Dementia is one of the most feared diseases in Western society today. Some have even gone so far as to suggest euthanasia as a solution to the perceived indignity of memory loss and the disorientation that accompanies it.
In this book John Swinton develops a practical theology of dementia for caregivers, people with dementia, ministers, hospital chaplains, and medical practitioners as he explores two primary questions:
- Who am I when I've forgotten who I am?
- What does it mean to love God and be loved by God when I have forgotten who God is?
Offering compassionate and carefully considered theological and pastoral responses to dementia and forgetfulness, Swinton's Dementia: Living in the Memories of God redefines dementia in light of the transformative counter story that is the gospel.
John Swinton has clearly become the premier pastoral theologian of our time. In this book he approaches the troubled topic of dementia with his usual thoroughness, engaging the science with an unapologetic theological voice. Dementia: Living in the Memories of God will become a classic.
Duke Divinity School; author of God, Medicine, and Suffering
Swinton offers us the best constructive theology yet written on the important place for the deeply forgetful in our communities and our lives. His ability to elevate the most significant Christian scholarship on this topic to the level of a compelling new synthesis is clear on each thoughtful page. Those who want to reflect deeply on where individuals with dementia fit into our world will benefit from this breath of fresh air. It is a brilliant book that stays true to everything meaningful in Christian ethics, theology, and care.
University of Miami; author of When Alzheimer's Disease Strikes!
Engagingly written and thoroughly researched, Swinton's Dementia is a ringing challenge to current thinking (and speaking and acting) about dementia. Especially significant is the author's insistence that Christians always consider dementia from a theological perspective and move beyond the dominant (and limited) medical model.
-Stephen G. Post,
Stony Brook University; author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping
This vigorous yet gentle book is changing the way I practice theology. It deserves a broad audience of both theologians and pastors since it challenges fundamental habits of thought, prayer, and service. Indeed, this book this offering provides hope. It demonstrates the power of faithful theology to engage very difficult, even frightening topics.
author of Forgetting Whose We Are
For the last decade of her life my first wife, Ann, couldn't speak, not because she couldn't move her lips but because she could no longer work out what to say. She had dementia...I would worry over how she and God could relate if she couldn't think straight, so I love Swinton's statement that people such as Ann 'remain tightly held within the memories of God' and I resonate with this description of the church as 'a living body of remembering friends.' Indeed, as I read this book, I kept saying, 'Yes, Yes, Yes!' "
Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Remembering Ann
This groundbreaking book tells a counter-story of dementia that brings hope and challenges the fears that are so dominant within society and the church.
Charles Sturt University; author of Spiritual Growth and care in the Fourth Age of Life
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