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Religious Trauma & Spirituality

Religious trauma can make it difficult to talk about spirituality, God, or sacred texts. 

And yet--in spite of these difficulties--no account of violence can afford to ignore its spiritual/symbolic and religious dimensions. This is because violence always means or symbolizes something, both to the person suffering it, and to the person perpetrating it. Violence can rarely be explained only by biology or competition for resources. And of course, much violence has been committed in the name of God, or of some other "higher cause:" political ideology, ethnic supremacy, and even "justice."


We have been deeply affected by religious trauma too, and we run into our own struggles. So no matter where you are in your own spiritual journey, you are invited to explore the connections between spiritual meaning, religion, and violence with us.

Making a Real Contribution 

 We believe that it's only when we go deep on our own particular stories that we find what resonates with other people and their particular stories. In trying to be "universal," we can lose our own voice, or lose the truth. We want to be as authentic as possible with our own spirituality and unique contribution, but to do so in a way that also invites the contributions of others. 

Each person working with the Institute has their own story with religion. Our core team all come from Christian backgrounds, and we ground our spiritual frameworks in the teachings of Jesus. Some of us are happy to identify with the label "Christian" and others are less comfortable. As a general rule, we resonate with elements of the early spiritual traditions that have often been ignored in popular western Christianity. Looking at our content and resources is one way to see how our faith plays out and connects to life. But you can also read more about each of our stories here.

Offering Lenses on Life, Not "Arguments"

While our work is evidence-based, our goal is not to convince you to see things our way. What we most desire is to see people and communities transformed for glory, and this almost never happens through arguments, or through propaganda. It doesn't even necessarily happen through education. It happens when we are given a new imagination, which helps us to have true encounters that bring life and healing, rather than false encounters that lead to death. 

What we are offering are frameworks or lenses that we hope will help you see your own life, vocation, family, and community in a clearer light. We want you to have different encounters with the world you're living in, and to experience all of the healing and hope we believe the Creator is pouring out for everyone. And we want you to join the conversation and make your contribution too, so that our imaginations can grow together.

Individualism & Collectivism

All cultures could be placed on a spectrum from individualistic to collectivistic. In order to help us more clearly see what this means, we will make some generalizations about the extreme ends of the

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