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Record Type: Review   ID: 136

Recalling Our Own Stories: Spiritual Renewal for Religious Caregivers

Wimberly, Edward P.

 The author is a Methodist minister whose doctoral and life research has been pastoral counseling. This book is aimed at helping pastoral counselors reconnect with their calling through their own myths and stories. He begins, as I have asked parapsychologists to do, by asking the counselors to connect with their original call, because it often serves as the beginning of spiritual renewal. Wimberly uses mythology in a somewhat nontraditional way as "the beliefs and convictions that people have about themselves, their relationships with others, their roles in life, and their ministry" (p. 4). He uses Van Kaam’s "project of existence" as the overarching frame that gives meaning to one’s life—"a kind of road map in fulfilling our call" (p. 4). Our narrative or story supports our project, but there can be submyths that detract from the call. He recommends going on a retreat because they provide a liminal space can be helpful in allowing the call to resurface. This can result in "new meaning, a new world, a new self, and a new future." A sense of calling is an EHE, and what works for one type of EHE usually works for others, so in this sense although this book concentrates on one type of EHE, it is relevant to all types. His instructions call for examining one’s myths, recognizing those that empower and those that are dysfunctional. In the same way, we suggest that experiencers examine the different narratives that could fit their exceptional experiences, from those that are most life-potentiating to those that are depotentiating. Wimberly’s approach is to recognize one’s myths in order to reauthor them so they are aligned with one’s call. Some of the myths he commonly encounters are the myths of rejection, powerlessness, the loner, the good girl, invulnerability, sole responsibility, the savior, and aloofness. A number of exercises are provided. There are similar chapters on Marital and Family myths and ministry myths. The fifth chapter is on "reauthoring the myths that bind us," which begins with 6 significant assumptions that underlie the reauthoring process. The last half of the book consists of cases studies indicating how people were renewed through following Wimberly’s techniques. The final chapter provides insights concerning what to expect from and how to go about working with reauthoring our myths.
Publisher Information:San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1997. Pp. xv-156. Bibl: 143-146; Ind: 147-156
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