A Goodness I Cannot Explain, Catherine Stewart
Catherine Stewart

A Goodness I Cannot Explain

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“We found something.” With these words, a Presbyterian minister is thrust into a medical crisis: a tumor is pressing on her brain. Doctors cannot offer a preferred treatment plan: radiation and surgery are equally valid but carry vastly different risks and consequences. She herself must choose.

She plunges into a maze of medical research, but the analytical mode of Western culture cannot help her find peace in her decision. Instead, she is unwittingly led along an ancient prayer path called Lectio Divina, and transformed by inexplicable and repeated encounters with goodness. Still a community's shepherd in faith, she shoulders the question they too ask: “Can God be found here?” The maze becomes a labyrinth: a spiritual journey that brings her to a center that holds.

Her decision made, she undergoes treatment. “You must have been terrified,” a friend says. That is when the author realizes that her experience is unusual: she had not been afraid. How to explain that? This memoir recounts how her ideas of God and self are reshaped as she discovers a place of deep knowing and trust. Humbled and surprised, she experiences in her body the gospel she has preached for years.
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221 printed pages
Original publication



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