The discipline of pastoral theology has been in ferment for more than a decade. Scholarly works offering new vistas have broadened the conception and practice of pastoral and congregational care. Though many features of the old clinical model remain—the emphasis on nurturing empathic relationships, the attentiveness to "lived experience" and to dynamic and developmental process—the new outlook rejects or modifies the individualism, clergy-centeredness and attention to intrapsychic conflict in that approach. It focuses instead on social and cultural diversity, inclusiveness, gender, race, class and ethnicity. Increasingly, the recent material is also more explicitly and significantly theological.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).