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press | The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World
“For anyone curious about—or, for that matter, skeptical of—the potential of the Internet to shape and extend the ministry of the church, Deanna Thompson’s The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World is an essential read. This wise, elegant, and, most importantly, honest book weaves together Thompson’s own experiences as someone struggling through stage IV breast cancer, lucid biblical and theological inquiry, and cutting-edge research on technology to offer readers an insightful and practical guide to the digital revolution with their eyes—and hearts—wide open. Simply put, it is a gift to the church.”
David J. Lose
President, The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA
“In Deanna Thompson’s lyrical and moving exploration of virtual connectivity, we finally move beyond apocalyptic fears of digital dystopia or eschatological hopes of techno-salvation. Instead, we get a beautiful exploration of how digital technologies enable the oldest work of the church—building the body of Christ. This book is filled with the wisdom of personal experience, theological acumen, and pastoral insight. I trust that Thompson’s book will be the beginning of a much needed conversation—in seminaries, churches, and around dinner tables—about why and how we are present to each other in our digitally-mediated age.”
Assistant Professor of Modern Protestant Theology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
Principal Investigator, New Media Project Research Program at Fordham
“Nothing happens online that doesn’t happen offline. Yet we are prone to moral complaint and despair—especially in religious circles—about how the digital age is changing us. In this beautiful, engaging, and original work of twenty-first-century public theology, Deanna Thompson names and explores our digital lives as new spheres that also call us more deeply into community and care and illuminate the very meaning of incarnation. This is a much-needed book for all of us on the new frontier—and for our children, whom we are following and accompanying there as much as guiding.”
Executive Producer and Host, On Being and The Civil Conversations Project
President, Krista Tippett Public Productions
Excerpt from Ponderings on a Faith Journey (blog):
Reading biblical commentaries is a necessary but often daunting task for a preacher or bible teacher. his can be especially true if the focus is on textual or historical intricacies. This work is essential, but for the non-specialist a trip down such methodologies can mean getting lost in the weeds. When the biblical book under review is a book like Deuteronomy, which seem so distant from our own world, getting lost in the weeds can keep us from finding anything of true value. For the preacher and teacher, what is needed most are commentaries that show understanding of the theology and practices contained within those books, so that we might hear something of value for own time. The Belief Commentary series, edited by the late William Placher and Amy Plantinga Pauw offers us just such trove of riches. Deanna Thompson’s contribution to this series, focusing on Deuteronomy, is a splendid example of what can happen when a scholar engages a text with exegetical rigor but also theological sensitivity.
Thompson is Professor of Religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is Lutheran by confession. Yes, she does bring in Luther and acknowledges her indebtedness to her tradition, even as she is not captive to it. She is an excellent and thoughtful writer, making her commentary a joy to read…
“As one who preaches regularly and teaches both clergy and laity, I find the Belief series to be just the kind of resource I depend upon for my own preparation and to recommend to adults who wish to move carefully through a book of the Bible. The approach is scholarly rich, theologically nuanced, and accessible to the thoughtful reader.”
Patricia J. Lull
Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
“For the preacher who seeks to do justice not only to biblical texts in all their complexity, but also to the richness of historical and contemporary theology, the Belief series offers a vital new tool.”
Senior Minister, Second Congregational Church of Greenwich, United Church of Christ
“Again and again, the careful scholarship and liveliness of the witness of each author have not only brought theological insight, but also new frameworks for preaching and looking at my own life of faith. This is an excellent series, the best one I have found for parish ministry.”
Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, Crawfordsville, Indiana
“I highly recommend the Belief series! The authors are widely respected theologians who aid pastors and teaching by bringing the biblical text into creative theological conversation with contemporary concerns.”
Pastor, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, North Bethesda, Maryland
“Thompson stands in her cancer with rare, radical awakeness to its bracing truth. . . and gives us a moving, life-lived testimony to the graciousness of grace.”
President of Union Theological Seminary
“I learned so much from reading this book, as a pastor, friend and mother. Thompson’s insights are for everyone who has ever struggled with serious illness or loved someone who has, which means that this book is ultimately for everyone. If you have ever wondered, ‘What do I say?’ or ‘What do I do?’ this book offers wise counsel, with humor, intellect, and most of all, grace.
In Hoping for More, you get to eavesdrop on the intimate thoughts of someone worth listening to. In the end, Thompson’s deepest theological insights are not about cancer but about life itself.”
Senior Minister, First Congregational Church UCC, Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Author of This Odd and Wondrous Calling (2009) and Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony (2006)
“Deanna Thompson’s honest and faithful book shows how healing happens in community, and how blessing is found amid doubt and pain. This is a book of grace.
author of Take This Bread (2007) and Jesus Freak (2010)
“In Hoping for More, Deanna Thompson presents her extraordinary journey of diagnosis and treatment of stage IV breast cancer. Thanks to her strong personal voice, reading this book is like listening to a friend tell you about part of her life over a cup of tea. Of the many miracles in this book is Deanna’s ability to reflect on her faith, illness, and loved ones at the same time. She quietly offers a systematic theology enriched by living with cancer—making this book a valuable resource for those interested in the intersection of medicine and faith.”
Monica A. Coleman
Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions, Claremont School of Theology
Author of Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression (2012)
Excerpt from a review in Metro Lutheran:
“Thompson strikes a skillful balance in revealing her physical suffering; sharing the effect her cancer diagnosis has on her family members, colleagues, students, and friends and their responses; and communicating the reflections that living with cancer and a poor prognosis provoke in her concerning long held beliefs.”
Excerpt from a review by Swarma Thirumalai and M. S. Thirumalai from “Language in India: Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow”
“Deanna Thompson writes with strong faith, with empathy for all who suffer and with hope that comforts and heals. While the focus is on the patient and the disease, the patient’s relationship to God and what and who God means takes the center stage all through this journey of painful cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery process. Deanna’s language is very personal and simple and her faith is so strong that it would easily resonate with all the Indian patients.”
Excerpt from Public Theology:
Thompson joins a growing list of Protestant feminist theologians (e.g. Mary Solberg, Serene Jones) who seek to bring feminist theology into conversation with insights from the sixteenth century Reformers. She wishes to reclaim Luther’s theology of the cross as a resource for theology today in spite of the concern raised by many feminists that this symbol is inherently violent and oppressive to women. Indeed, Thompson posits that Luther’s theology of the cross can be a resource for those who want to “re-imagine and reform dominant, abusive versions of Christianity and render a more faithful, liberating portrait of life lived in response to the gospel message”
This book is a welcome addition both to contemporary feminist theology and the growing body of literature on the “theology of the cross.” Writing as a Lutheran, Thompson’s book will appeal most to Lutherans and others in the Reformation tradition, but it also will be of interest to those who find themselves on the divide between their feminist sensibilities and the church’s tradition. Readable and engaging, this text is recommended for use in upper level undergraduate and seminary courses.
Excerpt from Consensus:
For Lutherans immersed in the theology of the cross while insisting upon radical gender equality under the rubric of the Gospel, Deanna A. Thompson’s Crossing … is a must. Having pursued my spiritual journey as a “justification by grace al one through faith alone” Lutheran for the last fifty years, I find her book that breath of fresh air for which I have searched at least three of those five decades. I deem Dr. Thompson’s volume to be profoundly honest, profoundly engaging, profoundly challenging and profoundly faithful to both the Biblical and core traditions of our faith.
Excerpt from The Journal of Religion:
… Thompson contributes a direct, sustained dialogue between Luther’s own theology of the cross and a range of feminist concerns about the cross, and fleshes out the features of a feminist theologian of the cross.