Here I want to offer briefly some definitions and clarifications about the ideas and language that will be employed throughout this project...

The grammar of, "trauma and human suffering" is important for a variety of theological and methodological reasons:

  1. Trauma typically is used to refer to the consequences and implications of an event and do not necessarily speak to the nature of the event itself. It is possible that two people experience the same event and only one is traumatized by it. 
  2. Trauma, particularly its psychological and physiological consequences vary across time, culture, and geography. This often has as much to do with worldview and culture as with genetics and environment. 
  3. Both trauma and human suffering have the capacity to complicate, compromise, or even obliterate our ability to respond faithfully to God and the world. 

It is important for this project that we speak about it as Trauma-Informed. This is crucial for two reasons:

  1. Trauma and Human Suffering function as a litmus test for theological reflection, not the basis for theological reflection. In other words, does the theological reflection under consideration make sense of emerging understandings of the consequences and implications of trauma and human suffering? If not, this is an indication that our reflection may need additional consideration or even possibly revision. 
  2. What we know about trauma and human suffering is continually evolving. Whether we look to psychology, neuroscience, epigenetics, or philosophy, we are continually learning new information which should inform our theological reflection.