Tami F Hooker D.Min.
Incarcerated men often feel abandoned by God. Those feelings of abandonment result in their avoiding the church even if they have been raised in it, in religion shopping or choosing their own understanding of and way of relating to the divine over any religion, and in overt religiosity, Implications of this are that the men no longer identify themselves as children of God as defined by the Christian faith. For some, it means they have no relationship with God or with the Church as a whole or the congregation within prison walls. This work takes a look at prison as exile and exile as trauma using the exile and the trauma that resulted from it as described in the Hebrew Scriptures for comparison. The intervention is a Bible study based on narrative theology that inmates from a state prison created and that I facilitated and evaluated in a county jail. The study is titled "Where was God?" It was created so men could hear stories similar to their own and recognize that those telling them are aware that God had been present in their stories and also explore where similar stories had occurred in Scripture. The authors chose ten topics to explore. They were: where was God when I was hurt, felt alone, felt ashamed, was afraid, was pretending, felt invisible, felt un-forgiven and was unforgiving, felt desperate and in despair. It concludes by asking where was God when I felt hope and when I felt love. The hope was that this would help the participants to see their own stories as part of a divine narrative, which would lead them to build a more authentic relationship to God and healthier relationships with others.