Hope Deferred: Theological Perspectives on Reproductive Loss
A large portion of the American population experiences some form of reproductive loss. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 6.1 million Americans experience infertility (which represents 10% of the childbearing population). Additionally, approximately 25% of women of childbearing age will experience a miscarriage. In our estimation, the response of the Christian churches to reproductive loss has been theologically and, consequently, pastorally inadequate. We propose to redress this deficiency through work in the fields of constructive and practical theology.
Contemporary theologians have demonstrated the relationship between human experience and Christian theology (Tracy, 1975, 1978). They describe how a “sense of the immediate, immanent presence of God in and through our experience” presses us to “seek new theological visions” (Graff, 1995). This relationship has implications for both the constructive as well as the practical task of theology. It is incumbent upon theologians to explore how the particularities of human experience relate to an understanding of the human condition and Christian revelation. We propose to employ theological, historical, and hermeneutical resources for the purpose of incorporating the experience of reproductive loss into our wider understanding of “the mystery of God and the mystery of salvation” (LaCugna. 1991).
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