“… for this project: What concepts and stories inform and define a theology of liberation for siblings and families of people with mental illness? ”
Seeking More Than Dutiful Love: God’s Healing within the Context of Families Affected by Mental Illness will address a major contemporary U.S. problem neglected by scholars of theology and religious leaders within congregations and fill a significant gap in the literature focusing on the intersection of theology and mental illness. I will argue that traditional theological approaches to healing associate healing with curing, but in the context of families impacted by mental illness, healing is more synonymous with presence. Intentional presence involves listening, prophetic truth telling, and walking with so that isolation, stigma, and shame no longer define the social realities of people with mental illness, their siblings, or their larger family.
The purpose of the project is fourfold:
• to draw upon anecdotal data and describe and examine the impact of mental illness on the family system, particularly siblings;
• to draw upon empirical data and examine the context for care in the US and explore how the financial and caregiving burden is placed upon individual families;
• to offer a conceptual analysis of Christian ideas informing care for people with mental illness within a larger family system;
• and, to develop a constructive and liberating theological response to mental illness from a progressive feminist theological perspective.
This project draws upon my own personal experience, but I will not limit my exploration and research to my own experiences. My intention is to create a larger community of dialogue from which to draw upon for stories and anecdotes to include in the book.