If we pretend to be nice pastors preaching to nice churches full of nice people. . . nobody is probably going to be helped. Once we understand the extent to which abuse and trauma have impacted the people who come to church to hear us preach, it will change how we preach. Or more accurately, it will change us. . . and as a result we will preach differently. The central issue here is will we, as proclaimers of Good News, be able to pay attention long enough to what is real about life on a fallen planet? Will we be able to see the world differently — as if abuse mattered? The biblical text is rich with wonderful texts that can be helpful to people who have been abused. The question is: will we be able to hear what the text is saying? Will we be able to hear it from the frame of reference of those who have been abused — those who sit in our congregations?

Recommended Reading

McClure, John S. and Nancy J. Ramsey, Telling the Truth: Preaching about Sexual and Domestic Violence (United Church Press, 1998) ISBN 0-8298-1282-2

David H. C. Read, Preaching About the Needs of Real People, (Westminster Press, 1988) ISBN 0-664-24083-6

Donald Capps, Pastoral Counseling and Preaching: A Quest for an Integrated Ministry(Westminster Press, 1980) ISBN 0-664-24342-8

Possible Preaching Themes

  1. Hope
  2. Grace
  3. Love
  4. Acceptance
  5. Widows, orphans and strangers
  6. Healing
  7. Patience
  8. Nonviolence
  9. Restorative justice

The list could really be very long. You could preach on grace for . . . oh maybe a decade and it would still be Good News.

A Few Sermons

When Violence Comes Home by Rev. Robert S. Owens

The Victim Beside the Road by Catherine Clark Kroeger

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