25/03/2007

Putting away childish things (by David Seamands)

This is an excellent book by David Seamands, slightly soured as I write this entry by the discovery, on trying to find a web-site about him, that he admitted (in his eighties) to an adulterous relationship over many years. A reminder, I suppose, that we're all prone to failure, and I have no wish to judge him. The problem is that this book, 'Putting away childish things', is about getting rid of old behaviour, developing more mature attitudes, taking the mind of Christ and resisting temptation, and its date of writing (1982) was apparently when he was still involved with this other woman.

I've also found sites claiming that what Seamands suggests in this book is dubious, even occultic. So while I would have wholeheartedly recommended it until a few minutes ago, I now have serious reservations. Nonetheless, I thought it an excellent book: he takes the theme of putting aside our childish emotions that make us prone to extreme anger, sulking, resentment and the like. He suggests that when we over-react to something in adult life, it may well be as a result of some false message we heard as a child - and which needs to be healed by the Holy Spirit. This seems entirely reasonable to me, and fits with what I've sometimes observed. It also fits with popular psychology (but then some fundamentalist Christians believe that to be occultic too - I disagree).

The book looks at what it means to have a hidden child within, at some of the 'mottoes' people carry around from their childhood, that cause them damage, at childish ideas of God and prayer, and childish concepts of the self. Then it suggests ways of surrendering these to the cleansing power of God, and moving forward to healing and wholeness.

I cannot see how these ideas could be harmful; on the other hand, given that David Seamonds apparently didn't follow his own principles, I'm not as enthusiastic about it as I was when I finished the book this morning.

Out of print in both US and UK, but often available second-hand.

1 comment:

Hymn said...

You know, I dont mean to be rude, but I really dont think you should have written about what you found out on the internet. Even if it says that he said it, if its on the internet, it could mean anything. It amazes me how you read his book, you realize how much wisdom he has, but you would believe the internet over a man like him. I really dont understand you. Yes, this book is increadible.