PCR Program: Atlanta 2015

PCR Pre-Sessions:

Friday, November 20, 2015
Hilton-213 (Level 2)

1:00 - 2:45 pm
P20-222- Psychological and Religious Perspectives on Moral Injury

3:00 - 4:00 pm
P20-223- Asian/Asian American Issues and Perspectives in Pastoral Theology: The Intersections of Culture and Care

In this roundtable discussion, Asian and Asian North American scholars will identify and discuss issues of pastoral theology, intercultural care, counseling, and intersectionality, pointing to current and future research trajectories.

4:15 - 6:30 pm
P20-318- Documentary Film: Serving Life

The 2011 documentary "Serving Life" explores the emotional and relational impact of hospice care in Angola, a maximum security prison in Louisiana. Prisoners volunteer to care for fellow prisoners who are dying while serving life sentences. Narrated by Forest Whitaker. Moderated discussion will follow a screening of the 86-minute documentary.

7:00 - 9:30 pm
PCR Dinner

After the end of the Friday pre-session, everyone is welcome to join us at the Pacific Rim Bistro, with Asian seafood cuisine, just a short walk from the conference center. We have reservations for 7 pm, with a semi-private space for our group to enjoy further conversation after the pre-session. The menu offers a range of options at varying prices, which is more than can be said for most conference-area restaurants. The PCR group traditionally pays half the check for graduate students who attend the dinner. See you there!


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Saturday, November 21, 2015
Hyatt-Techwood (Atlanta Conference Level)

9:00 - 10:00 am
P21-115- New Studies in Religion and Psychology  

The two papers in this session represent new work in areas of religion and psychology not covered by other PCR sessions. The first presentation takes a new historical look at two of the classic works in the early development of the psychology of religion, discussing how Starbuck and James influenced each other’s ideas about conversion, mysticism, and other aspects of religious experience. The second presentation explores the psychological and theological impact of community disasters (Hurricane Katrina is the main example here), using the work of sociologist Kai T. Erikson and others to illuminate the process of rebuilding a religious framework of meaning in the aftermath of collective trauma.

10:00-11:30 am
P21-116- Works in Progress and Business Meeting

This is an open-ended session in which anyone interested in psychology, culture, and religion is invited to share their current projects and receive feedback from PCR members. Newcomers are welcome! The end of the session will shift into the business meeting of the PCR Group. The primary task at this meeting is to suggest possible topics for the Call for Papers for the 2016 AAR annual meeting, along with ideas for next year’s Friday and Saturday Pre-Sessions.

Regular Sessions:

A21-313 Saturday, November 21, 2015
4:00 -6:30 PM
Hilton-Grand Ballroom C (Level 2)

Cross-Cultural and Cognitive Approaches to Changes in Sense of Self

Religion and the Social Sciences Section and Cognitive Science of Religion Group and Psychology, Culture, and Religion Group

Albert Silva, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Robert N. McCauley, Emory University
George Graham, Georgia State University
Religious Experience, Schizophrenia, and Disownership of Self

Jared Lindahl, Brown University
Meditation-Induced Changes in Sense of Self Reported by American Buddhists: History and Phenomenology

Willoughby Britton, Brown University
Meditation-Induced Changes in Sense of Self Reported by American Buddhists: Neurobiology and Cross-cultural Psychiatry

Ann Taves, University of California, Santa Barbara
Shifts in Sense of Self in the Production of the Book of Mormon and A Course in Miracles

A22-134 Sunday, November 22, 2015
9:00 - 11:30 AM
Hilton-Grand Salon D (Level 2)

Help, Harm, or Resistance? Psychological and Religious Practices of Caregiving in a Neo-Liberal Society

Pamela Cooper-White, Union Theological Seminary, Presiding

Jessica Van Denend, Union Theological Seminary
Neoliberalism's Empathy and the Denial of Complicity and/or Commonality with the Suffering Other

Richard Coble, Vanderbilt University
Chaplain as Cyborg: Negotiating Care in a Neoliberal Age

Melinda McGarrah Sharp, Phillips Theological Seminary
Locked in Disbelief: Reading Michelle Alexander and Jessica Benjamin to Loosen Resistance in the Bonds of Love

Cedric Johnson, Wesley Theological Seminary
Fanon, Freud, and Foucault: Towards an Integrative Approach to Soul Care in the Neoliberal Age

Mary Clark Moschella, Yale University
Joyful, Spiritual Resistance: A Case Study

A22-207 Sunday, November 22, 2015
1:00 -2:30 PM
Hilton-Grand Ballroom C (Level 2)

Healing Between Religion and the Secular in North America

North American Religions Section and Psychology, Culture, and Religion Group and Religions, Medicines, and Healing Group and Secularism and Secularity Group

Emily Wu, Dominican University of California, Presiding

Shenandoah Nieuwsma, University of North Carolina
Between “Religion” and “the Secular:” Negotiating Healthcare “Spirituality’s” Place in the Twenty-First Century

Ira Helderman, Vanderbilt University
“Religion” and “Secular” in U.S. Psychotherapists’ Interface with Buddhist Traditions

Justin Stein, University of Toronto
The Impact of Different Framings of Reiki’s "Spirituality" on Access to U.S. Healthcare Sites

Katie Givens Kime, Emory University
The Buffered Addict: Beneath the “Religious or Not?” of Twelve-Step Programs

Albert Silva, University of California, Santa Barbara

A22-318 Sunday, November 22, 2015
5:00 -6:30 PM
Marriott-A601 (Atrium Level)

Society Without God? "Existential Health" and Alternative Frameworks for Meaning-Making

Storm Swain, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Presiding

Carrie Doehring, Iliff School of Theology
A Critical Phenomenological Pastoral Theological Method for Responding to Suffering in Ways That Respect Religious Differences 

Jonathan Stotts, Vanderbilt University
Homo Religiosus, Homo Proiciendus: Meaning-Making as Projection or Sublimation?

Annhild Tofte Haga, University of Oslo
Dialogues and Conflicts between Images of Jesus and Experiences of Being Oneself in Life Story Narratives: An Example of Dialogical Self Theory as an Analytical Tool in Empirical Research on Images of God

Social Media for PCR Sessions

Thanks to Eileen Campbell-Reed, PCR members can use the hashtag #PCR15 to tweet about the conference or post messages on Facebook or Instagram.

News from PCR Members

Kate Wiebe, executive director of the Insitute for Congregational Trauma and Growth, has several updates to share about the ICTG: The group expanded this year to include 4 new staff members and to launch program areas in Youth Ministry and Spiritual Formation (including trauma-informed spiritual direction). Several AAR and PCR members have contributed blog posts throughout the last year, including Storm Swain, Greg Ellison, Phil Browning Helsel, Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaeffer, and disaster chaplain Rabbi Stephen Roberts, as well as many ministers in the field representing various denominations, campus ministry, and faith groups. The 2015 Resource Guide (for general trauma-informed ministry leadership among congregations) was met with great success. They are still available for sale ($25) and intended for ordained and lay ministers among congregations. Para-church leaders have also found them very useful. We have 3 new guides that will be available in February 2016 (2016 Resource Guide-General Ministry; 2016 Youth Ministry Resource Guide; 2016 Spiritual Formation Resource Guide). The guides are published by ICTG and written by myself and our two Program Directors, in consultation with ICTG Advisors and other leading field experts. Additionally, a colleague and I are completing a proposal for a book on trauma-informed youth ministry. For more information, visit www.ictg.org

Felicity Kelcourse (Christian Theological Seminary) has two new edited volumes in print, both intended primarily for use in teaching pastoral counseling and pastoral care. Dr. Kelcourse and Dr. K. Brynolf Lyon (former faculty member at CTS) have co-edited Transforming Wisdom: Pastoral Psychotherapy in Theological Perspective (Cascade Books, 2015). This volume presents the field of pastoral psychotherapy as a mental health discipline intentionally rooted in theological concepts. In addition to general psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approaches to counseling grounded in Christian theological idioms, diverse theoretical perspectives include Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Buddhist Mindfulness and Jungian understandings of individuation. Transforming Wisdom is available from orders@wipfandstock.com.

Human Development and Faith: Life-Cycle Stages of Body, Mind, and Soul, Second Edition, is also now available from Chalice Press (2015) CustomerService@ChalicePress.com. In this edited volume Kelcourse and new contributing authors explore a multidisciplinary approach that examines the integration of mind, body, family, community and soul throughout the stages of human development. New material includes expanded marriage and family theories, inter-generational perspectives, new and revised chapters on infancy, childhood, and adolescence, in addition to current research findings and a reader’s index. Human Development and Faith examines criteria for “good enough” approaches to parenting, family and community throughout life’s journey, presenting faith as a unique contribution to meaning in human life at each stage of development. Contributors to these books include Pamela Cooper-White, Bernie Lyon, Phillis Sheppard, Joretta Marshall, Christopher Ross, Matthias Beier, Steve Ivy, Suzanne Coyle, Ryan La Mothe, Carrie Doehring, Insook Lee, Chris Schauch, James Furrow, Ann Ulanov, Edward Wimberly, Denise Senter , Karen-Marie Yust, Terrill Gibson, Jacquie Braeger, Ron Nydam, Arthur Canales, Alice Graham, Bonnie Cushing, Monica McGoldrick, Russell Davis, and Claude Barbre.

Lisa Cataldo (Fordham University) calls attention to an AAR session on Saturday night, 7:00-8:00 pm (M21-400, Marriott-Atrium B (Atrium Level)): “The session is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, whose Templeton Prize Laureate this year was Jean Vanier, founder of the international communities of L'Arche. The presider at the special session will be Heather Templeton Dill, the President of JTF. There will be some video of Jean's Templeton Prize ceremony, and also some interview footage with Jean taken the day before the ceremony (interview conducted by yours truly, and produced by my other half, Nick Stuart of Odyssey Networks!). Most exciting, Michael Spezio of Scripps College will present some important new research that looks at the moral, psychological, and spiritual dynamics of the loving relationships in L'Arche communities (funded by a JTF grant). The whole thing will be followed by a reception. It's going to be a great night!”

Lewis Rambo (San Francisco Theological Seminary) will be presiding at an AAR session on Sunday morning, 9-11:30 am (A22-140, Hilton 309 (Level 3)) sponsored by the Religious Conversions Group, devoted to the recent publication of the handbook on religious conversion Lewis edited with Charles Farhadian, with contributions from several PCR members. Here is a description of the session: “A critical consideration of the Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (OUP, 2014) and its contribution to the scholarly study of conversion. The discussion will be led by a panel with diverse methodological and regional expertise, and will include the Handbook's editors, Lewis Rambo and Charles Farhadian, along with contributors to the volume and several scholars unaffiliated with the project. Ample time will be reserved for audience questions and comment.”

D. Andrew Kille (BibleWorkbench) shares that BibleWorkbench, the unique Bible study resource that he has edited since 2008 will become Reading Between The Lines with the Advent issue in November. Founded by Bill Dols, BWB is based on the transformative approach developed by the Guild for Psychological Studies in San Francisco and championed by Walter Wink in Transforming Bible Study (1980). He also notes that the August 2015 issue of Pastoral Psychology contains several articles responding to the Festschrift in honor of Wayne Rollins, Psychological Hermeneutics for Biblical Themes and Texts, edited by J. Harold Ellens (T&T Clark, 2012). It's a great summary of the history and current state of the field of psychological biblical criticism.

Donald Capps Tribute

The following tribute was written by Nathan Carlin and Robert Dykstra, both of whom worked closely with Don and knew him well.

Donald Capps (1939-2015)

Donald Capps, the William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Theology Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, died at age 76 on August 26, 2015, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Princeton, New Jersey.

Don was the most prolific writer in the modern history of the discipline of pastoral theology, having published 31 monographs, 7 coauthored books, 14 edited and coedited books, and, to date, 198 articles. On the morning of his death, he was working on page proofs for a new book on William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, entitled The Religious Life: Insights from William James (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015).

He was born on January 30, 1939, in Omaha, Nebraska, the third of four sons to Mildred and Holden Capps. The family moved to Portland, Oregon, when Don was a sophomore in high school. He attended three colleges over three years in Portland and in Washington State, graduating in 1960 with majors in philosophy and English from Lewis and Clark College. During the summer break after receiving a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1963, he returned to Portland to work at Emanuel Hospital, where he met Karen Virginia Docken. They were married on August 22, 1964, and recently, in 2014, celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Soon after their wedding, they returned to Yale Divinity School, where Don earned a Master of Sacred Theology in pastoral psychology in 1965. He then entered a PhD program at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, graduating in 1970, shortly before the birth of their son John Capps, now a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

Don began his teaching career as an instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at Oregon State University in 1969. He returned that same year to teach at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, first as instructor and then as assistant professor, until 1974. During this period he also prepared, under the direction of Joseph Sittler, a Lutheran theologian at the Divinity School, for his eventual ordination, in 1972, as a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He taught as associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte until 1976, and, from 1976 to 1981, as associate and then full professor at the Graduate Seminary of Phillips University. In 1981, at age 42, he moved to Princeton Theological Seminary to begin teaching as the William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Theology. He was awarded an honorary ThD from the University of Uppsala in 1989. He remained at Princeton Seminary until his retirement in 2009, but continued to teach there each semester as an adjunct professor until the time of his death.

Don was introduced to pastoral psychology and the psychology of religion by James E. Dittes, his professor at Yale Divinity School. They became lifelong colleagues and friends, both men having served as editor of the Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion (Don from 1983-1988) and as president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (Don from 1990-1992). Other key mentors included Peter Homans, to whom Don attributed his close reading of Freud’s texts; David Bakan, who introduced him to the psychoanalytic study of the Bible; and Paul W. Pruyser of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, whom Don came to know through their mutual involvement in the SSSR.

In his writing and teaching, Don returned again and again to mine works of three theorists in particular: Sigmund Freud; William James; and Erik H. Erikson, whom Don met on several occasions, including in Erikson’s home. Of his acquaintance with Erikson, Don recently wrote:

Readers of books often wonder what their authors are really like, and, most important, whether there is a congruence or consistency between the person and the author. My several encounters with Erik Erikson were deeply confirmatory in this regard. In fact, his ability to put me at ease in his presence and his openness to what I wanted to say enabled me to understand, in a new way, what it must have been like for young men and women to meet and talk with Jesus (The Resourceful Self: And a Little Child Shall Lead Them, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014, p. xiii).

Key thematic threads running throughout Don’s written work include James’s emphasis on the importance of attending to even seemingly minute differences between one individual and another, and a psychoanalytic emphasis on the generative possibilities of introspection in behalf of emotional healing and religious insight.

Don was averse to self-promotion. Students and colleagues consistently reported on his inordinate kindness, humility, humor, and generosity. It was not unusual for him to offer four pages of thoughtful and encouraging comments on students’ eight-page papers, a form of attention that enabled numbers of them to shape ordinary coursework into their first published journal articles.

At the end of his book Giving Counsel: A Minister’s Guidebook (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2001), Don writes:

If there is a single statement that sums up what I have attempted to communicate here about the minister’s role in providing counsel, this would be it: To provide counsel, one needs a judicious frame of mind. This is not a moral weakness or mere relativism—as those of a more dogmatic mind-set would allege—but a special kind of strength. (p. 244)

He then goes on to suggest that a judicious mind consists in two qualities:

The first quality is treating others with kindness. . . . The injunction in Ephesians 4:32 to be kind to one another assumes an equality among persons, a reciprocal kindness, not one where one person gives and the other person receives charity. The second quality of a judicious mind follows from this. It is the ability to value the other person’s unique individuality. (pp. 244-246)

Don personally embodied these qualities of kindness and attention to the individual and thereby the judicious mind he describes. Though our world is less bright without him, it is easy to affirm that in having come to know, learn from, and befriend Donald Capps, to borrow words from one of his favorite Psalms (16:6), “the lines for me have fallen in pleasant places.”

For more about Don’s life and work, see:

Carlin, N. (2014). Religious mourning: Reversals and restorations in psychological portraits of religious leaders. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Dykstra, R. (2009). A judicious frame of mind: A tribute to Donald Capps. Pastoral Psychology, 58(5), 447-450.

Dykstra, R., & Carlin, N. (forthcoming). At home in the world: A memorial tribute to Donald Capps (1939-2015), Pastoral Psychology.

Special Issue. (2009). Tribute to Donald Capps. Pastoral Psychology 58(5/6), 445-693.

Membership dues

Remember, the easiest way to pay PCR dues is via PayPal. We have an account under the name of the Psychology, Culture, and Religion Group, and you can send funds directly to that account.

Members paid so far in 2014-2015 cycle:

Lucy Bregman
Sandra Lee Dixon
Carrie Doehring
Richard J. Dykstra
Kathleen Gregory
James W. Jones
Felicity Kelcourse
Allison Kern
Insook Lee
Dan Merkur
Storm Swain
Hendrika vande Kemp
Katherine Wiebe
David Wulff

PCR News

Published by the Psychology, Religion & Culture Group of the American Academy of Religion

Editor: Kelly Bulkeley; Layout: D. Andrew Kille