Bullying: A Spiritual Crisis

Book, 2003, 121 pp
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Cram has gone beyond the more common examinations of bullying from a sociological or psychological perspective to write about it from a theological/spiritual perspective. He identifies bullying as not just a behavioural, but a spiritual crisis. Relationship with others, the self, and God are at the heart of Christian spirituality. Cram defines the bully as one seeking to relate to others but knowing how to do that only through repeated acts of violence that extend over a period of time. He states, "violence is not always rational, but it is always relational." The actions end up destroying the possibility for life-giving relationships and are, therefore, signs of a spiritual crisis.

His research includes wrestling with the violence found in the history and traditions of our Judeo-Christian faith and also through conversations with Christian adults who were buillied or had been bullies (often both) as children. He examines the roots of violence and how a societal valuing of tolerance leads to bullying. Cram believes that the opposite of intolerance is not tolerance but empathy. According to Cram, children must be encouraged and assisted in developing empathy in order to stop violence.

The final chapter gives resources and suggestions to assist parents, teachers, and pastors as they address bullying in the home, school and parish. He offers four practices that lead to learning and living with empathy:

Writing a bully policy for the school, church or parish; Teaching virtues in school; Engaging in ongoing critical literacy-evaluation of literature and media; Taking inventory of empathy in worship.

PublisherChalice Press

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