Christ In Winter: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
[Repeated intro]I have been thinking about the “hinge” books in my life, those books that open a door in a unique way. There are hinge occasions that are not books, of course—people, events, places, movies. Books have a special niche of hinge importance, though--especially to people of my generation, who did not have access to more modern forms of input when we were in our hinge years--because they take time. If a book has hinge importance, you don’t just glimpse it, you ingest it. And you may go back to it time and again. The whole list of my hinge books is at the bottom. That is too long a list to explore at one time, so I’m going to do only one book per column.
Today’s hinge book is… IDENTITY AND THE LIFE CYCLE by Erik H. Erkison
The first book by Erikson that I read was Young Man Luther, which Prof. Carroll Wise had us read in our pastoral psychology/counseling course at Garrett Theological Seminary. From there we went on to Erikson’s 8 stages of psycho-social adjustment.
I have used those stages to understand what is happening to me, and to almost everybody else, just about every day for the last 60 years. I am especially fond, of course, of the 8th stage, because it has provided the title for a novel I am writing, and also given me an excuse to spend endless hours in fun memories. Here they are, in short form, the primary task for each age stage…
Trust vs Mistrust-birth to maybe two years
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt-two to four
Initiative vs Guilt-three to five
Industry vs Inferiority [tools, broadly understood]-six to twelve
Identity vs Identity Diffusion-thirteen to nineteen
Intimacy vs Isolation-twenty to forty
Generativity vs Stagnation-forty to sixty
Final Integrity vs Despair-sixty to whenever
Erikson and others have tweaked these along the way, but they remain an excellent analysis of what we have to accomplish at each stage for maximum wholeness as human beings. It has been immensely useful to me as a pastor, especially as a pastoral counselor to children and young people.
TRAMP, THE SHEEP DOG by Don Lang, pictures by Kurt Wiese. 9-10-18
THE PREACHER AND HIS AUDIENCE, By Webb Garrison 9-11-18
JESUS OF NAZARETH by Gunther Bornkamm. 9-12-18
MAN’S NEED AND GOD’S ACTION by Reuel Howe 9-13-18
IDENTITY & THE LIFE CYCLE by Erik H. Erikson 9-18-18
THE IMMENSE JOURNEY by Loren Eiseley
GUILT, ANGER, AND GOD by C. Fitzsimmons Allison
PROFESSION: MINISTER by James Glasse
LOVE, MEDICINE, AND MIRACLES by Bernie Siegel
JESUS, A NEW VISION by Marcus Borg
BIOGRAPHY AS THEOLOGY by Wm. McCutcheon
My novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans, who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, will never be on anybody’s hinge list, but, for a limited time, it’s only 99 cents, so what have you got to lose? It’s published by Black Opal Books and is available from the publisher as well as the usual suspects--Barnes and Noble, Amazon, BOKU, Powell’s, Books on First, etc.