A Group of the American Academy of Religion

October 1998; Volume 21, no. 3

Kelly Bulkeley, Editor; D. Andrew Kille, Layout









PCR sessions at the 1998 AAR Annual Meeting
November 20-24, 1998 Orlando, Florida



Theory and Therapy

Work in Progress
Business Session
Critical Perspectives on the "New Age"



New Age: "'I'm Not Religious...But I'm Spiritual"

Families and Parenting: Diversity and Transitions
Discussion of From Culture Wars to Common Ground


Friday Nov 20 2:00-6:15 [AM23] S-Toucan 2

2:00 Theme: Theory and Therapy:
John McDargh, Boston College, Presiding

Spiritually-Based Psychotherapy
Trevor Watt, Canisius College

"Aboriginal Population(s) in the Mind": Race and Religion in Psychoanalysis
Celia Brickman, University of Chicago

Space: The Final Frontier
Mary Fraser, Hudson Falls, NY

4:00 Break

4:30 Theme: Dreamsharing as Religious, Therapeutic, and Educational Resource
Kelly Bulkeley, Graduate Theological Union


Saturday Nov 21 9:00-11:30 [AM69] D-Europe 4

9:00 Theme: Works in Progress:
Andrew Kille, San Jose, CA, presiding

9:45 Business Meeting:
Lucy Bregman, Temple University, presiding

10:30 Theme: Critical Perspectives on the "New Age"
Kelley Raab, Nebraska Wesleyan University, presiding

New Age Spiritualities, Cultural Extremities and Modernity
Paul Heelas, Lancaster University

Healing Mother Nature in a New Age: Ecotheology and Popular Perspective
Catherine M. Roach, Harvard University

Main Session I: Sunday Nov 22 9:00-11:30 a.m. [A86] S-Swan 2

Theme: New Age: "I'm Not Religious...But I'm Spiritual": Religion Scholars on a World of New Age Healing
Lucy Bregman, Temple University, presiding


Linda Barnes, Northeastern University
Laurence J. O'Connell, The Park Ridge Center
Megroy Anderson, Sacred Dying Foundation
Neil Gillman, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Gregory Plotnikoff, University of Minnesota

Main Session II: Tuesday Nov 24 9:00-11:30 am [A247} D-Oceanic 5

Theme A: Families and Parenting: Diversity and Transitions
Franz Metcalf, Los Angeles, CA, presiding

Choosing to Become Other: Gender Ideologies, Religious Calling and the Practice of Singleness in Indonesia
Frances S.Adeney, University of Southern California

Interweaving Selves: Toward a Psychology of Enmeshment in Hindu Families
Daniel J. Meckel, University of Chicago

Theme B: Discussion of From Culture Wars to Common Ground by Don S. Browning, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Pamela D.Couture, K. Brynolf Lyon, and Robert M. Franklin
Kelly Bulkeley, Graduate Theological Union, presiding


Pamela D. Couture, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
Millicent Feske, St. Joseph's University
Christopher Ross, Wilfrid Laurier University

Don S. Browning, University of Chicago

Calls for Papers

The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion is a world journal devoted to the psychological studies of religious processes and phenomena in all religious traditions. It provides a means for sustained discussion of psychologically relevant issues that can be examined empirically and concern religions in the most general sense. Work should be of interest to those in the social and behavioral sciences and to those with theological or more general interests in this broad field. The journal aims to disseminate psychological theory and research that relates to religion across national and cultural traditions. The journal publishes research reports, commentaries on relevant topical issues, book reviews, and letters addressing articles published in previous issues. For information concerning submissions contact Raymond F. Paloutzian, Psychology Department, Westmont College, 955 La Paz Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108-1099, phone 805-565-6233, fax 805-565-6220, e-mail paloutz@westmont.edu.

American Academy of Religion/Western Region and Society of Biblical Literature/Pacific Coast Region, Annual Meeting, Sunday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 16, 1999, at the University of San Francisco. Members of the AAR and/or SBL are invited to submit a one-page abstract of a proposed paper to any one section (multiple submissions are not accepted) no later than November 1, 1998. For the Psychology of Religion, contact Kathleen Greider at Kathleen.greider@cgu.edu; for Person, Culture, and Religion contact Kelly Bulkeley at 76633.1555@compuserve.com; for Religion and the Social Sciences, contact Mark Kowalewski at Vashti1112@aol.com.

Dreaming, an interdisciplinary journal, is planning a special issue on historical studies of dreaming scheduled for publication in early 2000. Contributions are invited for articles that:

Manuscripts will undergo full peer review. Manuscripts should be submitted by 1 March 1999 to Hendrika Vande Kemp, 180 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101-1714 or to Kelly Bulkeley, 226 Amherst Avenue, Kensington, CA 94708.


Schuyler Brown (University of St. Michael's College) invites PCR members to attend the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section meeting at the upcoming AAR meeting. He notes that one of the books to be discussed in Orlando is Text and Psyche: Experiencing Scripture Today (Continuum 1998). The basic plan for this book as presented to the PCR Group at the 1990 meeting in New Orleans. Schuyler says the encouragement he received from the group, and especially from John McDargh, was a major factor in getting the project started.

Wayne Rollins (Assumption College) has just submitted a manuscript for a book in contract with Fortress Press entitled Habits of the Soul: The Bible and Its Interpretation in Psychological Perspective: Retrospect and Prospect. It is a survey of work done to date, beginning with the "Biblical psychology" of the early church in dialogue with the "psychologies" of Aristotle, Plato, the Stoics, etc., up to the present, with a detailed description of scholarship in psychological Biblical criticism re-emerging in Biblical studies since the 1960's, and a prospectus on the agendas for psychological-critical exegesis and hermeneutics, along with a heuristic definition of the field in light of research to date and possibilities for research in the future.

Carole Bohn (The Danielsen Institute) announces that the Danielsen Institute now has an intern and postdoctoral program focused on the interface of spirituality and psychology. She and her colleagues are eager to institute some resesarch on the outcomes of pastoral psychotherapy and on the relationship of spiritual well-being and health (both mental and physical). They have a faculty/staff position open for Fall of 1999 which is aimed at providing leadership in those areas.

Daniel C. Noel (Pacifica Graduate Institute) is teaching a spring quarter course on the cultural psychology and popular mythology of the millenium. His research is currently focusing on developments in popular-religious epistemology at the end of the millenium, especially as manifested in mass-media expressions. He's examining the question of whether or not the approach of the millenial turn is exacerbating issues of "belief" in the psychology of popular religion. His two recent articles are "The Refusal of Fictive Mythicity," Mythosphere (1997) vol. 1, no. 1, 23-43, and "I Have Seen the Future, Brother: It Is Murder," Literature and Theology (1998), vol. 12, no. 1, 39-49. Daniel is also co-organizing a symposium, "Black Sun, Deep End: Re-imagining Millenium," at the time and place of the last total solar eclipse of the millenium: Aug. 7-13, 1999, Land's End, Cornwall, England. For information contact Word and Image, 45 Liberty St., Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-229-2720.

Judith Kay (University of Puget Sound) reports that even though she is "deaning" full time now, she does find time for scholarship. She is currently writing an essay for a book on professional ethics for clergy about spiritual advisors to inmates on death row. She is focusing on the virtues and practices in which they engage in order to avoid their own character deformation and to avoid becoming enmeshed in the killing machinery. She says there are not many such independent spiritual advisors in the country and she is fortunate to have contact with several. "It is moving and inspiring work."

Lucy Bregman (Temple University) is at work on a new book, Beyond Silence and Denial: New Words for Dying and Death. This book will be an analysis and assessment of the past 30 years of the "death awareness movement" contributions, written for Christians. Questions she is addressing include, how have the new words and images affected Christianity in North America? Which ideas and images are compatible albeit discontinuous with what Christians have wanted to say about death? Which ones complement traditional images? Which are truly in conflict, and why? The book will also include six meditations on the Gospel passion narrative, guided by insights from the new approaches. The book will be published by John Knox/Westminster. And as of July 1, 1998, Lucy was granted promotion to Full Professor in Temple University's Department of Religion. Congratulations, Lucy!

Harold Ellens (University of Michigan) is doing research for a second Ph.D. at the University of Michigan Department of Near Eastern Studies on the topic of "Christian Origins: A Psychotheological Analysis of the Enochians' Apocalyptic Roots of the Heavenly Messiah Notions Accorded Jesus Christ." Harold's recent publications include Sin or Sickness: The Problem of Human Disfunction (Calvin College Alumni Press), Alexander the Great and Hellenestic Culture: The Impact of Political and Military Achievements upon the Life of the Mind and the Spirit (IAC Press), "Christian Humanistic Psychology" in Don Moss (ed.), Humanistic Psychology (Greenwood Press), and "Homosexuality in Biblical Perspective" in Pastoral Psychology (Sept. 1997).

Hendrika Vande Kemp (Fuller Theological Seminary) recently completed an article on the early Christian phrenologists as psychology/ theology integrators. This article will be published in the fall issue of The Journal of Psychology and Christianity. She is also working on an article on the death of siblings and the death of friends, for the same journal. Hendrika recently taught the first version of a seminar on dreams and spirituality, titled, "Dreams and Spirituality in the Christian Tradition." She says she'd be happy to share materials.

Mary Ann Oliver is currently doing research on the validity of the Christian spiritual classics for those in committed partnerships.

Douglas Whitcher (Jung Institute of Zurich) writes: "The Institute has hired a new director of studies: John Granrose, Ph.D., an American professor emeritus of philosophy (and graduate of the ZUrich Institute). This employment coincides with my own renewed involvement at the Institute. I would like to invite my colleages in Religion who have interests related to those of Jungian psychology to consider giving a course or seminar here. I hope to help Granrose to raise the quality of teaching here. For that we need your help." doug.whit@bluewin.ch

Editor's Comment

I always look forward to my annual trips to the AAR Meeting as a time to leave my wonderful children with my wife for a few days and enjoy talking with grown-up people about grown-up things.

Consequently I was not happy to receive in my AAR registration materials a number of cheery invitations to spend all my free time in the company of Mickey, Goofy, and their ilk at Disneyworld. The occasion of this year's AAR Meeting in Orlando only confirms in my mind the absolute inescapability of Walt Disney's cultural empire.

I can't really blame the AAR organizers, though, because there are ever fewer places on the globe where the influence of Disney cannot be felt. The cultural web of theme parks, movies, videos, music, games, toys, clothing, lunch boxes, and television programming has spread so wide that it almost doesn't matter if you're in Orlando, Anaheim, or anywhere else. We're all in Disneyworld now.

Moving from description to evaluation, is this a good thing? Does Disney contribute to or diminish cultural wellbeing?

Two big points on the plus side: Robin Williams as the Genie in "Aladdin" and Jeremy Irons as Scar in "The Lion King." Huge point on the minus: the relentless gender stereotyping, with every Disney story boiling down to a broad-shouldered boy and a vanishingly thin girl seeking to form a normatively heterosexual relationship.

The most significant, and most morally ambiguous, cultural effect of global Disneyfication is its role as an agent of initiation for youths entering the modern corporate world. Consider the pilgrimage to Disneyland or Disneyworld that millions of children make each year. What exactly do the kids experience while they're in the confines of these secular utopias?

They eat foods with absurdly high sugar and oil contents, spend as much money on merchandise as they (and their parents) can afford, and wait in hour-long lines for two-minute rides through thrilling but lifeless hi-tech fantasies. That's a pretty fair approximation of what's involved in being a citizen in the modern corporate world, and Disney does an excellent job (for better and for worse) of preparing children for adaptive functioning in that world.

I should confess that my own initiatory experience at Disneyland was not entirely successful. I went with my family when I was 17, and to express my adolescent rebellion against the whole Disney cosmos I wore a t-shirt that appeared to have a meaningless tangle of black lines on the front; only if you looked very closely could you see that the lines were in fact hundreds of tiny naked people cheerfully engaged in an orgy. Well, I didn't even make it through the front gate a Disney security guard immediately zeroed in on me and informed my family that such attire was not allowed in the Magic Kingdom. After a few minutes of negotiation I penitently promised to wear the shirt inside out, and the guard allowed us to pass. Of course, the minute we got inside the park I turned the shirt right-side out again.

Kelly Bulkeley