Living Through Pain: Psalms and the Search for Wholeness

“Swenson shows how the psalms can help people to renew meaning in their lives, without ever imposing that meaning.”―Arthur W. Frank, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, author of The Wounded Storyteller and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live

“This is an up-to-date and multi-faceted exploration of pain as a “whole self event” demanding response―personally, contextually, medically, theologically and spiritually. Living Through Pain is must reading for those who want to understand how shrieks and groans and desperate sighs both fracture and bring unexpected healing to the human spirit. This book is not for the faint-hearted or for those who seek easy answers. And that is good news!”―Joan E. Hemenway, Board-Certified Chaplain Clinical Pastoral Educator

“The interface between the psalms and the reality of human suffering is a long established conversation. In this book Swenson brings new life and freshness to that interface. She does so by exacting engagement with contemporary literature on the reality of pain and medical research. The outcome is a rich dialogue whereby “pain theory” illuminates the psalms and the psalms, in turn, offer a suggestive dimension to pain theory. The book is “down and dirty” in its engagement with real life. It will be an important study for men and women of faith who live with pain and for those in the helping professions who live with the pain of others. Swenson shows how the psalms, when read and heard, are indeed instruments for the existential, concrete processing of pain in healing ways.”―Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, author of The Threat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness


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