Moral Injury and Collective Healing

Rev. Dr. Joanne Braxton

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of Worlds.”

Words from the Bhagavad Gita spoken by nuclear scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the first atomic bomb explosions in New Mexico in 1945

What is moral injury? The term was first articulated in the language of combat psychology by psychiatrist and leading scholar of post-traumatic stress, Jonathan Shay. His pioneering theory of moral injury was described in numerous publications, including Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2003). However, in all aspects of our lives, we face situations that imperil our integrity, ask us to compromise our values, urge us to ignore core moral commitments, confront us with profound suffering of others. This half-day retreat will explore moral injury through the complicated experiences of the Manhattan Project scientists who created the atom bomb, offering insights for those who experience moral injury in our own time and contexts. We will learn how spiritual practices and the arts can contribute profoundly to healing. For more information, contact Rev. Rebecca Parker (

Saturday, Dec. 2, 9:00 am—1:00 pm
$10, or pay what you can
Saturday, December 2, 2017