Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teaching college/seminary theology next semester? Need a ToB book?

I was politely reminded by my own campus bookstore that book lists for Spring courses are due at the end of this month.


If you are in the same boat, I humbly ask you if you want to consider using Theology of the Body, Extended.  I'm a teacher at heart--and this book was created to contribute to a conversation, but also for classroom use.  The first chapter is an introductory review of the literature--mostly, what makes John Paul II's Theology of the Body "tick"--and the next chapters consider what it would look like to apply ToB insights to the foundational human experiences of giving birth, living impaired, and dying.  It is a theological anthropology with a definite pastoral edge for those teaching seminarians or pastoral theologians, and the tone is "readable academic" enough to be used in a college level theology course.

The book has also been of real interest to those working in the Theology of Disability and those doing hospice work.

If you are interested, you can read the first chapter and learn how to buy the book here.  The exam copy policy is here.  And if the book doesn't quite suit for your classroom use, I know Lectio Publishing would be thrilled if you could get your university or seminary library to order the book as a resource for their research.  As a "New Kid on the Block" publisher, they are in the midst of creating those institutional connections.  You could help them out!

Thanks, everyone!

--Susan Windley-Daoust

My Obligatory Synod on the Family Post

A few people have asked me my opinion on the Synod on the Family occurring in Rome this week and next.   I'll admit I have been quiet in part because of being sick with the flu, revising a book, and generally being swamped with work and (ironically!) family.  But...synods do not lend themselves to "breaking news."  It's a time for reflection and consultation, for checking in as a global Church.  While it is truly wonderful that there is a synod currently devoted to this issue, it seems appropriate to me that what I what to say on this subject, I said two years ago...and in more depth in the Theology of the Body, Extended book:

What happens if  we lose the "Family as Sign"?

I would only add one point to that post: the reason so many people want to claim the word family is because it is primordially important.  It is the core social group of our society, and created by God as such.  The reality that people want to name social groups as "families" that stretch (at best) the definition is a backhand way of acknowledging that the idea of family is primordially important, and of high value.  This point gives me sympathy for people who are accused of trying to "hijack" the langauge: they recognize the primordial expression of love and community, and they want it as well.  Maybe not in the best ways.  But, deep down, they recognize the goodness of family.  After all, people who grow up in dysfunctional families usually go to great lengths to create or name a new family (a gang, a school, a clique, a sexual relationship started too young, etc.).

I hope the synod speaks truth in love as to how to recognize the goodness of the sign of the family...and encourages us all to live it honestly, supporting families who are struggling.  There are many, and I would surmise every family struggles at one point.  I hope the synod points to the sign and gives families needed hope, courage, and concrete help in living their vocation as domestic church.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A New Book....

Hello. everyone!  My silence is more than being reflective or generally busy.  I have been writing a new book!  (Explains the circles under my eyes too....)

I'm in the final stages of a draft of what I am calling Giving and Receiving Birth: a spiritual theology of childbirth.  I have my spiritual director hat on, and am offering Catholic women a way to reflect prepare for and reflect upon their childbearing as a sign that points to God.  After all, if the body was created as a "pre-given language of self-giving and fruitfulness," (Waldstein) childbirth is a privileged place to reflect upon our life as we participate in the Holy Spirit.  He is, after all, the Lord and Giver of Life.

I address this in some academic depth in Theology of the Body, Extended...but this is angled more specifically to new mothers.  The book is broken into small chapters meant to serve as daily musings on how to "perceive" the spiritual nature of childbirth, stage by stage, with spiritual exercises and reflections.

To that end, here is a very short reflection that I just cut.  (I cut it because it had been covered elsewhere in the book, and better.) It gives you a flavor of the book to come, with more birth stories to flesh things out.  Enjoy... and anticipate more coming!

Preparing to give birth: how can I pray in and through unexpected complications?This is for women who have not yet given birth, but are using this book to pray through their pregnancy.  Although we’ve spent time considering what the signs of birth look like, according to broad patterns, it’s best to be honest: not all births fit the pattern.  Most do, but some don’t.  What do you do then?

Remember the three spiritual keys in the process: 1) Give God permission to work in your life and relax, 2) Cooperate with God’s intention to realize your motherhood through your body now (be ready to give), and 3) Yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  When the birth process seems to throw you a curve ball--the unexpected--it is time to lean on yielding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

It sounds so easy, but it may not be.  At best these “curve balls” can be confusing and disorienting.  At worst they can be frightening.

Remember these things:
1)      It is wise to ask the Holy Spirit to help your medical team and other supports offer good advice and make good decisions for you and the baby.
2)     Sometimes people pray in a way I call “wrapping prayer”: you ask the Holy Spirit to wrap you and the baby in His protection.  You can imagine this as you like, including being covered in cloak.  You may even bring, or re-purpose, a blanket or shawl to be used in this way, as a reminder.  Scripture has many examples of using clothing as a form of spiritual protection.3)     Often the Holy Spirit is called the Sustainer, and that may be most appropriate now.  Pray, or have your husband or doula pray, for His sustenance and protection.
4)     Listen, or if you cannot listen, have your husband and/or doula listen.  What is the medical team saying?  What are the medical options in moving forward?  You can only make the best decision you can under the circumstances; God and no one else expects any more than that.  You can ask for peace as a sign of a good decision, and often it is given.  But if the decision needs to be made quickly, do it, and leave it in the hands of God.

Whatever happens, God is present.  God loves this child and you.  Whatever happens, that never changes.  He will give you what you most truly need.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My daughter's review of Theology of the Body, Extended

I'm back from the Theology of the Body Congress, and I had a great time.  It was a moving event and I really encourage people to go and check it out--I heard talk that this could become an annual event.  In any case, I also was really affirmed by people who had read the book and loved it (hey, their words, not mine) and people who were very interested in reading it.  Janet Smith even gave it a kind plug in her keynote!  But the best review came from my daughter at home, who spontaneously wrote this review while I was gone. She recently turned nine.

(Click to enlarge)

How awsome mom's book is. Moms book is the book you want. I thing [think] everyone shoud have one. If you read one setenc of it you will not stop reading it. Mom's book is like having your favorit treat. Mom's book will help you learn about Jesus and the trinidy. Plus it is inthooseastic [enthusiastic]. Why do you think it got published? because it's the best book ever! Plus Dad hase published a lot of books too. I think everyone should have his books too! All of my family's books are cool and awesome!

Well, my week is made!  Plus I laughed for hours.

If you want to buy it, check out the "buy the book" tab on top of this blog.

If you want to review it, Amazon, Goodreads, and IBooks are open 24 hours and accept reader reviews anytime.

Peace and all good, everyone.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Last day for the giveaway!

...through Goodreads.  If you are interested in winning a copy of the book, hurry up and put your name in!  Follow the link to Goodreads and they'll tell you how.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Theology of the Body, Extended by Susan Windley-Daoust

Theology of the Body, Extended

by Susan Windley-Daoust

Giveaway ends July 12, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, July 7, 2014

See you at the Theology of the Body Congress, July 9-11

Theology of the Body Congress

If any of the folks reading this blog are attending the Theology of the Body Congress in Phillie this week, let's meet!  It's fun to have these email and social media conversations, but even better when we can put names to faces and meet in person.  If you are not attending, I hope to be tweeting it.  My handle is @ironiccatholic (named after my humor blog).  See you there...?

FYI: a couple of people have asked if the book will be for sale at the conference.  The exhibit tables are really expensive to rent, so, no.  But I will have 5-6 of the signed copies with me, if you want to buy them. They are $25; just talk to me at the conference.  You can even use your smart phone or tablet to order it in my presence, using a credit card, through .  The wonders of technology!  (You can use that link to order it for me to send to you, as well.)

The book is also for sale as an ebook at IBooks, for $15.99.

It's also at Lectio Publishing, and other online retailers (like the one named after a very, very large river), for the regular retail price.  If you are a professor, see Lectio's site for their exam copy policy.

Hope to hear some great speakers and have phenomenal conversations in Phillie!