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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 23, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2003

Jennifer Beste
Pages 3-20
DOI: 10.5840/jsce200323116

Receiving and Responding to God's Grace
A Re-examination in Light of Trauma Theory

Christians have traditionally claimed a kind of invulnerability to harm that would render them incapable of responding to God's grace. This claim to invulnerability will be examined in light of trauma theory's insistence that, in situations of overwhelming violence, a person's capacity for responsive agency can be severely disabled. Drawing from incest survivors' experiences of recovery, I argue that a critical re-examination of the human capacity to receive God's grace must include greater appreciation for how God's love is mediated, at least in part, through loving interpersonal relations. Ethical implications resulting from this insight should challenge our communities in profound ways.

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