• The Best of Books on Theology and Counseling

    Posted on August 30th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best Of Guide

    The Best of Books on

    The Theology of Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation

     

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Making your life easier by finding, summarizing, evaluating, and posting the best resources on a wide variety of topics from a Christian perspective.

     

    The Twenty Most Influential Books on

    The Theology of Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation

     

    Note: The following books focus on a theology/theory of biblical counseling and spiritual formation. They do not highlight methodology/practice. They focus on a broad theory of people, problems, and solutions. They do not highlight specific “issues” in “counseling” (such as depression, anxiety, etc.).

     

    Note: For the sake of space, I have not reviewed each of these books. However, I do have a 55-page document that reviews over 125 books on Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation: http://bit.ly/sYx1U. The fuller document explains that I do not endorse everything in all the books below. That’s why my subtitle to this post is: “The Twenty Most Influential” rather than “The Best Of.”

     

    Bibliography

     

    Adams, Jay E. A Theology of Christian Counseling: More Than Redemption. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

     

    Anderson, Neil T., Terry Zuehlke, and Julianne S. Zuehlke. Christ-Centered Therapy: The Practical Integration of Psychology and Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

     

    Bredfeldt, Gary J. and Harry Shields. Caring for Souls: Counseling Under the Authority of Scripture. Chicago: Moody, 2001.

     

    Clinton, Tim and George Ohlschlager, eds. Competent Christian Counseling, Volume One: Foundations and Practice of Compassionate Soul Care. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2002.

     

    Collins, Gary. Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide. Revised edition. Nashville: Nelson, 1988.

     

    Crabb, Larry. Understanding People. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987.

     

    Eyrich, Howard A. and William L. Hines. Curing the Heart: A Model for Biblical Counseling. Ross-shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2002.

     

    Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2001.

     

    Johnson, Eric. Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007.

     

    Jones, Ian. The Counsel of Heaven on Earth: Foundations for Biblical Christian Counseling. Nashville: B&H, 2006.

     

    Jones, Stanton and Eric Johnson, eds. Psychology and Christianity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2000.

     

    Kellemen, Robert W. Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Revised Edition. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 2007.

     

    Lake, Frank. Clinical Theology: A Theological and Psychiatric Basis to Clinical Pastoral Care. Vol. 1. Lexington, KY: Emeth Press, 2006.

     

    Lane, Tim, and Paul Tripp. How People Change. Second Edition. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2008.

     

    MacArthur, John F., Jr. and Wayne A. Mack. Introduction to Biblical Counseling. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1994.

     

    McMinn, Mark. Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1996.

     

    Peterson, Eugene. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

     

    Powlison, David. Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition through the Lens of Scripture. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2003.

     

    Pugh, John. Christian Formational Counseling: The Work of the Spirit in the Human Race. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2008.

     

    Tripp, Paul David. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2002.

     

    Important Stuff

     

    *Your Guide: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org) through which he writes, speaks, and consults to equip God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He blogs daily at http://rpmministries.blogspot.com.

     

    *My Necessary Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t endorse everything in every article, book, or link that you’ll find in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide. I report, you decide.

     

    *Your Suggestions Are Welcomed: Feel free to post comments and/or send emails (rpm.ministries@gmail.com) about resources that you think deserve attention in various categories covered in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide.

  • Imparting Healing Hope

    Posted on August 29th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part V: Elizabeth Keckley: Imparting Healing Hope

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Note: For Part I on Elizabeth Keckley, please visit my blog post at: http://bit.ly/FSNIt. For Part II, please visit: bit.ly/ENWjJ. For Part III, please visit: http://bit.ly/gI1H6. For Part IV, please visit: http://bit.ly/x9Axx

     

    Healing Hope

     

    Elizabeth Keckley not only understood how to offer sustaining comfort. She also recognized how to impart healing hope.

     

    “At the grave, at least, we should be permitted to lay our burden down, that a new world, a world of brightness, may open to us. The light that is denied us here should grow into a flood of effulgence beyond the dark, mysterious shadows of death.”

     

    Hope-Giving Spiritual Friendship

     

    The hope-giving spiritual friendship between “Lizzy” Keckley and Mary Lincoln continued for a lifetime. The widowed Mrs. Lincoln needed it desperately. Elizabeth describes Mrs. Lincoln in these post-White House years.

     

    “A few words as regards the disposition and habits of Mrs. Lincoln. She is no longer the sprightly body she was when her very presence illumed the White House with gayety. Now she is sad and sedate, seeking seclusion, and maintaining communication merely with her most intimate personal friends.”

     

    Lizzy, or Lizzie, as Mary affectionately called her in letter after letter, was her most intimate of friends—a friendship continued by letters until Mrs. Lincoln passed away. Unfortunately, history records only the letters written to Elizabeth from Lincoln. But even these provide more than a glimpse into the openness of this sacred friendship, and the trust and safety that that an otherwise mistrusting Mrs. Lincoln felt because of Elizabeth’s care for her soul.

     

    A Broken Heart

     

    Writing on a Sunday morning, October 6, 1867, the still-grieving Mrs. Lincoln opens her heart wide to Lizzy. “My Dear Lizzie: I am writing this morning with a broken heart after a sleepless night of great mental suffering. . . . Pray for me that this cup of affliction may pass from me, or be sanctified to me. I weep whilst I am writing. I pray for death this morning. Only my darling Taddie prevents my taking my life. . . . Your friend, M. L.”[1]

     

    One week later, Mary cries out again for Elizabeth’s friendship. “Oh! That I could see you. Write me, dear Lizzie, if only a line. . . . I am always so anxious to hear from you, I am feeling so friendless in the world. I remain always your affectionate friend. M. L.”

     

    It is obvious that Elizabeth provided sustaining and healing soul care from the preceding lines.

     

    Helping Others to Be Better

     

    It is equally clear that she was Mary Lincoln’s source of reconciling and guiding spiritual direction from the following words. “Write me my dear friend, your candid opinion about everything. I wish to be made better off.”

     

    Lincoln offers a great purpose statement for spiritual direction—helping others to be better off—spiritually, socially, mentally, emotionally.

     

    A Friend Like No Other

     

    The next month, on November 9 and 15, 1867, Mary expresses further appreciation for the depth of connection that she shares with Lizzy. “How hard it is that I cannot see and talk with you in this time of great, great trouble. I feel as if I had not a friend in the world save yourself. I sometimes wish myself out of this world of sorrow and care. . . .”[1]

     

    “Your last letter has been received, and believe me, I duly appreciate your great interest in my affairs. I hope the day may arrive when I can return your kindness in more than words.”

     

    The widow’s sadness is unrelenting. Her need for her best friend’s enduring presence is equally indefatigable. “Chicago, November 24. Why, why was not I taken when my darling husband was called from my side? I have been allowed no rest by those who, in my desolation, should have protected me. How dearly I should love to see you this very sad day.”

     

    The End of the Story: What Is a Soul-Care Giver?

     

    What is a soul care-giver? She is someone like Elizabeth Keckley who can be trusted to provide unremitting rest, protection, and presence in the saddest days of life on fallen planet Earth.

     

    Note: Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

  • A Tornado of Sorrow

    Posted on August 28th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part IV: Elizabeth Keckley: A Tornado of Sorrow

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Note: For Part I on Elizabeth Keckley, please visit my blog post at: http://bit.ly/FSNIt. For Part II, please visit: bit.ly/ENWjJ. For Part III, please visit: http://bit.ly/gI1H6

     

    A Tornado of Sorrow

     

    Just a few years after the death of young Willie Lincoln, at 11 o’clock at night, Elizabeth awoke to the news that Mr. Lincoln had been shot. In the confusion of the night, she finally learned that the President was dead. Her first thought was of Mrs. Lincoln.

     

    “I wanted to go to Mrs. Lincoln, as I pictured her wild with grief; but then I did not know where to find her. . .”[1]

     

    Mrs. Lincoln was overcome. Mrs. Secretary Wells asked Mrs. Lincoln who could comfort her. “Is there no one, Mrs. Lincoln, that you desire to have with you in this terrible affliction?”

     

    Mrs. Lincoln responded, “Yes, send for Elizabeth Keckley. I want her just as soon as she can be brought here.”[1]

     

    It’s Normal to Hurt

     

    Bringing her in, Mrs. Wells excused herself and Elizabeth was left alone with Mrs. Lincoln. “She was nearly exhausted with grief, and when she became a little quiet, I asked and received permission to go into the Guests’ Room, where the body of the President lay in state.”[1] 

             

    Returning to Mrs. Lincoln’s room, Elizabeth reports, “I found her in a paroxysm of grief. Robert was bending over his mother with tender affection, and little Tad was crouched at the foot of the bed with a world of agony in his young face. I shall never forget the scene—the wails of a broken heart, the unearthly shrieks, the terrible convulsions, the wild, tempestuous outbursts of grief from the soul.”[1]

     

    Shared Sorrow Is Endurable Sorrow

     

    How did Elizabeth respond? “I bathed Mrs. Lincoln’s head with cold water, and soothed the terrible tornado as best I could. Tad’s grief at his father’s death was as great as the grief of his mother, but her terrible outbursts awed the boy into silence.”

     

    In those days, of all people, a formerly enslaved black woman was the one human being on the face of the earth who could comfort the President’s widow. And how? With her empathy. With her silence. With her physical presence. With her loving companionship.

             

    Mrs. Lincoln’s Spiritual Friend

     

    “Every room in the White House was darkened, and every one spoke in subdued tones, and moved about with muffled tread. The very atmosphere breathed of the great sorrow which weighed heavily upon each heart. Mrs. Lincoln never left her room. . . She denied admittance to almost every one, and I was her only companion, except her children, in the days of her great sorrow.”

     

    Mrs. Lincoln’s testimony says it all. “Lizabeth, you are my best and kindest friend, and I love you as my best friend.”[1]

     

    The Rest of the Story

     

    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part five . . .

     

    Note: Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

     

     

  • What Is the BCSFN About?

    Posted on August 27th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    One Perspective on the

    Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network

     

    By John Pugh, Ph.D.

     

    Here is how I (John Pugh) would state the purpose of the Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network (BCSFN) of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC): to identify the work of the Christ manifest by the work of the Holy Spirit in any given counselee’s life and to use this information in a manner that will successfully advance these counselees through their recovery and change process.

     

    While some might regard the ideas of BCSFN as too narrow of a focus by the variety of observed dysfunctional human behavior, on the contrary, a BCSFN perspective on the counseling activity actually involves a much broader, more dynamic view of human beings than traditional secular theories would propose. The counseling perspective that judiciously employs BCSFN ideology would involve a more rounded and comprehensive description of how human beings respond and change.

     

    The BCSFN perspectives extend counseling theory well beyond the concepts that describe human pathology so that it more comprehensively lays the foundation and purpose for all human behavior whether or not the pathology can be identified that, in effect, create a more fully developed concept for counseling theory. BCSFN does not just modify traditional counseling methods; it creates a whole new focus for the life change process that might be used to truly help any counselee.  

     

    Christian Spiritual Formation concepts have been used to describe the Spirit’s work within the life of a human being beyond that of institutionalized religion to that of a more personal form of experience with God while living in this world as a human being. It focuses on human beings who are in a living synthesis of their faith, or the lack thereof, through their everyday life experiences. The BSCFN division of AACC is especially relevant to counseling practice in light of this Christian Spiritual Formation definition because spirituality is seen in terms of its practical manifestations of personal struggles that human beings face in their everyday experiences that reflect their personal response to the Spirit’s work regardless of their personal background or orientation.

     

    The ultimate objective of BCSFN, as I see it, is to consider the whole counsel of God’s Word and to review the Spirit’s work in the daily living of any person by looking for patterns that start with the typical responses that human beings give to the Holy Spirit’s work and how those responses may impact the person’s self-concept, behavior, and their social and emotional functioning extensively. The Spirit’s work may be observed in daily living as well as in the counseling practice.

     

    As the practical manifestations of the Spirit’s work are considered, certain response patterns related to the spiritual dimension within human life will emerge. BCSFN will continue to pursue knowledge and information that may describe these patterns and how they might impact our traditional views of formal personality theory and how that modified point of view might also reformulate counseling practice.

     

    BSCFN will comply with the views of theological anthropology in a very real and practical way. While the study of theological pneumatology traditionally carries the study of the Holy Spirit to higher-level theological explanations that involve a greater understanding of how human experiences are transformed by the work of God, BCSFN perspectives will pursue an understanding of the person that observes these transformations through the practical evidence of the Spirit’s work on the level of human experience.

     

    The ideas set forth by this division may also have varied responses. Some may respond in a way to indicate that the specific concepts set forth in this work would amount to an over-spiritualization or an over-moralization of the typical problems that people face. This reaction may be due to the desire to separate, that which is spiritual from the realm of what is deemed to be psychological.

     

    This objection would likely be given in order to draw a hard line of distinction between work of professional counseling or psychology and the work of professional ministry. There is little comfort to be found in such a distinction because the same objection reveals that within this perspective there is an inadequate understanding of what Christian Spiritual Formation brings to the subject of defining human personality.

     

    A true psychology and accurate perspective on human personality theory would not rule out such an important feature that would give a more comprehensive view of what human beings generally experience with God whether or not the person is so oriented in faith. The Christian Spiritual Formation perspective on human beings embraces the realm of true psychology rather than being distinct from it.

     

    At the same time, others might critique the BCSFN focus as not being “biblical” enough. That perspective might disparage any reference to professional counseling or psychology as having nothing valid to offer. It is true that the counselor in training needs to have more than a psychological training to be effective, but the truly competent counselor should utilize everything that could help the counselor gain a greater understanding of people placing every item of information about human beings into the arsenal of understanding including research. But a more comprehensive understanding of the human personality generated from a theological perspective is essential for an effective strategy to be effectively implemented. It appears that the present human need and especially the future prospects for helping others in counseling will demand more training broadly rather than less training to be effective. Ultimately our learning must be from God regardless of the source of information as Proverbs 1: 7 admonishes, “the fear of Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

     

    By John Pugh, Ph.D.

     

  • Great Hearts Sorrowing

    Posted on August 26th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part III: Elizabeth Keckley: Great Hearts Sorrowing

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Note: For Part I on Elizabeth Keckley, please visit my blog post at: http://bit.ly/FSNIt. For Part II, please visit: bit.ly/ENWjJ.

     

    Great Hearts Sorrowing: Permission to Grieve

     

    Through a series of sovereign appointments, Elizabeth finds herself in the role of dressmaker for the President’s wife. More than that, she finds herself in the relationship of sacred friend to the President’s wife—Mary Todd Lincoln.

     

    Over time, the emotional, turbulent Mary Lincoln came to love and even need “Lizabeth,” as she called her. The need exploded when Mrs. Lincoln’s son, Willie, became ill. “He was very sick,” Elizabeth reports, “and I was summoned to his bedside. It was sad to see the poor boy suffer. Always of a delicate constitution, he could not resist the strong inroads of disease.”

     

    According to Elizabeth, “He was his mother’s favorite child, and she doted on him. It grieved her heart sorely to see him suffer.”

     

    Willie worsened, lingering a few days, and then died. “God called the beautiful spirit home, and the house of joy was turned into the house of mourning.”

     

    Elizabeth was there when President Lincoln arrived. “I never saw a man so bowed down with grief. He came to the bed, lifted the cover from the face of his child, gazed at it long and earnestly, murmuring, ‘My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!’”

     

    The scene continues.

     

    “Great sobs choked his utterance. He buried his head in his hands, and his tall frame was convulsed with emotion. I stood at the foot of the bed, my eyes full of tears, looking at the man in silent, awe-stricken wonder. His grief unnerved him, and made him a weak, passive child. I did not dream that his rugged nature could be so moved. I shall never forget those solemn moments—genius and greatness weeping over love’s idol lost. There is a grandeur as well as a simplicity about the picture that will never fade.”

     

    Mrs. Lincoln’s grief was inconsolable.

     

    “The pale face of her dead boy threw her into convulsions. Around him love’s tendrils had been twined, and now that he was dressed for the tomb, it was like tearing the tendrils out of the heart by their roots. Willie, she often said, if spared by Providence, would be the hope and stay of her old age. But Providence had not spared him. The light faded from his eyes, and the death-dew had gathered on his brow.”

     

    Mrs. Lincoln was so completely overwhelmed with sorrow that she did not attend her son’s funeral.

     

    Elizabeth could empathize with a grieving mother’s broken heart.

     

    “Previous to this I had lost my son. Leaving Wilberforce, he went to the battle-field with the three months troops, and was killed in Missouri—found his grave on the battlefield where the gallant General Lyon fell. It was a sad blow to me, and the kind womanly letter that Mrs. Lincoln wrote to me when she heard of my bereavement was full of golden words of comfort.”

     

    Clearly, all were given permission to grieve. Speaking of President Lincoln and all the President’s men, Elizabeth describes the funeral scene.

     

    “And there sat the man, with a burden on his brain at which the world marvels—bent now with the load at both heart and brain—staggering under a blow like the taking from him of his child! His men of power sat around him—McClellan, with a moist eye when he bowed to the prayer, as I could see from where I stood; and Chase and Seward, with their austere features at work; and senators, and ambassadors, and soldiers, all struggling with their tears—great hearts sorrowing with the President as a stricken man and a brother.”

     

    The permission to grieve extended over time, as it should. “For two years after Willie’s death the White House was the scene of no fashionable display. The memory of the dead boy was duly respected. In some things Mrs. Lincoln was an altered woman.”

     

    From Elizabeth’s perspective, President Lincoln grieved as one who had found Christian hope.

     

    “Mr. Lincoln was reading that divine comforter, Job. He read with Christian eagerness, and the courage and hope that he derived from the inspired pages made him a new man.”

     

    Here Elizabeth records a profound Presidential example of scriptural exploration bringing hope to the hurting. In her words, “What a sublime picture was this! A ruler of a mighty nation going to the pages of the Bible with simple Christian earnestness for comfort and courage, and finding both in the darkest hours of a nation’s calamity. Ponder it, O ye scoffers at God’s Holy Word, and then hang your heads for very shame!”

     

    The Rest of the Story

     

    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part four . . .

     

    Note: Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

     

     

  • Elizabeth Keckley: Acquainted with Grief

    Posted on August 24th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part II: Elizabeth Keckley: All Silver in Heaven

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this stirring book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Note: For Part I on Elizabeth Keckley, please visit my blog post at: http://bit.ly/FSNIt

     

    All Silver in Heaven: Acquainted with Grief

     

    Like her Savior, Elizabeth Keckley was a woman of sorrow acquainted with grief, and thus able to bring sustaining and healing spiritual care to Mrs. Lincoln. Though enslaved, her first few years were at least spent in the love of her intact family. However, soon her father was sold to another slaver and the golden dream faded all too soon.

     

    As Elizabeth poignantly recalls it:

     

    “The announcement fell upon the little circle in that rude log cabin like a thunderbolt. I can remember the scene as if it were but yesterday;—how my father cried out against the cruel separation; his last kiss; his wild straining of my mother to his bosom; the solemn prayer to Heaven; the tears and sobs—the fearful anguish of broken hearts. The last kiss, the last goodbye; and he, my father, was gone, gone forever.[1]

     

    Elizabeth’s earthly despair was all-encompasing; her longing for heaven all-embracing.

     

    “The shadow eclipsed the sunshine, and love brought despair. The parting was eternal. The cloud had no silver lining, but I trust that it will be all silver in heaven.”[1]

     

    As was typically the case in slavery, Elizabeth’s family was not given permission to grieve or the opportunity to hope.

     

    “Deep as was the distress of my mother in parting with my father, her sorrow did not screen her from insult. My old mistress said to her: ‘Stop your nonsense; there is no necessity for you putting on airs. Your husband is not the only slave that has been sold from his family, and you are not the only one that has had to part.”[1]

     

    To these unfeeling words, Elizabeth’s mother made no reply. “She turned away in stoical silence, with a curl of that loathing scorn upon her lips which swelled in her heart. My father and my mother never met again in this world.”[1]

     

    When she was fourteen, Elizabeth went to live with her master’s oldest son, a Presbyterian minister, married to “a helpless wife, a girl that he had married in the humble walks of life. She was morbidly sensitive. . .”[1] At eighteen, a Mr. Bingham, a village schoolmaster and member of her master’s church, said he would whip her naked. She refused. He subdued her. Tied her. Stripped her dress. Whipped her.

     

    “I could not sleep, for I was suffering mental as well as bodily torture. My spirit rebelled against the unjustness that had been inflicted upon me, and though I tried to smother my anger and to forgive those who had been so cruel to me, it was impossible.”[1]

             

    He again tried to conquer her, striking her with savage blows. “As I stood bleeding before him, nearly exhausted with his efforts, he burst into tears, and declared that it would be a sin to beat me any more. My suffering at last subdued his hard heart; he asked my forgiveness, and afterwards was an altered man.”[1]

     

    In her future ministry in the White House, Elizabeth would need her indomitable spirit in the face of unspeakable suffering.

     

    The Rest of the Story

     

    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part three . . .

     

    Note: Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

     

  • The Best of Books on Women in Church History

    Posted on August 24th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best Of Guide

    The Best of Books on Women in Church History

     

    Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide: Making your life easier by finding, summarizing, evaluating, and posting the best resources on a wide variety of topics from a Christian perspective.

     

    Giving Voice to the Voiceless!

     

    When we think of church history, unfortunately, it is often “the history of a bunch of dead white guys!” We talk about the “church fathers,” but we omit the “church mothers”—many of whom discipled the church fathers! It is well past time to give “voice to the voiceless.”

     

    Having studied the legacy of women heroes of the faith in my book, Sacred Friendships (http://bit.ly/YmaM1), I’ve collated a lengthy bibliography of relevant books. But what I’m posting below is just the tip of the iceberg—the best of the best. If you want to hear the voices of godly Christian women, the following books give the big picture. They survey either all of church history, or large segments of church history. Enjoy!

     

    The Best of Books on Women in Church History

     

    Bainton, Roland. Women of the Reformation in France and England. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1973.

     

    Bainton, Roland. Women of the Reformation in Germany and Italy. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1971.

     

    Bainton, Roland. Women of the Reformation from Spain to Scandinavia. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1977.

     

    Chittister, Joan. The Friendship of Women: A Spiritual Tradition. Franklin, WI: Sheed and Ward, 2000.

     

    Clark, Elizabeth. Women in the Early Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990.

     

    Clark, Elizabeth, and Herbert Richardson, eds. Women and Religion: The Original Sourcebook   of Women in Christian Thought. Revised and expanded edition. San Francisco: Harper, 1996.

     

    Forbes, Cheryl. Women of Devotion through the Centuries. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001.

     

    Grant, Myrna. Sacred Legacy: Ancient Writings from Nine Women of Strength and Honor. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003.

     

    Gryson, Roger. The Ministry of Women in the Early Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976.

     

    Kellemen, Robert, and Karole Edwards. Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.

     

    Kellemen, Robert, and Susan Ellis. Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 2009.

     

    Kraemer, Ross, ed. Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics: A Sourcebook on Women’s Religions in the Greco-Roman World. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.

     

    MacHaffie, Barbara. Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition. Second edition. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2006.

     

    Oden, Amy, ed. In Her Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994.

     

    Peterson, William. 25 Surprising Marriages: Faith-Building Stories from the Lives of Famous Christians. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997.

     

    Ranft, Patricia. A Woman’s Way: The Forgotten History of Women Spiritual Directors. New York: Palgrave, 2000.

     

    Sawyer, Deborah. Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries. London: Routledge, 1996.

     

    Stewart, Dorothy, ed. Women of Prayer: An Anthology of Everyday Prayers from Women around the World. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999.

     

    Swan, Laura. The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women. New York: Paulist Press, 2001.

     

    Thiebauz, Marcelle. The Writings of Medieval Women: An Anthology. Second edition. New York: Garland Publishing, 1994.

     

    Tucker, Ruth. Private Lives of Pastor’s Wives. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988.

     

    Tucker, Ruth, and Walter Liefeld. Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987.

     

    Wilson, Katherine, ed. Medieval Women Writers. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1984.

     

    Wilson, Katherine, ed. Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987.

     

    Wilson-Kastner, Patricia, Ronald Kastner, Ann Millin, Rosemary Rader, and Jeremiah

    Reedy, eds. A Lost Tradition: Women Writers of the Early Church. Washington,

    DC: University Press of America, 1981.

     

    Important Stuff

     

    *Your Guide: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries (www.rpmministries.org) through which he writes, speaks, and consults to equip God’s people to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. He blogs daily at http://rpmministries.blogspot.com.

     

    *My Necessary Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t endorse everything in every article, book, or link that you’ll find in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide. I report, you decide.

     

    *Your Suggestions Are Welcomed: Feel free to post comments and/or send emails (rpm.ministries@gmail.com) about resources that you think deserve attention in various categories covered in Kellemen’s Christian The Best of Guide.

     

     

  • Voices of Healing

    Posted on August 23rd, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part I: Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this stirring book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    African American Sisters of the Spirit

     

    African American sisters of the spirit like Elizabeth Keckley, who ministered to the grieving Mrs. Lincoln, and Octavia Albert, who ministered to the soul-wounds of ex-enslaved African Americans, vividly demonstrate how to move beyond suffering to healing hope. Their courageous, hope-based spiritual care is a small sampler, an appetizer, if you will, of a great breadth of wisdom for soul care and spiritual direction contained in the history of women in the African American Church.

     

    While space allows just this sampler, history is filled with powerful and empowering examples of African American feminine sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding.[i] Though some have tried to silence their voices, their speaking of God’s truth in love with hope can still be heard by those with ears to hear and hearts to learn.

     

    Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope

     

    Picture the scene. It’s Civil War America. Women have no right to vote. Across the South, blacks have no rights whatsoever. President Lincoln is assassinated. His widow, Mary Lincoln, is devastated. To whom does she turn?

     

    To a black woman. To Elizabeth Keckley.

     

    In the story of her life Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House, Elizabeth (1818-1907) explains, “. . . I have been intimately associated with that lady [Mrs. Lincoln] in the most eventful periods of her life. I have been her confidante . . . I have written with the utmost frankness in regard to her—have exposed her faults as well as given her credit for honest motives.”[ii]

     

    Given the inauspicious beginnings of Elizabeth’s life story, her spiritual friendship with Mary Lincoln is staggering. “My life has been an eventful one. I was born a slave—was the child of slave parents—therefore I came upon the earth free in God-like thought, but fettered in action.”[iii]

     

    How did a black woman of that cultural era become confidante to the slain President’s wife? Elizabeth expresses her understanding with Christian humility. “God rules the universe. I was a feeble instrument in His hands. . .”[iv]

     

    The Rest of the Story

     

    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part two . . .

     


    [i]Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

     

    [ii]Keckley, Behind the Scenes, xiv, xv.

     

    [iii]Ibid., 17.

     

    [iv]Ibid., xii.

     

    Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope http://bit.ly/FSNIt

     

     

  • Book Review: Dance in the Rain

    Posted on August 21st, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Dance in the Rain:

    His Joy Comes in the Mourning

     

    Book Review Details

     

    *Title:  Dance in the Rain

    *Author: Angela A. Dockter-Harris 

    *Publisher: Tate Publishing (2008)

    *Category: Christian Living, Grieving

     

    Reviewed By: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, Sacred Friendships, and God’s Healing for Life’s Losses.

     

    Recommended: Dance in the Rain is a unique book that offers beneficial and practical biblical grief tools for healing and hope in Christ.

     

    Review: A Journal for Your Journey

     

    Angela Dockter-Harris has compiled a very practical and moving grief manual written from a Christian perspective. Rather than providing a theology of suffering, Harris offers a remarkable workbook for the person experiencing grief.

     

    Part One: Journaling

     

    Dance in the Rain is in two companion sections. Part one is simply and appropriately entitled “Journaling.” Three brief, focused chapters entail this section: “Remembering the Person I Love,” “This Gift I Leave You,” and “The Loss.” Harris introduces each chapter with four helpful overviews: what the chapter is about, what the reader can expect to find, to whom the chapter applies, and the goal of the chapter.

     

    In “Remembering the Person I Love,” Harris offers seventeen journaling suggestions for the loss of a parent, spouse, adult, child, grandparent, sibling, or friend. She then provides twenty-seven distinct journaling topics for the loss of an unborn child, infant, toddler, or young child. The chapter concludes with eleven journaling topics to compose a special tribute to the person who has passed away.

     

    Having just experienced the loss of my father-in-law within a week of reviewing these questions, I could easily apply them to his life and his death. The questions were moving, appropriate, and healing. For example, some of the tribute questions included, “The most important lesson I ever learned from the person I love is…” “What I most admired about this person is…” “The most precious gift I ever received from this person was…”

     

    The only “negative” in this section relates to the lack of space allotted for responses. A few brief lines would hardly allow someone to record “The funniest story I remember about this person…” I did not find any suggestion in the book recommending that the questions be typed out so that lengthier responses could be given. Perhaps even a supplemental e-document or e-book or CD could be included in future editions. I understand that the idea of the book is for it to be given as a gift—written in and completed—which is a beautiful thought. Perhaps I’m just too wordy!

     

    Chapter two, “This Gift I Leave You” is created uniquely for the person facing death. Dozens of thought-provoking questions lead the reader to opening up about his or her life to those who will be left behind. Harris shares sixty-one topics to probe and ponder, many with sub-topics. Taken together, this would be an amazing gift of healing—both for the dying person and for those left behind.

     

    The questions are candid, like, “I want to share with you my stages of emotions: When I was angry and why…” “Some things I have really struggled with in my life…” They are also moving, such as, “My life’s legacy. I want to be remembered for…” “My favorite memory of us…” They can also be used to pass on a legacy. “Things I hope you try/do before you die.” “Things I hope you never do, ever, never…” Such compiled responses would truly be an awesome gift.

     

    Topic sixty-one has many sub-points, all related to “Thoughts about my funeral.” So many people wait far too long (or never share/plan) to discuss their wishes for their funeral. Harris guides readers in how to map out one’s own funeral plans. Rather than macabre, her suggestions are touching, relevant, and practical.

     

    Even after all of these questions, Harris lists thirty-two additional topics to write about. They include such gems as, “My/our wedding day.” “Don’t be angry that I am gone.” “My advice on relationships.” The author then leaves ten blank, lined pages so that the book could be written in and given as a gift.

     

    Chapter three addresses, “The Loss.” This section helps the reader to move from shock and denial to candor. As the reader faces the reality of the loss, the healing process can begin. This section is brief—two pages and eight questions, which was a tad surprising after the depth of the preceding two chapters.

     

    Part Two: Bible Study User’s Guide

     

    Part two (“Bible Study User’s Guide”) is actually repeated twice. The first section is to be completed by the person grieving. The second section is to be completed by the person to whom the book is being left as a journal.

     

    The first chapter in this second section addresses “When a Loved One Isn’t Saved.” This is a common question that Christians have, and, unfortunately, one ignored or minimized all-too-often in Christian circles. Harris faces the issue, the pain, the confusion, and the potential guilt and shame, head on.

     

    Overall, her Bible study questions and Scriptures are theologically sound. However, readers, especially Reformed, Calvinistic readers, and/or all those who highlight the sovereign will of God, will likely take issue with some of Harris’ choice of words. “If your loved one died not knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, I want to assure you that He [God] did everything possible in the lifetime of your loved one to give them every opportunity to know Him” (p. 94). “God gives each and every one of us as many opportunities to know Him and to choose Him as He [God] can” (p 95).

     

    Obviously, the whole “God’s sovereignty/human responsibility debate” is age-old. And death-and-dying issues elevate the emotional heat in those discussions. I’m not suggesting that a work-book like this needed a theological tome on the topic. However, the aforementioned wording might appear to diminish the all-powerful, all-wise, sovereign work and will of God. This is something that I am confident the author never intended to convey.

     

    Harris includes additional Bible study chapters on “Anger,” “Sorrow,” and “Acceptance.” Each chapter provides verses to read and space to respond to pertinent questions. These chapters assist the reader to “work through” the stereotypical stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—all from a biblical perspective.

     

    A Very Valuable Resource Tool

     

    Dance in the Rain is a unique book that offers beneficial and practical biblical grief counseling tools. As a pastor-counselor-professor, and as an author of a forthcoming book on grief (God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting), I absolutely recommend this workbook. I see it as extremely valuable for parishioners, counselees, and spiritual friends. Frankly, every pastor and Christian counselor who deals with grief issues should have a dozen copies on hand.

     

    http://bit.ly/18QrNP

     

  • Free From Accusation

    Posted on August 20th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Who I Am To Christ, Part Five—Free from Accusation

     

    Christ-Esteem: The world talks about “self-esteem.” But God’s Word teaches us about “Christ-esteem”—how God views us, sees us, accepts us, and loves us through Christ. Knowing how God relates to us because of our relationship to Christ is vital to glorifying God, defeating the lies of Satan, and ministering powerfully.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE

     

    As you read the following summaries:

     

    *Meditate on the verses and on the truth they share about you.

     

    *Reject the lies of Satan about how God views you.

     

    *Thank God for who you are to Christ.

     

    *Select one verse/truth per day and specifically apply it to your life and relationships.

     

    My Relationship to God through Christ

     

    Colossians 1:21-22—Once alienated from God, Christ has reconciled me to God.

     

    Colossians 1:22—I am free from accusation.

     

    Colossians 3:12—I am one of God’s chosen people.

     

    Colossians 3:12—I am dearly loved by Christ.

     

    Colossians 3:13—I am forgiven by Christ.

     

    1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13—Together with all the saints, we are brothers and sisters loved by God.

     

    1 Thessalonians 1:4—I am chosen by God.

     

    2 Thessalonians 2:13—I was chosen to be saved.

     

    2 Thessalonians 2:16—I am loved by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

     

    Hebrews 2:12—Together with all believers, Christ calls me, “My brothers.”

     

    Hebrews 3:1—Together with all believers, I am a holy brother/sister.

     

    Hebrews 4:16—I may approach the throne of grace with confidence.

     

    Hebrews 7:19—I have been drawn near to God.

     

    Hebrews 8:12—The Father has forgiven my wickedness and remembers my sin no more.

     

    Hebrews 9:6-14—I have a cleansed conscience: shalom.

     

    Hebrews 9:15—I am guaranteed an eternal inheritance in Father’s forever family.

     

    Hebrews 9:26—My sins have been done away with forever.

     

    Hebrews 10:2—I no longer have to feel guilty because I am cleansed once for all.

     

    Hebrews 10:17—My sins and lawless acts God remembers no more.

     

    Hebrews 10:19—I have confidence to enter the most holy place of God’s holy presence.

     

    Hebrews 10:22—I can draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance, having been cleansed of a guilty conscience.

     

    1 Peter 2:6—I will never be put to shame.

     

    1 Peter 3:18—Christ has brought me face-to-face with God.

     

    1 Peter 3:21—I have a good, clear conscience before God.

     

    1 John 3:1—God has lavished His love upon me.

     

    1 John 3:1—How great is the love of God that He has called me, together with all Christians, “Children of God.”

     

    1 John 3:16—Christ loved me so much that He laid down His life for me.

     

    1 John 4:9-11—The Father showed His love for me by sending His Son to die for me.

     

    1 John 4:17-18; 5:14—I have full confidence in approaching God’s presence.

     

    Revelation 1:5—I am loved by Christ.

     

    Revelation 19:7—Together with all believers, I am the Bride of Christ.

     

    Note: Excerpted from Soul Physicians: http://bit.ly/7vaE