Divorce leaves a deep mark on children of all ages. But why does it cause so much strain and long-term distress? Andrew Root, a recognized authority on youth ministry and a child of divorce himself, explains that divorce is first and foremost an issue of ontology. When parents divorce, what it precipitates in children is nothing less than a questioning of root self or core identity.
Since a child is the product of the union of a mother and father, when that union ends, he or she experiences a loss of his or her very sense of being. Exploring the issue from a theological and spiritual standpoint, Root redirects efforts for assisting children of divorce to address this fundamental experience and provides hope that communities of faith can offer a firm foundation to those affected by divorce.
This is the first book to examine the impact of divorce from a practical theological perspective and also from a young person's perspective. Those who have experienced divorce and those who work with or minister to young people whose parents are divorced will benefit from this book.
About the series: The Youth, Family, and Culture series examines the broad categories involved in studying and caring for the needs of the young and is dedicated to the preparation and vocational strengthening of those who are committed to the spiritual development of adolescents.
Why does divorce cause so much strain and long-term distress for children of all ages? Andrew Root, a recognized authority on youth ministry and a child of divorce himself, explains that divorce causes children to question their core identity. Since a child is the product of the union of a mother and father, when that union ends, he or she experiences a baffling sense of loss of self--a loss of his or her very sense of being. Root redirects efforts for assisting children of divorce to first address this fundamental experience.
This unique book examines the impact of divorce not only from a theological and spiritual perspective but also from a young person's perspective. It will benefit those who have experienced divorce and those who minister to children of divorce.
Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is well connected in the professional youth ministry world. He is the author of Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry (a finalist for Outreach magazine's outreach book of the year) and has published many articles and chapters.
"Andrew Root's insightful analysis gives voice to my own journey as a child of divorce, and to the experiences of countless others I've observed. This book beautifully integrates the ontological pain of divorce with the redemptive power of Christ and the church."
--Kara E. Powell,
Executive Director, Fuller Youth Institute,
Fuller Theological Seminary
"What happens to a child when the source of his or her existence disintegrates? This fascinating study argues that the pain experienced by children of divorced parents cannot be healed by legal, psychological, 'religious,' or other techniques. An affliction that attacks the ontological foundations of the self can only be assuaged by the acquisition of new sources of being. And so Andrew Root probes how the Christian faith and community can help locate these sources. As in his previous books, Root here demonstrates an unusual combination of human compassion and theological wisdom."
--Douglas John Hall
Emeritus Professor of Christian Theology,
"Youth workers have always known that the impact of divorce on kids was substantially deeper than pop culture would want us to believe, and now thankfully Andy Root tells us why this is true. Reading Children of Divorce felt like sitting with Root--precariously, uncomfortably--in the three-way intersection of history, psychology, and theology. I learned more about family in the first chapter than from any other entire book I've read."
Speaker; Consultant; Author, Youth Ministry 3.0
"Our culture says divorce is 'normal,' but the existential consequences for children of divorce--like myself--are not a normal aspect of human development. With compassion, wisdom, and theological insight, Root calls for the church to become a community in which young people are able to ground their being and process the painful loss of family security."
--Mark W. Cannister,
Professor of Christian Ministries,
"Divorce leaves a cloud of dust that never settles. And those of us who love and care for kids need to pay special attention to the growing number of children who undergo this experience. As one who has lived in the dust, Andrew Root raises the right issues, challenging us to think more deliberately and carefully about what it means to minister to, parent, and befriend the children of divorce."
Founder and President, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
"The Children of Divorce is winsomely written, achingly honest, and fearlessly hopeful. Root's analysis of divorce as an ontological--not just a sociological--crisis for children is dead-on, as is his advice for congregations who must name and address this soul-splitting reality. With his incomparable ability to blend story and theology, and his signature insistence on naming elephants in the room, Root delivers a beautiful and wise book that is for anyone touched by divorce . . . which means, of course, that it is for all of us."
--Kenda Creasy Dean,
Associate Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture,
Princeton Theological Seminary
"Children of Divorce is an important and much-needed book. As a scholar, Andrew Root offers the guidance and perspective of a thoughtful practical theologian. As a young man whose personal life has been affected by divorce, Root brings readers into the heart and soul of the varied issues that accompany the dissolution of a marriage. I know this author as both man and scholar, and I'm thankful to him for giving us such a balanced and helpful resource."
Vice Provost, Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture,
Fuller Theological Seminary
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