From the Editor-In-Chief
May 1, 2014 – 12:00 am | No Comment

by Jin Hee Han

The self-portrayal of God in Exodus 15:26 is dear to my heart. In it, God says, “I am the LORD who heals you” (NRSV; emphasis added). The Semitic cognates of the verb used here suggest that the Hebrew may have included an underlying meaning of “stitching.” When we are broken and torn, the Lord stitches us and restores us to health. The Lord is our healer.

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Healing: Psychological and Theological Perspectives
May 1, 2014 – 12:13 am | No Comment

NIV

The relationship between religious leaders and mental health professionals has a long history. At some points the relationship has been antagonistic and at other times more collaborative, with a desire to form a partnership in order to serve those who needed care and counseling. Fortunately, in contemporary society many health professionals consider religion and spirituality an essential component in a holistic approach to health, and many religious leaders in turn recognize the benefit of using scientific and psychological perspectives to understand, assess, and treat specific symptoms of an individual’s distress.

At its best, the relationship between the two groups is dialogical, dynamic, and mutually transforming for the purpose of promoting the healing experience of people in crisis and suffering. Many in the church actively support the goal of mental health professionals in their effort to treat the symptoms of mental illness and reject the notion that mental disorders are simply the result of spiritual failure and lack of faith and thus deserve the shame and stigma associated with mental illness.

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Is There No Balm in Gilead?
May 1, 2014 – 12:12 am | No Comment
Is There No Balm in Gilead?

by Gail Davis

When pastors sense that they have failed to live up to self-imposed standards they may feel hopelessness. Suicide among clergy is as common as in the general population. This article offers ways to help pastors and congregations ratchet down unrealistic expectations. Pastors are not 24-hour ERs and congregations need to come to grips with that reality.

Preaching Disability: The Power of Words and Attitude from the Pulpit
May 1, 2014 – 12:11 am | No Comment
Preaching Disability: The Power of Words and Attitude from the Pulpit

by Bill Gaventa

As people with disabilities and their families become more visible in our congregations, the power of invitation, hospitality, and inclusion starts with the pastor and extends throughout the congregation. The author gives practical advice on how to do just that, and he includes many tips for pastors and others for making successful, error-free transitions.

Redeeming Memories for Healing
May 1, 2014 – 12:10 am | No Comment
Redeeming Memories for Healing

by Nancy Fields

This is an honest exploration of some difficulties faced by the author as she embarked on her pastoral career. While expectations from new clergy about their idealized role may be high, old experiences can cause uncertainty. Here are personal tips on how to help clergy use innate belief in God’s healing ways to gaining a strong, redeeming sense of purpose.

Scar: Evidence of Healing
May 1, 2014 – 12:09 am | No Comment
Scar: Evidence of Healing

by Christine Stopka

The author’s church is located near in the vicinity of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, scene of last year’s school shooting in Connecticut. She intentionally left her church open every day so that anyone seeking solace, to pray, or sit in the quiet could come. Members and non-members were grateful to find a place of peaceful silence.

Compassion to Heal the World
May 1, 2014 – 12:08 am | No Comment
Compassion to Heal the World

by Mary Foulke

Sympathy and compassion are related, however, sympathy is more a feeling whereas compassion is both feeling and action. The author uses 2 Samuel, dealing with King David, to flesh out the differences between the two emotions; Jesus was a constant example of a life devoted to compassion for humankind. This intriguing article offers many insights useful to clergy.

The Authority of the Healer: Healing Stories in the Gospel of John
May 1, 2014 – 12:07 am | No Comment
The Authority of the Healer: Healing Stories in the Gospel of John

by Peggy Adrien

The Gospel according to John starts off powerfully by identifying Jesus as the Word/as God. Within his Gospel, John cites only two healing stories—a cripple and a blind man. Here the author links the healer, Jesus, with the Old Testament demonstrating how these healings supported John’s opening statement about Jesus.

Healing as Liberation
May 1, 2014 – 12:06 am | No Comment
Healing as Liberation

by Agnes McBeth

The author challenges readers to disconnect from the external, mundane practices of searching for God, and regain the healing power potential of connection within God—that relationship between Christ and the penitent heart. God’s healing goes beyond the physical, resulting in freedom. In this worldview, healing is defined by our ability to liberate others.

Jesus, the Healer
May 1, 2014 – 12:05 am | No Comment
Jesus, the Healer

by Priscilla Marcial

This is an unusual article for our Journal since it deals with a modern day healing of a five-month old baby who had emergency heart surgery; despite the fine reputation of the surgeon and the hospital, the mother felt that the operation had failed, and was terrified. She prayed non-stop for her daughter. A question might be―who was healed?

Book Reviews: Two recently released Bible Commentaries
May 1, 2014 – 12:04 am | No Comment
Book Reviews: Two recently released Bible Commentaries

by Keith A. Russell

The first is Opening the Scriptures from the Christian Library Press; the second is Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries from Fortress Press.

Book Review: Missional Preaching: Engage, Embrace, Transform by Al Tizon
May 1, 2014 – 12:03 am | No Comment
Book Review: Missional Preaching: Engage, Embrace, Transform by Al Tizon

by Neal Presa

This volume describes the practical implications of being missional upon the preaching craft, and, by extension, upon the mission and ministry of the Church.

Biblical and Secular Quotes for Preaching
May 1, 2014 – 12:02 am | No Comment
Biblical and Secular Quotes for Preaching

by Darla Turlington

Preachers and others may find some of the rich quotes cited here dealing with healing to be of use in sermons, newsletters, letters, and other media. No citing of source is necessary for use.

Lectionary: Year A: May 1 through July 31
May 1, 2014 – 12:01 am | No Comment
Lectionary: Year A: May 1 through July 31

by Remington Slone

Whether or not a pastor follows the Lectionary, this perceptive commentary should prove valuable for preachers, seminary students, and lay readers seeking to expand their understanding of many Biblical passages from both Testaments.