I am a woman called to minister as a pastor in the body of Christ. My ministry journey is layered with men who called out my pastoral gifting and stoked the fire of my ministry. I find it especially sweet that the loudest voices of affirmation for my work are brothers who regularly cheer me on. They speak life to me. Their words breathe the oxygen of perseverance into my lungs when the journey seems impossible. They are my band of brothers.
It was the week of my final interview for ordination. I had turned in my paper on pastoral theology, passed one round of interviews at the conference level, and was headed into my interviews on the national level. I was taking a class that same week with fellow ministers, male and female, in various stages of the ordination process. It just so happened that those of us in the final stage in the class were women.
The oppression of women spans centuries and borders. In virtually every country and culture in the world, women have less-than-equal status to men and they are often relegated to subservient and submissive roles. Women suffer from domestic violence, job barriers, lack of control over their bodies, and fewer options for healthcare. They often do not have a voice in matters as broad as politics or as narrow as what happens within their own families.
As one might expect, much of the research in the area of wife abuse has been done by feminists, some of whom themselves have been victims of wife beating. They speak with an understandable bitterness and anger toward a society so insensitive that it only publicly acknowledged the plight of battered women decades after having established laws to prohibit the abuse of animals. And often they have given up on the hope that change will come through social institutions such as the church. Rather than seeing the church as part of the solution to the abuse of women, they almost unanimously perceive the church as a big part of the problem.
Adults in your church, small group, or other Christian organization are silently suffering the tragic consequences of having been sexually abused as children or youth. Why aren't they coming forward for help? Their reluctance may be related to wounds given by the faithful—religious people they trusted, who said things like "well, it wasn't rape" or "it's been thirty years—why is this such a big deal?" Such responses from people with religious authority deepen victims' need to shrink into anxiety, depression, and self-degradation. This book offers you the tools needed to undertake caring ministry to adults suffering in the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. Once you understand the scientific research on such topics as trauma memory, consequences of abuse, and forgiveness, you will appreciate how caring collaboration can create hope and healing. In these pages every reader will find helpful content that will take you from feeling out of your depth to knowing you are empowered to be an effective companion in God's transforming work in the lives of survivors of abuse.
Ursula King’s reader, Feminist Theology from the Third World brings together the diverse perspectives of women engaging in feminist theology, giving recognition and honor to the often absent or underrepresented voices of women of the Third World and women of color in the Unites States.