Addressing Theology in Suffering

Here is a quote by Howard Stone from “The Word of God and Pastoral Care”

Over the years, while making pastoral carecaution2bagainst2bbad2badvice visits and especially hospital visits, I have sadly encountered many people whose well-meaning friends and acquaintances have responded to their why questions with theological answers that left them terribly upset and proved actually to be destructive: ‘This is God’s punishment on you and for your sins.’ ‘This is God’s will; you have to accept it.’ ‘This has happened to bring you to the Lord.’ ‘God wanted your dear one with him in heaven.’ ‘If you hadn’t skipped out on your wife, this wouldn’t have happened.’ ‘If you had stayed home with your children where God wants you to be, they wouldn’t have started taking drugs.’

More recently I have also come across another whole class of answers — more psychological than religious — to theodicy issues: ‘You are responsible for your illness.’ ‘You are sick because of your destructive thoughts.’ ‘The cancer inside you is pent up anger; you’ve got to release it to get well.’ ‘You are what you eat; if only you had cut out salt and exercised more.’ Some people are so eager to give their answers that they scarcely wait for the questions to be asked. The results are often quite grim.

When I first began pastoral care work, I would have thought such pronouncements were rare, or occurred only in the more conservative denominations. Not so! Things such as this happen everywhere, regardless of the conservative or liberal orientation. Simplistic and damaging answers flow from well-meaning people at a time when their hearers are in considerable distress, vulnerable, and unable to talk back. I raise the issue here because if ministers care only for people’s emotional pain and do not respond theologically to the issue of theodicy, parishioners will inevitably get their theological education elsewhere, and it may not be the kind we would have wished for them. In other words, if ministers will not respond, sooner or later, to the vital questions of theodicy, neighbors and friends are likely to do so, and not always in a helpful manner.                                       –page 165


BOT Meeting

January 20th, 2018 from 10 am to 2pm, we held our Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees. The officers and board members stayed the same, and all were present.

Dr. Paul Tabon                         President      (Diplomate:  PBTS-SEE Training Center)

Mrs. Jehny Pedazo-Caoagas   V. President

Mrs. Celia Munson                   Sec/Treas      (Diplomate: Bukal Life Care)

Dr. Simplicio Dang-Awan Jr.  Member       (Diplomate:  New Heights)

Dr. Ryan Clark                            Member       <Present by Skype>

Also present were three who are part of CPSP-Philippines but not on BOT:

Dr. Robert Munson                   Registrar

Mrs. Tina Dang-Awan

Mr. Edgar Chan


Upcoming Board Meeting

The board of trustees of CPSP-Philippines will have its annual meeting on January 20th starting at 9am at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (Baguio City).

An additional note: Dr. Doug Dickens will be returning to PBTS in May. He is a Diplomate with CPSP, and will assist the pastoral care program of PBTS, along with our work with CPSP-Philippines.