1st Edition

A Theology of God-Talk The Language of the Heart

By J. Timothy Allen, Harold G Koenig Copyright 2002

    Use this common coping mechanism to help people respond to crises!

    This thoughtful book offers a fresh theological interpretation for the ways people talk about God in times of crisis. A Theology of God-Talk: The Language of the Heart probes the meaning behind phrases like “It must have been God’s will” and “The Lord took Uncle Harry.” Though many caring professionals dismiss such talk as insensitive or irrational, these phrases offer powerful clues to the speaker’s personal religious feelings.

    A Theology of God-Talk demonstrates the ways that God-talk moves the sufferer through the grief and doubt of the crisis. By recognizing the ways God-talk resembles myth, apocalyptic tale, tragedy, story, and even prayer--all literary categories--the caregiver can begin to help sufferers rewrite their personal narratives in the wake of tragedy.

    A Theology of God-Talk examines the crucial issues of God-talk, including:

    • common false assumptions about it
    • the theology of God-talk
    • interpretations and misinterpretations
    • how to glean counseling insights from God-talk
    • differing stances for sufferers and survivors of tragedy
    Bringing together psychology, theology, and narrative theory, this insghtful and sensitive book offers new ways of looking at this common reaction to crisis. A Theology of God-Talk is an instant classic and an essential resource for pastors, chaplains, therapists, grief counselors, and theologians.

    • Preface and Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
    • God-Talk As Reframing
    • Examples of God-Talk
    • Purpose of God-Talk
    • Methodology for Interpreting God-Talk
    • God-Talk As the Tension Between Belief and Reality
    • Chapter 1. Typical Responses to God-Talk
    • The Christian Century
    • Madeline L’Engle
    • Martin Marty
    • C. S. Lewis
    • Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
    • Chapter 2. Theology, Myth, and Imagination in God-Talk
    • John Macquarrie’s God-Talk
    • The Exclusion of Myth in Theology
    • Myth and the Religious Imagination
    • Chapter 3. God-Talk and the Storms of Life
    • Responses to Storm-Talk
    • Spiritual Dynamics of Survivors
    • Biblical Examples of God-Induced Storms
    • Storms As Agents of God’s Plan
    • Chapter 4. God-Talk As Myth
    • God-Talk, Myth, and the Confrontation with Evil
    • An Exploration of Myth
    • The Biblical Creation Myth
    • Chapter 5. God-Talk and Apocalyptic
    • What Is Apocalyptic?
    • Where Does Apocalyptic Come From?
    • The Bias Against Apocalyptic Language
    • How Apocalyptic Works in Pastoral Care
    • Biblical Images for Pastoral Apocalyptic Interpretation
    • Conclusion: Genres of Faith
    • God-Talk and the Genre of Tragedy
    • God-Talk and the Genre of Prayer
    • God-Talk and the Genre of Story
    • Notes
    • Index
    • Reference Notes Included


    J. Timothy Allen, Harold G Koenig