A Ministry Of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, And The Law

Hardcover | August 20, 2014

byWinnifred Fallers Sullivan

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Most people in the United States today no longer live their lives under the guidance of local institutionalized religious leadership, such as rabbis, ministers, and priests; rather, liberals and conservatives alike have taken charge of their own religious or spiritual practices. This shift, along with other social and cultural changes, has opened up a perhaps surprising space for chaplains—spiritual professionals who usually work with the endorsement of a religious community but do that work away from its immediate hierarchy, ministering in a secular institution, such as a prison, the military, or an airport, to an ever-changing group of clients of widely varying faiths and beliefs.

In A Ministry of Presence, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan explores how chaplaincy works in the United States—and in particular how it sits uneasily at the intersection of law and religion, spiritual care, and government regulation. Responsible for ministering to the wandering souls of the globalized economy, the chaplain works with a clientele often unmarked by a specific religious identity, and does so on behalf of a secular institution, like a hospital. Sullivan's examination of the sometimes heroic but often deeply ambiguous work yields fascinating insights into contemporary spiritual life, the politics of religious freedom, and the never-ending negotiation of religion's place in American institutional life.

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Most people in the United States today no longer live their lives under the guidance of local institutionalized religious leadership, such as rabbis, ministers, and priests; rather, liberals and conservatives alike have taken charge of their own religious or spiritual practices. This shift, along with other social and cultural changes,...

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is professor and chair in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, where she is also affiliated faculty in the Maurer School of Law. She is the author or editor of several books, including The Impossibility of Religious Freedom, and coeditor of Politics of Religious Freedom, forthcoming from...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:August 20, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226779750

ISBN - 13:9780226779751

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: US Law and Religion Today
 
One / Spiritual Governance
 
Two / The Chaplain
 
Three / Credentialing Chaplains
 
Four / Chaplains and the Constitution
 
Five / A Ministry of Presence
 
Afterword
Appendix: Armed Forces Chaplains Board Endorsers
Selected Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“In this elegantly written and closely argued work, Sullivan shows that chaplains of all faiths in prisons, hospitals, and the military today find themselves at the nexus of forces that aim to make them into ‘priests of the secular,’ whose role it is to insure spiritually healthy and well adjusted prisoners, patients, and soldiers—as spiritual well-being is determined by the state and circumscribed by the courts. A Ministry of Presence is essential for understanding what has become—and what is becoming—of ‘religion’ in the United States today.”