So declares Elaine Heath in Trauma-Informed Evangelism, aiming to recover the God of love from the structures of hate that pervade Christian communities in America today. In their new guide, she and Charles Kiser work toward bringing this reformation to fruition through ministering specifically to the spiritually traumatized.
Over the course of their study, Kiser and Heath amplify the voices of those who suffered misogynistic, racist, or homophobic abuse at the hands of the church. While carefully listening to these stories, Kiser and Heath bring them into conversation with the passion and resurrection of Jesus. Engaging with womanist and liberation theology, they see in the crucifixion a God who does not valorize suffering but shares the experience of the traumatized. Ultimately, this theodicy leads them to propose a new evangelism—one based not on fear and coercion but on witnessing the unconditional love of God.
Timely, theologically informed, and eminently practical, Trauma-Informed Evangelism will serve as a formative guide for church leaders and students seeking to aid trauma survivors in their communities. Discussion questions conclude each chapter.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Less Ready Than I Realized Part One: Disordered Imagination 1. The Pain of Our Neighbors 2. Understanding Spiritual Abuse and Trauma 3. Mediating Narratives of Supremacy 4. Healing the Wounds of Christendom Part Two: Healing Imagination 5. Jesus, the Trauma Survivor 6. Where Was God? 7. Restorative Images of God 8. Educating Trauma-Informed Leaders Part Three: Embodied Imagination 9. Co-Witnesses with Christ 10. Flipped Hospitality 11. Contemplative Evangelists Epilogue: Communities of Belonging
Charles Kiser is a pastor and theologian with Storyline Christian Community in Dallas, Texas, a network of missional communities he helped to form. He is passionate about creative expressions of Christian community, contemplative spirituality, and healing spiritual trauma. Kiser has a DMin in Contextual Theology from Northern Seminary and serves as a faculty member of Neighborhood Seminary.
Elaine Heath is the author of eleven books and numerous articles, the most recent books being Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves (and Others) (Birch & Alder, 2021), coauthored with her sister, Jeanine Heath-McGlinn. She formerly served as Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University, where she was also professor of missional and pastoral theology, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Heath cofounded two nonprofits: Missional Wisdom Foundation, and Neighborhood Seminary, a contextualized model of missional theological education for laity. Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry. She currently lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian community and farm in rural North Carolina where she serves as abbess.
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