Monday, May 05, 2008

Neurotic Churches

One of my favourite biblical studies lecturers in seminary was actually the pastoral studies lecturer. He had a sociology background and was great at social-scientific approaches to the NT. It was his lectures that led me to transfer from systematic theology to biblical studies (I thereafter took the name Darth Vogel!). Any way the guys name is Jeff Pugh and he's published his Ph.D thesis called Fantasyland Faith- The Redemptive Role of Ethical Lectors within Neurotic Church Systems (VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller, 2007). The blurb reads:

"Organizational decline is often viewed as an inevitable regression. This research, based upon a study of five free church communities addresses the psychodynamic and cultural nature of neurotic groups which underwent healthy transformation. This is significant since the leaders of such churches by definition have little by way of legitimate authority by which to 'levrage' change. The work shows the richness of insight derivable from an interplay of family systems, cultural and psychodynamic lenses including Bion, Kets de Vries and object relations theorists. The narratives show that ethical leaders have a catalytic role in fostering renewed cultures by addressing regressive aspects, especially those suffused within a repressive dogma. Pugh explores the overlap between the ensuing culture and the relational attributes of the Trinity as explicated by Volf and Moltmann. A set of hopeful prescriptions for the leader or intereventionist is proposed. The work has relevance to researchers and leaders who seek to renew all types of organizations, particularly those whose declines stem from deeply embedded and ideologically justified neuroses."

So if you're pastoring a neurotic church (or if you pastor is plainly neurotic, e.g. like the Rev. Dr. Jim West) then this book should be of interest of you.

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