Book Reviews

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   Psychologist Dodgen-Magee makes a detail-rich, persuasive case for the need to embrace technology yet also “make some conscious decisions about what place we want technology to hold in our lives.” The dilemma, as she explains it, is that people feel “gratitude for the ways that technology benefits society” but “many are experiencing niggling questions about how a near-constant engagement with devices” affects everyday life. The concerns range from losing touch with the physical senses and having “no sense of our larger environs” to obesity and social isolation. “Take Action” sidebars throughout the book offer suggestions for modifying behavior, along with strong reasons for doing so. People’s lives are changing irrevocably and unintentionally, she points out. The overall message Dodgen-Magee strongly presents is the necessity of moving toward “intention” regarding one’s use of devices and technology. 

Read more complete review at https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-5381-1584-8

EAST-WEST RECOMMENDS: 9 BOOKS ON PRAYER
Here are 9 books that the staff and missionaries of East-West Ministries recommend to help build your spiritual discipline of prayer.

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“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
-Martin Luther.

Prayer is essential in the life of a believer, but we often forget how important it truly is. These books offer some of the favorite resources that have enhanced the prayer lives of the East-West Minstries’ global staff.

It’s a good book about clarifying the fog in our culture.   I write this summary to encourage professional counselors in the DFW to read it.  We all need to work on seeing our cultural issues more clearly, our own views as well as those differing from ours.  I Hope this will entice you to read the book.
It’s a book about perception, truth and meaning.

 Imagine a long overdue visit to the optometrist. You sit behind a big disk full of lenses, one of which makes all those letters very clear. No longer does a “Q” blur with an “O” or a “G.” You are no longer confused about discerning a number from a letter. With the proper lens, you can see things clearly for what they are. Reality replaces imagination or extrapolation or inference. This book clarifies our perspective on what we actually believe based on truth. It contrasts sacred values with those differing from our own, thus helping us to know more clearly what we believe and how those beliefs drive our meaning and purpose in life.
Murray characterizes our American culture as embracing unbounded autonomy while abandoning truth. Preferences and opinions formulate conclusions as a filter for which “facts” qualify as acceptable. That’s backward from what it ought to be. In the absence of truth as an arbiter between differences, each side resorts to power in order to win over the other side. Chaos results. Our current political arena illustrates how quickly we are inclined to hurl insults at the opposition rather than examining the foundational premise and worldview either side holds. Is the abortion debate about rights of the mother or about when life as a human begins? Is the immigration debate about hospitality toward the sojourner or about keeping our country free from dangerous people? On and on, slogans populate the airwaves more than facts, principles and foundational sacred values. When we attempt to clarify differences, we are accused of bias or judgmental condescension. Murray states that clarity has become a vice and confusion has become a virtue.
Our role as counselors is, in part, to help our clients overcome the confusion in their lives. We help them align their perception with more objective reality. We help them clarify differences with dignity. We help them live consistently within the principles of their worldview. Therefore, we of all people need to be clear about how our Christian worldview impacts our priorities and perspectives. Murray was a Muslim in his youth who has trusted Christ at Savior and is now an apologist on the team of Ravi Zacharias. He’s a clear thinker.
He clarifies the relationship between freedom and limits. He let his children play freely in his backyard (bounded by a busy highway) only after he built a fence around his property. He distinguishes between “freedom from” and “freedom for.” This distinction has a lot to do with the object of our focus. This distinction can help redirect a quarreling couple toward freedom for harmony and intimacy rather than freedom from discomfort and antagonism.
He clarifies the importance of holding a Christian worldview with human dignity. He critiques a statement by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” How would you clarify the inconsistencies of such a statement?   Murray says, “the autonomy that we claim gives us dignity is the very autonomy that undermines it. That’s as confused as things get.” He goes on to state “the cross is where human depravity and human dignity collide.”
In a relevant-for-the-times chapter on sexuality, gender, and identity, he answers the question, “How can the Bible validate the sexuality of someone whose sexual orientation the Bible calls abominable?” He makes it clear that God does not arbitrarily prohibit certain conduct. Rather, he protects something sacred, the created Image of God, the celebrated unity with diversity in relationship. I was impressed that he quoted Mark Yarhouse’s research several times in this chapter. You ought not to miss this chapter.
If you’re interested in how religion, faith, and science integrate truth, Murray spends a chapter answering the question, “Why do you think faith is a valid way of knowing things?” How would you answer that question with a client who is searching?
I was particularly impressed with the various distinctions he makes between Christianity and other world religions.   All roads do not lead to the same God. “Failure to recognize that all views are exclusive at some level is at the heart of the culture’s confusion about religious pluralism,” says Murray.
Murray goes beyond clarifying the areas of fog that our boundless pursuit of autonomy has created. He ends by clarifying the hope in our future that reliance on truth (Truth?) can provide. “We’ve so obsessed over the freedom to do what we want that we’ve neglected the freedom to do what we should.”   He closes with how we can transition from freedom to truth and from truth to clarity.
If we are professional counselors who hold a Christian worldview, then we ought to be very clear of what that worldview is and how it can provide us with a truthful and reliable guide to a meaningful life. I recommend this book for you to read to that end.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               (review by Dr. Lee Jagers, April 20, 2019)

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“For the clients who see us in counseling . . . theological purity will make little difference if we do not practice with ethical integrity.”

Randolph K. Sanders, from chapter one

The work of psychotherapy and counseling is full of ethical challenges and dilemmas. Responding to these situations with wisdom is critical, not only for the professional?s credibility, but also for good therapeutic relationships and positive treatment outcomes. Since its first publication, Christian Counseling Ethics has become a standard reference work for Christian psychologists, counselors and pastors and a key text at Christian universities and seminaries. This thoroughly revised edition retains core material on counseling ethics that has made it so valuable in a variety of settings. Now fully updated, it weighs and assesses new and emerging ethical issues in the field. For example, the current volume explores ethical issues involved in: 

  • multiple relationships
  • confidentiality
  • documentation
  • therapist competence and character
  • addressing spiritual and value issues in therapy
  • teletherapy
  • individual and couples therapy
  • counseling with minors
  • psychological first aid after disasters
  • counseling cross-culturally

In addition, the book considers dilemmas Christian therapists face in specific settings such as: 

  • church-based counseling centers
  • government and military institutions
  • missions organizations
  • college counseling centers

Psychologist Randolph Sanders has assembled a distinguished team of clinicians and academicians to address the issues. They include W. Brad Johnson, Alan Tjeltveit, Everett Worthington, Sally Schwer Canning, Siang-Yang Tan, Tamara Anderson, Stanton Jones, Jennifer Ripley, Angela Sabates, Mark Yarhouse, Richard Butman and Cynthia Eriksson.

(review from Amazon)

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Review of Visits from Heaven, by Pete Deison:

Visits from Heaven, is an account of sudden tragedy, a journey of grief, and the reality of heaven for the Christian.  Having been a personal friend of Pete Deison’s for over four decades, I have seen his life, his marriage, and his walk with God from many perspectives.  However, this book reveals his life in a far more intimate way.  The major theme is hope for the believer in Jesus Christ and the reality of heaven!  A must read for any Christian, pastor, or counselor.  The encouragement Pete offers out of profound sorrow, the loss of his wife, Harriett, through suicide, is filled with the presence of God and the reality of heaven.  The Bible provides solid answers for all of Pete’s experiences, which, when understood in this context, also sheds bright light in the midst of the darkness of death.  Truly this book is a wonderful gift to the Church worldwide!

(Reviewed by Dr. French Jones)

 

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