We Shall All Be Changed: Experiencing God's Love through Health Changes

Quakers in Pastoral Care & Counseling Conference

Quaker Hill, Richmond, Indiana  March 30-April 2, 2006




Quaker Perspectives

Living & Health: A Personal Account by Bill Ratliff

Bill originally wrote this account for his family about his experience with cancer and the approaches he has been using to deal with it.

On Praying for Others - and Ourselves by Peter Blood

Willingness and Health by Peter Blood

Holding One Another in the Light, by Marcelle Martin

Praying for each other - intercessory prayer - deepens our connection to God and helps bring healing to individuals & communities. Marcelle's pamphlet is a personal account of her discovery of & experiences with intercessory prayer. It describes the many forms this takes among Friends today, from meetings for healing to a prayerful witness for peace on earth. (Pendle Hill Pamphlet #382, 2005)

4 other Pendle Hill Pamphlets dealing with these issues:

Profession and Practice: Quaker Perspectives on Healing as Ministry, by Maureen Flannery MD (#363, 2002)
Gift of Days: Report on an Illness, by Mary Morrison (#364, 2003)
Sickness, Suffering, and Healing: More Stories from Another Place, by Tom Gates (#341, 1998)
A Song of Death, Our Spiritual Birth: A Quaker Way of Dying, by Lucy Screechfield McIver (#340, 1998)

George Fox's Book Of Miracles

Edited by Henry Cadbury, Foreward by Rufus Jones. The founder of Quakerism was a healer as well as a powerful writer, preacher & religious leader, manifesting this gift in over 150 recorded instances of cures. These miracles were critical to spreading the word about Quakerism in the initial years. New introductions by Paul Anderson and Jim Pym help readers appreciate the place of this material in the overall understanding of Fox's contributions to Quakerism.
Available from QuakerBooks.

Christian Perspectives

Living Through Pain: Psalms and the Search for Wholeness, by Kristin M. Swenson

Bill Ratliff writes that "This is the best book I have found on pain and suffering. The first three chapters deal with the problems of pain and understanding it. Then she looks at six Psalms in successive chapters and draws out the various ways that the psalmists dealt with this difficult subject. Surprisingly, but realistically, the Pslams contained no common approach." (Waco,TX: Baylor U. Press, 2005, hardcover).

4 books by Gerald May MD

Jerry May was a psychiatrist on the staff of Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation for many years until his death from cancer in 2005. His books are not on healing issues per se but they explore better than any other books I (Peter) am familiar with the ways that spirituality, mind & body are deeply interwoven - issues that are at the heart of the ideas I will be presenting at QPCC in March.

  • Will & Spirit: A Contemplative Psychology (1982)
  • Addiction & Grace (1988)
  • The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need (1991)
  • The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness & Spiritual Growth (2004)

Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice, by Stephanie Pausell

The final chapter of this 2002 book by a Protestant theologian is on "honoring the suffering body." The book concludes: "Through the vulnerability of our bodies, God has given us into the care of one another. What tender responsibility. What joy, what pain. Thanks be to God."

Other Religious Traditions

Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Kabat-Zinn is founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society at U. Mass Medical Center. Workshops on mindfulness as a way to improve patient care, reduce professional stress and suppport patient healing are being taught at many medical centers around the country.

Other books by Kabat-Zinn:

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Here's the Buddhist book that Bill and I both like (he used it in his ESR death and dying course and I have given it to friends who are dealing with loss as well as used it myself):

Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide To The Emotional and Spiritual Care Of The Dying, by Christine Longaker (1997)

A Buddhist book that is helpful in dealing with losses and facing the possibility of one's own or a loved one's death. A good related website

A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last, by Stephen Levine

A friend of Maureen Flannery MD suggested that her friends read and meditate with this 1997 book as a way to support her through the process of living with and dying of cancer. Stephen Levine and his wife Ondrea have written many other books on dying and grief from a Buddhist perspective. The most recent is Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart (2005). He is also the author of Who Dies?.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner

This 1981 classic and other books by a liberal Jewish rabbi offer useful approaches to dealing with suffering and tragedy. Maureen writes that Kushner's emphasis on "when" not "why" has been helpful to her in dealing with pain and loss in her work and her life.

My Grandfathers Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging, by Rachel Naomi Remen

Remen is a physician who brings to her work with dying patients her grounding in Judaism andher own experience of living with a serious chronic illness. Both this 2000 book and Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal, her earlier 1996 book, contain wisdom about self-care for those of us involved in the work of care giving and healing.

Medical Science & Healng

Reinventing Medicine, by Larry Dossey MD

Dossey talks about our just entering into the era of nonlocal medicine where healing is done at a distance. Citing the 150 studies done on the healing effects of prayer at a distance, he posits a new paradigm for healing that takes seriously the human conscious and its participation in a universal conscious. This is beyond the mind-body paradigm and is exciting and challenging to conventional modes of healing. One physician, upon hearing Dossey speak, said, "If what you say is true, then we doctors could be sued for medical malpractice if we do not pray for our patients!"

Also by Dossey:

  • Healing Words: The Power of Prayer & the Practice of Medicine (1993)
  • Prayer Is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer (1996)

Speaking of Faith: Stress & the Balance Within

The American Public Media show Speaking of Faith recently featured a leading rheumatologist, Esther Sternberg MD, who has grown over the years to become convinced of the interconnectedness of spirituality and physical healing. You can download this show and listen to it from the show's website.

In her book, The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health & Emotions, Sternberg explores recent developments in science and medicine that provide support for understanding the ways in which bodies respond to spiritual work and issues. Here is a review of the book.

Love, Medicine & Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients, by Bernie Siegel MD
Another one of the "classics" of the field - this one from 1986. Siegel is a surgeon who was deeply moved by the emotional and spiritual transformation that many of the cancer survivors he worked with went through. My (Peter's) ambivalence with his ideas is that those with life-threatening illnesses may end up feeling they have "failed" if they do not experience healing through these approaches. Peace, Love & Healing: Bodymind Communication & the Path to Self-Healing: An Exploration (1989) is another of Siegel's books.

Here's an online article by Siegel entitled "Accept, Retreat & Surrender: How to Heal Yourself" that summarizes pretty well some of his basic ideas.

Getting Well Again by O. Carl Simonton MD, Stephanie Matthews Simonton & James Creighton PhD (1978)
Over 20 years ago, the Simontons (a physician couple at the time) began experimenting with using guided imagery, relaxation techniques & meditation as a way of fighting cancer. Carl Simonton's latest book, The Healing Journey, focuses heavily on the personal account of one cancer patient, Reid Hansen.

The Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing & Regeneration, by Norman Cousins
This 1979 book by a well-known journalist on his successful fight against a cripplling disease was the first best seller on mind-body connections. Cousins used his body's own natural healing resources in overcoming his illness in close collaboration with his physician. One of the main things he did was watch hundreds of hours of comedy films.

blog comments powered by Disqus


 Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe by Email:

Quote that speaks to me

Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies

| Comments
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.  
Death cannot kill what never dies.  
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.  
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still.  
For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent.
In this Divine Glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 - William Penn, More Fruits of Solitude, 1702.

Note: This passage was quoted by J.K.Rowling as the epigraph of her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Braithwaite on Outreach

| Comments

Men & Women with a Message of Power

It is as a "religion of life" that Quakerism will be presented in the future and is being presented now.

Its distinguishing note will be its resolve to bring all this human life of ours under the transforming power of spiritual life.  It will stand out against all divisions and compartments that separate the sacred from the secular, the sanctuary from the outward world of nature, the sacrament from the days' common work, the clergy from the laity. 

It will tell of a Christian experience that makes all life sacred and all days holy, all nature a sanctuary, all work a sacrament, and gives to every man and woman in the body fit place and service.  Its concern will be to multiply men and women who will have a message of power because they are themselves the children of light.  It will claim the whole of man's life, and the whole of life, individual, social, national international, for the dominion of the will of God.

William C. Braithwaite and Henry T. Hodgkin, The Message and Mission of Quakerism (Philadelphia, Winston, 1912), 25-26.

Recent Entries

Bangladesh Blockade
My wife, Phyllis Taylor, and I feel very fortunate to have been a small part of the freedom struggle that resulted in the independence of Bangladesh. I am very sorry to say that, during the war of independence, our own beloved country, the United States of America, was secretly sending military supplies to Pakistan which were used to kill and oppress citizens of what was then called East Pakistan. …
Biblical Roots of Quaker Worship
When our hearts are knit together in powerfully gathered waiting worship do we not enter into living water and drink deeply from it? What deeper spiritual refreshment could be available to us than this drawing on the living water that Christ offers us every time we gather with Friends to wait expectantly upon this gift? …
Charles Marshall Epistle
Who in your assemblies sometimes feel a testimony for the Lord to spring to your hearts, keep your watch in the light, that so none stay behind, nor run before. But let all that open their mouths in the assemblies of the Lord's people do it as the oracle of God in the arising of the eternal power. For nothing can beget to God but what comes from the word of life that lives & abides forever; and nothing can refresh, strengthen or comfort that which is begotten by the word of life but what springs from the same. …