Tuesday, May 20, 2008

...5678 Integrate!

I am not so much learning new things as I am realizing the things I've already learned. I think that's what I love so much about psychology in the first place is that it puts words to the experiences we have. Reminds me of how beautiful we are. At first I didn't really understand how this class would work: Integration of Psychology and Christian Theology. I thought it would be, okay so you want to be a psychologist, and you are a Christian. So how are you a Christian psychologist?

But that's not it at all. What I mean is, that's not the question being asked or answered. In fact, not many questions are being answered at all. But that's just it isn't it? The whole big amazing thing: Questions are good. Answers don't always matter. It's the journey your questions take you on that matter.

I highly recommend looking at a couple of theories on faith development.

First, read Kohlberg's stages of moral development. I can't believe I'm linking you to wikipedia, but it's simple.

Next, check out William Perry's scheme of intellectual development.

And lastly, James Fowler and his stages of faith development.

I know, I know, I'm in a whole class to learn about this stuff, but it's really interesting.

Now, what stages do you see yourself at? What stages do you see the church (as a collective whole) at? This challenged me in so many ways. Where could I be at? Where should the church be?

Anyway, I don't even know if anyone still reads this blog, and I know this one is not all wrapped up neat and pretty with a bow around it, so I guess this is a thinker post. Hopefully it will spark something in you as it did me. I'm not going to spell it out. We do too much of that.

So psychology and theology. What do they have in common? are they really that different from each other? After all psyche means soul, and psychology is literally the study of the soul. Should we as Christians pay more attention to psychology? Why? Why not?


mamalindak said...

Hey Lil! Well, yes, someone does still read your blog! And, in answer to your question, should Christians pay more attention to psychology... Here's my thoughts. There are times when Godly men present biblical principles based on sound theology. We can learn from them. There are other times when Godly men present their perceptions of mankind, based on flawed interpretation of Scripture, and we need to proceed with caution, holding everything up to the Word for verification and validation. It's easy for me to be swayed by the words of men, and to miss the error in their logic because their words smooth out the rough edges of my understanding. We as humans "want to know", but God in His infiniteness is not all knowable, and requires us to obey in faith without always being able to sort out the why's and therefore's. Plus, He deals with us as individuals, so His directions for one do not always equate principles for everyone else to latch on to as their own. Which basically brings us back to your premise, questions are good...and there aren't always answers! <3

David said...

Hi Liz! Just got tuned in to your blog. Its cool beans. I want to share a fun exercise with you that Ryan and Sarah took me through. But first I'll offer some comments on Philosophy.

My personal opinion is that Christians should pay more attention to everything. I wonder how can we do as Paul says and "demolish reasoning" (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) if we don't bother to understand the reasoning in the first place? It seems to me that philosophy is on our side in at least one way in that it tries to build models we can understand. From there we can test, argue, discuss and sometimes even demolish. Yep we have to be careful "that no-one takes you captive through the philosophy and empty deception, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Ask yourself what would better open you up for a bit of surgical demolition, someone who lists the things wrong with your ideas (and likely miss-represents half of them) or someone who first starts with the things that are right? So to the end that understanding philosophy helps us understand each other's own internal models, I think its a good thing. One small challenge is to use this information to bring us closer and not farther away. For example where I might not see myself explaining the philosophical study of logic I can certainly see using logic to reason and to demolish and to build back up.

Now the exercise I want you to try with your friends. Ryan (my son for those who don't know me) asked me why the christian churches varied so much in their religious practices. I had no clue how to answer that so I fell back to the only relevant scripture I knew. I asked him if he knew of any place in the scripture where religion is defined. He didn't so I very loosely paraphrased James "religion our God and Father considers pure is this: to look after widows and orphans and keep ourselves uncorrupted by the world" (excuse my paraphrase but it was the best I could do at the time). Ryan immediately shot back: "But who said that, it wasn't Jesus was it? I mean it seems like we can do a lot of good things besides taking care widows and orphans". I agreed and first pointed out that James was not attempting to define all the good things we can do but to give us a definition of "pure religion". Then I said to Ryan and Sarah "Lets just assume for the moment that this definition did come directly from God and then try to see if we can figure out why or even if it is as narrow as it sounds". Thats when the fun really started. I'll share more of our discussion later. I just thought this might be fun for you to try with your friends and family.