By Andrew J. Bauman (NavPress)
Stumbling Toward Wholeness begins auspiciously with a foreword by Dan Allender, an expert in the spiritual and emotional brokenness caused by abuse, particularly sexual abuse.
Bauman interprets the Parable of the Prodigal Son from a psychological perspective, seeing in the three main characters three modes in which a person relates to himself or herself and the world. At first, this approach seems strange, but kept in perspective—meaning not read as theology—Bauman’s application of the parable to psychology holds some promise.
The Son Realm, which is related to the prodigal son, is the center of affection, pleasure and shame. While in this mode, a person dives into the pursuit of gratification only to come face-to-face with shame and self-contempt.
On the other side, people in the Brother Realm struggle with self-righteousness and contempt of others, fighting a deep insecurity issuing from the sense that their goodness is not good enough.
Healing seems to come in the Father Realm, where a person comes to grips with the risk of loving others. This is the realm where the reader must remember Bauman is a psychologist and not a theologian, especially when he suggests the father fears rejection and that healing is found in relinquishing control, ideas generally not attributed to God.
Bauman includes incisive questions at the end of each chapter, questions well-suited for one-on-one therapeutic work with a professional counselor.
Eric Black, executive director/editor/publisher