Carlin, “When God Talks Back: Summary and Commentary”

Carlin, Nathan. 2013. When God Talks Back: Summary and Commentary for Psychologists of Religion. Pastoral Psychology.

Abstract: This article is a review of T. M. Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. I engage the book from the perspective of psychology of religion and suggest that the book will be of interest to psychologists of religion for three reasons: (1) psychologists of religion have emphasized the importance of “context” and “culture” in recent decades, and Luhrmann, writing as an anthropologist, offers a model for how psychologists of religion or psychological anthropologists with an interest in religion might attend to context and to culture; (2) the book offers new data about an understudied group or denomination of American Christianity, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship; and (3) the book is distinctive in its analysis in that it offers a reductive yet sympathetic and adaptive interpretation of American evangelical religious experience. To the extent that pastoral theologians are interested in psychology of religion, they will find this book of interest as well. Some limitations of the book are also noted.