Theology and Mental Health

The Distillery Season Six

What kind of theology would come to the forefront if we allowed the voices of those with mental health challenges to lead the discussion? For centuries, persons with mental health challenges have been misunderstood and ostracized within religious communities. What would it mean to seriously transform how we view, discuss, and treat those struggling with mental health as Christians? In this episode on The Distillery, co-host Shari Oosting sits down with John Swinton, professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen Scotland. In their conversation, they examine these questions and more, and discuss his new book, Finding Jesus in the Storm: the Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges.

Photo John Swinton


John Swinton is the professor in practical theology and pastoral care and chair in divinity and religious studies at the University of Aberdeen. For more than a decade he worked as a registered mental health nurse. He also worked for a number of years as a hospital and community mental health chaplain alongside of people with severe mental health challenges who were moving from the hospital into the community. In 2004, he founded the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. He has published widely within the area of mental health, dementia, disability theology, spirituality and healthcare, qualitative research, and pastoral care. He is the author of a number of monographs, including: Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness and Gentle Discipleship (Baylor Press 2017), Finding Jesus in the Storm: The spiritual lives of people with mental health challenges (Eerdmans 2020),  and Dementia: Living in the memories of God (Eerdmans 2012).  

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