Healing Violent Men

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Domestic violence is a widespread, though largely invisible, problem, often exacerbated by the pastoral urge to "keep the family together" at all costs. Yet if that is not a solution, how should the church relate to batterers?

"I believe that the Christian community, if it is to be genuinely a community of healing and hope, must attend to both the victims and the perpetrators of domestic violence," says David Livingston. Addressing the complex phenomenon of intimate violence against wives, lovers, and children, Livingston profiles batterers and battering and traces it to larger cultural pathologies. He explores the ambiguous role of religion and then offers practical advice for pastoral and programmatic efforts to embrace simultaneously the twin Christian imperatives of forgiveness and responsibility.

About the Author:
David J. Livingston is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Mercyhurst College, Erie, Pennsylvania. An experienced pastoral counselor, Livingston has counseled batterers and has devised and implemented these church programs for them.

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What People Are Saying

James N. Poling
"This book helps to meet a desperate need. Livingston suggests a radical redefinition of reconciliation that shifts the focus from the victim to the community and sets high standards for what reconciliation might mean for all people."
—James N. Poling, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800632519
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Violent Men in Our Communities: The Dynamics of Intimate Violence 1
The Ambiguity of Reconciliation 3
Encountering Violent Men: Revulsion and Hope 5
Working with Violent Men 6
The Dynamics of Domestic Violence 7
The Stages of Violence 12
Power and Control 15
The Possibility of Healing 24
2 Violence: Destruction of the Mysterious Human Center 26
Cultural Influences on Violent Men 26
Are Men Inherently Violent Creatures? 29
The Hydraulic Model 30
A Girardian Interpretation of Violence 32
Ready to Snap like a Mousetrap 34
Gender and Violence 35
Media and Violence 37
Interpreting Violence as Constructive or Destructive 38
Crime and Punishment: Constructive or Destructive Violence? 39
The Warnings Offered by Violence 44
3 Does Christianity Throw Gas on the Flames of Violence? 47
The Classic Symbol of Marriage 48
The Marriage of Hosea 49
Historical Christian Interpretations of Marriage 50
Wives Be Submissive 53
Rape in Marriage 54
The Theodicy Question 56
Marriage as a Symbol of Hope 57
Images of the Divine 59
God in Control 59
God as Omniscient and Omnipresent 61
God's Vulnerability in Christ 62
4 Reconciliation: A Model for Addressing Male Violence 64
The Biblical Logic of Reconciliation 66
Reconciliation in the Early Christian Tradition 67
A Thomistic Interpretation of Reconciliation 69
Contrition 70
Confession 74
Satisfaction 76
Absolution 77
5 Reconciliation: A Responsible Approach to Intimate Violence 81
Scarring: An Important Metaphor for Understanding Violence 83
Healing the Individual: Reconciliation in the Individual Sphere 85
Contrition: The Recognition of the Face 87
Confession, Satisfaction, and Absolution 87
Healing the Interhuman Sphere 89
Healing the Community: The Social Level of Reconciliation 93
The Dialectic of Reconciliation 96
App. 1 Indicators That a Man May Kill His Partner 99
App. 2 Accountability 102
App. 3 Control Log: Men's Education Groups 104
App. 4 An Annotated Website Bibliography 106
Notes 109
Selected Bibliography 121
Index 127
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