This week on the text.soul.culture podcast, co-host Dr. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics, is joined by Dr. Curt Thompson, psychiatrist, founder of Being Known, and author of The Soul of Shame and The Anatomy of the Soul. Curt is coming to The Seattle School April 20-21 for an evening lecture and all-day workshop about resilience and interpersonal neurobiology. Here, he shares with Derek some of what he’s learning about the science behind resilience, and about what that reflects of the nature of God.
Curt: “No science ever exists independently, apart from being understood through a particular anthropology. When we understand the data that we discover through a lens of Christian anthropology, we come to recognize that the science itself is pointing to this inseparability of our spirituality and our biology.”
Curt shares about his path to psychiatry, about being in medical school and becoming passionate about exploring the nature of suffering and the human response to it. He had already been asking big questions—Why do we do what we do? Why is it so difficult to change? What has that got to do with the Gospel?—and bringing his spirituality to the field of psychiatry gave him room to wrestle with these questions in deep and meaningful ways. Now, with the growing body of insight from the field of neuroscience, Derek and Curt reflect on how that might energize our understanding of God and give us new language for what God has been up to all along.
Curt: “In this particular time and space, neuroscience is one of the ways that God is not leaving Himself without a witness.”
As Curt shares what he is learning about resilience, the conversation touches on education, parenting, and more. It’s clear that these insights into how we respond to suffering and how we foster resilience in relationship have a great deal to teach us about who we are, who God is, and how the world around us reveals the nature of both. It’s also clear that these are big ideas with significant implications, so we hope you’ll join us April 20-21 as we welcome Curt Thompson back to The Seattle School to continue this conversation.
Curt: “We have put thousands and thousands of people in fMRI scans to give us a sense of what a normal brain looks like under unstressed circumstances. But what if we got this wrong? What if a normal brain is a brain that is connected to another brain? What if that is actually the most resilient brain? […] It takes us right back to the Genesis account of creation.”
Resources to Go Deeper
- The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson
- Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships by Curt Thompson
- Foolishness to the Greeks by Lesslie Newbigin
About the Host
Dr. Derek McNeil is the Senior Vice President of Academics at The Seattle School. He has a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his research, writing, and speaking have focused on issues of ethnic and racial socialization, the role of forgiveness in peacemaking, the identity development of African-American males, and marital intimacy. Learn more about Derek here.