Surviving God

A New Vision of God through the Eyes of Sexual Abuse Survivors

Surviving God

A New Vision of God through the Eyes of Sexual Abuse Survivors

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Who is God when we see God through the eyes of survivors?

Many books have dealt with sexual abuse scandals in the church and the role of pastoral care for survivors. Others have provided liberatory readings of biblical texts to support survivors of sexual violence. Surviving God takes a new approach, centering the voices of sexual abuse survivors while rethinking key Christian beliefs. Starting from experiences of oppression, beliefs that contribute to oppression are challenged, and new, hopeful, and healing beliefs take their place.

Groundbreaking theologians Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw, each a survivor herself, demonstrate how traditional ways of thinking about God are highly problematic, contribute to the problems of sexual abuse, and are not reflective of the God of love and justice at the heart of the gospel. These long-held theologies often perpetuate the problem of sexual abuse and fail to promote healing for survivors. Drawing from their own experiences and the experiences of other survivors, and centering the ways gender intersects with race, sexuality, class, and religion, Kim and Shaw lead us to deep healing and a transformed church that no longer contributes to the devastation of sexual abuse. In these inspiring pages, you will discover new ways of thinking about God that are surprising, challenging, and empowering.


"A monumental gift to the church and to survivors alike. With profound insight and theological precision, Kim and Shaw reexamine the Scriptures from the point of view of the God who survives, survivors in the Scriptures, and Jesus--the survivor of sexual violence. Surviving God is both indictment and healing balm for the church in an age of reckoning."

Lisa Sharon Harper, critically acclaimed author of The Very Good Gospel and Fortune

"An essential book for everyone who cares about the suffering of the innocent and the moral worthiness of this religion called Christianity."

David P. Gushee, author of Changing Our Mind, After Evangelicalism, and Defending Democracy from Its Christian Enemies

"For anyone longing for an understanding of God beyond the toxic and abusive theologies of the patriarchy--this book is for you!"

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Todd Peters, professor of religious studies and founding director of the Poverty and Social Justice Program at Elon University, and author of Trust Women

"Theology done through the eyes and voices of survivors of sexual violence and abuse is something that every community that calls itself Christian needs."

Mary Foskett, chair, Department for the Study of Religions, Wake Forest University

"Surviving God exposes the toxic theology that dominates much of evangelical Christianity, but more importantly, it exchanges those distortions for images of God that offer hope and comfort. Grace and Susan's engagement with Scripture, the church, and the experiences of sexual survivors is as unflinching as it is healing."

Jennifer Garcia Bashaw, associate professor of New Testament and Christian ministry, Campbell University

"How can we transform rape culture? By reimagining our society's all-powerful, authoritarian, male God. Centering the voices of sexual abuse survivors, Surviving God shows us a path through the dark thicket of a violent God, toward the sunlight of a God who yearns for justice and joy."

Christa Brown, author of This Little Light

"This timely, powerful book radically centers the experiences of sexual abuse survivors. It addresses with sensitivity the tensions of negotiating a faith tradition that has compounded abuse, yet also simultaneously offers visions of a more just community. The authors do not let God off the hook, but acknowledge that God, too, can be understood as a co-survivor of, and escapee from, toxic theologies."

Susannah Cornwall, author of Constructive Theology and Gender Variance and Un/Familiar Theology

"A much-needed message of assurance and comfort for survivors of sexual abuse and those who support them. As survivors themselves, Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw made the hard journey of deconstructing their learned theology and reimagining God as one who suffers with us, liberates us for the work of justice, and calls us to create beloved communities that are safe, welcoming, liberatory, and transformative."

Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Durso, president, Central Seminary, Shawnee, Kansas

"Kim and Shaw courageously address the difficult reality of sexual assault and violence in both society and church. The authors' multilayer approach includes their dialogue with each other, as well as stories from other survivors of sexual abuse. Even in a world of suffering and injustice, this book provides a helpful method of critique and reimagination that presents pathways to new understandings and practices, with the potential for new hope and joy."

Edwin David Aponte, dean of the Theological School and professor of religion and culture at Drew University

"An empowering read for survivors and those struggling to overcome pain, despair, and anguish from sexual abuse and assault. This is an excellent resource book for individuals, churches, and communities seeking to end sexual violence and moving toward healing and wholeness."

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., president and founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition and author of Keeping Hope Alive


"Drawn from personal experiences and survivor narratives, the authors' insightful exploration extends compassion to aid in the journey toward healing. They interpret the Bible through an intersectional lens, offering solace and pathways to recovery for marginalized victims, such as the queer community, people of color, and women. . . . With empathy, Surviving God acknowledges deep suffering as it illustrates the potential for finding faith and solace. Kim and Shaw actively challenge norms and advocate for accountability, providing a compassionate guide for healing immense hurt and finding solace in the arms of a loving God."


Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506495781
  • eBook ISBN 9781506495941
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 244
  • Publication Date March 26, 2024