The trauma of relocation : some theological issues
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Our age is characterized by the massive mobility of people. We have many loves and attachments; it is painful to lose them in the process of relocation. Ungrieved loss may result in depression or an inability to invest love again. Frequent relocation results in rootlessness, a major factor in our increasing indifference, aggressiveness and ecological disaster. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the trauma of relocation from a theological perspective, with resources from the social sciences; to examine, too, the pastoral response to that trauma which will enable people to live in covenant relationship with each other, the world, and God. In order to articulate this study we examine love, loss and the grief process according to the work of Bowlby, Mitchell and Anderson, and Worden; we also look at some complicated responses to the losses of uprooting. This is followed by a discussion of why the idea of "home" is so emotionally powerful, using resources from theology, the social sciences, and literature. We then examine images of uprooting and relocation in the stories of the Exodus, the wilderness journey, the exile, and the book of Ruth, with a discussion of how these images speak to uprooted people today. We affirm that the images of journeying and of homesteading need to be not competitive but companion images. We offer a model of how the relocation process can honour both the loves of the former place and the hope for vocation in the new place. Images of the Companion on the Journey and the Good Samaritan accompany us as we look at the pastoral care issues of families and children in upheaval; and as we extend hospitality to refugees and to the homeless, in accordance with Christ's command.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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