Fortitude Amidst Disasters with Dr. Jamie Aten-CMAW042




What You’ll Hear:
  • Dr. Aten grew up in a small farming community.  He was baptized at age 8.  His faith didn’t become his own until college.
  • His college professor asked him why he was a Christian and he didn’t have an answer
  • He was given a bunch of books starting with “Mere Christianity” and he ended up with frequent talks with his professor
  • As a result, he was mentored in his faith by an agnostic.
  • He continued that tradition of meeting weekly
  • He is the founder and Exec Director of Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College
  • He worked as a minister and got his PhD in Counseling Psychology
  • He went to the Univ of Southern Mississippi where Brett Favre graduated and Jimmy Buffet dropped out
  • He helped out with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and came to Wheaton College and in 2 years was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer.
  • As a child, he went through a tornado and took from that experience that everything went back to normal after a disaster.  Through cancer, it’s not just about surviving the disaster, you have to learn how to survive survivorship
  • SUV is a spontaneous unintended volunteer who can do more harm than good.  A tech said to him “God only tests the strong, at least you don’t have it as bad as when I had cancer”.
  • Show up and be present, your presence will say more than any words you could ever say
  • Don’t give bumper sticker theology sayings
  • Be patient and honor the person’s struggle in that moment
  • “The suffering we’re going through is part of the Fall”
  • There is a place for justice, but there is great power in forgiveness.
  • “We can either let our pain divide us or unite us.  Often times when we’re struggling we isolate ourselves from others but that’s really when we need to let others into our lives.”
  • “By telling our story to others, it helps us gain master over that trauma or event” but make sure it’s with something who will honor you
  • We should forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made in our own lives
  • Sometimes we don’t want to give up our survivor guilt because we’ll have to acknowledge the shame in our lives
  • Normal is a setting on a washing machine
  • There is virtue in resilience and endurance but fortitude is something else.
  • Resilience is trying to get on the other side of adversity to get back to life, while spiritual fortitude allows us to find life even amidst of the suffering.
  • Spiritual fortitude is our ability to metabilize suffering and still try to do good even when we are beaten down and the odds are against us.  Spiritual fortitude helps us to better live in the present
  • Embrace humility during times of adversity.  This will be a blessing to us and to those who walk beside us.

Author: Dave Hilgendorf

Christian, married with 3 daughters, engineer

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