Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Carrie Doehring, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Larry Graham

Third Advisor

Roy Wood


Clinical pastoral education, Gordon Kaufman, Healthcare chaplaincy, Interreligious spiritual care, Levinas, Medical ethics


Public healthcare institutions are increasingly culturally diverse, creating ethical challenges that arise from the complexities of competing values and beliefs. The ethical responsibility of chaplains to provide spiritual care in diverse healthcare contexts necessitates a re-visioning of deeply held beliefs and practices that prioritize togetherness and mutual understanding over engaging difference. Creative interruption as a theological metaphor for spiritual care can serve as a generative framework for engaging the cultural and religious other in the context of healthcare chaplaincy and education, building on the recent work of pastoral theologians concerned with intercultural care (Doehring, 2010, 2012, 2015; Lartey, 2003, 2006). A critical correlation method brings key concepts from the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and theologian Gordon Kaufman into dialogue with intercultural and interreligious clinical vignettes. Insights from Levinas provide a philosophical foundation for conceiving of care as interruptive and necessarily dislocating for the chaplain and spiritual care educator. Engaging the field of applied Levinasian theory, the phenomena of alterity; the face of the other; and the saying and the said are explored in the context of spiritual care vignettes. The humanizing role of chaplaincy includes a consideration of making the invisible visible and privileging the wisdom of love over the medical system’s love of wisdom. Gordon Kaufman’s theology of God as creativity rather than Creator further contributes to a conception of care as a creative and interruptive coming-to-being. Creative interruption as a metaphor for spiritual care engages a Kaufmanian understanding of creativity as the often serendipitous emergence of the new and novel through the ongoing creative and interruptive evolution of the world. Creative interruption as a guiding metaphor invites a consideration of the interruptive movement and mystery of creativity as generative and necessary for spiritual care and spiritual care education. Creative interruption as a generative metaphor can inform spiritual care as a dynamic and emergent process by which the divine is made known through engagement with otherness.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jamie Beachy


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

165 p.


Theology, Religion, Psychology