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God’s Child: A New Imagination in Trauma Healing


Childhood trauma severely limits one’s imagination of the self and the world, causing victims to define themselves by their past experiences. Central to the healing process is a restructuring of one’s imagination of self and the world. In her book Trauma and Recovery, the psychiatrist Judith Herman describes hope as the final stage of recovery for people who have suffered long-term... Read More

Tweeting the Impossible Forgiveness: Some Resources from Continental Philosophy for Thinking about Charleston, Mercy, and Social Media


On Wednesday, June 18, in Charleston, South Carolina, a tight-knit group of black men and women at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church welcomed a young white man to pray and read with them at their weekly Bible study. As they were wrapping up, the white man stood, announced his racist rationalizations, and shot at them. He killed oiine: Susie Jackson, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton,... Read More

A Theological Aesthetic of Dissonance: Trauma, Lament, and the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross


The artist cannot pass lightly over the disorder of the creation without being guilty of colossal self-deception and becoming utterly irrelevant to the needs of a broken and torn world. —Jeremy Begbie, Voicing Creation’s Praise A number of years ago, I attended a recital by the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. She began with Anton Webern’s Four Pieces, op. 7, written in 1910.... Read More

Navigating the Crisis of Movement: Rupture, Repetition, and New Life


To speak of trauma is always to speak too late. Trauma is something we do not see coming. Consider philosopher of neuroplasticity Catherine Malabou’s definition: “The word ‘trauma’ in Greek means ‘wound’ and derives from titrosko, which means ‘to pierce.’ Trauma thus designates the wound that results from an effraction—an ‘effraction’ that can be physical (a... Read More

An Apocalyptic Climate


There is coming a day, Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, when the sky, the earth, and the sea will be filled with signs of terror, anguish, and destruction, omens of an unbearable future. It is written that “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,” “the heavens will be shaken,” and the peoples of the earth will look with terror “at the roaring sea and... Read More

Queers in the Borderlands: Rahab, Queer Imagination, and Survival


The story of Rahab begins early in the Joshua narrative. As the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan River, they launch their conquest on Canaan by sending spies west. Two spies stay with Rahab in Jericho and she protects them from capture by hiding them on her roof and deceiving the Jericho authorities. Rahab later lowers the spies to safety and asks for her family’s protection... Read More

The Spirit’s Witness: An Interview with Shelly Rambo


The theologian Karl Barth admonished Christians to pray with “the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.”[1] Shelly Rambo, the author of Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining and a professor at Boston University, might add that our ways of doing theology must be responsive to the human suffering and trauma we encounter in those headlines or in the troubled faces... Read More

Birdman and the Search for Meaning


Each year I aim to see all of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I fell a bit short of that goal this year, but I did see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) at one of my favorite independent theaters in Denver.[1] In February, Birdman won the top prize at the Oscars in a race that was quite tight. As a philosopher specifically interested in existentialism,... Read More

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Theodicy, Trauma, and Divine Love


Recently, I sat in a circle of students who had just read Eleanor Stump’s chapter on the book of Job in her seminal work on theodicy, Wandering in Darkness. In that chapter, Stump walks the reader through each trying moment of the story, including the conversation between God and Satan that paves the way to Job’s distress. She presents a compelling interpretation in which every... Read More

A Birdman Habitat: Heroics and the Mundane


Birdman doesn’t shy from eccentricity.[1] Indulging a comic side largely absent in earlier work like Babel and Biutiful, director Alejandro González Iñáritu has created a world in which characters strut through Times Square in their underwear and order tanning beds delivered to their dressing rooms. The auteur’s tendency toward magical realism results in a liberal display... Read More