ERIC Number: EJ799474
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Reference Count: 0
There Is the Hope: Abused Boys Finding God through Fiction
Rogers, Frank, Jr.
Religious Education, v103 n3 p293-296 May 2008
The author, a narrative arts educator, was teaching an after-school drama program to 11 abused boys in a residential treatment center. The program promised them the opportunity to tell and stage their own story. The author began by sharing a story about an abused boy he befriended in seminary who ended up killing himself. The following week, he shared the story of Elie Wiesel's play, "The Trial of God," in which a group of Russian Jews, in the tradition of Job, put God on trial for allowing evil to flourish in their 16th-century village. The story ignited the boys' passion to write their own play putting God on trial. For 10 weeks, they wrote monologues, brainstormed storylines, and improvised scenes. Then they staged a play, entitled "The Night that God Got Nailed," for the other youth and staff at the treatment facility. The play was an extraordinary success. For 11 abused boys, fiction was a means for revealing truth. Theirs was a world where truth is too often denied. The realities of abuse are silenced or minimized; the rage and despair of survivors are too raw to be heard; the questions of God's complicity with evil are too haunting to entertain. Suppressing their feelings and spiritual uncertainties before theological platitudes was akin to a hammer blow bludgeoning their experience. Writing a play was a way of claiming their deep truth about the world, the secrets that remain enshadowed, and the torments such secrets enflame.
Descriptors: Drama, Children, Emotional Response, Coping, Males, Child Abuse, Religion, Fiction, After School Programs, Personal Narratives, Religious Factors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A