How Survivors of Abuse Relate to God: The Authentic Spirituality of the Annihilated Soul, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

How Survivors of Abuse Relate to God

The Authentic Spirituality of the Annihilated Soul, 1st Edition

By Susan Shooter


224 pages

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Grappling with theological issues raised by abuse, this book argues that the Church should be challenged, and ministered to, by survivors. Paying careful attention to her interviews with Christian women survivors, Shooter finds that through painful experiences of transformation they have surprisingly become potential agents of transformation for others. Shooter brings the survivors' narratives into dialogue with the story of Job and with medieval mystic Marguerite Porete's spirituality of 'annihilation'. Culminating in an engagement with contemporary feminist theology concerning power and powerlessness, there emerges a set of principles for authentic community spirituality which crosses boundaries with God, supports appropriate human boundaries and, crucially, listens attentively. Appealing to Church leaders, students, practitioners and practical theologians, this book offers a creative and ethical theological enquiry as well as some spiritual anchor points for survivors.


’In this remarkable text, Susan Shooter dives down into the wreck of the church's murky pastoral practice and theologies of domination in order to retrieve the submerged stories and wisdom of Christian survivors of abuse. Surfacing their stories, she brings them into dialogue with the Book of Job and the medieval mystic, Marguerite Porete and constructs an inspiring account of the authentic spirituality of the annihilated soul�. The result is a text of powerful witness and indictment, yet one which also offers a slither of hope� in the capacity of survivors to discern God's timeless and transformative presence in their experience and to offer a largely unrecognised ministry of grace. This is an impressive work that deserves to be widely read. It should inform ministerial training and practice, as well as the conduct of qualitative research and feminist practical theology.’ Nicola Slee, The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, UK 'This is essential reading for anyone in the Church with authority, those in ministerial training, all clergy in pastoral positions, and those who hope to understand the estimated one in five people who are abused at some point in their lives… This is a timely and important book.' Church Times 'Susan Shooter has performed a great service to the Church, painful as that may be. Every chapter will reward the reader with new information and insight regarding a little known community of sufferers in our midst.' Spirituality 'Susan Shooter has performed a great service to the Church, painful as that may be. Every chapter will reward the reader with new information and insight regarding a little known community of sufferers in our midst. The value of the book is enhanced by a bibliography and Indexes of Authors, Subject and Scripture.' Renew ’…[Shooter] carefully balance[s] throughout her text a clear condemnation of abuse with the affirmation that no situation is beyond the transformativ

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction: what lies beneath; Knocking at the door: presenting issues; Finding the right key: a grounded qualitative design; Opening up: how survivors of abuse relate (to) God; Crossing the threshold: Job the survivor?; At home with God: Marguerite Porete's Mirror; The authentic spirituality of the annihilated soul; What lies ahead: conclusions and implications; Epilogue; Bibliography; Indexes.

About the Author

Susan Shooter gained her MA in Theological Studies at St John's College Nottingham; her dissertation was entitled ’The Cross as the Tree of Life: symbol of transformation for church and world’. Ordained in 1996 in the Diocese of Rochester, she served two curacies and was Incumbent for nine years, also tutoring on diocesan lay training courses; for two years she was Biblical Strand Leader for the Canterbury Christ Church Cert. in Theology for Ministry. Recently she successfully completed her DMin thesis with King's College London.

About the Series

Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology

Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General