Where is God when one suffers? How may one be consoled? How do people understand their religious beliefs in relation to suffering? When they encounter genuine travail, do their religious convictions come into play? How are they modified or asserted?
Leonard Hummel takes three of the most important insights of the Reformation -- the doctrine of justification, the theology of the Cross, and the priesthood of believers -- to see how they have been reappropriated by Christians in contemporary pastoral settings. He examines the theology of consolation as formulated in the early Lutheran tradition and as practiced by contemporary Lutherans. He describes the "religious coping" of six believers who have suffered personal or social ills and how their capacity to cope was enhanced or affected by their belief. These vivid case studies are then used to illumine how pastoral theology and caregivers might bring traditional theological beliefs into a distinctive "lived theology."