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Desperately Seeking Someone: Attachment Theory and the Danger of Speaking God’s Name.

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This paper is a praxis-driven theological reflection upon Attachment Theory and Religious Faith, specifically questioning the extent to which disruption of the attachment system during adolescence influences how the name of God might be heard. Attachment theory is presented using a story alongside an explanation of the work of Simone de Roos and Lee Kirkpatrick. Following an analysis of their findings, it is suggested that Attachment theory is a development of Feuerbach’s projection critique of Christian faith within psycho-social discourse. Three theological reflections upon this analysis are presented and reviewed: a literalist perspective, a pure-narrative theological reflection, and a third approach, built on the work of Sallie McFague, which emphasises the reciprocal nature of the Christian names of God. This paper proposes that praxis operating in the mode of the first two reflections may encourage either a superstitious invoking of God’s name, or an idealisation of the church as community. The aim of the final theological reflection is to inform a ministry that encourages sharing in God’s names as a redemptive resource for a Christian understanding of self-formation.


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