Lutherans Concerned/North America’s new anti-bullying resource booklet, “Where Hands Will Reach,” is now available. The booklet contains devotions, stories and theological reflections, and is being distributed at the 2011 ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Churchwide Assembly. The booklet is also available in pdf form on the LC/NA website, www.lcna.org, under Resources.
The stories and reflections are from pastors, parents, theologians and others. These stories and reflections are part of the ongoing testimony in religious and secular arenas that something must be done to reduce and eliminate bullying from our schools, churches, and society. The theology of Christianity is opposed to bullying, in any form, directed against anyone.
What is needed is work to eliminate bullying, not just talk about it.
The booklet is part of the effort to galvanize people of faith into action, collaborative action, in opposition to an oppression that hurts all: victims, perpetrators, those who stand by doing nothing. Ultimately, bullying harms the fabric of both our whole lives, spiritual, emotional and physical, as well as the fabric of our civil society.
Physical, verbal and cyber-bullying cut across and affect all communities. Issues of race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, body shape, age and physical/mental abilities intersect in a multi-faceted and complex “cocktail” of oppression directed against especially those at highest risk. The result, combined with the influence of electronic social media, can overwhelm the ability of particularly young people to cope, with sometimes horrific consequences.
The devotions in the booklet help inculcate the stories and theological reflections into our spiritual lives. They are the offering of Pastor David Eck, Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Fairview, North Carolina.
Also available on the LC/NA website, www.lcna.org under Resources, is an LC/NA curriculum for a series of intergenerational discussions in congregations and other settings about bullying, effective responses to bullying, and action-planning to counter and eliminate it in church, family, and communities.