Stories have always been important in religion, but systematic explorations of the narrative dimensions of religion are more recent and interdisciplinary explorations of narrative approaches in theology and religious studies are scarce.
Religious Stories We Live By paves the ground for these much needed interdisciplinary conversations. It first offers philosophical, psychological, and epistemological reflections on the importance of narrative approaches in the study of religion. The subsequent sections contain case studies and disciplinary overviews of narrative perspectives in biblical, empirical, systematic, and historical approaches in theology and religious studies. Combined, the contributions showcase the potential of narrative perspectives in bridging theology and religious studies, as well as descriptive and normative approaches. Narrative perspectives offer a fruitful common ground for the study of religion.
Contributors include Angela Berlis, Marjo Buitelaar, James Day, Maaike de Haardt, Marieke den Braber, Luco van den Brom, Marjet Derks, Toke Elshof, Dorothea Erbele Küster, John Exalto, Ruard Ganzevoort, Joep van Gennip, Annelies van Heijst, Chris Hermans, Liesbeth Hoeven, Anne-Marie Korte, Edwin Koster, Marit Monteiro, Michael Scherer-Rath, Klaas Spronk, Piet Verschuren, Wim Weren, and Willien van Wieringen.
Why is religion so important to individuals and societies? What gives religion its profound meaningfulness and longevity? Enhancing perspectives taken from sociology and ritual theory,
Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning describes how ‘emergence theory’ – developed to make sense of
mind – explains why religious communities are special when compared to ordinary human social groups. Paul Cassell argues that in religious ritual, beliefs concerning unseen divine agencies are made uniquely potent, inviting and guiding powerful, alternative experiences, and giving religious groups a form of organization distinct from ordinary human social groups. Going beyond the foundational descriptions of Émile Durkheim and Roy Rappaport, Cassell utilizes the best of 21st century emergence theory to characterize religion’s emergent dynamics.
Caring for Joy: Narrative, Theology, and Practice Mary Clark Moschella offers a new account of the value of joy in caregiving vocations, demonstrating how the work of caring for persons, communities, and the world need not be a dreary endeavor overwhelmed by crises or undermined by despair. Moschella presents glimpses of joy-in-action in the narratives of five notable figures: Heidi Neumark, Henri Nouwen, Gregory Boyle, Pauli Murray, and Paul Farmer, gleaning their wisdom for the construction of a theology of joy that embodies compassion, connection, justice, and freedom. Care must be deep enough to hold human suffering and spacious enough to take in the divine goodness, beauty, and love. This book expands the pastoral theological imagination and narrates joy-full approaches to transformational care.
“This work is a scholarly, engaging and compassionate call to reconsider the significance of joyful living and joyful lives in radical pastoral theology.”
— Heather Walton,
University of Glasgow, President of the International Academy of Practical Theology, July 2016.
“Based on biographies, interviews, and life stories, Mary Clark Moschella presents joy as a counter-cultural emotion, as a spiritual path, and as a fruit of the Spirit. In her research, joy and reason are not ultimately opposed.”
— Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care,
Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, July 2016.
“This highly readable and compelling theology of joy will inspire you to explore how joy might energize your vocation, especially caregiving vocations that use narrative approaches to spiritual care and pastoral counseling. I plan on using this book as a textbook in my theodicy, grief, death and dying, and vocational courses.”
— Carrie Doehring, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling,
Iliff School of Theology, Denver, August 2016
“Mary Moschella has given us a rare text, one that is theologically rich, intellectually sophisticated, drenched in pastoral wisdom, and beautifully written. She gives us a pastoral theology attuned to the realities of diversity and sensitive to the complex challenges facing those who lives constantly interface with suffering. There is simply nothing else like this book in pastoral care.”
— Willie James Jennings, Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies,
Yale University, August 2016
Missionary Expatriate Effectiveness, John Farquhar Plake examines how Pentecostal missionaries adjust to foreign cultural environments and become proficient at their work abroad. Connecting the disciplines of psychology, human resource management, and missiology, Plake provides unique insights into the predictors of expatriate effectiveness through the experience of 949 missionaries working in 127 nations.
Responding to the question, “Are missionaries born, called, or made?”, Plake provides evidence that cross-cultural training is a critical component of missionary formation. Here missionaries, educators, mission agency leaders, I-O psychologists, and cross-cultural scholars will find actionable data and a hopeful, nuanced picture of reality, grounded in the lived experiences of Pentecostal missionaries worldwide.
The language of habit plays a central role in traditional accounts of the virtues, yet it has received only modest attention among contemporary scholars of philosophy, psychology, and religion. This volume explores the role of both “mere habits” and sophisticated habitus in the moral life. Beginning with an essay by Stanley Hauerwas and edited by Gregory R. Peterson, James A. Van Slyke, Michael L. Spezio, and Kevin S. Reimer, the volume explores the history of the virtues and habit in Christian thought, the contributions that psychology and neuroscience make to our understanding of habitus, freedom, and character formation, and the relation of habit and habitus to contemporary philosophical and theological accounts of character formation and the moral life.
Contributors are: Joseph Bankard, Dennis Bielfeldt, Craig Boyd, Charlene Burns, Mark Graves, Brian Green, Stanley Hauerwas, Todd Junkins, Adam Martin, Darcia Narvaez, Gregory R. Peterson, Kevin S. Reimer, Lynn C. Reimer, Michael L. Spezio, Kevin Timpe, and George Tsakiridis.
Multiple forms of oppression, injustice, and violence today have roots in histories of colonialism. This connection to the past feels familiar for some and less relevant for others. Understanding and responding to these connections is more crucial than ever, yet some resist rather than face this task directly. Others resist oppressive postcolonial conditions.
Using intercultural stories and pastoral care scholarship, this book charts pathways through five resistances (not me, not here, not now, not relevant, not possible) to awaken creative pastoral care in a postcolonial world. McGarrah Sharp recommends practices that everyone can do: believing in each other, revisiting how histories are taught, imagining more passable futures, heeding prophetic poets, and crossing borders with healthy boundaries.
This volume positions itself on the cutting edge of two fields in psychology that enjoy rapidly increasing attention: both the study of human lives and some core domains of such lives as religion and spirituality are high on the agenda of current research and teaching. Biographies and autobiographies are being approached in new ways and have become central to the study of human lives as an object of research and a preferred method for obtaining unique data about subjective human experiences. Ever since the beginning of the psychology of religion, autobiographies have also been pointed out as an important source of information about psychic processes involved in religiosity. In this volume, a number of leading theoreticians and researchers from Europe and the USA try to bring them back to this field by drawing on new insights and latest developments in psychological theory.