Monday, January 30, 2006

Teens Teaching Teens to Cut, Starve, and Choke Themselves

The February 2006 issue of Reader's Digest has an article that youth workers and parents should read. It's about the rising number of American teens who practice various forms of self-injurious behavior such as cutting, anorexia, and nearly asphyxiating themselves to induce a drug-like high by cutting off oxygen to the brain. Though the article does not frame things theologically, it vividly illustrates the role that socialization plays in sin's outworking. According to one pediatrician quoted in the article, "These practices are spreading like wildfire because of the Internet."
Psychologists, pediatricians and youth counselors contend that under the radar, hundreds of websites and chat rooms are fueling an explosion of self-destructive practices considered in vogue by a surprising number of kids. They swap techniques about how to injure themselves -- and, like Joel and Caitlin, keep it all hidden from their parents.

"Clearly, the Internet is a major tool for good," says Ken Mueller, co-director of, an informational website about youth culture. "But as we're seeing now, it can also lead to great harm. Kids become addicted to these sites, and suddenly behaviors that used to be considered taboo are no longer hidden, which makes them seem more acceptable -- even cool."
If the statistics offered in this piece are credible, this is an issue that the church will be facing with greater frequency. One resource I'd recommend as an introduction to the subject from a theological perspective is a booklet authored by Ed Welch called Self-Injury: When Pain Feels Good. Welch explores the various things self-injurious behavior can be saying (e.g., "I am guilty. I must be punished," "I am angry," "I can't feel this way any longer; hurting myself is the only way to stop my feelings") and shows how all of them point to God and how the gospel offers real hope to those enslaved to these self-destructive patterns of living. Addressing the objection some might raise to the suggestion that self-abuse is at root a spiritual issue, Welch writes:
This seems like a harsh way to explain the possible inner workings of self-injury, but if we really believe that self-injurers share a bond with those who don't purposely injure themselves, we would expect self-injurers to have a lot of "self" motivating their behavior. We all do! Scripture consistently reminds us that our greatest problem, even more than Satan himself, is our selfish desires (James 4:1-3). Pride and self-interest tend to rule our hearts. Contrary to what we may think, self-love is never a biblical command. The command is that we love others to the degree that we love ourselves (Matt. 19:18).
I touched on the topic of self-love in a recent post which, if you missed, you can find here.

Head and Heart

Les Newsom at Common Grounds Online wonders if he's the only one who hated hearing at every youth retreat he attended that the 18 inches between his head and heart were what was keeping him from being a committed Christian. I didn't become a believer until I was 19 so I missed out on the youth retreats. But I hear that kind of thinking from adults (who may have been at the same retreats as Les) and I hate it now (see yesterday's post).

While I don't share Les's conviction that substance dualism (recognizing a distinction between soul and body) is ultimately to blame for the pitting of head and heart against each other, I'm in wholehearted agreement with his contention that the head/heart dichotomy has no biblical warrant. Les writes:
...any good exegete of Scripture will tell you that the Bible’s understanding of the “inner zones” of humanity centers on the conception of the “heart.” In Scripture, the “heart” houses not just the feelings, but all of life. My thinking, my feelings, my believing, my committing, my loving: it all proceeds from the heart. Proverbs 4:23 comes to mind, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
The head/heart dichotomy is so popular among Christians that it's unlikely that we'll let go of it easily. But Les points out the advantages of doing so:
Leaving the head/heart dichotomy as an apparatus to think about my inner life reorganizes the priorities of Christian self-discipline, helps keeps first things first, and gets me off the hopeless treadmill of trying to figure out if I feel like a Christian today.
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Wholly, wholly, wholly

God designed us to be integrated, whole beings, with emotion, mind, imagination, will, and body working together in complete harmony. Otherwise, why would he command us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5; Mark 12:30)? Inner unity, not fragmentation, is our heritage. Wholeness is our birthright, not an internal chaos where one capacity competes with the others for domination (Steve Shores, Minding Your Emotions, Colorado Springs, CO: Nav Press, 2002, p.79).

We were made like God and intended to worship, love and enjoy him. God did not make us to relate to him with one small part of our lives-the spiritual part. He made us to relate to him and express his likeness in all of life-body, mind, emotions, will....Spirituality involves the whole of human life; nothing is nonspiritual. But wherever Platonism has affected Christian teaching there has been a separation of the sacred and the secular. Thus, prayer, worship, evangelism and "the ministry" are thought to be sacred. All other activities are secular. The sacred is said to be more spiritual (Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs, Being Human: The Nature of Spiritual Experience, Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1978, pp.36, 55).

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name (Psalm 86:11, ESV).

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Common Sense Counseling?

The class I'm leading through Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth recently covered the chapters describing the philosophical ethos of 19th century America and how it contributed to Christians embracing the idea of neutral (that is, free from all religious or philosophical biases) knowledge. Common Sense Realism, which began with Thomas Reid in Scotland, came to the U.S. where it thrived in academic circles, including theological education. Reid's thinking was prompted by the British empiricist skeptic, David Hume. Pearcey says,
....[Reid] aimed his own philosophical efforts at refuting Hume and formulating a new foundation for knowledge. The way to avoid skepticism, Reid proposed, is to realize that some knowledge is "self-evident"-that is, it is forced upon us simply by the way human nature is constituted. As a result, no one really doubts or denies it. It is part of immediate, undeniable experience.
Pearcey further explains the extent to which Reid's thinking was influenced by that of Francis Bacon who maintained that scientific progress required jettisoning all metaphysical precommitments and allowing the facts to simply speak for themselves. Scientific systems can then be constructed by reasoning inductively on the basis of what has been observed. According to this view, complete objectivity is both desirable and possible. But, as Pearcey notes, this insistence that one liberate himself from all philosophical traditions and systems in order to acquire knowledge is itself a philosophy. Failure to recognize this, however, made Christians reluctant to allow their biblical convictions to inform their thinking in fields outside of theology.

One consequence of adopting this model of knowing is that apologetics is necessarily prior to the doing of theology though not a theological task itself. Its purpose is to justify Christianity's claims according to allegedly neutral standards of reasoning. Only upon successful completion of this task is the theologian permitted to proceed. Writing in the early 20th century, B. B. Warfield wrote:
It thus lies in the very nature of apologetics as the fundamental department of theology, conceived as the science of God, that it should find its task in establishing the existence of a God who is capable of being known by man and who has made Himself known, not only in nature but in revelations of His grace to lost sinners, documented in the Christian Scriptures. When apologetics has placed these great facts in our hands-God, religion, revelation, Christianity, the Bible-and not till then are we prepared to go on and explicate the knowledge of God thus brought to us, trace the history of its workings in the world, systematize it, and propagate it in the world ("Apologetics" in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge).
I was reminded of this quote yesterday when I read this post by Tom Gee in which he delves into a subject that is of great interest to me-the subtle yet powerful absorption of psychological conceptual schemes such that the church's ability to think theologically about life and its problems is seriously impaired. Tom challenges the widely held view that some people have been so wounded by the sins of others that they stand in need of professional counseling before the ministry of the Word and the Spirit can take root in their lives and effect change.

If there is one area that Christians have been slow to recognize the crucial role presuppositions play in the formulation of theories, it is that of counseling. The thought that some wounds of the psyche require the application of extra-biblical knowledge so that the Word of God may find fertile soil jogged my thinking. Is there any connection between Warfield's conviction that supposedly unbiased science must grant permission for systematic theology to proceed and the popular assumption that "scientific" psychological counseling must, at least in some cases, pave the way for practical theology?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pro-Choice Cognitive Dissonance on Display

JivinJehoshaphat posted this picture and mused:
You've got to wonder about the level of cognitive dissonance that affects this pro-choicer. She calls the unborn child in her womb a "baby" yet is in favor of legal killing of other "babies" and for some reason thinks that her "baby" would also be in favor of the legal killing of other "babies."
The odds are good that this "progressive" thinker would also insist that children should be allowed to choose their own convictions rather than having those of their parents "forced" on them.

Apparently, the pro-choice mind values logic about as much as it does the unborn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Greg Koukl on BAM

OK, I think this is my final media announcement for the day. This from Melinda at STR's Blog:

Scott Klusendorf is sick, so Greg will pinch hit for him on The Bible Answer Man today and tomorrow discussing abortion and Roe v. Wade. You can also catch it on-line at Greg and Scott provide excellent pro-life training in STR's resource "Making Abortion Unthinkable: The Art of Pro-life Persuaion."
We've used "Making Abortion Unthinkable" at our church and I can attest to its excellence.

Al Mohler on Larry King Live Tonight

Albert Mohler will be one of Larry King's guests this evening (9 ET, CNN) discussing the film Brokeback Mountain which he has written about here and here. Here's the teaser from the show's site: "Is it biology or choice? Are same sex unions a legitimate lifestyle? Homosexuals face off with religious conservatives."

Radio Dawkins

If you missed Richard Dawkins' television special, The Root of All Evil (which I mentioned here), don't despair. At least you can listen to him rail against religion. (HT: The New Humanist)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

John Frame on A Generous Orthodoxy

John Frame's review of Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy is available here. It's worth reading not only because of its substance but because of the model it provides of gracious yet pointed interaction with fellow believers with whom we disagree. Frame shares many of McLaren's concerns and loves the phrase "generous orthodoxy," but fears that "McLaren has loaded up the concept...with so many confusing arguments and unbiblical notions that he is likely to give generous orthodoxy a bad name." (HT: Between Two Worlds)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Weapons of Our Warfare Are Not Carnal?

For a donation of $41.10 (which he calls "a statement of faith"), Pastor Rod Parsley will send you The Sword of the King to display in your home as a reminder of God's promise in Isaiah 41:10 (He should have selected a verse from Isaiah $66 for a greater return): "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

According to the description, the sword is a replica of the sword of the legendary King Arthur." How, exactly, one replicates a non-existent item, I don't know. But something's fishy because this is supposed to be a replica of Arthur's sword too and it doesn't look anything like what Parsley's selling. Who uses swords nowadays, anyway? For the sake of cultural contextual-ization, Pastor Rod should sell light sabers.  Humor aside, things like this invite the world to mock Christianity as evidenced by The Revealer's caustic coverage.

Old Friends, New Blogs

I wanted to let readers know about two relatively new blogs from men I admire:

A few years ago I participated in an email list devoted to the discussion of the apologetic method formulated by Cornelius Van Til known as presuppositionalism. Sean Choi was one of the members whose contributions I made it a point to read because I routinely learned from them. Sean's a graduate student in philosophy at the University of California who "
sees academic philosophy--and the life of the mind in general--as a way of expressing discipleship to Jesus." I recently discovered his blog, The Plurality of Blogs, and look forward to reading him again.

The other blog, Key Lime Pi, belongs to one of my AOL friends of many years, Steve Costley. He's another guy who provokes my intellect and my desire to walk more closely with Christ. I've enjoyed numerous conversations with him about theology and culture so I enthusiastically recommend that you check out his musings. Steve's just getting started and promises "
More coming on theology, philosophy, apologetics, law, logic, chess, culture, pie, and maybe pi if I think of something interesting to say about it." He also says that he hopes not to spend too much time writing so don't expect frequent posts. From my experience, whenever he does break the silence he'll have something valuable to offer.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What Makes a Belief Religious?

A seminarian asked me yesterday if I knew of any books that address the question of what makes a belief religious. I immediately thought of Roy Clouser's The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories and loaned him my copy. As providence would have it, today Joe Carter asks, "What is a Religious Belief?" and provides a very helpful introduction to Clouser's thought. Joe gives good reasons to reject the commonly held view that only those systems of thought that include a belief in one or many gods and/or induce worship-related activities are religious and illustrates how religious belief is inescapable even by the most ardent materialist.

Richard Dawkins and the Root of All Evil

Richard Dawkins wrote and appears in a two-part series called "The Root of All Evil?" to be aired on the UK's Channel 4. In the second episode, "The Virus of Faith," Dawkins equates the religious education of children with child abuse claiming that "Innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods. It's time to question the abuse of childhood innocence with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation. Isn't it weird the way we automatically label a tiny child with its parents' religion?"

Dawkins doesn't hold back his feelings towards the God of the Bible either: "The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous, and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist," he says. Dawkins then criticizes Abraham, compares Moses to Hitler and Saddam Hussein, and calls the New Testament "St Paul's nasty, sado-masochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin." (source: WorldNetDaily).

Dawkins is opposed to claims of religious knowledge because they don't conform to the rigorous standards of science. He'd like us to believe that he is being completely rational and objective while those who don't share his materialistic, atheistic outlook are simply being emotional and unreasonable. However, from quotes like those above as well as from the series title it's obvious that Dawkins' aversion to Christianity is motivated largely by moral considerations. He appeals to the emotional force of analogies to child abuse and finds the God revealed in the Old and New Testaments detestable. But this raises some major problems for Dr. Dawkins. His moral pronouncements are not themselves the fruit of science for values such as justice are not capable of being empirically studied. Dawkins speaks as though certain states of affairs, actions, and motives are wrong despite the fact that he denies the existence of any objective and absolute standard of goodness. Given his view of things, I have no doubt that he finds the God of the Old Testament unpleasant but that's about as far as he can go while remaining true to his atheism.

The Third Great Commandment?

The notion that learning to love ourselves is a prerequisite to loving others is such a fixture in American Christian minds that questioning it might cause some to react as though one is calling into question a tenet of historic Christian orthodoxy. Nevertheless, I think it needs to be challenged. The idea was definitely more prominent during the reign of humanistic theories of counseling that emphasized self-actualization. Believers scurried to find biblical prooftexts to demonstrate to the world that secular psychologists were only now discovering what God had revealed millennia before. Foremost among these was what Jesus identified as the commandment secondary but related to the great commandment to love God with our whole selves. After citing Deuteronomy 6:5 as the answer to a lawyer's query as to which was the greatest of the Law's commandments, Matthew (22:39) and Mark (12:31) tell us that Jesus cited Leviticus 19:18 as the second most important imperative: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Regardless of the fact that Jesus said he was referring to only two commandments, some have sought to find within the second imperative an implicit third - love thyself. Disobeying this one will make loving others difficult if not impossible.

This raises questions in my mind. Can you think of anywhere that the Bible attributes the mistreating of others to the lack of love for oneself? If not, what answers do the Scriptures offer to explain inhumanity, indifference, and cruelty? We need to frequently ask questions like these to insure that we are faithfully reflecting the themes, emphases, and categories of Scripture rather than those of the therapeutic spirit of the age.

Jesus was not insinuating that unless one loves himself he is incapable of loving others. Rather, he knew that self-love is already present and potent within every human heart. But how can that be? I think a great deal of the confusion about this issue stems from the fact that each of us can identify things we don't like about ourselves; things we wish were other than they are. I have in mind things like character flaws, sinful patterns of life, physical imperfections, and deficits in various skills and abilities. We may think or even say at times, "I hate myself because I....." But does it necessarily follow from the fact that there are things about myself that I don't like, that mine is a problem of not loving myself enough? No.

To think through this, we have to first consider what it means to love another biblically. There are many places we could turn in search of an answer but for the sake of time and space I'm going to focus on Jesus' teaching about loving our enemies in Luke 6:27-36. From this passage we can conclude that love involves pursuing and promoting another's well-being; acting in such a manner as to secure what is good for him or her. If that definition of love is granted, it becomes much more evident that none of us is deficient in the area of self love. Even the fact that there are things that I don't like about myself is a manifestation of my love for myself. Those things bother me because I want better for....myself! Likewise, craving the love of others is not an indication that I do not love myself but a sign that I do. I am intent on pursuing whatever I think will enhance my pleasure. The universality of self love is what leads the apostle Paul to call husbands to love their wives as themselves (Ephesians 5:28). He reasons that since a man and woman have become one flesh, then a husband should love his spouse in the same way that he already loves himself. "For no one hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church" (Ephesians 5:29).

"But," someone says, "that may be the general rule but there are many exceptions. What of the countless individuals engaged in self-destructive habits? What are we to make of the unfortunate reports of those who practice various forms of self-mutilating behavior or others who starve themselves to the brink of death on account of a distorted perception of their own bodies? These people obviously hate their own flesh and they are certainly not caring for themselves. I may reluctantly grant that most of us are objects of our own love but these folks certainly aren't." Admittedly this line of thinking is initially compelling and has a great deal of emotional force behind it. Nonetheless, I think that if self-love is understood in the manner that I have described, we must conclude that even such grossly self-destructive behavior is not a manifestation of the lack of self-love but rather evidence of why we stand in need of being liberated from its power.

Paul's use of the words "flesh" in Eph. 5:29 and "bodies" in v. 28 are examples of synecdoche, a figure of speech where the part is used to refer to the whole. This is evident from v. 33: "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself..." Saying that a man loves his own body or that no one hated his own flesh is another way of saying that we are intent on pursuing what we believe will make for our happiness, contentment, security, etc. As Pascal noted in his Pensees, even the decision to end one's own life is motivated by this inclination:

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
By denying that we stand in need of learning how to love ourselves, I am not suggesting that what I have called self-love is inherently wrong in all its manifestations. My point is not to advocate self-contempt. Perhaps no contemporary Christian author has done more to illustrate that the motivation to maximize our enjoyment is a good part of creation. Therefore, it is not to be rejected. However, as it did the rest of creation, humanity's revolt against our Creator perverted that self-love such that we are its slaves. God the Father sent forth God the Son to liberate us from that captivity and by the sanctifying work of His Spirit that liberty is being progressively worked out such that we are freer to be what we were made to be - lovers of God and each other.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Integrating Faith and Learning?

In his article "Fifty Years Later," philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff takes issue with the commonly touted idea that the task of Christian scholarship is to "integrate" faith and learning and offers what he thinks is a more appropriate metaphor (HT: Prosthesis):
We in the colleges of the Reformed tradition have often used the language of "integration" to describe the project - not as often as people in the other Christian colleges, but nonetheless often. The project, we have said, is to integrate faith and learning. I have come to think that the metaphor of integration is a poor choice of metaphor. It suggests that the scholar is presented with two things, faith and learning; and that these two must some-how be tied together. The two-story metaphor has been discarded; no longer do we think in terms of placing faith on top of learning. Still, the assumption of duality remains. The idea now is that we tie them together somehow - find the right baling twine and the right place to attach it.
I submit that the project of Christian learning, rightly understood, rejects the assumption of duality that underlies the metaphor of integration. Here is an example of the point: the dominant ideology behind philosophy of art of the past two centuries is that art is an exception to the fallenness of our society; art has redemptive significance. How am I to integrate that ideology with my Christian faith? It can't be done. I have to reject it, not integrate it; and having rejected it, I have to rethink philosophy of art and aesthetics so that it becomes faithful to my Christian conviction. What emerges, if I am successful, is not an integration of two separate things but just one thing: a philosophy of art faithful to Christian conviction. I have never found what seemed to me the absolutely right metaphor. However, better than the integration metaphor is the metaphor of seeing through the eyes of faith. When you look at something, you look at it with your eyes; you don't look at it and then also at your eyes.
I think Wolterstorff is right and am particularly interested in the application of his thinking to the realm of counseling psychology though he doesn't address it in the article. The model of counseling most prevalent in evangelical circles assumes the integration metaphor while biblical counseling, on the other hand, seems to be governed more by the metaphor Wolterstorff suggests. An example of this is the title of David Powlison's book, Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.

Please Pray for John Piper

Pastor John Piper has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Those familiar with him will not be at all surprised by how he is praying:
So I am praying: “Lord, for your great glory, 1) don’t let me miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for me in this experience; 2) don’t let the church miss any of the sanctifying blessings that you have for us in this; 3) grant that the surgery be successful in removing cancer and sparing important nerves; 4) grant that this light and momentary trial would work to spread a passion for your supremacy for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ; 5) may Noël and all close to me be given great peace—and all of this through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” I hope God will lead you to pray in a similar way.
Read the rest of his letter to his congregation at Desiring God. (HT: Between Two Worlds)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pascal on Writing

I frequently talk myself out of composing my thoughts for others to read by telling myself that others have already said or are currently saying what I'm thinking. Why reinvent the wheel? I know myself well enough to realize that this is in large part an excuse to avoid what for me is a grueling process of choosing the right words to express myself. But still, at some level, I consider it futile to try to convey the same thoughts that others have articulated so well.

Blaise Pascal is one of my favorite authors. The following words from his Pensees challenge my readiness to excuse myself and encourage me to add my voice to those of others who have sung or are singing the same song. If you share my reluctance, I hope you find them helpful too.

In what I am writing, let no one think I am saying anything new. It is only the arrangement of my material that may be new. For it is like a game of tennis, where we both play with the same ball, but one of us uses it to better advantage. So I would like it to be said that I am simply using well-worn words in a new framework. For when familiar thoughts are rearranged, they simply present a different way of communicating the truth. So too, we can use our words.

Stunning News from West Virginia

Restless, I got out of bed and turned the television on expecting to find a continuation of the jubilation I witnessed and shared last night in response to the announcement that 12 of the 13 miners trapped in a West Virginia coal mine were alive. When I read the caption, "Surviving miner identified as 27-year-old Randal McCloy," I was stunned. What a devastating turn of events. My imagination is not flexible enough to conceive of the staggering pain, disappointment, and anger that fill the hearts of those who loved these men. Video footage of them filing out of the small Baptist church at which they gathered gives me some idea. 

Reflecting on this heartbreaking news, Al Mohler writes:
This tragedy -- and the relief experienced in this rescue -- should remind those of us who work in relative safety that our lifestyles depend upon millions of workers in coal mines, steel mills, and other places who face very real and present dangers.
Those of us described by the late Peter Drucker as "knowledge workers" and by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich as "symbolic analysts" should take this opportunity to pay humble respect to those who, for example, dig coal deep in the earth in order that we might have heat and electricity.
God cares and provides for his creation in part through the labor of people with diverse callings or vocations. All honorable work, therefore, has theological significance. Today is indeed a good time to thank the Lord for people like miners and, of course, to pray for those who hours ago knew unspeakable joy and now experience unimaginable sorrow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Christians and Kitsch

A few months ago I used the phrase "kitschianity" to describe the evangelical propensity toward creating sentimental works of poor quality (for lack of a better word) art intended to convey some aspect of the Christian message. These articles line the shelves of what used to be Christian bookstores. So, while paging through the current issue of Books & Culture this morning, I took special note of an ad for a new book from a UK-based publishing company called Piquant Editions that specializes in the relationship between Christian mission and the arts. The book is called A Profound Weakness: Christians and Kitsch by Betty Spackman. Here's Piquant's description:
In this image journal and textbook, the contemporary artist Betty Spackman takes us on a guided tour of her collection of the images and objects that represent the Christian faith in popular culture. Having set out to critique these poor relations of ecclesiastical art, she finds herself torn between being deeply moved and outraged by their sentimental appeal. Her gentle deconstructions and playful permutations elicit new life from them to illustrate her observations, and to surprise and at times unsettle the reader. A closing questionnaire prompts further reflection. This is a book that can help us greatly to make sense of the pictures that unwittingly may have shaped our faith or unfaith. It is highly recommended for artists, teachers, preachers, youth leaders, parents and spiritual counsellors.
An information page (PDF) including the table of contents and a brief author's bio is available here.

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year!