Bullying: A Spiritual Crisis

by Ronald H. Cram. Chalice Press, 2003.

Concern about bullying and its effects on both the victim and the bully have grown in recent years. Yet, as Ronald Cram points out, this discussion is largely taking place outside of congregations.

This book calls us to address the problem of bullying in and through our congregations. Cram examines bullying as an act of violence with roots in spiritual dysfunction. Beginning with a challenging and thorough chapter on violence and the Christian life, the book then moves to a case study of one man’s journey from victim to bully. Defining "bullying" as an attempt to relate to others through repeated acts of violence, Cram exposes the flaw in the Western myth of tolerance that leads to all types of violence, including bullying. Instead of tolerance, what we need is growth in the religious practice of empathy. The final chapter, "Ways of Practicing Empathy," should be especially helpful for congregations interested in taking concrete action to deal with this spiritual crisis.

This book will be useful for congregational leaders and especially for those working with children, youth, and their families, many of whom deal with this spiritual crisis each day.