Christian Couples Coping with Childlessness

Narratives from Machame, Kilimanjaro

By Auli Vahakangas

Christian Couples Coping with Childlessness

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  • ISBN: 9781606086520
  • Pages: 194
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2009
  • Retail Price: $24.00
Web Price: $19.20
Web Price: $19.20
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eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781606086520
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2009
  • Retail Price: $24.00
Web Price: $19.20
Web Price: $19.20
 

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Christian Couples Coping with Childlessness

Narratives from Machame, Kilimanjaro

By Auli Vahakangas

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781606086520
  • Pages: 194
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2009
  • Retail Price: $24.00
Web Price: $19.20
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781606086520
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 6/1/2009
  • Retail Price: $24.00
Web Price: $19.20
Web Price: $19.20
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

** Click here to review our ePub FAQ and policies.

About-

Children are the focus of marriage in African cultures. Marriage is considered full and functional only if the couple has children--in many cultures preferably a boy. Becoming a parent also contributes to one's full adulthood in the sense that childlessness blocks ascent towards full personal dignity as an adult person in the community. As a result, childlessness is often a major disaster for both of the spouses. It has social, economical, and personal consequences, quite often including divorce.

This book explores in depth how childlessness is perceived, dealt with, and coped with in two Christian communities in Machame on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Childlessness is approached through narratives of the spouses concerned and the members of their communities. Their stories reveal pain and courage, brokenness and strength, faithfulness and betrayal. Christianity presents itself in an ambiguous light, on one hand, pressuring spouses to keep up facades supporting oppressive structures. On the other hand, Christian faith provides childless couples with personal hope in the afterlife that the African traditional culture offers only to those with children.

This study proves that childlessness is not only a personal but also a communal problem. Childlessness and the fear of having no children contribute to family structures and sexual behavior. In this way, they have a considerable impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. However, this study reveals that the attitudes and practices towards marriage and children need not be petrified, but rather that traditions can, and do, change.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"We should be grateful to Auli Vahakangas for her research into this important area of human life. She addresses an issue that theologians have ignored for far too long. The narratives are engaging, the analysis brilliant, and the text conveys hope that harmful traditions can change."
--Kajsa Ahlstrand
Professor of Mission Studies
Uppsala University

"In her analysis of the dilemma of childless couples in a distinct cultural area of northern Tanzania, Auli Vahakangas provides a rich store of insights for all who suffer shame and ostracism. Her detailed research powerfully confirms Carl Rogers's famous dictum: What is most personal is most general."
--Brad A. Binau
Professor of Pastoral Theology
Trinity Lutheran Seminary

"Vahakangas's study explores childlessness among rural and urban Chagga in Tanzania. By means of model narratives, Vahakangas describes and analyses the experiences and coping strategies of childless men and women against the background of the intertwining contexts and values of traditional culture, Christianity and modernity, highlighting the implications for social and individual identity construction. A sensitive study that shows the complexity and challenges of pastoral care to Christian couples coping with childlessness in Tanzania. Well worth reading!"
--Martha Frederiks
Professor of Missiology
Utrecht University

Contributors-

Auli Vahakangas

Bio(s)-

Auli Vahakangas is Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She was previously teaching theology at Makumira University College, Tanzania.

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