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The Human Core of Spirituality: Mind As Psyche and Spirit Hardcover – July, 1996

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About the Author

Daniel A. Helminiak is Assistant Professor of Psychology at West Georgia College. His books include The Same Jesus: A Contemporary Christology; Spiritual Development: An Interdisciplinary Study; and What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality. He holds doctorates in both psychology and theology. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr; 1st edition (July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791429490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791429495
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,871,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

On the surface, Daniel Helminiak is Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, near Atlanta. This department of psychology is committed to the humanistic and transpersonal traditions, so Daniel is easily able to focus his research on spirituality--not as a religious concern but first and foremost as a built-in aspect of humanity. He considers his specialization to be the psychology of spirituality.

But there is more. Daniel is most widely known for his best-selling book "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality." In two editions, it has sold over 100,000 copies and is translated into six languages. This book began as a hobby. Over a number of years, Daniel researched this book to work out his own issues, struggling with being Catholic and gay, and he wrote the book to share with others the solid conclusion that, taken on its own terms and read against its own historical and cultural context, the Bible simply does not condemn same-sex relationships as we understand them today. Unavoidably, then, Daniel became a controversial figure in today's culture wars, and human sexuality became another focus of his study. Every semester, he teaches the course on Human Sexuality at the University of West Georgia.

Daniel was well qualified to do that biblical research. After four years of graduate study in Rome--living in the Scots (not the American) College there, speaking Italian on the streets, and studying and passing oral exams in Latin--he was ordained a Catholic priest. After four more years of parish ministry in his hometown Pittsburgh, he moved into educational circles and in various ways served in active priestly ministry for 27 years. In the process, he earned a PhD in systematic theology at Boston College and Andover Newton Theological School.

Perhaps the most important event in Daniel's life was his being appointed teaching assistant to the Jesuit Professor Bernard J. F. Lonergan at Boston College. Lonergan is widely recognized as one of the great minds of Western civilization. Newsweek styled him as the Thomas Aquinas of the 20th Century. As Aquinas is renowned for integrating pagan Aristotelian thought with Christianity in the 13th Century, Lonergan worked out the integration of modern science with Christian thought for the third millennium. Lonergan's thought undergirds everything that Daniel thinks, says, and writes. Lonergan's analysis of human consciousness provides the core for Daniel's psychology of spirituality.

Daniel's intellectual journey has been entwined with his personal story--his having to deal with being gay, for example. Again, born and raised in the tight-knit Polish Catholic community of South Side, Pittsburgh, Daniel used that experience as a model for "Spirituality for Our Global Community." Or again, Daniel's lifelong practice of meditation and his ministry to the LGBT community resulted in "Meditation without Myth." Or again, Daniel's preaching to Dignity communities resulted in the essays of "The Transcended Christian."

And again, Daniel's years in Rome coincided with the Second Vatican Council, the worldwide meetings that Pope John XXIII called to "open the windows" and let some fresh air into the Catholic Church. So Daniel and his generation enthusiastically believed the Catholic Church would finally embrace contemporary science and culture. Unfortunately, that change did not occur. As Pope John Paul II relentlessly tightened up the system again, Daniel resigned his teaching position at the graduate Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and moved to Austin to earn a second PhD, this time in psychology, at the University of Texas. There he was also trained in psychotherapy and named a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and later he was licensed as a Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia. He was also elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. At the University of West Georgia, enjoying "the freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:21) on a non-religiously-controlled campus, he continues what he considers an educational ministry.

As a psychotherapist, social scientist, and theologian, as a teacher, lecturer, and author, Daniel integrates religion and psychology and, thus, suggests what wholesome human living means in a pluralistic and secularized world. This spiritual theme runs through all his books. His website is

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Spirituality has recently become an acceptable topic of popular discussion outside of religious circles -- in psychology, medicine, nursing, social work, education, politics, philosophy. Yet most discussions of spirituality are loose and merely suggestive. Moreover, the frequent implication of God and differing religions complicates and befuddles this already difficult topic. My book sorts out these issues.
The basic argument is that spirituality is a human thing, grounded in the very make-up of the human being. To be sure, most spirituality expresses itself through religious belief and pious practice. Still, in essence, spirituality can be treated apart from religion and theology -- and it ought to be, if a coherent and accurate understanding of spirituality is the goal. And this is the goal of my book. This is also what our contemporary world needs.

Part I teases apart the theological and the human facets of the matter and, bracketing the theological temporarily, focuses attention on the human. Part II explains what human spirit is and how its unbounded unfolding grounds spirituality. Part III elaborates human psyche and shows how, for better or worse, psychological issues affect the functioning of the human spirit. And Part IV says what characterizes fully healthy humanity -- on-going personal integration that is ever respectful of the self-transcending dynamism of the human spirit.

A discussion of sexuality summarizes the book. This discussion provides an extended example of what spiritual integration would actually mean and also indicates what difference it would make to bring God back into the picture.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Bregman on November 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I hoped this book would offer a solid definition of "spirituality" and an attempt to survey a difficult area, already plagued by too many idiosyncratic definitions and approaches. This is one more; the author severs "psyche" from "spirit," then has trouble placing Jung and Grof and many others clearly writing about "both," or rather, refusing to make this separation. A more basic problem for scholars in religion, psychology and cultural studies is the author's wanting to have his cake- an intrinsic, essential, trans-cultural core of "spirituality" that is more primordial than any religion - and eat it too, by incorporating specific cultural/religious constructs into his definition of the above. Frustrating, and the charts and diagrams to not help.
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