Reviving the Soul: Navigating the Self at the Intersection of Analytical Psychology and Christian Spirituality
By Shane Fenwick
In 2019, I submitted a dissertation in partial fulfilment of a Master of Theology degree. Broadly speaking, it explored the intersection between (a Christian) spirituality and analytical psychology, specifically through the ‘representative figures’ of Thomas Merton and Carl Gustav Jung. It, also, included some elements of my own story as I’ve navigated mental health challenges and the question of what genuine holistic flourishing looks like in my own life (as well as the lives of many I’ve been privileged to work with/alongside). The TL;DR version is this: that human flourishing necessarily encompasses both the spiritual and psychological (and physical!) dimensions of who we are as human beings. And, by consequence, we ignore any of these dimensions at our own peril. Recovering the notion of the soul (rightly understood) is one means through which we can ensure we treat human beings in their complex totality (or so I argue in the dissertation).
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend a graduation ceremony in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was privileged to be awarded a postgraduate university medal upon completion of the degree.
Apparently, there is a physical copy of the dissertation somewhere in the library at St Mark’s National Theological Centre. But, since completing it, I haven’t sought to try get it published or put it up online anywhere to make it accessible. Every so often, kind people ask if they could have a read, so I thought I’d make it available here! If you do happen to have a read of any or all of it, I’d love to hear any thoughts you may have. A caveat, though: whilst I still stand by the core arguments/ideas in the dissertation, my thoughts have continued to evolve somewhat and become, perhaps, a little more expanded yet nuanced.