Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors

2019, 205 pp
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This accessibly written book illuminates the good news of healing and liberation the Bible offers survivors of sexual abuse. As an expert in pastoral ministry and a survivor of abuse herself, Elaine Heath handles this sensitive topic with compassion and grace. The book is illustrated with stories and insights from survivors, and each chapter ends with reflection questions, both for survivors and those who journey with them, as well as recommended activities.

Previously published as We Were the Least of These, this repackaged edition includes a new contextualized introduction that explores how the book speaks into a vital cultural conversation (#MeToo).

Also includes Healing Cloud, a five-day retreat plan for survivors of sexual abuse.

(13 sessions)

"The journey of recovery from sexual abuse is both scarred and sacred. Elaine Heath boldly covers theological terrain 'that is perilous, beautiful, wild, unutterably holy.' Her development of atonement theory understands Jesus (Emmanuel) as 'the least of these.' Heath asserts that Jesus was a victim of sexual abuse as he was publicly stripped naked, humiliated, bound, violated, penetrated, and torn. She proceeds fearlessly into topics of toxic shame, original wounding, vulnerability, spiritual eros, and healing. As a survivor of sexual assault, Heath goes with the reader into this difficult reality. Joining with the vast numbers of women, men, girls, and boys who are survivors of sexual abuse, Elaine Heath offers her unique contribution to the #MeToo movement." -- Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, professor of pastoral care, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"Written from the powerful perspective of 'we, the survivors' by a person who is deeply contemplative and able to 'be angry but sin not' regarding the evil of patriarchy and sexual abuse, this book educates, encourages, and empowers individuals and communities. Heath shows us how Jesus, the Bible, and Christian community can (and do) serve as sources of healing and wholeness for survivors (even those abused by people in the church). This book is for everyone--churches, seminaries, small groups, and individuals. It is for survivors themselves and those who journey with survivors. It should be required reading for every seminary, and it will be on my syllabus. Far from an exercise in theoretical possibilities or wishful thinking, it is an invitation into the sure reality of healing that awaits survivors and those who companion them." -- Jaime Clark-Soles, professor of New Testament, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, and director of the Baptist House of Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

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