We do not like to talk about loneliness. We like even less to talk about the fact that the experience that faith does not automatically heal it. This is a problem, but what if it does not have to be that way? What if we can tap into loneliness as a source of personal empowerment? In The Power of One: Theological Reflections on Loneliness, Anette Ejsing makes exactly this case. Relying on personal stories, she first shows why romantic, spiritual, and social loneliness are particularly difficult to understand in the context of Christian faith.
She then reflects theologically on these three kinds of loneliness, and describes it as a mystery that faith both does and does not heal them. In response to this mystery, she suggests thinking about loneliness as a privilege. Arguing from the perspective of a theology of suffering, she encourages each of us to tell our stories of loneliness from the perspective of the end God has in mind for us. This means accepting and embracing loneliness as a means through which God raises us up and strengthens us to persevere in joy and faith. Learning to do this is a privilege that gives us the opportunity to experience loneliness as a source of personal empowerment.
This is a wonderful book of wisdom. I hope it will be read widely. Anette Ejsing reflects on our lives in a way that is very impressive.
"I hope every pastoral care student will have the opportunity to read this book. It combines Augustinian confessions on loneliness for the twenty-first century, piety informed by theology, theology inspired by astute observation of the human, all-too-human, and freedom to agree and to disagree. It is a book that can make you grow beyond the easy solutions.
Bishop of Lund, Sweden
It is surprising that a book about romantic, spiritual, and social loneliness could be such a joyful and hopeful book. This book is that and more; it is also a beautiful book. Anette Ejsing has a gift for asking the right questions. She also has a gift for answering them in a way that is personal, powerful, and helpful, speaking with equal clarity to both heart and mind. Ejsing's insight, compassion, and clarity make this a book that everyone should read.
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