Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality


Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality

Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality

  • Title: Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality
  • Author: RichardBeck
  • ISBN: 9781608992423
  • Page: 185
  • Format: Paperback

I desire mercy, not sacrifice Echoing Hosea, Jesus defends his embrace of the unclean in the Gospel of Matthew, seeming to privilege the prophetic call to justice over the Levitical pursuit of purity And yet, as missional faith communities are well aware, the tensions and conflicts between holiness and mercy are not so easily resolved At every turn, it seems that th I desire mercy, not sacrifice Echoing Hosea, Jesus defends his embrace of the unclean in the Gospel of Matthew, seeming to privilege the prophetic call to justice over the Levitical pursuit of purity And yet, as missional faith communities are well aware, the tensions and conflicts between holiness and mercy are not so easily resolved At every turn, it seems that the psychological pull of purity and holiness tempts the church into practices of social exclusion and a Gnostic flight from the world into a too spiritual spirituality Moreover, the psychology of purity often lures the church into what psychologists call The Macbeth Effect, the psychological trap that tempts us into believing that ritual acts of cleansing can replace moral and missional engagement Finally, time after time, wherever we see churches regulating their common life with the idiom of dirt, disgust, and defilement, we find a predictable wake of dysfunction ruined self images, social stigma, and communal conflict In an unprecedented fusion of psychological science and theological scholarship, Richard Beck describes the pernicious and largely unnoticed effects of the psychology of purity upon the life and mission of the church.

Recent Comments "Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality"

This is an extremely helpful book for understanding discussions of morality, both in politics, but more specifically in Christian religious communities. Beck's framework is Matthew 9, where Jesus asks the Pharisees, 'Go learn what this means: 'I desire mercy not sacrifice.'" Sacrifice and mercy become the two terms that Beck uses to discuss the disgust reactions and the overcoming of disgust reactions, respectively. He says, "Sacrifice—the purity impulse—marks off a zone of holiness, admitti [...]

тим, хто вважає, що мова не має над нами влади, варто придивитися, наприклад, до метафор, які структурують людське життя, – хоч би й до метафори чистоти. на перший погляд, про "чисте"/"нечисте" – це звичайні слова (як і про "відхилення", "ненормальність", "хворобу"), що просто полег [...]

I finished a book! Yay! First one since the twins were born.Unclean by Richard Beck, to me, was a psychological analysis of why we are so prone to being elite, exclusive, and inhospitable to “others.” Beck gives an academic analysis of “disgust,” a human emotion that at its heart, is meant to protect us from ingesting substances that could be physically harmful. Society conditions us, however, to feel disgust and a variety of things and people that are actually not disgusting (in the sen [...]

This book is subtitled "Reflections on Purity, Hospitality and Mortality", and it is a blend of psychological and theological analysis. Starting from a similar grounding in psychological research to Jonathan Haidt ("The Righteous Mind"), Beck probes deeper with a profound meditation on the significance of the text "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" for Jesus' ministry and for the Christian church.In brief, Beck's contention is that the psychology of disgust is active in many conscious and uncons [...]

Would you drink a bottle of wine if there was a drop of urine in it? Why do we tend to assume that a tiny amount of impurity taints a huge amount of purity? Is there a deeper meaning to this "disgust" that we experience? Where does it come from?These are some of the interesting questions Richard Beck's book touches on. Such questions would be interesting in a book that popularizes psychological research on disgust. Perhaps that could be the idea for Malcolm Gladwell's next book! But it is not Be [...]

A great challenge of a book. I was given this book by my pastor, who knew my love of psychology and living the Christian life. The author explores the ideas of purity, hospitality and mortality within the life of the church, society and the individual. I feel challenged to examine my own life and the way I treat people, not just within the church but in my daily encounters with those in need, those I cross paths with in my work life and those I love and choose to spend time with. I want to hand [...]

"God desires mercy, not sacrifice". These words are deeply impacting the way I consider and think about theology. Our drive towards purity (as a result of disgust) instead of hospitality is harmful, creating boundaries we largely aren't aware of in our homes, the church, the workplace etc. Critical to this kind of hospitality that welcomes, is the ability to understand my own neediness, my inability to save myself. Lots more to think about. Really interesting / relevant read.

Excellent. Why isn't psychology integrated with theology more often? It's so illuminating. Unclean is one of the best breakdowns of the subconscious Christian life I've read since Insurrection: To Believe Is Human; To Doubt, Divine. It's essentially a discussion of disgust psychology, and how this universal human impulse regulates nearly every aspect of of our daily lives - affecting how we group and label people in our minds, react to certain behaviors that are alien to us, and become isolated [...]

Excellent! Richard Beck, on my short list of favorite living authors (due largely to his blog "Experimental Theology"), has written a book in the intersection of psychology and Christian practical theology. These sorts of intersections are critical to a circumspect and self-refining Christianity, and Beck does a good job introducing us to a few of the issues involved.I was pleasantly surprised to find a psychological approach to the liberal-conservative divide in Christianity and the correspondi [...]

It's been awhile since I've read a psychology book, felt good stretching those particular mental muscles again.This book put a new lens on the idea of purity, for me. Beck articulated and explained, from a psychological perspective, some of the gut feelings I've had but been unable to rationalize, with regards to church culture and behavior especially. It's fascinating to delve into what disgusts us and why, and to realize that these almost instinctive impulses limit or completely block our abil [...]

This is one of the most important books I've come across this past year & I've read a lot of books I think are important. The concept of impurity/uncleanness is a major element in religious traditions & so deserves & requires careful examination theologically & psychologically. Mary Douglas' "Purity and Danger" is a classic & Beck discusses some of her ideas, but this book cuts more deeply into how WE experience uncleanness & impurity, so this book is at least as practica [...]

This book made a little bit of my brain leak out my ears. In a good way. I bought it at a hyper-inflated internet price because I interact with Dr. Beck's blog on a regular basis, and I both wanted to see what he'd have to say in a longer format and to support him in his writing. I don't regret it. Super-basic breakdown: Beck uses psychology to try to figure out why people in the Christian community are such turdbuckets to people who engage in moral behavior of which they don't approve. It would [...]

This was so disturbing and so good at the same time. Written by a psychologist who tells us plainly how our disgust impacts our ability to love others, this book has great reports on little studies and insightful observations about the church. specifically, we shouldn't just say we need to get out there and love the unlovable, we need to realize what we are asking each other to do and the psychological trouble with it. I just can't recommend it highly enough--really really good. I'm reviewing it [...]

This is one of the few "theological" books I can wholeheartedly recommend to nonbelievers. Just revelation after revelation, page after page. I haven't read a book I literally years that has so thoroughly reshaped the way I see politics, theology, psychology, relationships, public discourseetty much everything. Don't think that the psychology of disgust affects your life? Well, I've got a book you should probably read.

This was really transformational to the way I think about many areas of my life - but in particular parenting and how I relate to people who are different than me. There wasn't much when it comes to solutions at the end but super thought provoking nonetheless.

Very good. Examines how we respond to "the other" who is not like us by looking at the psychology of disgust. Good read.

Lot of information. But really gives a perspective on how we view clean and unclean people.

Thoughtful and well-written, this book challenged me to think about how my life and relationships are influenced by subconscious feelings of disgust. Beck is a psychologist, yet he handles theological matters with the skill and attention to orthodoxy of a theologian. I now have a new understanding of Jesus' saying in Matthew 9:13, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Psychology, not unlike theology, is an inexact science, and not all of the conclusions Beck reaches, I felt, had compelling evidence. [...]

A friend directed me to a podcast in which Richard Beck summarizes the thesis of his fascinating book: beyondtheboxpodcast/20 The significance of his thesis struck me as profound. I bought his book the same day. Besides, it's not often I get the opportunity to read a significant theological work by a psychologist. Beck immediately goes to Matthew 12 and takes the words of Jesus "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" to explain how Jesus deliberately turned the purity metaphor upside down. Fear of th [...]

Richard Beck takes interdisciplinary look at the psychology of disgust from a theological perspective. This gives us a new way to think about a number of different aspects of religious practice - holiness and purity, hospitality, tolerance vs. maintaining the integrity of one's community, just to name a few aspects touched upon. The central ideas take only a few minutes to explain, and you can hear Beck introduce this in a number of his interviews and blog posts. But here he has room to go in de [...]

An absolute extraordinary exploration of the psychology of disgust and the radical implications of Jesus' call to the prophetic, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice," that is heard in Matthew 9 and 12. Beck invites people and churches to the primary place of mercy, inclusion, and hospitality in our ministry, and the secondary place of holiness and purity. The reflections on our fear of death, some of the evolutionary roots of our human morality, the costs of secularism, and the radical implications o [...]

Started this book for a Wednesday night church class. It things got in the way and restarted about a month ago.The author seems to be writing for the academy more than the church, but overall this book is very helpful understanding the psychological elements of disgust within the life of the church. His answer seems tame for churches who already practice this ritual but I would bet is revolutionary in those who do not practice it often.Good book.

Superbly written from the vantage point of a psychologist. Systematically lays out the ideas and theory behind the psychology of disgust, starting with a basic high level overview of the biological response to disgust, then moving on to a sociamoral response to disgust and purity and the jumps into an extremely actionable response for the church and Christians. Read the conclusion!

This is a must-read for every Christian who cares to love the way Christ loved and not to simply remain comfortable in the stories we’ve created for ourselves about who gets to “count” and who doesn’t.

Based on Matt 9 & 12, God desiring mercy not sacrifice, Beck shows how the church can allow a purity and holiness mindset to overshadow it’s ability to dispense mercy to those who are different or who the church considers unclean. He uses disgust psychology as the basis to reveal our natural tendencies are to build walls and limit who we allow within our realm of acceptance. Real mercy/love is in opposition/tension to this and leads us to expand our circle. The book has a strong finish, sh [...]

I read and discussed this book in my community group at church. It was certainly an interesting read. The author starts by trying to answer the question of why Jesus would quote/say "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" in Matthew 9 and examines how and why the church has fallen short of that standard in the modern era. To do this he dives deeply into disgust psychology: why we are disgusted by certain things, how disgust causes contamination, how disgust affects the way we interact with others, etc. [...]

I ordered this book on the strong recommendation of a friend. Unclean turns the psychology of our disgust impulse as a lens on how churches works, how they interpret Scripture, how they draw lines around morality.Honestly, when I placed the order, I thought, "Here's another carriage on the Malcolm Gladwell train." Take anything and attach it to brain biology. (See Leadership Journal's recent issue on the neuroscience of discipleship.)But when I began to read it, I found Beck's project to be doin [...]

Beck's Unclean is a unique book for someone used to reading a lot of Biblical studies and theology. In the work Beck examines Matthew 9 and Jesus quotation of the Old Testament: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Yet he does so mostly through a psychological language. Specifically Beck examines this confrontation through his understanding of "Disgust psychology". What is disgust? Disgust is an emotion of distance and revulsion that seeks to setup boundaries. When we are disgusted with something we [...]

In this book, Beck explores the relationship of purity and disgust from a psychological and theological perspective. Largely, he examines the statement from Jesus and Hosea that says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" and what this means for the Christian and the modern church that is concerned with engaging "missionally" with the culture. Specifically, the author looked at the tendency that a focus on purity over mercy can have in pushing a Christian community away from true hospitality and lovin [...]

This is a meaty book with a lot of stuff to say about the intersection of the psychology of disgust and churches, particularly the tension between purity and hospitality. As someone who would be seen as unclean by many churches (including ones I used to be part of), this felt like someone finally explained what I couldn't figure out about why I'm "unclean" but the twice-divorced man on his third marriage was "clean". It's backed with interesting studies (loved the dixie cup one) and the whole su [...]

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