What does it mean to ‘live well?’ What does it mean to ‘die well?’ Surely as Christians we should be leading the way in our practices and actions at the very centre of human existence. Yet, this COVID world in which we find ourselves is very different, particularly in the very practices surrounding life and death, than that with which we entered this year. Thus, we must consider, when our mourning, our living, and our dying look different, how do we flourish and encourage those around us to do so? This course will be rooted in scripture and practice. It will consider the practical implications of what it means to live and die in times of suffering and sorrow.
Week 1 – Dying
Can there be such a thing as ‘dying well?’ We will consider ways in which we as Christians may lead in the (painful yet beautiful) sacred practice of ‘dying well’.
Week 2 – Lamenting?
It’s all very well to say that there is the possibility of ‘dying well,’ but for those of us left behind there is still immense pain; what do we do with that pain? How do we, particularly in our culture, express that pain well? This class will take place in conversation with Rev Dr Stephen Torr, a vicar, fellow scholar, author and expert on the scriptural and theological study of ‘lament.’
Week 3 – Wounded?
This class will begin to move us from grieving towards the question, what should we do with our grief? This class will be in conversation with Dr Leon Van Ommen (University of Aberdeen) and will consider the prophetic power of those with disabilities as one of the voices which the church needs to hear at this time.
Week 4 – Wise
Having spent time working through our grief, our lament and our woundedness, the question must then be asked, how do we move on to live, and live well in ‘the new normal?’ The response to this will take the form of a study of ‘wisdom.’
Week 5 – Action!
This class will consider practical ways in which we can ‘love God and love one another’. It will look at churches globally and locally, and delve into research, in order to consider ways we can witness and testify to the hope we have in practical, tangible, effective ways.
Week 6 – Hope!
As we have worked through this, we have been working towards an end: a celebration of the hope we have
Dr Joy Allan
Joy is a Scottish-Northern Irish mix with a passion for all things pastoral and theological. She studied for both her MA (2006) and her PhD (2018) in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen. In the years between she worked and served in pastoral ministry, teaching academic English, and social care both in the UK and abroad. It is perhaps no surprise then that her research interests focus around mental health, disability theology, theology and abuse, and all aspects of pastoral care. She also has a keen interest in the potential of qualitative research for theological exploration. She is an avid reader and loves any excuse to preach or speak on the above issues.
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