Page 15 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 7
P. 15

Christian Psychology as a Challenge

             On Christian Psychology:

             An Interview with Russ

             Kosits by Werner May

                                                                  Russell D. Kosits,
                                                                  Ph.D., is associate
             Werner May: You are involved in the work of          professor    and
             the Society for Christian Psychology and now         chair  of  psycho-
             you are taking on the role of executive editor       logy at Redeemer
             (academic/research)  of  Christian  Psychology,      University  Colle-
             the transdisciplinary journal. First, what does      ge (Ancaster, On-
             transdisciplinary mean and why do you think          tario) and incoming executive editor (acade-
             this is important for a Christian psychology?        mic/research)  of  Christian  Psychology:  The
                                                                  Transdisciplinary Journal. A general psycho-
             Russ  Kosits:  It’s  interesting  you  should  ask  -I   logist with training in integration, social psy-
             recently had an opportunity to attend a small        chology, history of psychology, and theology,
             meeting on this very topic. This “consultation       he  is  still  trying  to  recover  from  his  native
             on  transdisciplinary  scholarship”  in  Berrien     dualism and unbelief and learn to live - and
             Springs, Michigan, featured a diverse group of       psychologize - as a Christian believer. He has
             fantastically talented scholars and leaders, all of   published  on  some  of  the  historical,  philo-
             whom chimed in on the topic. One of the big          sophical, and theological dimensions of this
             takeaways for me is that the word “transdisci-       struggle. He lives in Brantford, Ontario with
             plinary” is less important than the idea. What       his wife and three children. Current favorite
             we’re after is scholarship that is deeply rooted     pastime: playing Wiffle ball in the back yard
             in Christian faith, Christian theology, and Chri-    with the kids (where faith and life usually joy-
             stian  philosophy,  all  shaped  by  the  “norming   fully connect without effort).
             norm,” i.e., the Holy Scriptures - a scholarship
             where  biblically-normed  Christian  theology
             and philosophy are, as one speaker put it, “in
             the driver’s seat,” and all of this nurtured by the   as contemporary psychological science is - and
             church. These are the roots and the soil of Chri-  it is tremendously exciting - many of us long for
             stian psychology--if we imagine Christian psy-    something more whole, more deeply integrated
             chology as a tree, it will flow organically out of   than  just  modern  psychology  baptized  with
             this soil and these roots.                        Scripture.  Eric  Johnson’s  notion  of  “maximal
                                                               integration” gets at this aspect of transdiscipli-
             One of the major convictions of the Christian     narity.
             psychology  movement,  however,  is  that  Chri-
             stians in psychology have lost touch with their   So  again,  the  notion  of  transdisciplinarity  re-
             own  indigenous  psychology.  Or,  perhaps,  if   cognizes that if psychological thought is to be
             they’ve not lost touch with their own psycholo-   distinctively Christian - and distinctive Christi-
             gy, they’ve compartmentalized it into a sort of   an scholarship is what the Christian psychology
             Sunday morning psychology. Those of us who        movement is all about - we need to be rooted in
             teach  in  psychology  departments  at  Christian   our own theology and philosophy. What I mean
             universities, for example, often end up teaching   is this: theological and philosophical assumpti-
             modern psychologies, then add a dash of “Chri-    ons pervade all scholarship (although they are
             stian perspective” to season the soup. That’s not   often implicit or invisible). We need to be aware
             a  very  satisfying  approach,  in  my  experience.   of the assumptions that are in play as we psy-
             My students and colleagues often tell me - in     chologize, and we need to take pains to ensure
             various ways - that they sense this. As exciting   that our theological and philosophical assump-

   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20