Shaping the Human Soul, Part 1
Note: In Washington DC, Church of the Advent has teamed up with The Trinity Forum to offer an exciting series of lectures exploring the synergy between modern science and Christian Faith. We are pleased to share the recent presentation given by psychiatrist Curt Thompson and philosopher James K.A. Smith. Together they discussed the process of Christian discipleship and spiritual formation through the lens of neuroscience.
In this 5-part video series, we begin with Curt Thompson's presentation, followed by James K.A. Smith, and then conclude with a fascinating excerpt of their ensuing conversation.
Summary of the first half of Dr. Thompson's presentation
1. We are a world that longs for goodness and beauty, whether we are believers or not.
2. The data from emerging neuroscience and attachment research points us to a world of goodness and beauty.
3. This same data reflects and energizes the biblical narrative. Creation itself points us to the very story God is telling.
4. One of the most integral processes—that helps us get to truth and beauty—involves the changing (and renewal) of our minds. The renewal of our minds is a subset of the renewal of everything. God is on a mission of complete renewal, albeit on his timetable.
In this mission for renewal, one of the most important aspects is the interpersonal experience of being known. We change primarily not by what we know, but by how we are known. We live in a culture that is really good at knowing things, but not so good at being known.
5. Our first reaction is likely to be, “How will knowing this stuff change me?” But the biblical narrative is not just about us as individuals, it is about a world of mercy and justice. In order for us to have mercy and justice, we don’t do it primarily as individuals, we do it as institutions. God’s renewal is not just about changing us, it is about changing everything.
See part 2 for the second half of Dr. Thompson's presentation
Dr. Curt Thompson is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia, and founder of Being Known, which develops teaching programs, seminars and resource materials to help people explore the connection between interpersonal neurobiology and Christian spirituality which lead to genuine change and transformation. He is also author of Anatomy of the Soul.