- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Image; 1st edition (September 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804141002
- ISBN-13: 978-0804141000
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith Through Spiritual Practice and Positive Psychology Hardcover – September 8, 2015
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“At last, a Christian perspective on Positive Psychology that ratifies scripture by presenting the latest evidence-based science. Kaczor soars when he shows how Christian practices are the way to find fullness and freedom of life. Impressively integrative, reading this book was simultaneously edifying and enjoyable.” --Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology UC Davis, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
"Christopher Kaczor's new book provides a clear account of both the value of 'positive psychology' for Christians and an account of the value of Christian faith for human well-being. The book is beautifully written and will provide a great resource for those who want to know more about the value of empirical research on human well-being for the religious life, as well as the value of Christian practices and virtues for human flourishing." --C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University
"Professor Kaczor has distilled the findings of positive psychology on the subject of happiness, showing their congruence with Christian theology. Amidst the torrent of self-help and popular psychology fads, this book stands apart as a gem with lasting value: it is practical, empirical, eminently readable, and deeply wise." --Aaron Kheriaty, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Director, Program in Medical Ethics University of California Irvine School of Medicine
"If Christians wish to penetrate the darkness of the modern soul, they must not only dialogue with the social sciences, they must speak in a truly integrative idiom. Dr. Kaczor's new book reflecting on happiness through the joint lenses of positive psychology and Christian faith provides a simple and persuasive model for us all to follow." --. Christian Brugger, D.Phil., J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology, Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary
“Professor Kaczor truly proclaims the Gospel of Happiness. In conversation with scientists and sages, literature and liturgy, drawing upon a treasure trove of classical and contemporary sources, he offers profound and practical pathways toward happiness, virtue, and the flourishing life. In engaging style suitable for personal growth, small group study, pastoral counseling, or college classroom, he shows how positive psychology validates Christian practice and how Christian practice completes positive psychology. Grace truly does perfect nature, and Kaczor perfects positive psychology.” --Keith A. Houde, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Ave Maria University
"Just as Augustine enlisted Plato and Aquinas mined Aristotle, Christopher Kaczor marshals the insights of positive psychology to illuminate the Christian faith in fresh ways, showing us how contemporary science confirms ancient wisdom. If you want to be happy, it turns out one of the best things you can do is practice traditional Christian disciplines like cultivating gratitude, extending forgiveness, and giving yourself away in service to others. This is philosophy that doesn’t just invite you to think differently but live differently. A marvelous book that has me looking at my own life anew." --James K.A. Smith, professor of philosophy, Calvin College and author of Desiring the Kingdom
"Many outside the faith (and too many within) believe Christianity to be a depressing religion obsessed with sin and suffering. Kaczor smashingly rights the wrong with this engaging, Christian reading of the scientific findings of positive psychology. Readers of this book will discover the wise happiness at the heart of Christianity." --Eric L. Johnson, Ph.D. Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"God made us to be happy — to be blessed and to live with joy. And all of us are born with this desire for happiness in our hearts. But sometimes we can get a little lost along the way. We can find ourselves looking for happiness in the wrong places. Christopher Kaczor shows us the right path and he walks the path with us — shining new light on the ancient ways of forgiveness and gratitude, humility, prayer and service to our neighbor. Kaczor is a wise guide and this book can help all of us to grow in our relationships with others and our journey with God." --The Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles
"In The Gospel of Happiness, Christopher Kaczor creates a refreshing new approach to a traditional theme lying at the heart of both Christianity and philosophy – the pursuit of happiness. Recognizing the dictum of Aristotle that happiness is the one objective we seek for itself, and that everything else is sought for the sake of happiness, he creates an understandable, practical, and usable path that combines contemporary psychology with traditional Christian teaching. He lays his foundation by appealing to seven Christian ways to happiness – “faith, hope, and love,” prayer, gratitude, forgiveness, virtue, and willpower, and enriches them with the five elements of positive psychology – positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement. By using Martin Seligman’s new positive approach to psychology, he bridges formerly perceived gaps between psychology and faith -- opening the way for Christians to benefit from the insights and healing of this important discipline." --Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., author of Finding True Happiness
About the Author
DR. CHRISTOPHER KACZOR is William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University and is professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Dr. Kaczor's research on issues of ethics, philosophy, and religion has been in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, and National Review, as well as on NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.
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Instead, author Christopher Kaczor focuses on the built-in wisdom of Christian theology and the ways in which authentic Christian practices bring about true and lasting satisfaction. In other words, true Happiness. This timely book reminds us that happiness is found, not in getting or grasping, but in giving of one’s self.
I shared several relevant passages from The Gospel of Happiness with my wife. They impressed her enough that she recommended it as a selection for our Church’s reading club…a most appropriate use for this fine book. Highly recommended.
I received from Blogging for Books for this review.
It was the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) who believed that following Christian principles would tax and burden people: "drain(ing) them of love, life and happiness." As the study of positive psychology has increased since the 1960's; combined with traditional religious practice, greatly benefiting not only Christians and people of faith, but society overall. Dr. Kaczor outlines the PERMA principle which stands for Positive, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement which enhances and promotes the quality of life in loving relationships vital for happiness and well being. This is also supported by Martin E.P. Seligman (1942-) who is recognized as the founder of positive psychology.
Throughout the book, Dr. Kaczor presents Christian teaching and principles without preaching: the Gospel is called the "Good News" which in essence is based on positive psychological teachings, as the commandment of Christ "to love one another" is observed.
Many other books, non-religious teachings and quotes by various individuals are included. Combined with PERMA principles other chapters are titled: The Way of Faith, Hope, and Love ~ The Way of Prayer ~ The Way of Gratitude ~ The Way of Forgiveness ~ The Way of Virtue ~ The Way of Willpower ~ are surprisingly helpful, inspirational, faith based. A brief story is shared, of gratitude related to Dr. Kaczor's own medical emergency.
Pointing out the difference between genuine happiness and fleeting happiness, Dr. Kaczor cites the "Pursuit of Perfect" (2009) when author Tal-Ben-Shahar won Israel's national squash championship: his happiness lasted 3 hours before he realized his achievement wasn't that great after all. Robin Williams said his joy over winning an Academy Award lasted a week. The Mega-success of the best selling album of all time "Thriller" (1983) was short lived, Michael Jackson unsatisfied, only pushed to achieve more with his next album. Research indicates that status, fame, wealth doesn't equal happiness. David Meyers notes that American's have increased their material wealth in the last 50 years, yet they are no more happier for it. Lotto winners after the initial shock of winning are no more happier then before their new wealth. Fortune 500 CEO's report less happiness than the average citizen.
This book is also encouraging for those from all walks of life, going beyond the "feel good" approach. Dr. Kaczor is also the bestselling author of "The Seven Big Myths About The Catholic Church" (2012) and several other books related to the Catholic faith. Many thanks and much appreciation to Image New York for the ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
Chapter Two discusses tapping into this great joy which is God by way of faith, hope, and love - the three theological virtues. He explains this further by telling us the following three things. 1. People of faith believe that what they do matters both presently and eternally. 2. Hope is more than a wish that things turn out well, but the belief that despite how awful things are on earth, Heaven is a reality. 3. Love of God is the greatest love, because when we love God we unite our will with his and it opens us up to loving everyone, including our enemies. The remaining chapters in the book cover prayer, gratitude, forgiveness, virtue, and willpower.
This was an interesting book in which Dr. Kaczor does a fine job of showing how Christianity and positive psychology intersect. With that said, a lot of the book felt like preaching to the choir, as most Christians will tell you that the reason for their positive outlook and practices are because of their faith in God and practicing of his teachings. I believe this book would primarily appeal to those interested in the field of psychology and psychiatry. As someone with a BA in psychology, I was appreciative to read about the field of positive psychology, as much of what I encountered in pursuing my undergraduate degree turned me off of the subject entirely. Four stars.