______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

The Wisdom of Psychopaths February 25, 2014


The Wisdom of Psychopaths:
What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success
– Kevin Dutton

A totally fascinating read.
An amazing ride through the human psyche.

When most of us think of psychopaths we think of killers, like Bundy and Dahmer.  We think of the violent and/or seemingly emotionless men (and women) who’ve committed unthinkable atrocities.
But, according to this book, the majority of psychopaths are of the non-violent, “functional” variety, and they occupy our boardrooms, police departments, government leadership and our pulpits.

There’s tons of clinical data here, but it’s couched in interesting stories of real people, and the experiences of our author.  At one point, with the use of Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Mr. Dutton actually experiences being a psychopath.  Fortunately, this is a temporary state!
We look at various diagnostics used to determine the presence of psychopathy.
We discuss moral dilemmas.  We ponder the reality of being “guilty but not to blame.”  We examine “evidence that society is becoming more psychopathic.”  We explore the “‘Primary colors’ of personality” and traits that are, shall we say, high-scorers among psychopaths.

There are lots of interviews with professionals in the field, as well as with bonafide psychopaths.
CEOs, presidents, soldiers, Tibetan Monks; they’re all here.
For me, some of the more striking information was the overlap of characteristics shared by psychopathy and spirituality.
There’s an intriguing section presenting credible evidence that Saint Paul (Apostle Paul / Saul of Tarsus / That dude who wrote a lot of the New Testament) was, in fact, clinically a psychopath.

Being a person of faith, this whole book brings to mind the scripture statement that we are made so “wonderfully complex” (Ps. 139:14 LB). The “wiring.” The chemistry. The whole nature/nurture business. That so much of who we are boils down what switches happen to be thrown I find captivating.
There are, of course, professionals who disagree with Kevin’s basic premise (that psychopathy in moderation can be a good thing). For example, there’s Martha Stout, Ph.D.
She’s certainly not the only one. Obviously, we should always read various viewpoints of any subject matter.
Still, if you’re a psychologist, counselor, pastoral care worker, or just someone interested in the inner workings of the amazing mass we call the brain, this Kevin Dutton book could be an interesting part of your library.

– df

Buy the book. Click HERE.


– Psychopathy and sainthood share secret neural office space.
– Saul of Tarsus…could today, under the dictates of the Geneva Convention, have been indicted on charges of genocide.
– Psychopaths never procrastinate.
– Is it possible…that the saint and the psychopath somehow constitute two transcendental sides of the same existentialist coin?
– Not all psychopaths are behind bars. The majority, it emerges, are out there in the workplace.
– There will always be a need for risk takers in society, as there will for rule-breakers and heartbreakers.
– In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the experts mind there are few.

Buy the book. Click HERE.

List of the most psychopathic professions:
  1. CEO
  2. Lawyer
  3. Media (TV/Radio)
  4. Salesperson
  5. Surgeon
  6. Journalist
  7. Police Officer
  8. Clergyperson
  9. Chef
10. Civil Servant

The book also includes a list of least psychopathic professions.

Buy the book. Click HERE.


Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story July 5, 2012

Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story
– Tom Gale

In this work of fact-based fiction, we explore the issue of sexual abuse.  We delve into repressed memories, relationships, and brokenness.
But, mainly, we examine the heart; how to connect with our “hidden” parts and truly love ourselves.  And, of course, to know more deeply the wonder that is the Love of God.

In addition to Mary, we meet many interesting characters along the way.  We see how dealing with our own issues can affect those around us.

The chapters “Where The Hell Is God,” and “Do I Have To Forgive The Jerk” were a couple of my favorites.
We also look briefly at what “church” is, and what it isn’t, and we see how literalizing some teachings, like those on divorce, can cause great harm and work against what God would really want for His children.

This isn’t just Mary’s story.  It is the story of thousands of women (and men).
This edition of the “Journeys of the Heart” series could be a significant step towards wholeness for someone who has suffered sexual abuse.
It is also a resource for those called to help by walking alongside those who have suffered in this way.

Here’s a little of what others are saying about it:

– Mary’s Story is engaging. It draws the reader into a very personal story in a way that is not offensive yet does not skirt reality and the hard truths. It tells a story that needs to be told. This book is a wake up call to a church that marginalizes the broken.
Sandie BrockCincinnati, OH

– My honest thoughts and feelings were that I really wanted to keep reading to see what happened next, to see how Papa was going to work.  The journey is really, really, about the heart. Everything else is just, well, just everything else.
Doug from Wisconsin

– This book takes a look at the depth of evil that exists in the world but then focuses more on the immense power of love that can heal even the worst wounds.
MaryAnne from Illinois

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.

– None of us have been left unscathed by the brokenness of our world and unique experiences.  I recommend this book to any and all who desire to hear or have already sensed the desperate cries of their own heart wanting recognition, love and acceptance.
Jan from Virginia

– The gentle, relational descriptions of the healing process even spoke to traumatized places in my own heart.
I thank God for revealing a remedy for our brokenness which is all at once; simplistic, effective and respectful.

Matthew Bradley, North Carolina

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.


The Doctor, Jesus, & Me August 4, 2010

There are some things I really don’t like about myself.
One of those things is the time I waste on worry.
I worry a lot. Yes, yes, I know, “Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything…” (Philippians 4:6)
I’m 55, and still learning that lesson.

One thing I worry about a lot is heated disagreements that might happen. These are often work related. Sometimes not.

Many times I’ve taken a 2 minute possible argument, and played it over and over in my mind. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes all night in bed. More often than not, these future confrontations never happen. Hey, at least I’m prepared…right?

Anyway, that’s one of the things I don’t like about myself. There are others. But (and this was quite a step forward for me) I realized a number of years ago that there are some things I do like about myself. I won’t list them here. I’ve found they are far too numerous to mention. I am, after all, pretty cool. 🙂

The point here is not what I specifically like about myself. The point is, well…

Back when my wife and I decided to get marriage counseling, and I needed personal counseling, we connected with the Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Sass. I don’t know how often this happens, but the counselor, and the counselees, became friends, and, on occasion, socialize together.
Now, the good Doctor and I, though friends, disagree often. That’s OK. I have enough grace to allow him to be wrong. Yes, very big of me, I know.

Some of his advice and teachings have long left my memory. Some I remember, and no longer, personally, find applicable. Some I may now disagree with. However, meeting with this man, and receiving his counsel, was truly a life-changing experience. It was, in many ways, the start of a new journey which has led me to where I am today. (Dr. Sass may or may not wish to take any credit for that.)

His insights and teachings were often theological, and simultaneously psychological. Some were very “deep.” Oddly, (or maybe not), one of the things that impacted me the most, seems now rather simple.
He usually gave “assignments” to be completed between each session. Early on, after a lengthy discussion, he gave me the following:

“This week, I want you to simply enjoy being you.”

I really can’t express the extent of the impact that had on me.

Growing up, we all get a lot of input that shapes how we see ourselves. Much of that input, for many of us, is negative. All too often, we start believing it. All too often, we give the same negative input to others. In a world of “Compare, Compete, and Control,” it is quite necessary to make sure others know that they are “no better than we are.” (Of course, religion and legalizm help us kick it up a notch, to where We are indeed, better than they are!)

Ultimately, “they” are no better than us, and we, no better than they. When this truth is released from the shackles of self-preservation, it can bring freedom instead of bondage. We can quit the whole “compare/compete/control” business, and start to love others without an agenda. Without a need to “change” them. Without a need to convert them. Without, dare I say, a need to “evangelize” them. We are now free to express the love of Jesus to them. We are, also, finally….Finally free…to love ourselves; to accept ourselves, as they say, “warts and all.”

This doesn’t mean we don’t change. Change is inherent with growth. (This includes [big revelation] our changing view and understanding of God.)
But, it is not our job to change each other. It’s our job to love each other. Jesus taught us to love others as ourselves. (Mk. 12:31, Mat. 19:19) This is why learning to be ourselves, and to be OK with that, even with our “shortcomings,” is an essential part of life. It is an essential part of living in grace.

As I said earlier, Mr. Sass and I may disagree. We may disagree now more than we used to. But too many people are ALL about what they disagree on. I think, just maybe, we should focus a little more on what we DO agree on.

So, in light of all the above, I have an assignment for you.
“This week, I want you to simply enjoy being you.”

And to Tom: “Thank you, and God bless you.”

— df


Why Nudity Is The Point June 6, 2009

[In Genesis] Moses concluded his description of paradise by saying Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed.  I hate being naked.  Here’s the thing about being naked:  When you’re naked, all you’re thinking about is the fact you’re naked.

Moses said they were naked and weren’t ashamed.  Moses repeated this idea five times.  In just one hundred words used to describe Paradise and the Fall, the main thing he said, again and again, was that they were naked.  And if Moses said it five times then you would think, when we consider the Garden of Eden and the fall of man, the first thing we would think of what that this was when we started wearing clothes.  The very first thing that happened after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that they noticed they were naked.

Moses was explaining all of humanity, right there in Geneses chapter 3.

Here is what I think Moses was saying:  Man is wired so he gets his glory (his security, his understanding of value, his feeling of purpose, his feeling of rightness with his Maker, his security for eternity) from God, and this relationship is so strong, and God’s love is so pure, that Adam and Eve felt no insecurity at all, so much so that they walked around naked and didn’t even realize they were naked.  But when that relationship was broken, they knew it instantly.  All of their glory, the glory that came from God, was gone.  [Now] man would be pining for other people to tell him that he was good, right, okay with the world.

We all compare ourselves to others, and none of our emotions – like jealousy and envy and lust – could exist unless man was wired so that somebody else told him who he was, and that somebody else was gone.  Moses, in chapters 3 and 3 of Genesis, has presented a personality theory more comprehensive that the writings of Freud, Maslow, Frankl, and Skinner combined.  Ad he did it in only a hundred words.

 From “Searching For God Knows What” by Donald Miller


%d bloggers like this: