Only a God Who Suffers, Dies and Rises Can Help

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from his prison cell, Here is the decisive difference between Christianity and all religions. Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world: God is the deus ex machina. The Bible directs man to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.[1] While it might appear counterintuitive to some, this conviction about God’s suffering was a sustaining power for Bonhoeffer in his imprisonment at the end of his life. God … [Read more...]

Jesus Heals Trauma Victims through Suffering. Will We Share in His Struggle?

We all experience trauma in one way or another in life, even Jesus. But he did not ever play the victim card. He was victorious over the trauma of his passion and crucifixion in his resurrection and ascension from the dead. As victorious, he is able to heal us of our own trauma.I don’t believe in a moralistic therapeutic deistic God, but I do believe in the triune God—Father, Son and Spirit—who is morally good and who enters into our struggles and heals us of trauma. In fact, the God revea … [Read more...]

On the Front Lines: Trauma and Resilience in Global Missions

It is very easy for us in the United States to become insular, as we focus on coping with trauma here at home. The church in America is no exception. As a result, we may not be attentive and sensitive to the trauma Christians face across the globe, including missionaries. I reached out to a veteran missionary with Wycliffe who will be presenting at an interdisciplinary and multidimensional conference for New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary on Saturday, March … [Read more...]

How Do You Break Free From Trauma? Part 1

How do you break free from trauma? That’s not an easy question to answer, nor an easy thing to do. It’s like trying to break free from a prison cell.Before trying to offer an answer to the question, it would be good to define “trauma.” The American Psychological Association defines “trauma” in this way: Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpred … [Read more...]

Jesus Builds Bridges & Tears Down Walls. How About Us?

Jesus built bridges, not walls. Although people stumbled over Jesus and were divided in their opinions over him, the debate often centered on his bridge-building practice and claim to be God’s reconciling agent in the world.At Jesus’ death, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). He tore down the dividing wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14). There is no longer a division between Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave or free. They are now on … [Read more...]

9/11 Is Still with Us Everyday—But How?

As I reflect upon the current cultural trauma politically and socially, I cannot help but wonder how much the extremely traumatic events of 9/11 have shaped America for the long-haul. In view of such musings, I searched online and located this article, “How the Pain of 9/11 Still Stays with a Generation.” It was written and published at The Conversation on 9/9/16 by Dana Rose Garfin, Research Scientist, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine. Here are some … [Read more...]

Jesus Knows No Bounds

The Urban Dictionary defines “knows no bounds” as “An idiom that means something or someone that possesses no limits and will go the extra mile no matter what.” Therefore, that faith may find in Christ a solid ground of salvation, and so rest in him, we must set out with this principle, that the office which he received from the Father consists of three parts. For he was appointed both Prophet, King, and Priest; though little were gained by holding the names unaccompanied by a knowledge of the e … [Read more...]