In our age of advanced medical technology that emphasizes health and well being, the human body has become the near-exclusive province of the professional health care industry. The solutions it proposes and the judgments it pronounces are taken as gospel. As Christians however, we are called to view all of life, including medicine, through the lens of faith. In Reclaiming the Body, a physician and a theologian take a critical look at some common assumptions and explore what theology has to say about medicine, our bodies, and our health. This is not a Christian treatise on medical ethics nor a book with a medicine-bashing agenda. Rather, Reclaiming the Body invites the reader to a theological and ecclesiological reflection on both the human body and the Christian body in an effort to reframe the relationship between Christian faith and medicine. Along the way, the authors discuss contemporary issues such as what it means to fully care for the sick, children and reproductive technologies, medicine and the poor, and our obsession with and pursuit of physical perfection. Featured in softcover with 176 pages from Brazos Press.
We live in an age of incredible medical technology, and with it, a great emphasis on health and well-being. We fully entrust the care of our bodies to the medical profession, often taking its solutions and judgments as gospel. But what role, if any, should our Christian faith play in all this?
In Reclaiming the Body, a physician and a theologian take a critical look at some of the assumptions we draw from the medical profession and explore what theology has to say about medicine, our bodies, our health, and the Body of Christ. The authors deal with such issues as suffering, caring for the sick, children and reproductive technologies, medicine and the poor, our obsession with physical perfection, and death and dying.
Joel Shuman (Ph.D., Duke University) teaches moral theology at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is a frequent public speaker, the author of numerous articles about theology and medicine, and coauthor of Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine, and the Distortion of Christianity.
Brian Volck, M.D., is a pediatrician. He teaches an elective on literature and medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and his essays, narrative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in such publications as DoubleTake, America, and St. Anthony Messenger.
Shuman, an ethicist, and Volck, a pediatrician, are on a mission to persuade
Christians to stop worshiping the medical establishment and to start "using
medicine as if God mattered." It is easy to put medicine in the place that
only God should occupy: "The medical project of controlling life and defeating
death is attractive... because a denial of our own mortalities and a desire
to be in control is very near the center of our own disordered desires."
Christian theology, however, teaches that "because we come from God, belong to
God, and are destined finally to return to God, we need not fight without
restraint to control all the circumstances of our existence, or to preserve
our lives as they near their end." As they develop this theme through
literature, contemporary stories and theological reflection, the authors
affirm the goodness of the human body, the importance of the church as the
gathered body of Christ and the necessity of hospitality toward the world's
helpless and suffering. Brilliantly reasoned and artfully written, this
quotable book should reach well beyond its obvious market of medical and
spiritual caregivers to engage anyone concerned about human values in a
technological age. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.