The Depleted Self: Sin in a Narcissistic Age

The Depleted Self: Sin in a Narcissistic Age

The Depleted Self: Sin in a Narcissistic Age

The Depleted Self: Sin in a Narcissistic Age

Synopsis

Donald Capps argues that traditional theologies of guilt are unable to address those gripped by shame and calls for a different pastoral approach in counseling and ministry. He makes the case that a reformulation of the theology of sin is needed, explaining that "the time has come for us to recognize that taking care of our selves--this once-in-a-lifetime gift--is emphatically not a self-indulgence, but a moral imperative."

Excerpt

Over the past few years, sin has not been a central topic of interest within the pastoral care and counseling field. a major contribution of the pastoral counseling movement of the 1950s was its challenge of the clergy’s tendency to address parishioners’ problems in a moralistic fashion instead of exploring these problems in their psychodynamic context. Leaders of the pastoral counseling movement argued that, when ministers give appropriate attention to psychodynamic issues, their attitude toward parishioners is much more likely to be one of understanding and genuine concern, not moralistic and judgmental. Parishioners will be viewed less as sinners rebelling against the laws of God and human nature, and more as victims, caught in a complex set of personal circumstances and psychosocial conditions over which they may exercise only limited influence and control.

Furthermore, the pastoral care field has emphasized that positive change does not normally result from criticizing or condemning individuals for their behavior, however inappropriate or misguided such behavior may seem to an outside observer, but by accepting these individuals, and communicating through attitude and words that they are unconditionally prized and valued. Thus, even though the pastoral care and counseling movement has recognized the sinfulness of humankind, it has shown great . . .

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