Volume 30
Issue 2
Summer 2007



PCR Program 2007 AAR/SBL Meeting

Friday, Nov 16, 2007

2:00- 6:30 pm

Book Panel:
James Perkinson, White Theology:
Outing Supremacy in Modernity

Paul Tillich and Carl Rogers
a Film of a Historic Conversation

6:30-9:30 pm

PCR Dinner

Regular Sessions: Locations TBA

A18-258 Sunday, Nov 18, 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
Moral Imagination and Ecology
(co-sponsored with
Religion and Social Sciences Group)

A19-120 Monday, Nov 19, 9:00 am-11:30 am
Multiplicity I:
Multiple Selves and Subjects
in Psychological and Theological Perspective

A20-119 Tuesday, Nov 20, 9:00 am-11:30 am
Multiplicity II: Pluralism, Hybridity, and Multiple Subjectivities in Context

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Request to PCR Members:
Other Sessions of Interest?

If you are presenting at another 2007 AAR/SBL session, or if you know of a session that’s especially relevant to PCR interests, please let us know so we can include that information in the next issue of the newsletter. 

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News from PCR Members

Felicity Kelcourse (Christian Theological Seminary) is planning a senior seminar for M. Div. students entitled “Care for Creation and Pastoral Care.” She plans to use Richard Foltz' anthology – Wordviews, Religion and the Environment and would welcome recommendations for other texts or articles that might be relevant for this course, especially from those familiar with Howard Clinebell’s work in ecotherapy. She is also researching the life of Helen Flanders Dunbar (a foremother of the pastoral care and counseling movement) and would like to be in contact with others interested in her life and work. Please e-mail her: fkelcourse@cts.edu.

Kelley Raab (University of Ottawa) has the following to announce: “At the Third International Spirituality and Mental Health conference held in Ottawa, Ontario, earlier this spring, the launch of a new Association for Spirituality and Mental Health took place. The mission of ASMH is to promote interaction, collaboration, education, research, care and advocacy in the domains of spirituality and mental health. We are seeking members and involvement in the areas stated in our mission. Please contact me or visit the website www.spiritualityandmentalhealth.org for more information.”

From Dan Merkur (Toronto, Canada): “I'd like to announce the forthcoming publication (July 2007) of Crucified with Christ: Meditation on the Passion, Mystical Death, and the Medieval Invention of Psychotherapy (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press).”

Big changes ahead for Lisa Cataldo: “Next fall I will join the faculty of the Fordham University Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education as Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling, working alongside our own Kirk Bingaman. I will be teaching a year-long Clinical Integration seminar, as well as courses in Psychology and Religion and Research Methods (could use some help on the latter, if anyone has any good sources). I also recently published an article, "Religious Experience and the Transformation of Narcissism" in the most recent issue of the Journal of Religion and Health. It's based on the paper on St. Francis of Assisi that I gave at the 2001 AAR meeting.” 

The latest from Judith Van Herik (El Sobrante, California): “I continue to pursue my massage and bodywork practice (Handwork Therapeutic Massage). I also pursue continuing education in a couple of advanced modalities: Lymph Drainage Therapy and CranioSacral Therapy. Both are challenging and rewarding ways to work in subtler spaces than muscles and connective tissues, although these are also powerful. Much in line with our RPS orientation, I learn noninvasive ways to help sufferers who are otherwise offered drugs, surgery, etc. Many of my clients are older adults, cancer and post-cancer patients, and the chronically ill. I'm encountering the psyche-body unity daily. So there's always more to learn and, delightfully, much of what I learn is from clients and friends. If anyone in the Bay Area needs to relax, rejuvenate and unwind, call me, or just call or email to talk. (510-243-0788)”

New member Duane Bidwell has this to say for himself: “In May, Haworth Press released The Formation of Pastoral Counselors: Challenges and Opportunities, which I co-edited with Joretta Marshall of Eden Theological Seminary. Several PCR members contributed chapters. Also: I have been appointed to the faculty of Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, where I will serve as assistant professor of pastoral theology, care, & counseling and director of Presbyterian formation.”

Steven Bauman (Graduate Theological Union) reports several new developments: “I have received a 2007 Newhall Fellowship to develop and teach a seminar course with Professor Lewis Rambo. The seminar, titled Theories of Conversion: Models and Methods of Religious Change, will be offered this coming fall at the Graduate Theological Union. Our goals for this seminar are fourfold—to: 1) educate students in multiple methodological approaches– drawn from psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, religious studies, and theology– in the multidisciplinary study of the phenomenon of conversion; 2) enable students’ critical assessment of definitions and theories of religious change; 3) encourage seminar participants to pursue their own original research; and 4) prepare students for genuine interdisciplinary collaboration through peer-participant consultation and research presentations. In addition to the study of contemporary conversion theory, we will give special attention to conversion experiences across a broad spectrum of religious/spiritual traditions and marginalized groups frequently neglected by conversion scholars. In addition to enhancing the GTU course offering in Religion & Psychology, it is our aspiration to support students, as they address their unique investigative questions, by providing an opportunity to explore research methods that are germane to the interdisciplinary nature of theological and religious studies. Students will be encouraged to present their original research to the GTU Community at a Spring 2008 colloquium, and to the wider academy through publication of their work in a special issue of the journal Pastoral Psychology. “In addition, I have been selected as a 2007-08 Teagle-Wabash Fellow, along with Kelly Bulkeley as my faculty mentor, for the GTU’s Preparing Future Faculty Project. Sponsored by grants from the Teagle Foundation and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, the project addresses issues around future faculty preparation underlined by a commitment to exploring teaching as vocation. The Teagle project focuses on the mentoring of future faculty so that their teaching integrates questions of value and meaning that strengthen liberal education. The Wabash project aims to develop classroom teaching skills grounded in pedagogical research, with opportunities for learning, practice, and feedback under the guidance of experienced faculty mentors.”

Kirk Bingaman (Fordham University) has a new book on the way: Treating the New Anxiety: A Cognitive-Theological Approach (Rowman & Littlefield), which the publisher describes as follows: “A new form of anxiety has emerged, stemming in part from our post-9/11 reality, but even more stemming from the influence of supermodernity. Whereas postmodernism theorizes an anxiety that results from the collapse or loss of meaning, through the lens of supermodernity it appears that the new anxiety is evoked more by an excess of meaning generated by the rapid acceleration of human life and the media's daily bombardment with serious global, national, and local concerns. This book explores the nature of the anxiety our supermodern condition provokes, and proposes that with the void left by the diminishment of religious involvement and practice the therapy session becomes the definitive place for meaning-making. Building on a cognitive therapy approach that emphasizes the client's belief system, Bingaman demonstrates that to treat this new anxiety most effectively, practitioners must help clients identify and explore their core theological beliefs and spiritual values.”

John McDargh (Boston College) poses the rhetorical question, “What am I up to these days? The interest in teaching Gendlin’s Focusing method which I shared with our PCR colleagues last year has continued to deepen and resulted this Spring in being invited to come to Dublin in September to be the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Irish National Focusing Conference. At least as wonderful as getting to the Emerald Isle have been two professional opportunities to visit the Big Apple. Last Spring to the William Alanson White Institute for Applied Psychoanalysis to deliver a talk titled "Religion, Shame and Violence: Unholy Alliances and Liberating Possibilities." This past Spring I was invited back to respond to an extraordinary presentation by the Torah scholar Dr. Avivah Zornberg on the most transcendently dysfunctional family in the Hebrew Scriptures, “The Exile of the Word”: A Midrashic and Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Story of Joseph and His Brothers. If you would like to feel what Bishop Krister Stendhal called “holy envy” for the Jewish midrashic Tradition, have a look at her book The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis.”

Jon Alexander (Providence College) reports that “American POW Memoirs from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War, a collection of essays on fourteen American POW memoirs which I edited, has been released by Wipf and Stock Publishers. The authors of the memoirs examined are: Ethan Allen, Belle Boyd, William A. Berry, Albert P. Cark, Dorothy S. Danner, Jeremiah Denton, William F. Dean, James N. Hall, Richmond P. Hobson, Solon Hyde, John H. King, John McCain, John A. Scott, and Amos Stearns. The papers were written by students in an undergraduate seminar I offered in the spring semester 2006. I have checked with several editors at historical journals and I think it is likely that this is the first time that student papers from an undergraduate seminar have been published as a book. The publication makes a modest contribution toward understanding how American POWs have constructed their memoirs, and it offers an illustration of how life writings might be employed in an undergraduate seminar designed for a publication outcome.”

It's been in the works for a couple of years, but at long last Psychological Insight into the Bible: Texts and Readings, edited by Wayne G. Rollins (Hartford Seminary) and D. Andrew Kille (Interfaith Space) will be released by Eerdmans in July. A compilation of essays on Psychology and the Bible highlighting key issues in the field, it gatherings together for the first time some of the extensive, but often difficult to find work of such authors as Franz Delitzsch, M. Scott Fletcher, Max Weber, Walter Wink, and many others.

Diane Jonte-Pace (Santa Clara University) has several newsworthy items to report: "The University of Virginia Press will publish Mourning Religion, a volume edited by Diane Jonte-Pace, Bill Parsons, and Susan Henking. Contributors include PCR members Peter Homans, Mary Ellen Ross, Celia Brickman, Ernie Wallwork, Harriet Lutzky, and others. Publication is expected in 2008. I will travel to the University of Amsterdam for a conference in July celebrating 100 years of psychoanalytic contributions to the study of religion. I'll deliver a paper on French feminism. And, I've been promoted to Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies. My portfolio includes supervising the implementation of an innovative core curriculum for all our undergraduates, and chairing Santa Clara University's self study for re-accreditation. "

Also Noteworthy: Michael Oppenheim (Concordia University, Montreal) has this to share with the PCR group: “In December 2006 my book appeared, Jewish Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: Narrating the Interhuman (Lexington Books), which compares the work of modern Jewish philosophers of encounter (Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas), with some of the first generation of Post-Freudian psychoanalysts (Erikson, Klein, Winnicott, and Fairbairn). My most recent article, "Loving the Neighbor: Some Reflections on Narcissism," Modern Judaism (2007 27: 47-71), extends that examination by looking at the issue of self-love in the Jewish philosophers (as well as rabbinical literature) and the treatment of narcissism in Freud, the Object Relations and Relational schools of post-Freudians. I welcome any questions or comments about my work in this area."

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SBL Psychology and Biblical Studies Group

For updates, see the Psybibs Website

S18-128 The Aha! of a Ha!: Psychological Insights into Biblical Humor

Sunday, November 18, 2007, 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm Room TBD

S19-29 From Anger to Atonement, Inadequacy to Grace: Emotional Transference and Transformation in the Bible

Monday, November 19, 2007, 9:00 am to 11:30 am

S19-77 Psychology and the Bible in Practice: Clinic & Classroom

Monday, November 19, 2007, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm Room TBD

S19-118 Psychology and the Bible in Practice: Congregation & Community

Monday, November 19, 2007, 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm Room TBD

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PCR in the West

Report on the 2007 Regional Meeting of PCR West
Franz Metcalf (The Forge Institute)

I was extremely pleased with this Spring's WECSOR (Western Commission on the Study of Religion) PCR sessions, held in late March at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California: the enthusiasm of the presenters, the turnout, the genial quality of the first meeting, and the feisty participation of the second. Audience members like myself could not help but enjoy a strong sense of intellectual vibrancy in both sessions. Since our field is not exactly at the center of the academic world, such a sense of vibrancy was both rewarding and promising.

Our first session contained presentations by Erin Dufault-Hunter (on conversion, William James, and the power of narrative), Mark Graves (on continuity and change in the person [and the person's brain]), and Sheila Taylor (on the working of grace and its implications for conversion and identity), and a response by Lewis Rambo that generously played with the provocative ideas of all three presenters. This session literally packed 'em in; there were 33 attendees and no empty seats.

Our second session included presentations by Daren Erisman (on "second son" crusaders and modern Muslim extremists), Stan Searl (on Charles Taylor, "standpoint theory," and other issues of self-revelation), and Jennifer Veninga (on the Danish cartoon controversy and the generation of new communities, both positive and negative). Astoundingly, given this was the last session of the conference, there were 19 attendees and a very lively discussion that ranged freely over all the presentations.

I'm very pleased to say that both in standard of scholarship and in informal presentation style (one of my most cherished PCR values), these sessions were first-rate. Though they were "regional" in venue, they were "national" in quality. And though some of the presenters came from outside the Bay Area, I felt, as I had not felt since graduate school, a sense of intellectual community in and around the Graduate Theological Union. In particular I felt buoyed up in the presence of a community of psychologically sensitive scholars who were seriously applying their depth insights to a variety of allied projects. I've always felt fostering such community is what PCR is all about; it was a gift to have that feeling so powerfully renewed. My deep thanks go out to all the presenters and everyone else who participated in these sessions.

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Person, Culture & Religion News Volume 30, Issue 2

Editor: Kelly Bulkeley; Layout: D. Andrew Kille

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