Midwife for the Holy

hospital-chaplaincy-CUTESR Professor Nancy Bowen describes one of the primary roles of ordained ministers as being “chief theological officer.” Helping others wrestle with gnarly theological questions is an important aspect of ministry. But ever since I read Emma Churchman’s article “Midwife for the Holy” – first published in Friends Journal then at On Being with Krista TippettI’m taken with her metaphoric framing of ministerial work. Churchman’s piece, if you haven’t read it yet – and if you haven’t, get thee to it! – is a brilliant public witness of her ministry.

 My job as chaplain is not to judge someone else’s theology, but rather to help them to understand it more fully. Many trauma patients would not self-identify as spiritual, however, theology tends to appear when someone experiences a life-altering trauma or illness. Patients want to understand why they are suffering, and they want to look back on the trajectory of their lives and question their choices. I get to be a part of those discerning conversations.


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