Monday, July 9, 2012

Around the Web-May 2011

Pornography’s pervasiveness in the culture and in the church is a well-known topic today.  Many books, articles, and websites, primarily directed toward men, have been produced to attempt to address the issue.  Russell Moore, vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a piece entitled Can Christian Romance Novels Hurt Your Heart?, which addresses the potential dangers in romance novels.  He briefly reviewed a book (A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogas & Goddam, 2011) that addresses how Internet searches reveal much about men and women.  Moore raised specific concerns for Christians reading “Christian” romance novels:  “A lot of this genre, though, is simply a Christianization of a form not intended to enhance intimacy but to escape to an artificial illusion of it. Granted, there’s no graphic sexuality here. The hero and heroine don’t sleep together; they pray together. But that’s just the point.  How many disappointed middle-aged women in our congregations are reading these novels as a means of comparing the ‘strong spiritual leaders’ depicted there with what by comparison must seem to be underachieving lumps lying next to them on the couch?” As counselors, we need to be aware of the potential influences upon our clients and Moore brings one to light in this blog post.  

Stacy Trasancos, a self-described “scientist turned homemaker and joyful convert to Catholicism” wrote a thoughtful refutation of an article predicting the extinction of religion in nine countries based upon mathematical models.  In her essay, she addressed the inherent complexity and unpredictability of human behavior given that people are not just physical, but also spiritual, possessing free will.  We should value Christians like Trasancos who possess knowledge of the natural world and are able to eloquently refute poor conclusions based upon faulty, a priori assumptions.  As Christian psychologists, our conclusions about human behavior will certainly be informed by our worldview as well, as Jay Kidwell previously pointed out in this newsletter. 

Biblical counselor Bob Kellemen discusses the concept of “victory over” versus “struggling with.” He rightly points out that in many cases Christians, including those in leadership, suggest that dealing with sin involves obtaining victory over it, rather than struggling with sin.  He says, “As we provide pastoral care and biblical counseling, we need to minister out of the anguish of our own ongoing struggle with suffering and against sin. We need to connect soul-to-struggling-soul. As we write and preach, we have to stop implying that the resolution to any battle is easy and matter-of-fact.”  Perhaps our work as Christian psychologists may involve re-orienting people to the legitimate, continuing struggle with sin. 

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