‘With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe’

Developing a Contemporary Theology of Suffering in Conversation with Five Christian Thinkers: Gregory the Great, Julian of Norwich, Jeremy Taylor, C.S. Lewis, and Ivone Gebara

“With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe: Developing a Contemporary Theology of Suffering in Conversation with Five Christian Thinkers: Gregory the Great, Julian of Norwich, Jeremy Taylor, C.S. Lewis, and Ivone Gebara.” Molly F. James. New York: Wipf & Stock, 2013. 256 pp.

“With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe: Developing a Contemporary Theology of Suffering in Conversation with Five Christian Thinkers: Gregory the Great, Julian of Norwich, Jeremy Taylor, C.S. Lewis, and Ivone Gebara.” Molly F. James. New York: Wipf & Stock, 2013. 256 pp.

“With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe” (Wipf & Stock, 2013) by Molly Field James offers a contemporary theology of suffering developed in conversation with five Anglican and Catholic theologians: Gregory the Great, Julian of Norwich, Jeremy Taylor, C.S. Lewis and Ivone Gebara.

James is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Connecticut and professor of Ethics and Pastoral Care at Hartford Seminary and the University of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn. The theologians she has selected are ones who have written out of personal experiences with suffering.

Gebara is a contemporary theologian who invites us to be followers of Jesus who strive to combat unjust suffering in the world. Gregory, Taylor and Julian lived in a time where the reality of suffering was a given, and so they offer to us valuable tools for how we might live with suffering. Lewis us gives us permission to feel the depths of our emotions, even to be angry in the midst of our suffering. Together these thinkers can offer contemporary Christians tools and insights for how to think about and live with the suffering that will inevitably come in our lives, despite the advertising messages that promote the idea that if only we follow this regimen or take that pill our lives will be free from suffering.

“With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe” can be ordered here.

“What does human suffering mean in light of theological claims about God’s sovereignty and goodness? How ought humans to respond to suffering? Surveying the perspectives put forth by five different voices spanning fifteen centuries, James offers an astute comparison of their theological implications and a compelling model for blending those voices in a way that embraces both the depths of human grief and the trustworthiness of a God who loves, suers with, and redeems us.” — Jessica Bratt, chaplain, Children’s Hospital of Boston

“In this superb work, Molly Field James takes on a mighty task in bringing together diverse theological reflections, representing a wide spectrum of perspectives and historical seasons, in consideration of human suffering. She not only attends faithfully to the thinking of the theologians considered, but she brings them into conversation with each other. Her theological reflections are seasoned with her own experience as a pediatric cancer patient and her pastoral ministry as a priest of the Episcopal Church. Her work is accessible to people of any theological background.” — Chilton Knudsen, bishop, Diocese of Maine

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