PodcastMissionary Life

What Missionaries Need to Know About Trauma

Cross-cultural ministry is stressful. Paul Maxwell shares strategies for Christians to think through trauma, stress, and mental health.

Everybody is talking about trauma. Our culture is highly concerned with mental health, but a lot of half-baked opinions from pop psychology dominate the conversation. Simultaneously, those within the church are usually the last to show any willingness to address the legitimacy of biblically-informed psychology. For missionaries, the pressures are even greater as they face the stresses of life in a new culture—so how should missionaries think about trauma and the brain? Paul Maxwell joins us address how serious, Bible-believing, conservative Christians can should think about trauma, PTSD, and related struggles facing people in ministry.

Paul runs TheoFit. Paul earned his B. A. in Biblical Languages from Moody Bible Institute and his M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary. While in Philadelphia, Paul served at a think tank devoted to integrating psychology and theology, where he was encouraged to research more about trauma as he began to process his own childhood abuse. Paul witnessed in conservative Protestantism a closed posture toward psychology, while at the same time, he saw in the psychological literature a growing obsession and hysteria with the concept of trauma among therapists in particular. Conservative Protestants were too captivated by the concept of moral responsibility to see the real pathological elements of trauma, and psychologists could not explain why or how the traumatized could take moral responsibility for their own recovery. Both opposing camps seemed, to Paul, too ideologically motivated to do meaningful work at the intersection of masculinity, faith, and trauma. Follow Paul on Twitter.

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