TOO OFTEN WE BELIEVE THAT WHEN PHYSICAL HEALING OCCURS, MENTAL HEALING NATURALLY FOLLOWS, AND THAT WITH TIME, ALL WOUNDS HEAL. SUCH IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE, HOWEVER. VIOLENCE OFTEN CUTS SO DEEPLY INTO OUR MINDS THAT SURFACE HEALING COVER IT OVER AND, HIDDEN AWAY, ALLOW IT TO EXPAND. THE BALMILY WORK OF THEOLOGY AND OF RELIGION IS TO UNCOVER AND MEND SUCH WOUNDS. AND WHAT MEDICINE DOES THIS? HEALING LIES AS MUCH, IF NOT MORE, IN THE STORIES WE TELL AND THE GESTURES WE OFFER AS IN THE DOCTRINES WE PREACH.
Serene Jones, Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World
It is difficult to articulate both the ferocity and ubiquity of trauma and human suffering in the world. Whether we are talking about hunger, war, sexual violence, abuse, neglect, and disease... suffering is everywhere and it is ruthless.
In a world filled with immense pain and suffering, with forms of trauma and human suffering caused by violence as well as the unavoidable realities of life, it is time for Christian theologians and leaders to better understand and reflect on the nature of trauma and human suffering both in the world as a whole and within our own communities of faith particularly. As the single, universal human experience, the value of trauma and human suffering as a place of theological reflection cannot be understated. We are continuing to learn the deep physiological, emotional, psychological, and spiritual implications of trauma. And these emerging understandings are in need of deep and conscious theological reflection.
It is the contention of my project that the Christian tradition has immense resources to speak to the pervasiveness and consequences of trauma and human suffering, as well as to nurture and create communities of faith and larger societies which are able to both prevent and prove resilient in the face of trauma and human suffering.
By employing an interdisciplinary approach and seeking to integrate what we can learn in the various worlds of trauma studies, epigenetics and biology, psychology, philosophy, and theology among others, I hope to offer an initial sketch as to the shape and focus of a Trauma-Informed Ecclesiology.