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Victims and Faith

The "good" Samaritan in Luke 10 is called that because he, unlike the religious people, stopped to assist a crime victim. Why didn't the religious people help? What do victims need from people of faith? The following articles explore the link between victims and faith.

N.T. Wright on judgment
from the entry by Nils von Kalm on Soul Thoughts: Whether we are Christians or not, whenever we think of judgment, especially with regards to Christianity, we have this idea of judgment as being that of a wrathful, vengeful God (and as a friend of mine pointed out to me this week, this is where the idea of penal substitution fits in to much evangelical thinking as well). But to people who are suffering and consistently persecuted, the idea of God coming back to bring judgment and justice is good news indeed. They see it as what it is – the setting right of all things.
Doing justice honourably
From Janet Sim Elder's post on Per Crucem ad Lucem: A crucial question in this election year is how do we do justice honourably with both victims and offenders? How can recidivism continue downwards and how do public attitudes change to being solidly evidence-based? How do we face the challenge of changing the justice landscape? Can we provide the moral courage to help our society take steps towards a more just and merciful society?
offender accountability & restorative justice
I did not write this original post but I would like to respond to Ken's comments above. The primary tenets of restorative justice include offender [...]
Actions speak louder
I tend to agree that holding the offenders to a higher level of accountability is not necessarily revenge. If done in a forgiving and restorative [...]
youths, graffiti and restorative justice
Thank you this story. I read the comment by Melanie above and was not sure I agreed. I wrote a blog post for rjonline on [...]
great story - and similar situation at church in Lancaster County, PA
Sounds like the people at the Bridport church really "walk the talk" of forgiveness and reconciliation. Kudos to them! I happened to speak at a [...]
Church vandals apologise to congregation
from the article by Rene Gerryts on Bridport News: Four of the youngsters responsible for vandalising a Bridport church stood before its congregation on Sunday to apologise. The quartet – whose images were captured on CCTV – agreed to take part in the new Restorative Justice scheme. ....Mr Evans said: “It is the first time I have been involved in this sort of system and it was terrific.
Forgiveness scholar opens up on role of faith
from Francis X. Rocca's article in The Christian Century: Today, at least 1,000 academic researchers and "countless therapists" specialize in forgiveness studies, Enright said, but at the time, a library search turned up not a single piece of scholarship on the subject in any of the social sciences. Enright found himself drawn to the area and began leading a seminar on forgiveness at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he was a tenured professor. Among the assigned readings for the seminar were selections from the scriptures of various religious traditions. Those texts raised questions that led Enright back to back to Christianity: first to what he describes as a liberal Methodist church, then to an evangelical Protestant congregation, and finally back to Catholicism.
healing victims in clergy abuse cases
Hello, John. I was surprised by your comment above: "There appears in many victim support systems to be an almost zealous rush to bring victims/survivors [...]
Good to see this eventually become a part of the conversation
Thanks Robert for bringing this aspect to the fore. It is long overdue. I commend the work you have done here. There appears in many [...]
restorative justice and clergy abuse in the Catholic Church
Thank you for posting this. I think there are useful steps here in this list of recommendations that could contribute to the healing of victims [...]
Helping victims of clergy sexual abuse: Suggestions for Pope Benedict XVI:
from Robert M. Hoatson's post on Road to Recovery: Based on Road to Recovery’s on-the-ground experience helping the abused cope with the effects of their abuse, we offer to Pope Benedict and his colleagues in the hierarchy the following suggested action steps that will help restore clergy abuse victims to fullness of life (these steps do not preclude the necessary and/or statutory reporting of all crimes to local and/or national law enforcement):
Better not bitter says activist Mukoko
By Taurainashe Manonge in The Zimbabwe Telegraph: Abducted and tortured activist Jestina Mukoko, has said that the pain and trauma she experienced in the hands of state officials last year, has left her Better and not bitter. Speaking on December 17, 2009 at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human rights forum to celebrate her City of Weimar Human Rights Award, Mukoko also director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said it was inner strength and the knowledge that people all over the world were rallying alongside with her that kept her going. “I believe there was a purpose in all this. It might have been a nasty experience but looking at how I now deal with people who have been tortured I have a different perspective to it.”
A Pilot Study of a faith-based restorative justice intervention for Christian and non-Christian offenders
from the journal article by Armour, Windsor, Aguilar, and Taub in Journal of Psychology and Christianity: Restorative justice and faith-based programs are receiving increased attention as innovative ways to help change offenders' internal motivations as well as external behaviors (Rockefeller institute of Government, 2007). The purpose of the present pilot study is to examine change in offenders' pro-social responses after participation in an in-prison faith-based program that draws from the principles of restorative justice.
Victims and victimizers
"We as society do not allow people to be victim and victimizer --- they are one or the other," said Suzanne Neuhaus, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation victims' services specialist.
Marshall, Christopher D.. Christian Care for the Victim
Christopher Marshall discusses the Church's place in caring for victims and the pitfalls that hinders the Church in this work.
Fossland, Anne Lise. Reconciliation and Discipleship: A Journey from Being a Victim to Becoming a Victor.
The paper is (as is the thesis) theologically speaking to be found in the intersection between dogmatics and ethics. I intend to see whether the suffering and attempts to reconciliation in the South African society can give a deeper understanding of the reconciliation in Christ. And also to see how or whether the reconciliation in Christ can give a new dimension to human suffering and injustice on the one hand, and on the other to a healing settlement after times of war and suppression. (excerpt)
Church Council on Justice and Corrections. Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing. Resource kit.
This program will assist your congregation to begin a journey of discovery and growth. Through Fire in the Rose, you will explore the nature and consequences of abuse; you will examine your own attitudes, feelings and experiences; you will reflect on the roots of abuse and violence, and identify tools and skills that promote new ways of living together; and, you will work with others in the congregation and the larger community to create and strengthen ministries of healing and prevention. (excerpt)
Martin, Anne Marie. Visions of Justice, the Question of Immortality: A Study of the Nature of Oppression and Liberation in the work of Rosemary Radford Ruether and Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki
This thesis examines the ways in which two Christian, feminist theologians, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki understand the relationship between liberation, the fulfillment of justice and the concept of an immortal self. Central to this discussion are Suchocki's and Ruether's differing views of immortality. Suchocki argues that without subjective immortality (the possibility of continuing to experience some form of "life" after death as a subjective centre of consciousness) there can be no justice. Ruether, however, contends that the concept of an immortal self is the root of injustice. While Ruether reproaches the concept of subjective immortality, this thesis shows that she nevertheless defends a form of "objective" immortality (that all that occurs within the creation is taken up within the divine)…. I conclude that while both Suchocki's and Ruether's theologies are driven by a concern for justice, Suchocki provides a better understanding of the nature of oppression which results in injustice, and a better understanding of liberation as the fulfillment of justice. I, moreover, conclude that while for the most part the concept of subjective immortality has been viewed as anathema by feminist theology, Suchocki's view of subjective immortality may in fact open up the possibility of reassessing the concept of an immortal self within feminist theology as not only consistent with but as an aid to developing its own deepest concems for liberation and justice. Author's abstract.
Shattuck, Michelle D and Lampman, Lisa. Finding God in the wake of crime: Answers to hard questions.
Using stories from the Bible and from contemporary crime victims, Lisa Lampman (president of Neighbors Who Care) and Michelle Shattuck explore the needs, challenges, and opportunities that Christians encounter in responding to the spiritual issues faced by victims of crime. The authors emphasize that victims have spiritual needs as well as practical and emotional needs. After identifying some of those spiritual issues, they discuss the difficulties people face in responding to the spiritual needs and questions of crime victims. Despite the difficulties, Lampman and Shattuck urge the importance of providing compassionate, sensitive assistance for crime victims’ spiritual needs.

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