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An Introduction to Pastoral Care [Paperback]

By Charles V. Gerkin (Author)
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Item description for An Introduction to Pastoral Care by Charles V. Gerkin...

With 50 years of experience in the field of Christian counseling, Gerkin is eminently qualified to pen this introductory text on the art and science of pastoral care. With his emphasis on striking a balance between faith, culture, community, and individual well-being, Gerkin moves beyond conventional psychotherapeutic models. A memorable work and significant resource.

Publishers Description

"With generative wisdom, Gerkin moves beyond the predominance of the psychotherapeutic paradigm in pastoral care to a dynamic, interactive process which balances faith, culture, community, and individual well-being. . . . Gerkin's history of pastoral care is skillful. . . . His analysis of the current transitions in the field of care will make this book a classic."--Jeanne Stevenson Moessner, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, and the Georgia Association for Pastoral Care

"Out of the abundance of his many years as a pastoral caregiver and theologian, Gerkin introduces readers to the history, theory, and practice of pastoral care. This book represents the best of Protestant liberal pastoral theology and fills a long-standing gap. . . . The narrative-hermeneutical paradigm which Gerkin offers holds and works with many of the complexities of pastoral care in postmodern times."--Carrie Doehring, School of Theology, Boston University

"Gerkin's Introduction to Pastoral Care breaks new ground for an introductory text in its emphasis on care as 'the central metaphor of life in the Christian community.' Thus the scope is much larger than the more usual focus only on individual and family needs. He is deeply sensitive to both individual and community dimensions through his quadrilateral nexus of tradition, individuals and family, community, and cultural context."--James N. Lapsley, Princeton Theological Seminary

"The formula appears simple: take the very best of pastoral care theory and research of the past, build upon it the best of contemporary literature and practice in the pastoral arts and sciences, season it with rich experiences of a pioneer in the pastoral care, counseling, and education movement, and you have a solid bridge to the 21st century. Gerkin has proven the formula. . . . Gerkin] articulates a pastoral care for the 21st century."--Orlo C. Strunk, Jr., Pastoral Psychotherapist at The Coastal Samaritan Center, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   264
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.82 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1997
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687016746  
ISBN13  9780687016747  

Availability  132 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 02:22.
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More About Charles V. Gerkin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gerkin is professor of pastoral psychology at Candler School of Arts and Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Charles V. Gerkin was born in 1922.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Pastoral Counseling

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about An Introduction to Pastoral Care?

Difficult and disappointing...  Mar 15, 2008
I agree with several other reviewers in their analysis of this book. I think the best way to describe Gerkin's "An Introduction to Pastoral Care" is that it was dense. It is an intellectual rainforest of impressive vocabulary that requires a machete to navigate. But unlike other intellectually demanding authors (Dallas Willard comes to mind), there is no pay-off here. Once I finally hacked my way through whatever Gerkin was saying, my reaction was not "A-ha, that is a great point." My reaction was, instead, "Why didn't he just say it like this? It would have been so much clearer."

Besides being a laborious book to read, I found some of Gerkin's references to be, at best, strange. Though he was writing from a Christian perspective to a Christian audience, he often quoted from obviously secular sources who made obviously secular claims about topics like homosexuality or gender issues. There's no fault in this, but he made no mention of their somewhat curious conclusions. A simple disclaimer would have sufficed, or even an admission that he happened to agree with the secular research and thought that the traditional Christian understanding was mistaken. But it would have been helpful to me if he had somehow acknowledged that some of his points (and, to be clear, they were not usually central points) were probably misaligned from most of his readership.

Of course, this book is not a complete loss. Gerkin has decades of experience to offer to us, and he was gracious to spend some of his waning years pulling together this book. Unfortunately, much of his wisdom was lost in his cumbersome writing style. Of greatest value was his description and analysis of pastoral care needs for the aging, especially as he related his own experiences as an elderly and physically deteriorating man.

Ultimately, I was disappointed. Larry Crabb's "Connecting" offers some of the same notions of the communal basis for care within the church, but in a much more accessible way. Benner's "Strategic Pastoral Counseling" addresses the particulars of pastoral counseling in a more concise way. What this book uniquely offers is some wonderful insight in caring for the elderly, so I can recommend this book to those with an interest in that topic. Otherwise, I'd look elsewhere.
Everything old is new again  Dec 28, 2007
I came upon this book as a doctoral student -- after extensive, intensive experiences over years doing pastoral care in clinical settings. Charles Gerkin has written much about pastoral care, and in this late volume, as a professor emeritus, it is as though "all his wanderings" have brought him to where he started out, to a book that sees clearly the basics of pastoral connection and a theology that undergirds them.
An excellent place to start  Jul 13, 2006
If you are interested in learning more about what "Pastoral Care" is; how it has been practiced in the past; and how it might adapt itself to the challenges of our own time, this book is the place to begin your study. I appreciated the historical overview as well as the insightful theological rationale presented by the author. I would have given the book five stars except that in several instances the author lapses into barely muffled episodes of conservative-bashing (e.g., he criticizes the so-called "religious right" without ever calling into question the equally misguided "religious left").
Not bad, but not what I expected  Nov 2, 2005
I expected a book that would introduce me to the nuances and "how-to" of pastoral care. However, this book is more about the socio-historical context in which modern pastoral care emerged.

Like some others have mentioned, it is full of jargon, and, in my opinion, seems to be written as a magnum opus of the author. As such, it is very dense and seems to be an exercise in flexing the intellectual muscles of its author.

Don't get this book if you are looking to understand how to do pastoral care (I would recommed "Strategic Pastoral Counseling" for that).

DO get this book if you are looking for how the role and means of pastoral care have evolved over time.
A Fine Introduction  Jun 10, 2002
Charles Gerkin does an excellent job of surveying the history of pastoral care and making the field of pastoral care relevant in the present context of the parish. This is an exellent text for both the classroom and the parish, because it does address these relevant themes.

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