Thursday, July 4, 2013

Good Psychology

A friend lent me a book that I have been interested in reading for some time.  It is from the series Studies in Pastoral Psychology, Theology and Spirituality, edited by Robert J. Wicks. for Integration Books, paulist press, New  York.

This book is entitled, "Human Relationships and the Experience of God: Object Relations and Religion" and the author is Michael St. Clair.

Here is a quote from the introduction: "Object relations theory, which analyzes and describes human relations, places relationship at the center of psychological life.  Like most psychoanalytic theories, object relations models point out how past interpersonal relationships shape relationships in the present, including the relationship to the sacred......however, does not deal with the divine object as divine, but simply as another object for study.  A faith relationship holds that humans have the capacity to enter into a relationship with the sacred object who is qualitatively different, transcendently different, from human objects. But faith relationships must be congruent with a capacity for human relationships."

The idea that we overlay our experiences in human relationships, often those of parent-child, onto our relationship with the Divine is hardly new, but this book is interesting to me in that it makes no case for the existence, or lack of existence of God, simply that some of us do indeed have a faith in an object that is outside of ourselves, and that there are consequences in life depending on how we relate to that Sacred Object.

The book compares and contrasts the lives of St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Therese Martin, two of my faves.  It will be interesting to see what conclusions the author draws in a short study.

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