Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Women and the Value of Suffering: An Awe(e)ful Rowing toward God

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Women and the Value of Suffering: An Awe(e)ful Rowing toward God

Article excerpt

Women and the Value of Suffering: An Awe(e)ful Rowing Toward God. By Kristine M. Rankka. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998. xvii + 254 pp. $19.95 (paper).

This book is marvelous. Cogent, coherent, well-organised and carefully expressive, it offers the clearest survey of theological models of suffering I have ever read. It then offers another way of living with the enormity of pain and suffering in our world-a model of tragic suffering which explores human freedom and finitude in the context of pain.

There are many useful definitions of both pain and suffering, e.g., suffering as "the meaning the person ascribes to pain" (p. 28). These are not exclusive but together build up a vocabulary to express experience beyond words.

The traditional questions about why a loving God permits suffering, how a powerful one ignores it, whether suffering is the work of evil, are all addressed alongside universally familiar ones. Chapter III is particularly strong in this, from Augustine and iranaeus to Process and Liberation ideas.

There is critical assessment of the contribution by Feminist and Womanist theologians. These counter "doormat theologies" (p. 107) but also challenge us all to look at the way our models relate to all suffering people, regardless of gender. The refreshing warning that Feminism can be as totalitarian and exclusive as any other philosophy runs through the text.

The great and beautiful achievement of this book is to offer serious considerations of huge questions but always to hold on to the reality of pain. The theology is detailed, well-referenced and supported by ample quotations, but it is not a whitewash to try and pretty up the acute, the chronic, the mindbending suffering which individuals-and that includes you and me-actually endure. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.