Attending to Care: A Pastoral Theological Response to Families Facing Disabilities
Annandale, Naomi Hope
Pastoral theological response to families facing disabilities must be shaped by a critically-understood concept of care that both clarifies disability experiences in families, church, and society, and is attentive to potential pitfalls in caring practices. This dissertation draws on mixed-methods research (qualitative, quantitative, and textual) to develop a realistic picture of families living with persons with disabilities, considering how family members experience and practice care at home, in the church, and in society. It develops a richer understanding of the often unspoken and even unconscious social and theological norms that guide everyday life with disabilities. It asks how church and society, through more critical attention to understandings and practices of care, might better help families to flourish. And finally, it seeks to contribute to deeper understanding about human beings as creatures of care and pastoral theology as a practice of care. Thus, the project has a three-fold agenda: attention to disability practices that encourage flourishing; attention to human experiences of care as a Christian practice; and attention to the discipline of pastoral theology as itself a practice of care.