While modern medicine has advanced in many areas, serious chronic illness is on the rise. For many, the gift of life continues amid affliction, including chronic pain, fatigue, and other forms of physical and mental distress.
Most Christians rightly seek healing through prayer and medical interventions. We pray and long for a bodily cure. But what happens when illness persists?
Christians today usually live within a narrow set of storylines about how God works in relation to illness. The chronically ill and their communities often assume God's calling -- to bear witness to God's love -- is paused while they are ill, that a life of discipleship can only resume once they are "healed."
Thankfully, Scripture and church history offer more compelling visions of God’s ongoing calling and work. We need these pathways, which have been forgotten or obscured, to revitalize the modern Christian imagination.
For this reason, the Girod Chair is launching the Faith and Illness Initiative (FII), a think-tank-like set of gatherings with a lofty goal:
to discover a theology of vocation and virtuefor Christians living with chronic illness
Monday, September 1812:15-1:15 p.m.
Western Theological SeminaryLunch Panel
"Light in the Darkness: Discipleship and Witness for Christians with Chronic Mental Illness"
View the Recording >
Tuesday, September 19
Graves Hall, Hope College
"A Long Obedience: Cultivating Christian Virtue in Long-Term Illness"
Join a virtual reading group for Christians living with chronic illness and their caregivers. Reading groups meet 3 times (to be scheduled) prior to each colloquy.
The 2023 book selection was:
On Getting Out of Bed
by Alan Noble
and a short article,
"The Strength to Be Patient," by Gerald McKenny and Stanley Hauerwas
Check out this list of resources, including book and article recommendations, scholarly works, and prayers and liturgies for use in worship.
2023 Colloquy Group
This small group of 12-14 people meets to read, discuss, and share life together for the duration of the 3-day colloquy. See the full Information Document.
Applications for the 2023 colloquy group are closed.
Sign up to be notified when the 2024 application is available.
Church HistorianAuthor, Illness, Pain, and Healthcare in Early Christianity
Family Physician and Writer
Author, Rejoicing in Lament and The End of the Christian Life
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