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J.A.A. Purves

Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (2012)

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Anna J said:

:Sadly, none of this is at all a surprise to me, as I grew up in a home where only books from the Christian bookstore and music from the Christian radio were allowed

I never grew up in this type of Christianity, although in a church going home, so I've always been looking from the outside in towards this kind of thought, and have found it to be horrifying. :)

Books like this are of course only encouraging it, or making it harder for some to break free from it, I'm sure.

:How about how many of the families who received shiny new homes from HGTV are now defaulting on their mortgages and being evicted because their houses are now valued much too high for them to sustain payments. Maintaining that impressive appearance can result in a bit of spiritual bankruptcy, eh? You don't say.

I have a pastor friend who has mentioned that those who really buy into the prosperity gospel, in the sense of thinking that ones prosperity is an indication of their rightness with God and therefore their blessing, have all too often bought their things through bank loans and credit cards.

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I'm printing out your write up to read this weekend Mr. Purves, I pray that there's nothing within which will taint me. :)

Jokes aside. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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I'm printing out your write up to read this weekend Mr. Purves, I pray that there's nothing within which will taint me. smile.png

Jokes aside. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Thank you. I'm halfway through Part Two, which is turning out to be, unfortunately, just as long. Hopefully I'll finish it in a couple days.

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Whew. It's past midnight. I've probably got to re-read this one more time later in the morning for grammatical and stylistic mishaps. But here, finally, is Part Two of my book review.

Thoughts:

[A] Still think you're too harsh on Maslow. It's perfectly possible to accept both his reading of human needs and some sort of Christian understanding.

Huzzah for the Tillich reference.

[C] This bit blows me away:

Think about this for moment. Groeschel's example of falling into sin (or toxic behavior, as he would call it) proceeds as follows:

1 - hanging out with your nonbelieving co-workers

2 - mistakenly assuming that you can be a witness to your co-workers by hanging around them

3 - drinking water with lime (just for kicks)

4 - laughing at off-color jokes

5 - drinking adult beverages (translation: Coronas)

6 - adultery

Steps 4 through 6 seem pretty toxic in the world of Groeschel. But, if you keep reading his book, you eventually learn that he frowns upon steps 1 through 3 as well.

I mean, who could ever mistake a Corona for an "adult beverage"?

More properly, how can Groeschel et al possibly think that this call to separatism and [let's call it what it is] priggishness could ever lead to a satisfactory spiritual/religious life. I've had my phases of priggishness (I probably still do) and it's exhausting. All that "love God" stuff must be really difficult when you spend every waking minute trying to make sure you don't slip and slide from "hanging out" to "adultery".

More to the point--how in the world is evangelism (which, I assume, G wants to happen) supposed to take place if [1] isn't an option? Do ya just invite the non-believing friends to church? Hector them until they just drop to their knees and beg God to take you off their hands? Best I can figure, the proper role for the pure Christian must be that of the moral scold who shakes his [probably always his] head at off-color jokes. They will know we are Christians by our prudery. [Not that dislike off-color jokes = prudery, of course; but making a loud point of disliking them? Ab-so-lute-ly]

Edited by NBooth

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NBooth said:

:More to the point--how in the world is evangelism (which, I assume, G wants to happen) supposed to take place if [1] isn't an option?

Exactly. To my mind this is the main way in which the type of thinking in this book falls apart. It closes doors to us reaching out to others, but it also closes doors to others impacting us with whatever wisdom and guidance they may have to share.

And drinking a corona doesn't lead to adultery. And and... some peoples version of an off colour joke aren't really all that off colour.

Edited by Attica

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Thoughts:

[A] Still think you're too harsh on Maslow. It's perfectly possible to accept both his reading of human needs and some sort of Christian understanding.

Huzzah for the Tillich reference.

There's just no hope for me and Maslow. Maybe I wouldn't be so bitter if I hadn't already seen the hierarchy of needs pyramid preached in church. Even the pastor of the church I attend now has lapses where he seems to think that temporal "acceptance" or "security" or self-"significance" and "worth" are all things that Christianity guarantees. Tillich, on the other hand, is not one I always agree with, but I can't help but be incredibly impressed by his Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality. It's just ... masterful. Anyone who says that they are "just spiritual but not religious" has never read it. Neither has anyone who thinks pagan philosophy or modern science is just not worth the time that you could be spending reading the Bible instead.

[C] This bit blows me away ... I mean, who could ever mistake a Corona for an "adult beverage"? ... More to the point--how in the world is evangelism (which, I assume, G wants to happen) supposed to take place if [1] isn't an option? Do ya just invite the non-believing friends to church? Hector them until they just drop to their knees and beg God to take you off their hands? Best I can figure, the proper role for the pure Christian must be that of the moral scold who shakes his [probably always his] head at off-color jokes. They will know we are Christians by our prudery.

Another thing that I didn't point out is that it really, boiled down, denies responsibility in a sense. It's as if the unspoken assumption is that if that guy hadn't been hanging out with his coworkers at the bar and drinking Coronas, then he never would have committed adultery. Don't interact in the fallen world at all and you won't fall into sin. Groeschel is implying that the reason the guy fell into sin "toxic behavior" is because he was "out in the world." Basically, the people you hang out with need to be detoxed first, otherwise they're dangerous to your spiritual cleanliness.

To my mind this is the main way in which the type of thinking in this book falls apart. It closes door to us reaching out to others ... And drinking a corona doesn't lead to adultery.

I've spent way too much time with this book. But one of the most depressing things about it is that the writing and illustrations (that are taken seriously by both the author and 100 out of 104 Amazon book reviewers) could have been lifted straight out of a parody crafted in order to make fun of Christian pastors. Groeschel's writing would have been genius if it had appeared in segments on The Onion.

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Thoughts:

[A] Still think you're too harsh on Maslow. It's perfectly possible to accept both his reading of human needs and some sort of Christian understanding.

Huzzah for the Tillich reference.

There's just no hope for me and Maslow. Maybe I wouldn't be so bitter if I hadn't already seen the hierarchy of needs pyramid preached in church. Even the pastor of the church I attend now has lapses where he seems to think that temporal "acceptance" or "security" or self-"significance" and "worth" are all things that Christianity guarantees. Tillich, on the other hand, is not one I always agree with, but I can't help but be incredibly impressed by his Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality. It's just ... masterful. Anyone who says that they are "just spiritual but not religious" has never read it. Neither has anyone who thinks pagan philosophy or modern science is just not worth the time that you could be spending reading the Bible instead.

Biblical Religion is really, really good. I'm also a fan of The Dynamics of Faith, which book blows any sort of quasi-Schaefferian definitions of faith out of the water.

Another thing that I didn't point out is that it really, boiled down, denies responsibility in a sense. It's as if the unspoken assumption is that if that guy hadn't been hanging out with his coworkers at the bar and drinking Coronas, then he never would have committed adultery. Don't interact in the fallen world at all and you won't fall into sin. Groeschel is implying that the reason the guy fell into sin "toxic behavior" is because he was "out in the world." Basically, the people you hang out with need to be detoxed first, otherwise they're dangerous to your spiritual cleanliness.

Ok, now I feel like I need a Soul Detox. Not sure it's for the reasons G has in mind, though.

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