I have used my last few posts here on Feminism and Religion to begin unpacking the three primary understandings of atonement theology, the feminist critiques of these understandings, and how the relationship between power and violence influences how Christian women view the atonement. This post will consider the role that faith communities are called to play in situations of domestic violence.
Personal faith often has a huge impact on the lives of survivors of violence. This impact, unfortunately, as can be seen in the other posts as well as in the comments on those posts, is not always a positive one. In her book, Redeeming Memories: A Theology of Healing and Transformation, Flora A. Keshgegian envisions communities of faith as communities of remembrance. A community of remembrance does not ignore or suppress the negative experiences of its members but strives to enable us to embrace personal identity, form our faith, and to nurture hope in order to heal and transform after such experiences.
One question that my dissertation set out to answer was how we might begin the difficult work of moving our communities of faith in this direction. Sadly, the biggest difficulty seems to be the lack of awareness, or the downright denial, that domestic violence is an issue for the average faith community. So many congregation members assume that if their pastor is not talking about an issue then it must not be a problem in their particular community.
Continue reading “Moving Toward an End: The Role of the Faith Community in the Struggle to End Domestic Violence by Katie M. Deaver”
Last weekend was a special one for me. After many years of study and dedication I graduated with my Ph.D. and am now, officially, Dr. Katie Deaver. The weekend was filled with celebrations to mark the completion of a milestone that I have spent years working toward. The amazing outpourings of love, support, and care that I have experienced throughout the last few days is quite humbling. The happiness and pure joy of my family, friends, professors, mentors, and multiple church communities have left me in awe. As I reflect on this love and support it helps to heal the wounds and scars that have accumulated throughout the process of earning this degree.
The undertaking of a Ph.D. program is significantly more difficult than anyone tells you. This difficultly lies not necessarily in the course work or the dedication to constant reading, writing, and learning but rather in the personal growth and vocational affirmation that takes place within the process. My dissertation explored the primary understandings of the doctrine of atonement and addressed how this doctrine can, and has, been used in ways that perpetuate, and in some cases even encourage, domestic violence.
My own fascination with the topic of atonement and its links to domestic violence was brought about at the suggestion of one of my undergraduate professors at Luther College, Dr. Jim Martin-Schramm. From the moment that Dr. Martin-Schramm explained the links between theologies of the cross and domestic violence I knew that I had found my new passion. Writing a dissertation on the topics of domestic violence, theology and women of faith was an extremely personal, and intimate experience for me. This topic forced me to accept my own lived experience. To claim myself… out loud… as a survivor of domestic violence. As a result the writing of my dissertation was particularly personal, and painful, as well as extremely life giving.
Continue reading “Becoming Myself by Katie M. Deaver”