Sewanee will welcome two fellows-in-residence to the School of Theology's program Feb. 10–21.
The Rev. Dr. Deonna D. Neal serves as the Chair, Department of Leadership, Ethics, and the Profession of Arms at Air University (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama), and oversees the leadership and ethics curriculum of the distance learning division of Air Force officer graduate professional military education. She also serves as a priest associate at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Neal has a B.S. from the Air Force Academy in Behavioral Science, an M.Div. from The General Theological Seminary, an M.Phil. in Christian Ethics and Political Theology from Oxford University, and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame. Neal's research interests include ethics of emerging technologies, moral injury, and issues that reside at the intersection of church, state, and military service. Her project is an exploration of the tensions Christians in military service face in light of a thoroughly secularized "Just War" tradition.
Neal will give a public presentation on "Moral Injury" on Feb. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in Hamilton Hall's Hargrove Auditorium. Moral Injury can be defined as perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations. Over the last 25 years, the study of moral injury has proved helpful in explaining why and how military members experience moral and spiritual trauma in war that can not be adequately captured or fully treated by a PTSD diagnosis. There is growing concern among the military, religious and healthcare communities that the effects of moral injury are contributing to the increasing rates of suicide, drug use, and other self-destructive behaviors among veterans, active duty, guard and reserve military personnel. This lecture will 1) explain what moral injury is and how it is different from PTSD; 2) how moral injury can occur; and 3) steps towards healing. This is an important lecture for anyone who is interested in learning how war is affecting our nation's veterans and how we can individually, as communities, churches, and a nation try to prevent moral injury and help people heal from it.
Cecile S. Holmes is an associate professor in the University of South Carolina's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, she is former head of its journalism sequence and a former president of the Religion News Association. She is a native South Carolinian, holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of South Carolina and an M.A.L.S. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A lifelong Episcopalian, she is working on a doctor of ministry degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation. Her primary research interests are religion and media and narrative writing, especially telling stories of faith. A recognized authority on religion writing, she worked in news media for 23 years covering stories ranging from Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama to the international travels of Pope John Paul II. A former correspondent for Religion News Service, she is the author of two books. Holmes' final project for her D.Min. will be on the power of spiritual autobiography and the telling of one's spiritual story. The centerpiece of her project will be 12 interviews with Christians ranging in age from 24–93—straight, gay, black, white, Latino, and Asian.