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The condition of stuck is a condition well known by pastoral caregivers and leaders. In When All Else Fails, Wayne Menking argues that the way out of stuckness is not through the acquisition of faddish techniques, but through a deep rethinking of our pastoral vocation and what our pastoral work is to be about. Pastoral care and leadership are not indistinguishable, just as priestly work can never be separated from prophetic work. They are always one and the same. Pastoral care and leadership, then, are not about helping people relieve their anxiety through the offering of palliative comfort, but rather helping people to engage the powers that have hold of their life so as to leave what is old for what is new. In this engagement, the caregiver will always encounter powers against which niceness and unconditional love will not work. Using biblical images and narratives that depict God as a deeply empathic and compassionate God, yet one who is never adaptively sympathetic, Menking asserts that pastoral caregivers and leaders must shed their niceness and adaptivity so as to employ their God-given power if they are to help people effectively leave what is old for what is new.
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Wayne L. Menking currently directs the Texas Health Resources Department of Clinical Pastoral Education in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. His clinical and teaching positions have included Associate Director of Pastoral Care at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Director of the Ministry Development Center of the Southwest, and Director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest. He is a Certified CPE Supervisor in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.Review:
A must-have book for local pastors, CPE supervisors and students, and all who have the potential to find themselves 'stuck.' Menking uses Friedman's creative work as a platform to launch out into the world of pastoral care and leadership where so many do find themselves stuck and the result is burnout. His use of stories from his practice, biblical tradition, and theological heritage serve to push one to look deeper into oneself. --David C. Johnson, President, The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
This book will change your approach to pastoral care. Menking challenges the concept of pastoral care as passive listening or making people feel comfortable. Drawing upon Friedman, Menking shows how sympathy sabotages recovery and a failure of nerve leaves everyone stuck. Instead, he proposes that caregiving is leadership. A theologian of the cross harbors no illusions about our condition. As a people of the resurrection we look death in the eye, and invite people to a new reality. --Michael Rinehart, Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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