The Author: John Swinton, Ph.D., B.D., RMN, and RNMH, worked as a nurse for sixteen years, specializing within the areas of psychiatry and learning disability. He also spent a number of years working within the field of hospital chaplaincy, laterally as a community psychiatric chaplain. He is presently employed as a lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.
In this book, John Swinton does the church an important service in his recovery of the relationship of friendship as being central to its life. For him, friendship is of the essence of the community of faith, a compassion that is truly encompassing. Swinton's recovery and enlargement of the concept of friendship takes us beyond an easy, cheap sentimentality. This is the careful and disciplined reflection of someone who has worked with the most vulnerable in society both as a chaplain and as a nurse. As such, 'From Bedlam to Shalom' is a major contribution to Practical Theology. (David Lyall, Senior Lecturer, Christian Ethics and Practical Theology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland) This is a book that every pastor should study and that every professional caregiver should read in order to promote a therapeutic bond that could develop between providers of mental health services and the church as a community of friends. Those who suffer from emotional and mental stress may never find complete freedom from such distress, but can surely experience health and humanity in a community where the image of God is embodied in loving and caring relationships. I long for what is described in this book to become the passion and purpose of the people of God in every place where Christ would be today. (Ray S. Anderson, Professor of Theology and Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California)