Book Review: The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation by Rainer Maria Rilke

[1] Holiday seasons are among the most difficult for those in mourning.  Well-meaning platitudes fall short, leaving friends at a loss for words, not knowing how to accompany loved ones engulfed in sorrow or facing death. [2] Letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke from 1907 to 1925 offer an intimate glimpse into the great poet’s understanding […]

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Book Review: The Invisible Ache: Black Men Identifying Their Pain And Reclaiming Their Power by Courtney B. Vance and Dr. Robin L. Smith with Charisse Jones

[1] The rise of death by suicide by African Americans is increasingly becoming a prominent topic of discussion in the African American community.  The recent passing of Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey, an administrator at Lincoln University, a historically Black university in Missouri, highlights the mental well-being of African American people.[1] Religious communities, social service organizations, […]

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Book Review Introduction: February/March 2024

The three books reviewed this month bring additional resources to the theme of this JLE issue. Each book approaches grief and loss from a unique perspective. In The Invisible Ache: Black Men Identifying Their Pain and Reclaiming Their Power, Courtney Vance and Robin Smith address suicide in the African American community, offering “practical and culturally […]

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For Congregational Discussion: Re-imagining Vocation for a Frustrating, Demoralizing, Changing World

[1] As we deal with the high levels of anxiety and depression in our congregations, we might consider a collective re-visitation of the concept of vocation. To those of us who are academics, pastors, and laity, I ask: what resources do we have from our own fields of expertise to re-invigorate our understanding of our […]

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The Gift of Spiritual Guidance

 What is a Spiritual Guide?: [1] Spiritual Guides are sometimes called Spiritual Directors, sometimes Spiritual Companions, even the term Spiritual Life Coach is being tried by some of my peers in search for ways to share this gift of holy listening in a culture that does not widely recognize Spiritual Guidance as a modality for […]

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Mourning

The Need for Mourning [1] Recently my aunt died, and I traveled to attend her viewing and funeral. Funeral related travel offers a mix of emotions – sadness over the loss of a loved one, fond memories of my aunt from my youth, and genuine gladness over being able to see family that I don’t […]

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Editor’s Introduction: Grief, Mourning, and Distress and the Search for Spiritual Care

[1] The Latin word salus, which means salvation, also means health, safety, and security. It is the word from which the English word salve comes. And it is a salve that so many seek. A salve for the souls that are in such dis-ease. Yes, we know that we are saved eschatologically, but right now, […]

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Book Review: The Magi: Who They Were, How They’ve Been Remembered, and Why They Still Fascinate by Eric Vanden Eykel

[1] The Magi is a hybrid book by teacher/scholar Eric Vanden Eykel that seems designed to engage scholarly literature sufficiently to establish his reliability as a biblical scholar while also offering an analysis that will be both accessible to and engaging for college students and laypeople.  His project is essentially one of “high popularization”—a commitment to […]

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Book Review: We Are Electric: Inside the 300-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds by Sally Adee

[1] Science and technology writer Sally Adee has written a book that provides a summary of the research demonstrating that electric currents run throughout bodies, even in the mind, and every living thing (the field of bioelectricity).  This is a valuable volume for Christian ethicists and for any Christian thinker interested in what theology can […]

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