Latest in the Oates Journal
Secondary Traumatic Stress in Nurses: A Chaplain’s Response
- Written by Jeff Ellison
Death parted them after 40 years together. He pulled out in front of a pickup truck while she was reading a book in the passenger seat. Unfortunately it was not that quick.
They were admitted to the ICU together, eight beds apart. After a couple of days it was clear she would have to be withdrawn from care; she was not going to survive.
The nurses were trying to be sensitive. They tried to move him in a wheel chair to her side so he could be with her while she died, but his body was too unstable and he began to crash during the move.
With a suspicious amount of determination and a bit of creativity, the staff decided to move her bed down the unit and place her next to him. They fastened the two beds together side by side, making one large bed. The husband lay next to his wife in the bed, he held her hand, and he whispered to her while she passed away. One by one the nurses left that ICU bay crying.
Marriage as a New Creation: Mission, Mutuality and Solidarity
- Written by David R. Sawyer, Ph.D.
With all the current talk about changes and challenges in marriage mores, these remarks I made at a wedding, drawn from my process theology perspective, inform spiritual caregivers as they counsel or officiate at weddings of any kind.
Family therapist Carl Whitaker said that marriage is like two very different cultures sending out missionaries to each other with the main purpose to convert each other.
Transition, Transformation, and Heartbreak
- Written by Elizabeth I. Steele, D.Min.
I am constantly reminded that the world I live in is not the world I grew up in. As I child, I never imagined that I would see a black man elected president. Nor, growing up in California, did I imagine a conservative court legalizing gay marriage, or the Iowa legislature taking a similar action. There is the conversation I heard between my husband and daughter regarding sources for a school research paper. Dad, "Does one have to be printed?" Daughter, "No, we just have to list a resource." It took several moments to clarify that by printed Dad meant a resource that was printed in a book or magazine, daughter thought he meant printing out a copy of her resource on the computer.
Helping Churches Care: Grief Ministry in Action
- Written by Cindy Wallace, D.Min.
In 2002, my life was turned upside down by the sudden death of my father. After his death I felt lost and often alone in my grief. Many people meant well, but no one really knew what to say or do. No one from my home church reached out to me beyond sending sympathy cards. Going to church and other public functions became a dreaded chore. Many people asked, “How are you?” but did not want to listen to the response. After a couple of weeks it felt as though people forgot about my grief and even stopped asking how I was doing.
Homage to an Urban Pioneer—Grady Clay
- Written by David R. Sawyer, Ph.D.
Reading the obits and accolades published at the death of journalist and urban-ecologist Grady Clay sends me back to 1968. Mr. Clay posted on the seminary bulletin board a request for a seminary couple to house-sit and teen-sit their son while they were away for several weeks. We met them, were offered the job, and we spent time in their home and sort of tended the young man of the house.
Psychosis: A Service User's Perspective
- Written by Hilary Pegg, MSc
An autoethnographical account of a psychiatric patient’s experience and its relevance to chaplains.
When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity. (Ellis et al, 2011)
It was a particularly stressful time that summer of 1998. My mother had just died and my only sister had been told her breast cancer was back and she didn’t have long to live.
Revisiting Spaceship Earth
- Written by A. Christopher Hammon, D.Min.
A large screen image of the planet earth rising over the moon's horizon greeted me as I walked into a Southern Illinois University classroom to begin the winter term of 1970. At the time it was still a new image for us; a fresh look at the evidence of a new cosmology. It was the beginning of a new decade, which we greeted with a sense of world changing optimism in the face of a world divided by war, racial and ethnic hatred, and economic inequities. We were part of a design class focused on envisioning new solutions to world problems.
Ministry to Children in Peri-crisis:
- Written by Lisa Wood, M.Div.
Understanding the Need for Crisis Ministry with Children & Families
Weeks after the 1997 floodwaters receded in Iowa, young children still experienced nightmares that caused thrashing and moaning in their sleep. Long after the dust settled in the area around Ground Zero following 9/11, sobbing children clung to mothers and fathers as the parents tried to leave for work each day. Even now, as a community works to remove mounds of debris from a F4 tornado that ripped through the city of Henryville, Indiana last year, terrified children run screaming to hide under their beds and in closets as heavy winds roar outside their windows during spring thunderstorms. These examples are but a few manifestations of post-traumatic stress syndrome that affect children long after the initial crisis has passed.
Applying Solution Focused Therapy to a Military Service Member
- Written by Neil Duchac, Ph.D.
A Brief Case Study: Joe, 26, is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army having joined the military at the age of 19. Three months ago he returned home from his second deployment overseas within a four year period of time. Most recently he served in Afghanistan as an infantry soldier with his first tour being in Iraq. During his seven year career, Joe has been transferred to three bases. Joe has been married for the last six years to his high school sweetheart and together they have two children ages four and two. Joe has been an excellent father and an attentive husband until recently when he started experiencing nightmares and a change in his personality became noticeable. A once fun-loving and easy-going person, Joe has been viewed most recently as tense, edgy, and arguing with his family. He has not been an active father or husband for the past three weeks. Though going to work, he has been speaking negatively of his fellow soldiers, something that has never happened before. Joe’s commander has noticed these differences and has asked him to attend counseling. Fearful that his career is in jeopardy, Joe confides to his wife the recent problems he has been experiencing. Together they seek out a counselor and come to you.