Personhood: Orthodox Christianity and the Connection between Body, Mind, and Soul

Personhood: Orthodox Christianity and the Connection between Body, Mind, and Soul

Personhood: Orthodox Christianity and the Connection between Body, Mind, and Soul

Personhood: Orthodox Christianity and the Connection between Body, Mind, and Soul

Synopsis

Psychologists, theologians, medical doctors, and Christian clergy discuss the significance of spiritual direction and identify the problems that inhibit one's ability to reach spiritual goals in modern life. They show how the process of being "in Christ" in truth, life, and light results in personal freedom. The commitment to growth in these qualities provides the foundation for the critical subjects addressed in this book: spiritual discernment and differential diagnosis, identity formation, sexuality, intimacy and relationships, addictions, holistic health, and education. Melding Greek Orthodox Christianity in America with spirituality and more conventional psychotherapy and medical practice, this book makes an uncommon contribution to the religiously diverse spectrum of our ever-expanding multicultural consciousness.

Excerpt

Krister Stendahl

How come I responded to John Chirban's friendly invitation to write a preface to a book on Personhood and Orthodox Christianity? I am neither Orthodox--at least not Eastern Orthodox--nor a scholar of psychology, and certainly not a psychoanalyst. But as he described the project of which this volume is ripe fruit, I said to myself: that is a promising pair. That would produce something new and fresh. Why did I think so?

Over the last decade or more I have (re)discovered the Trinity, the mystery of thinking of God as interrelatedness as an eternal giving and receiving, thinking of the Holy Spirit as God's energy. I have even come to understand that the filioque was not a very good idea.

So if human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, what a starting point for personhood. Some time back I even wrote a piece on Selfhood in the Image of God as part of a volume on Selves, People, and Persons (University of Notre Dame Press, 1972).

Therefore I am excited by this volume, and BishopKallistos Ware's opening article--opening in more senses than one--gave me the feeling that my thinking was right about the stimulation to the fields of psychology and anthropology that can come out of "the ethos of Trinitarian communion."

In his book about Ghandi and elsewhere, Erik Erikson tested the proposition that Freudian psychoanalysis was so much conditioned by Western cultural sentiment that it could not easily be applied to other cultures. That question comes to my mind when I read this volume. The Augustinian and Anselmian, the Lutheran and Calvinist west has shaped the soul and minds where our various schools of psychology emerged. Perhaps the Eastern Orthodox starting point offers more both of critique and promise of new starts than even the writers of this volume can see in the midst of doing their work in the U.S. ambience. I offer such a "perhaps," not lacking in appreciation but rather as a recognition that when the Orthodox perspec-

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