Be Not Anxious: Pastoral Care of Disquieted Souls

As any pastor knows, anxiety permeates church life and the work of pastoral care. Sometimes it seems as if the entire job of pastoring can be boiled down to a matter of managing anxiety: that of the pastor, individual congregants, various committees, sometimes the church as a whole. Throughout history, theologians from the Desert Fathers and Mothers through Martin Luther and right up to Paul Tillich in the 20th century wrestled with the meaning of anxiety and asked whether Christians can do away with it. Yet as informed as today’s church is by psychology and family-systems thinking, it is difficult to find recent in-depth theological examination of anxiety.

 

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