The velocity of the car pressed my body against the seat with a force that felt impossible to fight. But, still I tried. Every muscle tense—as if working to hold my bones in place. I could hear his voice over the roar telling me my future—I would stay quiet, because no one would believe me. This vortex of force jolted me into silence with a potent tool: fear. Fear seeped into the ruminations of my teenage mind: fear of shame, fear of being judged, fear of his anger and hostility, and fear of losing my life. That fast car and … Read the full post
that’s the first thing
the bitter taste,
the wasting waste,
that is from your brush
is breath (read more)
I am just finishing up the first academic year of a three year collaboration with Vanderbilt Divinity School on bodies and healing. The blog post below, that is posted on the VDS Voices blog, shares some of what is emerging in our work together.
Surviving sexualized violence resonates with surviving violence of many kinds—especially violence that is personalized, violence that penetrates our flesh, our self-understanding, and our ability to connect with the world around us.
Survival skills are idiosyncratic, and they are often wise in ways we can only understand fleetingly. These survival skills can deaden and disconnect us. They can leave our nerve endings raw and exposed. And these survival skills permeate and help shape a world—a world that sometimes re-harms, sometimes supports, and oftentimes wants to move along as if everything is as it should be.
The ubiquity and idiosyncrasy of these survival skills means that anyone can be triggered by anything at any time. This statement may be jarring. (click here for the full post)
And excerpt of my latest post on the Feminism and Religion website:
Feeling safe again is often the healing and elusive aspiration of a person like me.
I have been living with the deep and cellular residuum of sexual trauma for most of my life—over thirty of my going-on forty-six years.
For many years, the grief and shame of losing my innocence cultivated an intense orientation to life’s doing. Safety for me back then was activity, noise, frenetic schedules, and a constant soundtrack to my life that meant I never had to be quiet with myself. Safety was in the predictable metrics of success that I could use to measure my self worth. I never had to stop and admit that I didn’t feel safe, ever. (Read full post)
This week I am at Vanderbilt Divinity School for the second phase of the In-Forming Communities of Healing Initiative. We are exploring what it means to be a community with a healing intention at its core around issues of sexual violence and abusive power. We are exploring power through embodied practice, improvisational story telling, art, and much more. For more information about the events you can click here. There is also information on the FaceBook page.
The Gospel of John, Chapter 5, verses 1-9 is the text for this sermon preached on May 5, 2013 at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, NC. “Do you want to be made well?” Jesus’ question to the man on the mat waiting at the healing pool sounds almost rhetorical at first. “Do you want to be made well?” Jesus says. Thirty-eight years the man hovered near those healing waters, waiting for someone to help him, waiting for a way to make those last steps. For thirty-eight years he contemplated how to find healing. And he had tried–feebly, … Read the full post
“If the LORD does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless.” –Psalm 127: 1 The NCAA has taken a stand against the culture of football at Penn State. Their attempt to take the moral high ground against a culture they helped to create raises some big questions for me. I heard the Chair of the Executive Committee of the NCAA (which, by the way, is not the Rainbow Coalition–check out the roster. By my count 20 of the 23 members are white and 19 of the 23 members are male) say that Chancellors and Presidents … Read the full post
When they say “There is peace and security,” then suddenly destruction will come upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape. ~1 Thessalonians 5:3 The Defensive Coordinator at a place that plays blue-collar/smash mouth football like Penn State surely appears heroic. Jerry Sandusky’s “Linebacker U” defense was known for its strength and dominance. There were also simultaneously whispers around college football that Jerry and his “Second Mile” charity were less than heroic. Now that the scandal at Penn State is out and heads are rolling, people are comparing notes on the things they had … Read the full post
Being thankful is a choice we make—and it comes with a complex constellation of consequences. “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12 This Bible verse was written in pencil on a torn piece of an index card and stuck in the upper right hand corner of my dresser mirror while I was an adolescent and a teenager. This scrap of Divine direction helped to order my young life. The commitment to such thankful living came from a place of both plentitude and pain. As a survivor of sexual violence … Read the full post