Dancing in the Dungeon
Dancing in the Dungeon: Suffering With Hopeful Joy for God’s Glory faces with quiet and courageous faith the challenges that come when one’s ministry leads to pain and suffering. By combining a honest portrait of his own experiences in ministry and his journey through suffering with the riches of the Scriptures, Ron Ethridge Jr. offers a practical guide to discovering God’s will, even in the depths of pain, so that one may respond to that discovery with joyful dancing.
In this resource, Ethridge offers accounts of his suffering in ministry and suggests passages from the Scriptures that can enable you to see God’s blessings and guidance in the midst of such circumstances. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and reflections that look in greater depth at particular theological questions.
If you have endured suffering in your life and wondered what God might make of your pain, if you know someone who turns to you for support in the midst of their trials, or if you desire to be reminded of the comfort and encouragement God offers to all people, then this guide can help you to learn the steps for dancing in joy, no matter what suffering life presents.
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I initially wrote Dancing In The Dungeon for my children Amy, Trey, and Britton as a resource when they one day experience difficult trials. Secondly, I wrote it to encourage all who struggle to strengthen their faith. It is my prayer that brothers and sisters in Christ will be able to “Count it all joy when they encounter various trials” by considering the comforts by which God comforted ME (2 Cor 1:3-4) in difficult times. Below are a few chapter titles…
- What God Can Do – Reflection: One Night From Hell
- A Theology Of Encouragement – Reflection: Satan’s Achilles Heel… Forgiveness
- Why Me, Why This, Why Now – Reflection: The Problem Of God And Evil
- When God Is Silent – Reflection: Before All Hell Breaks Loose
- Comfort When Betrayed – Reflection: Enemies As Emissaries of God’s Grace
- Comfort In Personal Failure – Reflection: Mind Over Heart
Dr. Timothy George:
Ron Ethridge is an ordained Baptist minister whose past service in the church follows a well-trodden trajectory. Brought up in the church, followed by undergraduate studies in a denominational setting, and then seminary at a fine theological school, Ron was ready to pursue a life of pastoral ministry in fulfillment of what he was sure was God’s calling on his life. Then, midstream, Ron found himself on the outside of the church looking in when he was asked to leave two of the churches he had been called to serve. Rather than precipitate a knock-down floor fight at the church business meeting, Ron decided to walk away.
Ron admits that he himself made mistakes along the way and that, in hindsight, he would do some things quite differently. This book is not about victimhood or retaliation. Rather, it is the anguished cry of a wounded shepherd, one who has come to understand that healing only happens in the broken places. Through Redemption Ministry, Ron Ethridge is now reaching out to all who are hurting with an emphasis on fellow ministers who find themselves the situation of conflict, and possibly termination, on that part of God’s flock they have been called to serve. Ron wants to come alongside his fellow struggling pastors and hurting Christians to offer encouragement and counsel.
There are certainly times when a minister should—and must—be removed from his place of service. But this should be done only in extreme circumstances, with careful deliberation, and with prayer and wise counsel offered by respected leaders within and beyond the local congregation. Too often today the pattern of forced pastoral termination does not meet these criteria. The landscape is littered with pastors and churches whose relationships have been severed in ways that can only make the devil smile.
Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School
Chairman of the Board, Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview
The problem of suffering has always haunted Christians. If you are a follower of Christ, why do you suffer? The answer to that age old question is not easy, but it may be obvious. Because we are followers of Christ, we experience suffering.
Ron Ethridge has transformed his story of dealing with suffering into a book which is a helpful guide for all of us. Dancing In The Dungeon is a personal story. Ron is very transparent in telling about those moments when he suffered most in life. He does so knowing that our God can use suffering for His glory. That is the theme of this book.
Dancing In The Dungeon is not only personal in nature, but Biblical in content and practical in application. As a fellow-sufferer, you find comfort and hope in the pages of this book. You will be encouraged to worship, pray and serve our Lord, even in the midst of suffering.
I am grateful that Ron Ethridge has shared his story and the redemptive lessons which can be learned from it. Experiences of suffering can be and should be a laboratory of learning for Christ followers.
Executive Director, Alabama Baptist Convention
We all go through hard times. As Ron Ethridge wisely reminds us, no one gets a free ride through life. That certainly includes pastors who serve in vocational ministry. If that’s the bad news, then the good news is that God uses those hard times for our good and his glory. Dancing in the Dungeon takes us to the ragged edge of life to show us that when we feel most forgotten, God is doing his best work in us. Of all the good things about this book, the best is that Ron brings us back again and again to the Bible so that we will discover what God has said about the hard times of life. Read it so that you will be equipped when your time comes to dance in the dungeon.
Dr. Ray Pritchard
President, Keep Believing Ministries
Author, An Anchor for the Soul, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, He’s God and We’re Not
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