New Article from Dr. Joe R. Miller

SCS is pleased to announce the latest publication from Dr. Miller which may be of special interest to those in department of Behavioral Sciences. Copies can be downloaded directly from Dr. Millers site.


The problem for many troubled youths seeking help within a Christian context is that their need for meaningful connections and spiritual growth is attached to relationships with their significant others. When needs of attachment are not adequately met due to the impact of an insecure attachment working model in a relationship with God, the teen may end up leaving the faith-community seeking a new caregiver or regress into spiritual struggles, depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and other negative emotions. This paper responds to the issues associated with youth attachment behaviour towards God using a care-giving theology (i.e., pastoral juxtaposition) that draws on the ‘power of two’ through incarnational creativity and pneumatological ecclesiology. This proposed pastoral theology first supplements the work of the pastoral counsellor to create a transformative container through which young people, already within a redemptive Christian community, can grow spiritually and deepen their care-giving relationship with God. Second, pastoral juxtaposition targeting the spiritual needs of hurting youths serves to create a magnet space within the church community that models incarnational love, pastoral care, and support for young people by entering their world order to reframe their personal story of grief, abandonment, and insecurity through creative means. Finally, we theologize that pastoral juxtaposition also integrates the power of the Holy Spirit, as the ultimate caregiver in times of conflict, into each youth’s unique journey of faith and healing. Implications of this pastoral theology of juxtaposition are discussed and applied to everyday life.

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