When Tears Sing
By: William Blaine-Wallace
“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!” —Psalm 126:5
"William Blaine-Wallace writes with a prophet's eye, wisdom's soul, and a pastor's heart. When Tears Sing offers a poignant overture to lament and re-enter 'life-the-way-it-really-is' in order to reclaim who we are as a witnessing community still daring to imagine and create a future worth living." --Sharon G. Thornton, professor emerita, Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School
"Grief as prayer, lament as communal contemplation: Bill Blaine-Wallace invites us to embrace rather than escape pain in this wise, quiet, arresting text. Written in a warm, lyrical voice made resonant by an authentic and hard-earned pastoral imagination, the text functions as both devotional reading and constructive theology. It provides a compelling vision of what church can be and how relational practices can take us there. Generative reading for skeptics, laity, and pastors alike. Recommended." --Duane R. Bidwell, Claremont School of Theology
"When Tears Sing is at once scholarly and affectively devotional. Blaine-Wallace urges voices from many social positionalities -- racial, ethnic, sexual, gendered, and religious -- to speak for and among themselves in verse and through theological and psychological references." --Sue E. Houchins, Bates College
"This slim volume represents a distillation of the author’s breadth of experience in hospice and parish, opening and cleansing the wound of grief with a clinician’s skill and a chaplain’s care. He presents us with an image of the church not as the fixer of problems, but as companion and community with the grieving, finding a common space in which to live and die—and rise."--Tobias Stanislas Haller, Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, Anglican Theological Review
From his long experience in ministry and as a pastoral counsellor, and influenced by such luminaries as Daniel Berrigan and Flannery O’Connor, William Blaine-Wallace offers a fresh construction of lament as fundamentally relational. He asks, “If your tears could speak, what would they say?” When sorrow and suffering are voiced in community, solidarity emerges.
The art of lament is the act of bringing more of our lived experience into congregational and communal life. This book helps shift congregations away from more charity-based social service toward a more joyful embrace of our suffering world, transforming the lives of members and seekers and the greater community.
William Blaine-Wallace is an Episcopal priest and pastoral counselor. The author of Water in the Wastelands: The Sacrament of Shared Suffering, he has ministered in parishes, hospices, and in mental health and educational settings. He lives in Maine.
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