Barbara Blodgett, director of supervised ministries at Yale Divinity School, has written what may be the best book yet on the crucial issue of pastoral trust. She defines trust as an act, a practice, something that we choose to do in relationship. But she doesn’t rely only on abstract definitions. She skillfully probes the nature of trust, using a couple of novels and drawing on the work of philosopher Niklas Luhmann.

In trust, Blodgett explains, we hand over to someone we consider trustworthy something of value for safekeeping. In trust, we “prune the future” to reduce our vulnerability, to prevent some of the scary things that can happen between human beings. To trust someone else is to risk being vulnerable to another. To be trusted is to be given power by another. Those three words—risk, vulnerability and power—crop up throughout Blodgett’s book.


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