Advertisement

Victimization via Ritualization: Christian Communion and Sexual Abuse

  • Hilary Jerome Scarsella
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges book series (PSLRSC)

Abstract

This chapter considers the Christian practice of Communion as it relates to sexual violence, arguing based on lived experience of survivors that communion participation can exacerbate the systemic strength and traumatic harm of sexual violence among participants. It attends particularly to ways that negotiations of social power performed through the word and action of Communion can increase participants’ vulnerability to abuse and intensify associated traumas. After critically reviewing the problem, it considers an attempt made by a particular ecclesial body in North America to rethink and restructure the ritual such that it interrupts rather than perpetuates cycles of violence. Focus is placed on dynamics of the revised ritual that invite participants to constitute themselves not as victims, but as radical resistors of unjust harm.

Bibliography

  1. Bell, Catherine. 1992. Ritual Theory. Ritual Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Brock, Rita Nakashima, and Rebecca Ann Parker. 2001. Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, Joanne Carlson, and Carole R. Bohn. 1989. Christianity, Patriarchy, and Abuse: A Feminist Critique. New York: Pilgrim Press.Google Scholar
  4. Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. 1995. Wichita, KS: Herald Press.Google Scholar
  5. Copeland, Shawn. 2010. Enfleshimg Freedom: Body, Race, and Being. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  6. Felman, Shoshana, and Dori Laub. 1992. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Heggen, Carolyn Holderread. 1993. Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.Google Scholar
  8. Herman, Judith. 1992. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  9. Jones, Serene. 2009. Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.Google Scholar
  10. Lakey Hess, Carol. 1997. Caretakers of Our Common House: Women’s Development in Communities of Faith. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lee, Daniel B. 2014. Making It Look Right: Ritual as a Form of Communication. In Understanding Religious Ritual: Theoretical Approaches and Innovations, 1st ed., ed. John P. Hoffman, 115–135. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Plaskow, Judith. 1980. Sex, Sin, and Grace: Women’s Experience and the Theologies of Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  13. Rempel, John. 1998. Minister’s Manual. Harrisonburg, VA: Faith & Life Press and Herald Press.Google Scholar
  14. Saiving, Valerie. 1979. The Human Situation: A Feminine View. In Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion, ed. Carol P. Christ, and Judith Plaskow, 25–42. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  15. Scarsella, Hilary Jerome. 2016, Summer. The Lord’s Supper: A Ritual of Harm or Healing? Leader 13 (4): 33–48. Menno Media.Google Scholar
  16. Sørensen, Jørgen Podemann. 2014. Ritual Texts: Language and Action in Ritual. In Understanding Religious Ritual: Theoretical Approaches and Innovations, 1st ed., ed. John P. Hoffman, 73–92. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Williams, Delores. 1993. Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations