2018 J.J. Thiessen Series: Violence, Injustice, Trauma, and the Ordinary Practices of Christian Worship in a Social Media Age

On Sunday mornings, like every other day, the world wakes up to a steady stream of terrible news about human violence, injustice and trauma. On Sunday mornings, Christians wake up and participate in public worship services that have to do with ultimate matters of God, creation, faith, life, death, salvation, and hope.

The question that haunts and invites us is this:
  • What do our ordinary Sunday morning worship services have to do with the world's never ending violence, injustice, and trauma?
  • How does our posture toward this bad news play out in congregations that consist of both bullies and the bullied, victims and victimizers, empathetic caregivers and disinterested bystanders?
  • How does this unfold in quite different cultural contexts—in communities with profoundly different ways of perceiving time, authority, risk, and individual agency?
Escapist non-engagement with the world's troubles in our worship is tempting. And direct engagement with violence and trauma can be fraught with challenges, risking re-inscribing trauma on those of us most in need of healing. All of this is increasingly complicated by the different patterns of exposure we have to the world's trauma in light of social media. What wisdom can we share with each other about shaping public worship as we seek to live out our calling as Christ's body in the world?

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