Volume Four: Bearing the Unbearable; A Collection of Conversational Essays

The Elephants in God’s Living Room

Volume Four

Bearing the Unbearable

A Collection of Conversational Essays

Ruth Elizabeth Krall, M.S.N, Ph.D.

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Abstract of Volume 4

The Elephants in Gods Living Room, Volume Four

Bearing the Unbearable: A Collection of Conversational Essays

© 2014

This book-length set of conversational essays was created as I began to think into and feel my way through a wide variety of clinical and theological issues that relate to an equally wide variety of sexual violence and religious abuse issues. The underlying question for these essays is quite simple: what do first witnesses, therapists, lawyers, and sexual abuse victim advocates individually and collectively know about the institutionally enabled cultural forms of religious leader sexual abuse and clericalism that they don’t know they know? The Johari Window forms a theoretical frame for this question. But I have adapted it away from its original purposes in organizational development theory and have, therefore, expanded its use as a personal framework for reading the works of others and for my own self-interrogation and writing.

Throughout these essays I engage with my personal questions, thus the personal voice is more evident than in the preceding volumes of this series Most of these essays began as imaginary conversations with a wide variety of published authors or individuals I have read or have heard lecture in a wide variety of professional settings. Some are grounded in my clinical experiences as a community mental health clinician and women’s health anti-rape activist while others are grounded in my work as a Christian pastoral theologian. A few have roots in my work as a peace studies scholar. Some have deep taproots in my childhood, adolescent and young adult life experiences.

Most essays are, therefore, in one way or another anchored to the clinical and social sciences – most particularly to clinical theory, social psychology literature about authoritarianism and theories of organizational supervision. In addition, these essays cross religious barriers to inquire what other religious wisdom traditions can teach us from their own institutional experiences with religious leader and spiritual teacher abuses. Such a free-range consultation is essential since religious leader and spiritual teacher abuse is not limited to Christianity in its many forms.

The essays do not need to be read in a sequential manner. However, two of them (1) Religious and Spiritual Problem/A Conceptual Framework and (2) Spiritual Maturity build upon other essays in this volume and also on the theoretical work already published in Volumes One and Volumes Three.

This manuscript may be downloaded and used for classroom use by undergraduate or graduate students and their faculty. It may also be downloaded and used by congregations, denominations, and other religious institutions in continuing education activities. Finally, it may be downloaded and used by individuals who wish to inform themselves about matters of sexual violence in a context of religious or spiritual life. Inasmuch as this volume has been copyright protected, proper attribution information should accompany individual and collective uses of downloaded chapters. In no case should this document, in part or in totality, ever be sold for profit in any situation.