An excerpt from The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused, edited by Andrew J. Schmutzer.
Several terms, prompted by an asterisk (*) in the chapters appearing in Pneuma Review, have been defined by pastors, therapists, and theologians that contributed to the book and are included in a select glossary. Please also continue the conversation with Andrew Schmutzer as he answers questions throughout this series.
Chiastic Structure. Derived from the Greek letter chi (X), it is a literary device employing words and poetic lines that are inversely repeated for rhetorical effect. Chiastic structures shape episodes, speeches, or entire stories (e.g., Amos 5:4b–6a).
Community Consultation. The coordinated integration of various community agencies and organizations to help provide for the best level of care and support for targeted individuals and groups. Such usually involves a collaborative relationship among hospitals, mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, as well as other supportive organizations.
Conspiracy of Silence. Having to do with a condition or matter which is known to exist in a family or other social group but which, by implied or unspoken agreement, is not talked about or acknowledged. Such matters are typically considered to be shameful or taboo (e.g., of a family regarding their abusing member). (See also Taboo)
Corrective Rape. A criminal practice where men rape lesbian women, purportedly as a means of “curing” the woman of her sexual orientation.
Domestic Violence. Any pattern of violence or abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, emotional) that occurs within the context of the home or other intimate relationships. (See also Sexual Abuse)
Dualism. The concept that the world is ruled by opposing realities, whether visible and invisible or forces of good and evil; the concept that humans have two basic natures, the physical and the spiritual, body and soul or mind and matter. Most dualistic philosophies celebrate the soul or spirit while denigrating flesh, bodies, and material creation.
Family Dysfunction. Family dysfunction is any interactive process in the family that limits the effective and healthy development of family members. Such processes may include things like poor communication patterns, enmeshed relationships, poor boundaries between members, unclear roles, spiritual chaos, and poor problem-solving.
Fertility Cult. In general, fertility cults have believed there is a causal connection between the fertility and blessing of the cropland, herds, and other such forms of prosperity to the sexual relations enacted by the “divine couple,” priests and priestesses, or by cult prostitutes. Such activity is viewed as an act of worship intended to emulate the gods’ creative abilities, or seen as an act of imitative magic by which the gods are then compelled to preserve the earth’s fertility.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness extends grace to the offender for a relationship that has been ruptured due to the violation or sin of one party against the other. Forgiveness does not cancel any legal verdict, nor does it dismiss, minimize, ignore, or forget the pain. In forgiveness, the offended party relinquishes the right to vengeance, thus often called the act of forgiveness.
Hendiadys. A figure of speech using two parts (noun or verb), connected by a conjunction, to express a single idea (e.g., “pain and trembling” = “labor pains” [Gen 3:16a]; “full of grace and truth” = “God’s gracious truth” [John 1:17]).
Imago Dei. Latin, “image of God.” Image of God is a phrase used in theology to describe the uniqueness of humankind among God’s creatures (Gen 1:26–27). Theologians differ on what the “image of God” actually refers to, but there seems to be some combination of internal and external aspects, though reason, will, and relationality have traditionally received greater emphasis. Whether or not the image of God was actually damaged in the Fall is also debated (cf. Gen 9:6; Jam 3:9).