Spirituality // Theology

"Theologians Engaging Trauma" Transcript

Rambo, Shelly. “‘Theologians Engaging Trauma’ Transcript.” Theology Today 68, no. 3 (2011): 224–37.

A dialogue involving four theologians and their recent work on theology and trauma:
M. Shawn Copeland (MSC) // Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (Intersections in African American Theology)
Serene Jones (SJ) // Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World
Shelly Rambo (SR) // Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining
Mayra Rivera Rivera (MRR) // The Touch of Transcendence: A Postcolonial Theology of God

PRIMARY TAKEAWAYS:

What we are beginning to understand about trauma (e.g., Transgenerational trauma) is stretching our language and theological categories in ways that are important and complex.

Interesting dialogue excerpt:

MSC - "...I wanted to make solidarity a predicate of God, not just a metaphor. So when Jesus is doing what he was doing, God is solidarity."

MRR - "I wonder about the effects that this has in the way we see our own responsibility toward others. If it is "God's plan," in some sense, where does that leave the community, and the community's responsibility to be God-present? I'm much more comfortable thinking of divine solidarity through others, others who are called to be there. 

SJ - I reached a point in doing this trauma material where I was talking to a veteran about Vietnam and the notion of solidarity came up. He asked, "Do you think it helps one but to know that someone is suffering with you? That does not help at all." It doesn't actually, you know. Why do we think that the calculus of expanding the number of people whoa are suffering together somehow has a good associated with it?

MRR - But does solidarity mean that people are suffering with you, or just holding you? There might be no expectation that I'll "overcome" this crisis, but the experience is vastly different for everybody -- for that person dying and for those who are around her -- when she is accompanied and sustained by the love and courage of others.

SR - I returned to the questions of practical theology at the end of my book. I recall attending a church in New Orleans -- a community that lost a lot of members to Hurricane Katrina. The theologies that I find problematic were being enacted in the Sunday morning service. All of the traditional language was being used, but something else was going on. They're singing, "He gave me shelter from the storm" and I'm thinking, "No, God did not give you shelter from the storm!" And then this very thick atonement language emerged, and I imagined myself as a theologian saying, "This version of the atonement is not going to be a helpful theology for you in the aftermath of trauma!" Yet, if, as I say, pneumatology has an improvisational aspect to it, it does not allow us to operate with one account. Instead, I need to give account of the ways in which people witness to the complexities of human suffering, the ways they bring about life in the aftermath. I have to understand the ways in which I employ my own theology differently. And, so all of these seeming contradictions are present in that song, "He Gives Shelter from the Storm." It was sung in that church where so many people had fled and so many people had not come back, and there wasn't shelter. But there's something about the oldest traditions of singing that song that was also evoked; it was as if the spirit of the ancestors, the communion of saints, was rising up. I was really challenged to think about the kind of practices that transgress our simple theological interpretations. Can't this pneumatology really deal with the ways in which people are so complexly inhabiting the same theological language, that, on the surface, I could say "that's just bad theology"? And that's where I think practical theology came back at me, disrupting this assessment.  

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Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma
(Journal of Psychology & Theology, Special Issue, Winter 2012)

Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma: An Introduction

Aten, Jamie D., and Donald F. Walker. “Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma: An Introduction.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 255–56.

Child Abuse in the Church: A Call for Prevention, Treatment, and Training

Vieth, Victor I., Basyle J. Tchividjian, Donald F. Walker, and Katlin R. Knodel. “Child Abuse and the Church: A Call for Prevention, Treatment, and Training.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 323–35.

Earthquake in Haiti: Relationship with the Sacred in Times of Trauma

O’Grady, Kari A., Deborah G. Rollison, Timothy S. Hanna, Heidi Schreiber-Pan, and Manuel A. Ruiz. “Earthquake in Haiti: Relationship with the Sacred in Times of Trauma.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 289–301.

Future Directions for the Study and Application of Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma Research

Walker, Donald F., and Jamie D. Aten. “Future Directions for the Study and Application of Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma Research.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 349–53.

Religious Considerations and Self-Forgiveness in Treating Complex Trauma and Moral Injury in Present and Former Soldiers

Worthington, Jr., Everett L., and Diane Langberg. “Religious Considerations and Self-Forgiveness in Treating Complex Trauma and Moral Injury in Present and Former Soldiers.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 274–88.

The Lived Coping Experiences of South Mississippi and New Orleans Clergy Affected by Hurricane Katrina: An Exploratory Study

Leavell, Kari, Jamie D. Aten, and David Boan. “The Lived Coping Experiences of South Mississippi and New Orleans Clergy Affected by Hurrica Katrina: An Exploratory Study.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 336–48.

The Relationship between Religiosity, PTSD, and Depressive Symptoms in Veterans in PTSD Residential Treatment

Tran, Christy T., Eric Kuhn, Robyn D. Walser, and Kent D. Drescher. “The Relationship between Religiosity, PTSD, and Depressive Symptoms in Veterans in PTSD Residential Treatment.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 313–22.

Trauma, Attachment, and Spirituality: A Case Study

Maltby, Lauren E., and Todd W. Hall. “Trauma, Attachment, and Spirituality: A Case Study.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 302–12.

What Would Walther Do? Applying Law and Gospel to Victims and Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse

Vieth, Victor I. “What Would Walther Do? Applying Law and Gospel to Victims and Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse.” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 257–73.

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Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care

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Essential Books on God & Suffering (Theodicy)

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Forgiveness Therapy: A Clinical Intervention for Chronic Disease

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Hope, Modernity, and the Church: A Response to Richard Lennan and Dominic Doyle

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Post-Traumatic Ecclesiology and the Restoration of Hope

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Resilience, Theology, and the Edification of Youth: Are We Missing A Perspective

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Sexual and Intimacy Health of Roman Catholic Priests

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Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining (Book Review)

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Spirituality and Community in Times of Crisis: Encountering Spirituality in Indigenous Trauma Therapy

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Spirituality and Resilience in Trauma Victims

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Spirituality and the Current Adjustment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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Suffering and Open Theism: Atonement of Theodicy?

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The Church in Trauma at Worship

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Theodicy at the Margins: New Trajectories for the Problem of Evil

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Trauma and Theology - Shelly Rambo (SYLLABUS @ Boston University)

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Tsunami, Text and Trauma: Hermeneutics after the Asian Tsunami

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Understanding the Nature and Role of Spirituality in Relation to Coping and Health: A Conceptual Framework

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When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader

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