Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Christopher West Is Back

After a six months sabbatical Christopher West is back; West is a well known and lately controversial teacher of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB).

West came under scrutiny after editors at ABC News sensationalized some of his quotes out of context (they would never intentionally misunderstand Catholics would they?) by saying Hugh Hefner and JPII rescued sexuality from the prudishness of Victorian morality.

But West came under even heavier fire from the "friendlies" at the JPII Institute and various theologians and philosophers, including Alice Von Hildebrand and David Schindler. Well known chastity speaker Dawn Eden criticized West in her master's thesis saying "West risks sexualizing Christianity rather than Christianizing sexuality".

Now, I am no expert at all in this field and have only a surface understanding of TOB, West, Hildebrand, and Eden's thesis. I suspect without being able to prove that Eden may have a point.  I also know people who have attended West's seminars and they tell me they are very solid. (It is important to remember that it is possible to critique someone's work and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.)

West himself said in a statement that he had gained many insights from his critics and appreciated the need for greater balance in his life. Although he does not agree with all of his critics, he has handled the entire controversy with great humility and grace. This is a tremendous witness to all of us, especially after the public nature of the criticism he endured.

Now, since I've already admitted to offering an uninformed opinion (i.e., not from original sources), is there anybody out there who has any experience with this?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nod,
I have read part of one of West's books and seen part of one of West's videos. He seems very solid.

--Shoe

Sr. Lorraine said...

Nod, after reading and analyzing Eden's thesis, I believe it is very inadequate and fails to make a good case against West. That is because Eden often quotes him out of context and does not present an impartial, objective account of what he is actually teaching.

I just put up a long blog post critiquing the first part of her thesis in detail.

God bless you!
Sr Lorraine

Sr. Lorraine said...

Here's the link to that post:
http://thomasfortoday.blogspot.com/2010/09/putting-christopher-west-in-context.html

Nod said...

Thank you Sr. Lorraine, I will read it with interest. Like I said, I haven't yet read the primary sources, so it's an honest question.

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