Deborah Creamer, Ph.D.
Rev. Bill Gaventa, Debbie Creamer, and David Morstad are discussing. Toggle Comments
Here is a link to the text of my presentation from today: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bxngvdo3DaYWZE9UbmktaUI1UTA
Thank you for posting your paper, Debbie. The concept of a God who feels pain brings such depth to the discussion of relationship.
Notes on Monday Plenary by Deborah Creamer
Limits are not deficit, but part of ordinary creation. I have been looking at issues related to pain, and chronic pain.
Pain, in a medical view, needs to be fixed. How we treat pain is the question? Pain is messy, not tidy work of the body. Chaotic, messy.
People dealing with chronic pain (as she has) are very tired of having others telling them how sorry they are, or how they are a hero, or that God won’t give them more than they can bear. Or that it will all be fixed in the life to come. And they very rarely offer something apart from this shallow theology. People don’t feel the same about the lottery. That God chose them, they know it is chance. Why explain pain differently?
It is also very hard to talk about the shame around pain. Chronic pain cannot be seen, I have to trust my own body and what it is telling me. But in the health system, people are told to trust doctors’ views more than their own.
Pain as sign of “service the engine soon.”
Pain shatters language.
Pain management is both science and art
The social model of disability does not address pain, because it focuses the difficulties of the environment on environment and attitudes
We will all experience more pain the longer we live. It is very hard to separate emotional and physical pain. We really do not want a life without pain, because it is also an indicator that something really maters, something is important, and sometimes necessary for some of the greatest miracles of life, e.g., childbirth.
Rather, I want a God who feels pain, not just observes it. A God who imagines it, chronic pain. And, of course, all the major figures in the Bible know the world through pain. Just as pain cannot be fully articulated, neither can God. I want to be in a body that feels pain, that makes me pay attention. Pain may be sacred, not in the self harming way that some religions use, because it remakes us, transgresses space and time, and refuses to let itself be romanticized.
Thus, is our theology of disability seen as deficit or defeat or contrary to God’s plan. Is pain wrong? Something to fix. Or is it a source of knowledge, about the design of life itself, something to be lived fully into, dived into, to learn from what pain may be telling and teaching us.
Here’s a different link (to the same paper), for those of you without google accounts:
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