Eventually all bodies break down; human life is finite—it’s a truth most people pretend not to know. Early in Caring Cultures: How Congregations Respond to the Sick, Susan Dunlap writes, “A congregation’s beliefs and practices regarding illness are, finally, a congregation’s treatment of finitude.” This elegant description of the theological meaning of illness is at the heart of Dunlap’s thoughtful and practical work.
Her thesis is simple: congregations possess a diversity of wisdom about caring for the sick, wisdom that is grounded in particular theological traditions and unique histories. This wisdom is expressed through what Dunlap calls belief-practices. Under standing the belief -practices of other traditions, Dun lap suggests, will enable congregations to enrich and strengthen their own ministry with the sick.