Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back from a cruise, the headlines: Troops With PTSD Strain Resources, 10,000 New Patients Per Quarter Flood VA

see on
see book site also on the web
The Apostle Paul and Post-Traumatic Stress,
From Woundedness to Wholeness
by Robert and Annelie Collie

We’re home, it’s Saturday night. Tomorrow is a communion Sunday; it’s Annelie’s turn to chair the Deacons’ committee this month, so she’s in the kitchen cutting bread – while the clothes washer gets a final load. I had intended to post the third of the pre-written things I had done before we left. Can’t do, no way.

On the motel counter on the way back was a USA Today. I glanced at the headlines. I will do that Advent article after Christmas. If some preacher is hard up for a Twelfth Night’s devotional that might well help out.

Going back to that article, if you are a reader in the United States, you know what the commentator was talking about when we turned on the television for the evening news. “The budget must be cut.” “The government is too big” and on and on. Powerful contending forces, powerful challenging realities.

I deliberately stated, “in the United States,” because that is the reality of this blog. When I hit statistics and “audience,” there was a list for this week by number of hits: United States (no surprise, of course), United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Germany, Australia, India, South Korea, Latvia, Malaysia. The reality of the post-traumatic experience allows no exceptions for race, creed, or color.

There is always a trickle of such stories. At noon the announcement was of a 3,000 pound bomb – probably British – found in the Rhine, still alive. A couple months ago a local man called the police bomb unit; he had found a live hand grenade his father had brought home from World War II and just left on the top shelf of the closet. Before that, a guy found a live canon ball from the Civil War in the back of his barn!

For two or three years after the war Annelie’s mother kept bugging the city authorities about a bomb she thought had hit in the backyard of their apartment building. They finally gave in; sure enough, it was a 2,000 pounder – American. Annelie remembers a wide hollow there in the yard; she and a friend liked to play in it…

In a real sense, that is what this blog is about; there are still all sorts of “live” explosives in our lives, and around us. These are not so much literal as emotional: the angers, anxieties, prejudices, bitternesses, the unforgiving and unforgiven. The list goes on and on: look inside yourself.

The post-traumatic “live” residue, its emotional fuse still intact, is perhaps the greatest pastoral challenge a minister has; its evangelistic opportunities the greatest challenge a local congregation can undertake. Annelie and I just hope that our book, and this blog, may prove to be tools that caring people can use.   

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