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A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness

A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334060512
Number of Pages: 192
Published: 31/05/2021
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

The experiences of infertility and childlessness, while not worse than other griefs and disappointments people experience, are nevertheless distinctive in a number of important respects. Unlike other griefs, they often take place in private, with no body, no funeral, and no public acknowledgement of the loss.

In her profound and wise theology of childnessness, Emma Nash takes her own story as a starting point, examining several distinctive features of this painful human experience. She asks what biblical and theological resources offer consolation, and what liberative action individuals and churches might take to make an appropriate response.

Weaving trauma theology together with personal experience, Nash offers a profound and heartfelt theological reflection which breaks the barriers between pastoral resource and carefully constructed theology.

Blog: Emma Nash reflects on the journey that led to her writing 'A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness'

Follow Emma Nash on her blog brokentheology.org

Listen to the audio recording of the book launch and panel discussion on Youtube 


Introduction 1

1 Alone 7

2 In Pain 38

3 Powerless 64

4 Barren 92

5 Guilty 113

6 So, What Now? 134

Conclusion 172

Acknowledgements 176

Bibliography 177

Index 181

Emma Nash

Emma Nash is a Mission and Community Engagement Officer for The Methodist Church

"Emma writes a searingly honest and accessible account of her experience of childlessness. She explores the deep isolation that can be experienced by people struggling with involuntary childlessness and how this pain can even be made worse by both church and Scripture reading. She considers the ethical dilemmas involved with infertility treatment and the powerlessness and helplessness that many endure as a result of infertility. Drawing on her lived experience she provides hope by offering consolation from theological writers and a rereading of Scripture to offer a way through this. She also has written some helpful liturgical material and provides a thorough bibliography for further resources in this area. This is one of the most powerful and helpful books I have read in a long time." -- Cathy Ross, Church Mission Society, UK

"In my experience all too often ministers can be crassly insensitive to the feelings of couples who for one reason or another cannot have children. For this reason I warmly commend A Pastoral Theology of Childlessness in which Emma Nash not only bravely shares her struggle with childlessness, but also provides a thought-provoking theological framework enabling ministers to help couples suffering from the pain and the anger which results from childlessness. This is a great pastoral resource: very readable, it should be required reading for all ministers – and, of course, for those training for ministry." -- Paul Beasley-Murray, Former principal of Spurgeon’s College

“Emma’s ability to move seamlessly between her own experiences, the biblical text and the wider issues around infertility meant that before I knew it I’d finished the book in one sitting. Emma’s writing is full of tenderness for those who share her experiences, whilst also making space for those who might identify with them for a whole range of reasons. I hope that this book is read by people far and wide and, not least, by those who lead people in any way in our churches.” -- Sarah Crane, Baptist Minister and Lead Chaplain at Milton Keynes University Hospital. 

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