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Intrafamilial. That which occurs within a family and in contrast to “interfamilial,” that which occurs between families.

Performative Statement. Also called utterance. In speech act theory, a performative statement is an action in and of itself (e.g., oaths; “I forgive you”; “I establish my covenant with you,” Gen 6:18, [illocutionary acts]) or ceremonial events of “performance” (e.g., marriage; “I now declare you husband and wife,” [perlocutionary acts]).

Reductionism. Reducing complex data to simple terms. As an ideological or tactless use of critical thought, however, reductionism is an oversimplification, occurring in a “nothing but …” kind of thinking or argument (e.g., “If only the homeless would just get a job,” or “Just forgive and move on!”).

Relational Ecosystem. Based on creation theology, the relational ecosystem refers to the interrelationship all created life: God with humankind, humankind with ani­mals, humankind with the earth, and man with woman (Genesis 1–2; Psalms 8, 104, 148). These are core bindings that help define personhood, function, ethics, and hu­man stewardship in the Creation Mandate (Gen 1:28). Sin’s consequences tear apart the Relational Ecosystem (cf. Rom 8:19–22).

Sacred Space. The dignity, health and integrity of the self, often in a potentially danger­ous social environment. In the Scripture, and particularly the Old Testament, “sacred space” revolved particularly around the tabernacle/temple and the holy of holies. Thus, sacred space created a “sacred compass” that guarded and calibrated peoples’ access to the presence of the holy God. In the New Testament, Christ as sacred person eclipsed sacred space: “Remain in me …” (John 15:4); and elsewhere, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven …” (Col 1:19).

Self-soothe. A form of self management involving the regulation of one’s emotions; being able to adaptively manage difficult emotions by the application of certain stress reducing and comforting activities.

Sexual Abuse (SA). Sexual abuse (SA) generally, and particularly childhood sexual abuse (CSA), is any behavior that exploits a child/person for the sexual gratification of another. The types of sexual exploitation may include: physical force, intimida­tion, bribery, and abuse of power, such as using one’s greater authority, status or knowledge, position, and age. A distinction can be made between (a) contact and (b) non-contact SA. The former can include excessive rubbing, fondling, or forced vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. The latter can include exhibitionism, voyeurism, exposure to pornography, obscene sexual phone calls, and intrusive behavior such as not allowing a child to undress or use the bathroom in privacy. While definitions vary, SA can be defined within a rubric of four key elements: (a) traumatic sexualiza­tion, (b) relational betrayal, (c) personal powerlessness, (d) and socio-religious stig­matization. Sexual abuse can be a spectrum of experiences and behaviors.

Shalom. Hebrew. A word basically meaning “peace” or “welcome” when used as a greeting. Used as a benediction or blessing, the idea is “completeness”; also with notions of recom­pense and uninjured (cf. Gen 33:18; Jer 18:20). With internal and external significance, “granting someone shalom,” for example, is incorporating them into your fellowship—giving them identity, safety, well-being, and fellowship.

Spiritual Incest. Spiritual incest describes the power-plays and narcissism standard in physical incest; only it is applied to religious control (similar to the profile of religious cults and their leaders). Spiritual incest is characterized by: religious syncretism, rigid hierarchies, religious chaos in the home or social group, doctrinal brainwashing, spiritual ideas/terms used as “mantras” (e.g., “I can trust you, but not your flesh”), and instilling an “in-group vs. out-group” spiritual elitism. Shaming techniques are used against dissent (e.g., “God is going to punish you for …!”). Survivors can feel a profound sense of spiritual betrayal, spoiling of religious heritage, lack of intellectual agency, and personal “ruin” when they try to process their experience.

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Category: Pneuma Review, Summer 2013

About the Author: The editors are Raul Mock, Mike Dies, Joe Joslin, and Jim Dettmann with significant input from other writers including John Lathrop, Amos Yong, Tony Richie, and Kevin Williams.

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