Written by Phil Monroe
Friday, 21 September 2012 00:00
Whether you are new to Biblical or a long-time supporter, you might be wondering why Biblical Seminary is launching the Global Trauma Recover Institute (see our homepage; more information to come soon!). Just how is it part of a seminary’s mission to talk about psycho-social trauma intervention? Aren’t we supposed to be training pastors and church leaders to do churchy stuff?
We do train pastors…and missionaries, youth leaders, lay leaders, future academicians, and counselors—to serve whatever corner of God’s kingdom he plants them. One such “corner” in nearly every part of the world today is the problem of trauma. Look around you and you are likely to find individuals struggling with the effects of natural disasters, sexual abuse, ethnic conflicts, war, accidents, domestic violence and other abuses of power.
Look closer at those who are hurting and what you see are individuals who appear to be the living dead. They move, they speak, they may even work, but they appear dead inside as one going through the motions of life. Depending on the moment you catch them, you may observe passivity or impulsivity, self-hatred or outright terror. Most trauma victims feel haunted by their past and hopeless about the future. Nearly all question whatever faith they had prior to their traumatic experiences.
As Dr. Diane Langberg (recently added as clinical faculty here at Biblical) reminds us, trauma is the mission field of our time. It is where mercy ministry and evangelism meet (may it be that they NEVER separate!). Biblical Seminary, in keeping with her mission to train men and women to incarnate and communicate the story of Jesus, regards the doorway of trauma intervention as a place to follow Jesus into the world. And, as someone who has been blessed to work with trauma victims and caregivers from Rwanda, the DRC and from the US, I can attest that this doorway is WIDE OPEN.
So, why do we care about global trauma recovery at Biblical? Need we look any further than James summation of the Christian life: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (1:27)
Phil Monroe is Professor of Counseling and Psychologyand directs both the Masters of Arts in Counseling program and the newly formed Global Trauma Recovery Institute. You can read more of his musings at www.wisecounsel.wordpress.com.