A meme provides an automatic belief regarding what’s important, an unspoken understanding of whom to trust or whom to distrust and fear, a view of what you can expect out of your life. During most of our lives, we are imbedded in some meme and live according to the ways of that meme without being aware of it. In The Memes of My Life, author Duane R. Miller uses the concept of memes and integral thought to explain what he’s discovered about his life.
In this memoir, Miller shares his life story against the backdrop of memes, from growing up on a farm in Ohio; to attending college and the seminary; going to graduate school; being involved with campus ministry; working as a minister in urban, suburban, and rural churches; and living in retirement.
In The Memes of My Life, he tells how the understanding of memes has helped him understand his history and why he thought, acted, or valued the way he did. It has also helped him realize why others acted the way they did and why he was successful working with some and ineffective in relating to others. He shows how understanding memes has allowed him to find joy and peace in his soul.
Robert Bolton (STH ’60, STH ’69) published People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others and Resolve Conflicts in 1979 and it was featured in Tom Butler-Bowdon’s 50 Psychology Classics along with chapters on Freud, Adler, Jung, Karen Horney, Anna Freud, Eric Berne, Erik Erikson, Victor Frankl, William James, Abraham Maslow, Pavolv, Piaget, Carl Rogers, B. F. Skinner, and 36 others.
People Skills is a communication-skills handbook that can help you eliminate these and other communication problems. Author Robert Bolton describes the twelve most common communication barriers, showing how these “roadblocks” damage relationships by increasing defensiveness, aggressiveness, or dependency. He explains how to acquire the ability to listen, assert yourself, resolve conflicts, and work out problems with others.
Among other books Bolton has written are Social Style/Management Style: Developing Productive Work Relationships with Dorothy Grover Bolton. It has more than 200,000 copies in print. In January 2016 the book What Great Trainers Do: The Ultimate Guide to Delivering Engaging and Effective Training was published. Another book is scheduled for 2018.
Beneath the commonplace affirmation that Jesus “paid for our sins” lie depths of implication: Did God demand a blood sacrifice to assuage divine anger? Is sacrifice (consciously or unconsciously) intended to induce the deity to show favor? What underlies the various metaphors for atonement used in the Bible?
Here, Stephen Finlan surveys psychological theories that help us to understand beliefs about sacrifice and atonement and what they may reveal about patterns of injury, guilt, shame, and appeasement. Early chapters examine the language in both testaments of purity and the “scapegoat,” and of payment, obligation, reciprocity, and redemption. Later chapters review theories of the origins of atonement thinking in fear and traumatic childhood experience, in ambivalent or avoidant attachment to the parents, and in “poisonous pedagogy.” The theories of Sandor Rado, Mary Ainsworth, Erik Erikson, and Alice Miller are examined, then Finlan draws conclusions about the moral responsibility of appropriating or rejecting atonement metaphors. His arguments bear careful consideration by all who live with these metaphors and their effects today.
Tex Sample (STH ’60, GRS ’64) published his thirteenth book this April, 2016, entitled A Christian Justice for the Common Good, Abingdon Press. Sample is the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology. This spring he also received the Invictus Award for Social Justice at the Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration in Liberty, Missouri. Active in broad-based organizing for the past sixteen years, the Samples live in Kansas City, Missouri.
What is music during the worship service supposed to do? Dr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson proposes that there are several roles for music in worship and that these roles are manifested in various worshiping traditions. In this book, she hopes to give readers a renewed respect for their own traditions, but also a new-found understanding of the different genres of music sung by Christians today, each with its own function and charm.
This book will be of interest and of use to all who plan and lead worship, but also to those who go to church and wonder why music and worship look one way at one congregation, and differently elsewhere. You can purchase the book on Amazon.
Lori (Godich) Bievenour (STH ’03) & Torrey Bievenour welcomed their daughter, Tess Laiken Bievenour, to the world on January 9th, 2016. Lori serves as Senior Pastor of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Carmel, Indiana.
Dr. Richard Hughes, M. B. Rich professor of religion at Lycoming College, published a revised version of his book, “Return of the Ancestor,” (Sao Paulo: E Realizacoes, 2015) in Portuguese to further psychology studies in Brazil. The original book, published in 1992, earned a Swiss book award in 1993.
The book presents the life and work of Leopold Szondi (1893 1986), a Hungarian-Swiss psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who produced a large system of psychiatry despite conditions of persecution and exile. His theories consist of genetics, psychopathology, transpersonal ego psychology, therapy, and a theory of religion based upon the biblical figures of Cain and Moses. He and his family were ransomed from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and released to Switzerland where he remained for the rest of his life.
Hughes has written a number of books and essays about Szondi’s largely untranslated work, which has earned him awards from the Louisville Institute, which is an agency of the Lilly Endowment that gives grants to theologians, and the Szondi Foundation of Switzerland. Hughes has written and taught in the fields of theology, biblical studies, depth psychology, ethics, law, comparative religions and existential studies. An ordained United Methodist minister, Hughes has served churches in four states and has worked in prison ministry and hospital chaplaincy. He is a member of CHILD, Inc., an organization devoted to the equal rights of children under the law.
BU Today interviews Cheryl Boots (GRS’94’00, STH’14), senior lecturer of humanities at the Boston University College of General Studies, for an article entitled, “Fighting Segregation with Song.” Professor Boots studies the inspirational effect of freedom songs on the civil rights movement. She interviews veterans of the movement about these influences and the songs’ relevance during extremely challenging times. Professor Boots notes her experience studying the influence of music during the slavery era, highlighting some overlap between the messages in songs during civil rights movement, including “ideas about developing community, arguing for individual humanity and equality.” When asked about the present significance of these stories, Professor Boots says:
“There’s a lot of evidence…that in the United States, race continues to be an issue, a question, a debate, and a place where there is great disagreement and, I would say, fear and misunderstanding.
The way music functioned during the civil rights movement can’t necessarily be replicated today, but by having an understanding of it, we might be able to better understand what’s happening today.”
Professor Boots suggests that singing as a way to “promote openness” happens in places missed by news coverage but still has similar tones and purposes to those of the civil rights movement. Professor Boots shares insights about the findings in her book currently titled, Sing When the Spirit Says Sing. The research Professor Boots discusses illustrates the complex nature of the civil rights movement and its portrayal through song. Read more at BU Today.
ISTANBUL – Professor Vasilios Stavridis (BU STH ’51) fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, February 19, 2016.
On Sunday, February 21, 2016, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the First Throne of Orthodox Christianity, together with its historic community of the Queen of Cities, formerly known as Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), bid its last farewell to the renowned theologian and professor Archon Vasilios Stavridis. Born in the Galata neighborhood of Istanbul on December 28, 1925, Professor Stavridis attended the Greek minority schools in Bafaiochorion and Fener. Upon graduating high school from the Great School of the Nation, he enrolled in the Bachelor of Divinity program at the Theological School of Halki and graduated with high honors in 1947.
At the encouragement of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras (+1972), Professor Stavridis travelled to the United States in order to pursue graduate studies. He graduated from the Andover Newton Theological School in 1949 with a Master of Sacred Theology degree, for which he submitted a dissertation entitled “The Ethics of Clement of Alexandria.” In 1951, Professor Stavridis successfully defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Theological Education in the Alexandrian School” at Boston University’s School of Theology. Having completed his studies, he returned to his homeland equipped with great knowledge and experience from these esteemed American institutions of higher education in order to teach at his dearly beloved alma mater, the Halki Theological School, to which he dedicated his entire life and even livelihood. During his tenure there, Professor Stavridis taught Church History courses on the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, Western Christianity and the Ecumenical Movement. On occasion, he was even asked to teach the course entitled Introduction and Exegesis of the Old and New Testament. Professor Stavridis visited and taught, of course, at other universities and theological schools as well, especially when then Halki Theological School was forcibly closed by Turkish Authorities in 1971, such as the University of Balamand in Lebanon from as early as 1975, Aristotle University in Thessaloniki from 1985, and St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College from 1991.
His academic publications number around nine hundred and appear in five languages – Greek, English, French, German and Italian – all of which are mostly center upon topics concerning Church History. During his academic career, Professor Stavridis was awarded many honors. In addition, he served on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Synodal Committees and attended a vast number of significant inter-Christian conferences and dialogues as an official representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the World Council of Churches. In 1992, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a former student of Professor Stavridis, bestowed upon him the historic ecclesiastical distinction “Archon Teacher of the Gospel,” an honor reserved only for the most exceptional laymen.
Professor Stavridis, in all that he did throughout his entire career, remained faithful to the Gospel and to the building up of the Body of Christ. Aside from his prominent achievements and standing, which are of no comparison to the height of his Christian mode of life, this distinguished Archon was especially revered for his ecclesiastical ethos, morality, ethical standing, deep faith, commitment to the spiritual and educational prosperity of his native Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul as well as to its historic and martyric presence and witness of many millenniums. Above all, he was an inspiration to many scholars, clergy and laity, above reproach, and an exceptional adherent of the Christian tradition in his personal life, thus becoming a genuine preacher of the Gospel by his own example.
Indeed, Professor Stavridis truly demonstrated on every level the ecclesiastical title of Archon granted to him decades ago. Both he and his predeceased wife, the late Professor Julia (Zafiriadou) Stavridis, are survived by their children Helen and Thomas, as well as their grandchild Nicholas. It is our fervent prayer that the Lord of life and death grant Professor Stavridis eternal rest with the righteous. May his life of service, commitment, and faith in the Gospel, despite all odds, inspire and empower those of us who wish to take up our cross and follow Him. Eternal be his memory.
Written by The V. Rev. Dn. Nephon Tsimalis (STH ’08)
Mark Harvey (STH ’71, GRS ’83) has written a chapter on the jazz ministry at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City. The chapter is part of a volume entitled Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan: Saint Peter’s Church and the Louise Nevelson Chapel edited by Aaron Rosen, Ashgate Publishing, 2016. A range of scholars explore the art and architecture of this celebrated New York landmark as well as contemporary issues in religion and the arts.
Harvey’s chapter traces the development of the jazz ministry at the church which hosts weekly Jazz Vespers, has held funerals and memorials for musicians such as John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn, and thousands more, and has served as spiritual resource for the jazz community for a half-century. This work was begun by Pastor John Garcia Gensel, a friend and confidant of Duke Ellington who figures prominently in this history.