Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 53

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE spiritual abuse.9 In light of trauma’s common interpersonal nature, Cornelius Plantinga’s evaluation is fitting: “Human wrongdoing, or the threat of it, mars every adult’s workday, every child’s school day, and every vacationer’s holiday.”10 Over and against Aten and Walker’s “half of all people,” Briere and Scott provide a more accurate assessment. Trauma seems to be an unavoidable part of the human condition. The history of humankind is not only the story of art and culture; it is also the story of war, subjugation of one group of people by another, domestic violence, and natural disaster. As a result, most people in Western society will experience at least one potentially traumatic event during their lives. Of these, a significant number of individuals will suffer lasting psychological distress, ranging from mild lingering anxiety to symptoms that interfere with all aspects of functioning.11 Because sin is pervasive in humanity (Rom 3:10–12, 23) and creation (Rom 8:20), trauma routinely invades human experience.12 Yet strangely and tragically, the Sunday morning worship hour has functionally denied trauma’s existence, muzzling the God-ward expression that trauma victims so deeply need. Almost “as surely as sparks fly upward,” the contemporary church has abandoned the biblical language of trauma—lament. Lament, Lament, Why Have We Forsaken You? In his commentary on the book of Lamentations, Robin A. Parry notes the often observed contrast between Old Testament Israel’s embrace of lament and the “far more ambiguous” reception of lament in the Christian church.13 Further 9. These victims are “countless” because the nature of such abuse is to suppress. 10. Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995), 8. 11. John Briere and Catherine Scott, Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006), xi. 12. Although there is nothing routine about the unexpected moments and manners in which trauma invades. 13. Robin A. Parry, The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary: Lamentations (Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 2010), 206. Parry cites Wolterstorff’s “If God Is Good and Sovereign, Why Lament?” Calvin Theological Journal 36, no. 1 (2001): 42–45, which explores Augustine’s and Calvin’s discomfort with lament. 52