The Christian tradition does not shy away from trauma; rather, it moves into it by naming, addressing, and engaging its presence within the biblical narrative and the intersecting narratives of our lives. That God took trauma into God’s self in the death of Jesus frames this issue of The Other Journal, beginning in a sense with Jennifer Graves’s poem on the traumatic act of God giving birth and then extending to Hilary Jerome Scarsella, who investigates how theological responses to traumatic suffering—and God’s divine love for us—must not result for the traumatized in a loss of self. These are the spaces into which theology must venture if it is to touch the entirety of human reality.
Ken Gonzales-Day speaks about the power of using art to bear witness to an ineffable history of racial trauma in the western United States. He shows us how artists can offer forms of sharing, processing, and moving on from trauma through unspoken means.
Likewise, David Pettit, Brian Bantum, and others take us beyond the lexicon of traditional theology, demonstrating the ways in which traumatic experiences have the capacity to present surprisingly new, constructive opportunities through community and the possibility of trauma as a shared experience. In her interview with Chelle Stearns, Shelly Rambo speaks to us about the middle space—the generative zone where God resides—and Justin Randall Phillips’s essay aims to situate itself in that middle space, identifying helpful lessons in the wake of a cancer diagnosis.