When a colleague at the Divinity School asked me to write on the topic of Christian hope as a further exploration of Gary Gunderson's Leading Causes of Life, my thoughts quickly turned to Dusty Springfield, the British pop singer from the 1960’s (confession: I am a card-carrying Boomer).
Benita Walton was a reconstructive surgeon who saw many cases of breast cancer in her practice. The women she treated were reeling not just from the physical insult of malignancy and surgery, but also from fear and isolation. They had trouble finding post-operative care that would bring emotional and spiritual healing. One survivor remarked, “I kept receiving letters from my hospital informing me of the support groups I could join… I envisioned dark rooms, gray folding chairs, and women crying. I didn’t want that.”
I recently attend a remarkable summit on health and spirituality hosted in Raleigh by the North Carolina Council of Churches. Some 200 people from various communities and communions in North Carolina gathered to talk about how churches can contribute to health. The keynote address was given by Gary Gunderson from Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare in Memphis. Gary has worked for years in the general area of public health and its intersection with faith, and is renowned for his achievements. He addressed the group on the themes of his book, Leading Causes of Life: Five Fundamentals to Change the Way You Live Your Life (Abington Press, 2009), co-written with The Rev. Larry Pray.
Thank you to Rev. Grace Hackney for the following commentary.
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Clergy Health Initiative