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Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel 11.1.1998 Edition
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In his book, Care of Souls, David Benner implicitly understands and accepts the doctrine of the image. He writes:
“Care refers to actions that are designed to support the well-being of something or someone. Cure refers to actions that are designed to restore well-being that has been lost.” (21)
One only cares for something of value. In this case, we are talking about souls which he defines as:
“soul as referring to the whole person, including the body, but with particular focus on the inner world of thinking, feeling, and willing.” (22)
This is the Hebrew understanding of soul (nefesh or נַפְשִׁ֖י) which is quite distinct from the Greek understanding from Plato which divided a person into body and soul, which were truly divided (11).
This body and soul unity is important in Benner’s thinking especially when he delves into the distinction between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our inner life. He writes:
“Caring for souls is caring for people in ways that not only acknowledge them as persons but also engage and address them in the deepest and most profoundly human aspects of their lives.Read more ›
I found the "seven characteristics of Christian soul care" helpful because I used the list to measure my own "qualifications" (207). Benner states that soul care providers should be "spiritually mature," which includes descriptors such as "personal holiness" and "well-developed habits of prayer" (209). The term "personal holiness" seems vague because it might be misconstrued as "holier than thou." The "demands of Christian soul care" are realistic and should be expected from all "soul care" providers (212). I think counselees expect (and deserve to get) truthfulness from the counselor; and counselors should "continue to grow" through continuing education, but more importantly they should continue to grow in their relationship with Christ in order to remain effective in their Christian counseling practices (213).
I found Benner's presentation of the future dilemma of "soul care" to be very troubling. According to Benner, soul care is not clinical or therapeutic (in the secular sense). Even though it is not clinical, soul care that is provided by a lay counselor will be seen as "substandard" and if it is promoted as "distinctly Christian," it will not be taken seriously (215).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book to recognize and understand where Christianity and therapy connect. Benner introduces a soulful way to connect through therapy.Published 4 months ago by LOV
One of the best books I've ever read. It is also one of those books you want to read again and again.Published 5 months ago by Adriana Dobyns
A very well balanced, knowledgeable book that bridges academia with praxis.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent source for practical intro to soul care. The historical background set up the practical application very nicely. Easy to understand.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This gave a very well written history on the history of true soul care as well as layer out what soul care is and how to improve oUpon your own personal soul care.Published 15 months ago by HarmonyLenise