Like PTS on Facebook
Follow PTS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS and Podcasts
Cultivating vital communities,
vital conversations, and the public good.
Nov  2011 01
Violence Against Women Workshop

On Friday, October 7, 2011, Hillcrest Hospital Department of Pastoral Care hosted an event for clergy and clinical care givers. PTS Alum and Board Member Ron Nofziger, longtime Hillcrest chaplain, was instrumental in bringing Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, the Ben G. and Nancye Clapp Gautier Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Counseling at Columbia Theological Seminary, to Tulsa. Dr. Cooper-White presented a four-part seminar entitled: “The Cry of Tamar: Violence Against Women and the Church’s Response,” based on her forthcoming second edition of The Cry of Tamar (Fortress Press, 1995).

Responses from PTS community members in attendance:

- “Pastoral and Prophetic responsibilities must go hand in hand to provide proper pastoral care.” Rhonda Quiroz, PTS Student

- “I'm open to contemplation and self-searching on this issue.” Sergey F Dezhnyuk, PTS Student

- “The culture of violence…continues to de-humanize women (and men).” Josh Linton, PTS Student

- “Forgiveness without repentance can be cheap grace.” Myrna Jones, former PTS Director of Admissions
- “One of the things I took away from the training was the importance of being prepared.” Tracey Ivy, PTS Student

- “[I am reminded that] very, very few people who are awake to the de-forming power of the media.” Gary Peluso-Verdend, PTS President

Violence against women is a growing problem in part because images of violence against women surround us. Magazine advertisements, television, newspapers, billboards, and online media depict women with faces obscured, women’s body parts adorning bottles of perfume, a full page ad of legs only – each image contributing to eroding self-confidence, self-worth, and sense of well-being. One or two of these images alone might spark our attention. However, our attention becomes dulled in the face of what Dr. Cooper-White called “the constant drip,” the overwhelming amount of images that numb us to these images as deeply problematic.

How then shall we respond? The first response is awareness of the problem. As you can see from representatives of the PTS community in attendance quoted above, Dr. Cooper-White helped raise our awareness. How are you becoming more aware of the problem of violence against women and all of creation in your midst?

Dr. Cooper-White challenged us to cultivate faithful responses. Framing the seminar with references to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, Dr. Cooper-White reminded us that faith communities have a robust vision of a life together that is full of grace and responsibility for resisting dehumanizing images and practices. When we are at our best and most alive as communities, we hear and speak to each other with bold listening and courageous voices. Where are faith communities addressing violence against women with bold listening and courageous voices? Stereotypes of some of us harm us all. Images of violence against some of us harm us all. Dr. Cooper-White reminds us all: if you see harmful images, then you can resist them!

How then shall we train our vision to the images of violence against women right here in our midst so that we can resist them? Resist images of violence against women with images of mutuality, such as Rubelev’s classic image of Trinity. What images of mutuality come to your mind? Dr. Cooper-White also reminds us all: take good care of ourselves by participating in networks of care in our communities. Have good boundaries and check the goodness of our boundaries through supervision and mentoring. Hold fast to an “unshakable confidence” in God’s intention for women, men, and all of creation to live lives free of violence. Be prepared with good resources; contact www.dvis.org in Tulsa or similar agencies in your local community in advance of crisis. Speak hope boldly. Do not advocate for what Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace.” Participate in reconciliation. How will you respond?

Dr. Mindy McGarrah Sharp
PTS Assistant Professor of Congregational Care and Ethics


Browse more posts by: Melinda McGarrah Sharp, Phillips Faculty
Phillips offers Christian graduate theological education in service of intelligent, just, and
compassionate religious and civic communities. We welcome students to a safe space for truth-seeking conversations about the Bible, Jesus, and faithful living. Courses are available on campus and online for certificate, diploma, MDiv, MAMC, and MTS programs, and on campus for the DMin program.

Phillips Theological Seminary

901 N. Mingo Road
Tulsa, OK 74116

p 918-610-8303
f 918-610-8404

Campus & Directions

Site content © 2005-14 Phillips Theological Seminary

The materials on this website are owned, held, or licensed by Phillips Theological Seminary and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided PTS is properly cited. Any commercial use of the materials, without the written permission by Phillips Theological Seminary, is strictly prohibited.

Site design, programming, and CMS © 2005-14 Verdend Interactive

Like PTS on Facebook
Follow PTS on Twitter
Subscribe to RSS and Podcasts