Jesus’ crucifixion was a traumatic event. After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were both astonished and terrified—Jesus was no longer dead, but the wounds from the crucifixion were still etched in his body. The return of Jesus was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but the trauma of the weekend's events nevertheless creeped into the space following the resurrection. The resurrection story is one of betrayal, denial, beatings, public rejection, humiliation, and execution. Experiences like this do not disappear from memory. Christ has died, Christ is risen, but trauma will come again. Testimony and Trauma explores the Christian practice of testimony through the lens of articulation theory in order to facilitate healing.
Amanda Hontz Drury is professor of practical theology at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Chapter 1: Testimony and Trauma
Theological Interlude 1: Christ has died. Christ has risen. Trauma will come again.
Chapter 2: The Ten Women
Theological Interlude 2: Feeding the Enemy
Chapter 3: Event: Jacob’s Story
Theological Interlude 3: Jesus Weeps
Chapter 4: Articulation: Karen’s Story
Theological Interlude 4: Clinging to the Dead
Chapter 5: Recognition: Rachel’s Story
Theological Interlude 5: Running
Christians are not immune to the trials and tragedies of human life--nor to the trauma suffered in their wake. In this book, Amanda Drury gives sensitive compassionate witness to three women she has accompanied through dark vales of terror and excruciating loss. She gives them the space and time--and the exquisite caring and attentiveness--that they need to grapple with personal tragedy in the light of their faith.
Dr. Drury makes palpable the urgent need for reviving the ancient meaning of religious testimony, while yet creating new forms for its contemporary practice. She writes in the tone of a confidential friend, walking alongside her reader, as she shares the unfolding story of her own learning about trauma. She argues persuasively that the church today needs to create safe spaces where people can find words to tell their stories and be recognized and received in the telling.
The whole life and death of Jesus, in some sense, can be viewed in light of trauma. Yet, as Drury points out, the church has not adequately articulated, let alone put in practice, how to attend to the lived experiences of those who have experienced trauma. In this book, Drury movingly and sensitively explores troubling stories in search of what might heal profound suffering, including her own, thereby offering hope and guidance for the church.
This book gives me hope. Drury listens to traumas in ways that profoundly respect the experiences. She’s careful with the deep brokenness of Holy Saturday. And she shows how courageous communities—not afraid to get it wrong—may surround survivors with generous forms of holding.
Humble and honest, Drury invites readers into the long journey of pain and hope by respectfully recounting real human stories. Born up by a rich biblical, theological, and intellectual history, Testimony and Trauma serves as a wise and compassionate guide for those who have experienced trauma and those who would like to walk alongside friends who have.
Amanda Drury delivers a beautiful gift with this book—a gift that has been masterfully crafted with wisdom and depth. Her interdisciplinary weaving of theology, articulation theories, and trauma research is grounded in and informed by real stories of trauma. Drury does not neatly package these narratives; she honors the questions, doubts, and complexities that are embedded in trauma and trauma’s aftermath. Throughout her work Drury gently guides toward new possibilities of hope and healing in the church and beyond. The reader that opens the pages of this literary gift will be changed, truly for the better.
If you ever wondered how to walk alongside someone experiencing trauma, Trauma and Testimony is a must-read! This book, like its author, is creative, compelling, and invites readers on a journey to understand the “why” and “how” behind trauma articulation. Drury gracefully weaves her own and other’s narrative of trauma throughout the book becoming itself a display of the power of testimony. With an ability to integrate theory and practice, her careful examination of “rituals of recognition” adds theological depth to the field of trauma studies. Drury approaches her exploration of trauma with nuance and vulnerability, coaching readers on concrete ways to be in solidarity with trauma survivors.
How do Christians, who believe in the healing power of the resurrection, make sense of the long journey of healing from trauma? In this tender and hopeful book, Drury artfully (and humorously) names the challenges – both theological and linguistic – related to trauma. Drury shows how grief and joy, pain and hope can coexist through the healing process. Those who have experienced traumatic events that are too painful to share will find kinship with those who have bravely shared their stories in these pages. This wise book is a resource for both those who have experienced trauma and for those who long to be a “caring other” in the life of someone who has experienced trauma.