From Publishers Weekly
Jones's newest offering is a paradox: a theoretical book about the benefits of religious practice, particularly those practices that promote a mystical encounter with God. Clinical psychologist, religion professor and author of 10 books, Jones draws on his two disciplines, religion and psychology, to argue that the practice of faith, not the content of one's beliefs, is what makes for a faith-filled life. The practices of prayer, meditation, worship and other disciplines are also the tools for personal transformation-what Jones calls the development of "spiritual selfhood"-and healthier, saner living. But he emphasizes that the awareness of and relationship to God that religious faith promotes must be the end sought, not better health or some other extrinsic purpose. Jones's comparative religions background produces an interesting chapter comparing Jesus Christ as "Anointed One" and Buddha as "Awakened One," two different paths taken and taught in response to human suffering. He also unpacks nuances in tracing the development over time of the Buddhist teaching of emptiness and its relationship to the logos (Word) of the Christian Gospel of John .... Reports growing, empirically based understanding of the relationship between religion and health. Jones's dogged insistence that faith is nothing without patient, persistent practice is ultimately modest and a welcome report from the fields of religious, and clinical, practice.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The road to physical, spiritual, and psychological health may be paved with such practices as meditation, prayer, and attendance at Sunday services... Discipline, says Episcopal priest and psychologist Jones, is what brings people into contact with their primal experiences, contact that, in turn, contributes to overall good health. He notes studies finding that religious practice for its own sake is associated with lower levels of psychological distress and reductions in anxiety and depression. He knows whereof he speaks, since he often addresses in his clinical practice issues that once fell within the purview of priests and rabbis. Emphasizing that spirituality is one way people define themselves, Jones uniquely blends his experience as clinical psychologist, Christian clergyman, and student of Buddhism to compellingly affirm the interdependence of mind, body, and spirit. Donna Chavez
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