Psychology of Christian Character Formation offers clergy and those preparing for ministry some of the potential riches provided by rapidly developing branches of contemporary scientific psychology of which they might otherwise be unaware. Joanna Collicutt, an experienced psychologist and theological educator, focuses on the psychology of character, virtue and spirituality.
Furthermore, the psychology is not used to support training in pastoral ministry to others, but rather to support the reader's own self-awareness and spiritual growth. Collicutt understands Christian formation as Christian communities and their members growing up into conformity with the character of Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit.
This is explored in the three parts of the book: first, an exploration of the process of Christian formation that includes a detailed analysis of the character of Jesus of Nazareth; secondly some focused psychology aimed at supporting an informed self-awareness in the reader; finally - and the most lengthy section - a series of chapters devoted to using psychological insights to help cultivate the Christ-like characteristics identified in the first section.
This is a timely book. The challenge of how radical Christian disciples are made and formed is one of the most crucial ones facing the church today. Joanna Collicutt is an excellent guide to the ways in which psychology can inform the process of the development of Christian character. This book promises to make a significant contribution in this vital area. -- Graham Tomlin, St Mellitus College, London
'At long last, we have a stellar book about the spiritual, personal and theological formation of individuals. Joanna Collicutt is uniquely well-placed to write this prescient and pastoral volume, coming to the subject as she does with all her wisdom as a pastor, priest and psychologist of religion. The result is an outstanding meditation which combines sagacity, insight and practical thinking with spirituality and ministry. In a church increasingly dominated by functionalist approaches to ministerial education and training, Collicutt’s book offers a brilliant and fresh way of thinking about our spiritual formation, which helps us to understand and appreciate those values and virtues that shape and form our character as Christians. This is one of the very best books to be written on formation and character – and it deserves to be widely read and studied.' -- Martyn Percy, Dean, Christ Church, Oxford
'In this book Joanna Collicutt has done us all a great service. She builds a bridge between the worlds of faith and psychology with compassion, elegance and wisdom. Somehow she manages to summarise the incredible complexity of her subject matter in deceptively simple writing- and make it look so easy. Read carefully this book will deepen our spirits and sharpen our minds. A delight to read.' -- Dr Roger Bretherton, Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln
'This is a most welcome book for those who want to grow in Christlike character and help others to do so. In an in-depth conversation between psychology and Christian theology, Collicutt draws deeply from Scripture and Christian writings, as well as from the findings of empirical psychological research. The book offers fascinating and helpful insights from the interaction between psychology and faith without compromising the radical nature of Christian formation. This is an uplifting and absorbing read and an essential companion for those responsible for the formation of others in churches and theological training institutions.'-- Eeva John, Director of Pastoral Studies, Westcott House, Cambridge