13 October 2012

Two Books on the brain from a Christian perspective

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Branson, Missouri to attend the American Association of Christian Counselors conference.  I was asked to be a respondent to two authors, Matthew Standford and Curt Thompson.  Each have written books that deal with the brain and Christian faith. 

Matthew Standford wrote The Biology of Sin (2010). In this book, he explores several conditions that are often labeled sinful including things like rage, homosexuality, lust, and so forth.  Stanford, a neuroscientist and professor at Baylor university, does a very good job of exploring the neurobiological underpinnings of a number of disorders without minimizing responsibility.  Further, as he did in his book, Grace for the Afflicted, he discusses how churches can appropriately respond to individuals who are dealing with mental illness.  I would strongly commend this book to you.

The second book, Anatomy of the Soul (2010), was written by Curt Thompson.  This book deals with the concept of interpersonal neurobiology.  Thompson contends that God created us to be known by others and that our brains were actually created in such a way that they function best in relationship.  Dr Thompson really talks a lot about bringing the more emotional right hemisphere online, which will help us to experience being known by both God and others, which ultimately contributes to greater mental health.  There are a few things that I have read that are paradigm shifters. I think this book is one of them, though I haven't fully realized this yet.  I disagree with some parts of his theology (he and I talked about this over a 3 hour dinner), but this book is certainly worth reading even despite those reservations. 

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