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Showing posts with the label spiritual struggles

Faith After Doubt: - Doubting Brian-A Review

  Doubting Brian Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It By   Brian D. McLaren Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton Faith After Doubt reads like a spiritual memoir and, no doubt, many will find Brain’s ideas helpful. He writes well, and judging by various reviews online, he has met the needs of a lot of followers. For young thoughtful Christians doubt can be an unwelcome guest who stays too long and keeps returning as if doubt were oblivious to the not so subtle rejection of a hostile host. McLaren embraces doubt as a catalyst to spiritual growth. His welcoming attitude toward doubt may help those struggling to close the door. Some readers appear to have appreciated his four-stages of faith, which are frequently referred to in the book. Here’s a quick look. 1. Simplicity- Christians accept the simple faith they have been taught and many remain in that stage their entire life. 2. Complexity- Christians are learning about their faith

Pray Away [Conversion Therapy] A Review

   Pray Away By   Kristine Stolakis   Jessica Devaney     Anya Rous   Carla Gutierrez Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton Pray Away is a documentary film about the experience of American Evangelicals who identify as LGBTQ and conversion therapy. I watched the show last week on Netflix and I recommend the film to those interested in the topic. One of the leads is a man named Jeffrey who identifies as ex-trans. He no longer identifies as trans as he says, “I lived transgender but I left it all to follow Jesus.” The film tells part of the Exodus story. Exodus was a large Christian organization based in Orlando Florida. It began in 1976 and quickly expanded to help people who identified as gay or lesbian change their same-sex attraction. The process was called conversion therapy or reparative therapy. Exodus closed in 2013. The film, Pray Away , tells the story of people who continued to struggle with same-sex attraction, which never went away. Despite the closing of Exodus, C

Handbook Psychology of Religion 2nd Ed - Book Review

  Handbook of the Psychology       of Religion and Spirituality      2nd Ed. By    Raymond F. Paloutzian     & Crystal L. Parks, Eds. Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton As I write this review, world leaders, both secular and religious, have attempted to separate the heinous actions of murderous groups identifying with religion from the majority of people who practice their religion in peaceful ways. As the editors observe, the importance of religion and  spirituality hardly needs justification. The editors and authors of the thirty-three chapters clearly focus their attention on a psychological perspective without ignoring the contribution of sociologists and anthropologists. They accomplish this by focusing on two meta-themes, which the editors propose will take scholars beyond the endless attempts at formulating definitions of the terms religion and spirituality.  The first meta-theme views the study of religion in the context of meaning systems, which enable people to integrate th

Why I Became an Atheist-John W Loftus- A Book Review

  Why I became an Atheist :       A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity  By   John W. Loftus   Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton John Loftus explains his reasons for becoming an atheist in a way that’s quite different from the likes of Dawkins (2006) and Harris (2004). Loftus knows Christianity from the inside and the outside. He graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and served as a pastor. The text reveals his familiarity with Christian theologies and apologetics. The author covers some familiar territory by reviewing the problems with the classic arguments for the existence of God. These arguments are commonly presented in philosophy of religion courses. As is commonly known, the arguments do not offer a pathway to belief in the God of the Bible or another god. Loftus presentation is even-handed and not belligerent. He also challenges Christian views of the Bible. As might be expected, he points out problems with the texts and the associated difficulty of

Love Wins-- A Book Review by Sutton

LOVE WINS: A BOOK ABOUT HEAVEN,       HELL, and the FUTURE of  EVERY PERSON WHO EVER LIVED    By       Rob Bell   Reviewed by       Geoffrey W. Sutton I have observed that a lot of the adult children of parents in my age group have left conservative churches or left the Christian faith altogether. Some tell me their children identify as spiritual. I get that. My wife and I left conservative churches years ago. Rob Bell is in touch with the bright young people of the 21st century. I understand that conservatives will not agree with his message. And scholars will find his writings too simplistic. Nevertheless, I think Bell is meeting a spiritual need. Following is my summary of his book, Love Wins (Bell, 2011).      Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids Michigan and a graduate of the conservative evangelical Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary. Love Wins is an easy read. Bell is a gifted communicator. Following is a quot

Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma- A Book Review

SPIRITUALLY ORIENTED          PSYCHOTHERAPY    FOR TRAUMA Edited by Donald F. Walker,  Christine A. Courtois,  Jamie D. Aten Reviewed by    Geoffrey W. Sutton Publisher: American Psychological Association This book is an excellent resource for clinicians considering the spiritual concerns of people who have experienced trauma. The treatment of trauma has a long history. As clinicians who have treated people with trauma, we have learned many techniques and become acquainted with other options such as medication and therapeutic animals. However, the spiritual dimension has been somewhat neglected until recently. This book helps fill in the gap. The twelve chapters cover multiple topics beginning with an overview of spirituality and ethical considerations in psychotherapy for trauma. Other chapters offer insights into aspects of trauma where religion or spirituality may be a major concern such as spiritual struggles, the problem of evil, and changes in God-image link

CAUGHT IN THE PULPIT: Leaving Belief Behind-a Review by Sutton

Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind    by   Daniel C. Dennett &    Linda LaScola Reviewed by      Geoffrey W. Sutton I recently spoke with a seminary student who mentioned his interest in deconversion. Having studied Psychology of Religion for decades, I'm familiar with the topic both as a clinician and scientist. The conversation reminded me of a book I reviewed a few years ago. It turns out the review was accepted for publication but I cannot find evidence that it appeared in print so here's the review with the removal of some text that would have been for the academic publication. ******** Have you ever listened to someone disclose their deep spiritual doubts? In Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Faith Behind , Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola systematically disclose and analyze the deconversion experiences of 35 clergy and seminary interviewees who participated in their qualitative study. Encouraged by a pilot study in 2010, the authors pursued a br