It is hard to be unbiased about a fabulous new book when the author just happens to be one of your very best ‘sister-friends,’ especially when you get the shock of your life to see your name on the dedication page. However, I’m not the only one who feels the same way, as you will see from the following reviews, especially the one from gracednotes at the end of this blog.
Dr. Elaine A. Heath, professor of evangelism at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, has written a truly excellent resource offering hope to sexual abuse survivors and those who ‘journey with them’ – We Were the Least of These (Brazos Press).
For countless SA (and domestic violence) survivors, the Church has failed to be a sanctuary. Just yesterday, a client shared with me that this week she was told by a pastor she was beginning to trust that she had to forgive the non remorseful, still offending person who had violently abused her for years, resume relationship with this man, thus exposing her children to him, “and just get over it.”
Sadly, dearest Elaine knows first hand what it means to be a sexual abuse survivor. She has earned the right to speak and to be heard. Her words offer both a balm of healing and solace for those who have been broken, and wisdom and understanding for those who care for them. Buy this book for your pastor. On second thought, buy at least two of them. You’ll want to read it first before you pass it along, but after you have written all over it with highlighter and pen in response, and your tears have marked the pages that touch your heart, you’ll not want to give up your own copy.
Encouragement and Hope for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
We Were the Least of These illuminates the good news of healing and liberation that the Bible offers survivors of sexual abuse. Elaine Heath offers a close reading of several biblical passages that have proven to be profoundly therapeutic for survivors and shares stories and insights from those who have experienced healing through the Bible. As a theologian and survivor of abuse herself, she handles this sensitive topic with compassion and grace.
“Sexual trauma survivors have long felt uncomfortable, out of place, and even ostracized within the church. For many victims, reading the Bible is a painful and even re-victimizing experience. Finally, Elaine Heath has provided a welcome reframing of scripture for survivors of sexual abuse. This book offers a compassionate, theologically sound reading of biblical stories and shares a healing, redemptive perspective. As a survivor of sexual abuse and a counselor who has worked with hundreds of hurting victims, I highly recommend it.”–Marnie C. Ferree, executive director, Bethesda Workshops for Sexual Addiction Recovery; author, No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction
“The journey toward healing can be a lonely one for survivors of sexual abuse who feel–and often are treated–like ‘the least of these’ children of God. Imagine the surprise ending: Jesus himself was the least of these! For Elaine Heath, this ending is just the beginning. This book fills a gap in the literature and I affirm its value as a professor, pastoral counselor, and minister.”–Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Perkins School of Theology, SMU; fellow, American Association of Pastoral Counselors
“Join Elaine Heath in reading the Bible from the perspective of survivors of sexual abuse and see texts in ways you have not seen them before. This is not, however, just a book of new insights. Heath skillfully and pastorally weaves together biblical stories, stories of survivors, and reflection questions. It is a healing, liberating, life-giving book.”–Mark D. Baker, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary; author, Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross.
A review from gracednotes:
an essential book for the church
Elaine Heath has created an exceptional resource for those who’ve been touched by sexual abuse – not just victims or survivors, but those who love “the least of these” and those who desire justice and healing for survivors. Insightful, practical and prophetic, Heath has walked this path with many. Instead of starting with psychological concepts and attempting to fit scripture around them, she begins with the Bible and brings the truths of the Word to the reader – and to the church. I couldn’t put it down.