Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our intentions for The Apostle Paul and Post Traumatic Stress, From Woundedness to Wholeness

Beyond our hope of an audience of sufferers from PTSD, lies another set of intentions. Hopefully, your motivations as a reader may match ours.

The earliest of our intentions was to motivate support groups for sufferers in local churches. This was particularly true for small churches in small towns, where so much of the military draw. We especially hoped that in forming and publicizing these particular groups there would be a reaching out into their communities by churches in fresh ways. We also hoped to educate church goers about PTSD. There are undoubtedly many silent sufferers in these same congregations and our hope was, and is, to help them moderate their pain by being able to share it with significant others. There are also different generations of veterans in congregations and they very well have never shared with – and supported – one another. So many widows, so many wives.

In the line of after thought, pastors make a lot of calls in a lot of places and hear a lot of stories. We would so like to know that some of them were asking, “Have you read…? I think you would like it.” From personal experience, I would say it also doesn’t hurt to have some fresh sermon material every once in a while…

The second concern became apparent as our manuscript matured. It could usefully serve as a tool by chaplains in many settings: military, hospitals, prisons. Out of our own learning experiences we would love it if some advanced clinical pastoral education groups were using it.

We did not think of it until our daughter-in-law got involved in it, but it makes a lot of sense. She is working on a federal grant to reduce dropouts in her college. Our hunch is that a lot of those who make a try at college and fail to complete, are those who are suffering from the stress arising out of highly unfortunate past experiences. She has set up a meeting with us and the woman in charge of helping potential dropouts stay in school. I am speculating – and you may have some thoughts here – that if a college chaplain offered a discussion group it might draw the very kind of students that need it. A college professor in Religious Studies, who had such a course and publicized such a text as ours, might very well have some surprising sign-ups. Even in seminaries.

Again, an after thought, these ideas would be helpful here in the United States, but perhaps even more so overseas in populations racked with war and domestic terrorism. 

One thing is sure. This is a book about reaching out. And in.

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