Posts By Ashley Baker

Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions: Chap 7

When Harry Met Sally...

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It’s been said that females and males can’t be friends because of the big S word involved…..that friendship without sex equals questionable intentions (blame When Harry met Sally!). I’ve always found that to be a very simplistic and stereotypical view of men and women relationships. I personally, have been able to have two very close platonic male friends (they were “bridesmen” in my wedding). As a woman in the book quotes, we have never nor will we ever engage in any sexual intimacy. Instead, we laugh, we talk, and we share stories. I often find myself getting offended that people, especially church people (not all but some!) have relayed to me that having male friends somehow conflicts with God’s view of marriage and intimacy. Luckily, in this book, it seems Mr. Dan Brennan is on my side!

This author presents a different perspective from existing church culture. “Christ came not to just reduce the old disorder of lust, violence, and possession between men and women ,but to usher us into a new world of embodied communication with each other.” He submits that it is possible to live together in Christ without lust or sexual innuendos interfering with the friendship. In focusing on the fact that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, our focus shifts onto our common bond of Christianity rather than our own temptations and desires.

The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts by Lee Baer

The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad ThoughtsSummary: A thorough review regarding obsessional thought only Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (aka “Pure O”)

Purchase Links: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle Edition

As a psychologist, I am interested in staying updated on current academic literature. I was interested in reading Imp of the Mind by Lee Baer as I was told it focused almost completely on pure obsessional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. So many people have the preconceived notion that OCD regularly manifests itself as Jack Nicholoson’s portrayal in as Good As it Gets (e.g. hand washing, stepping on cracks, being cleanly, etc). This can lead to misdiagnosis as obsessional ONLY OCD is actually the most common subtype. Most of the people suffering from this disorder are secretive regarding their obsessional thoughts as the thoughts tend to be violent or distressing, such as harming others or contracting a serious disease. It is unfortunate that uninformed individuals may fear individuals with OCD if their thoughts were disclosed. The one thing that OCD diagnosed people should know is that they are very unlikely, very very unlikely, to ever act on these thoughts, despite what their mind may tell them.

Dr. Baer conducted an excellent overview of obsessional only OCD as well as its’ treatment and course of therapy. He starts by giving an example of a man who became obsessed with having sexual intercourse with animals. He also discusses a priest with extremely sexual thoughts and a women consumed with believing she may be a pedophile. The very difficult thing for OCD sufferers is they are almost always aware that their thoughts are “unwanted” or “disgusting”, hence the “imp” invades the mind and makes the suffer worry more for having disturbing thoughts. The fact is that most people have unwanted thoughts and are able to brush these thoughts aside and think “That was strange” or “What a weird thought!’ For individuals diagnosed with OCD, they become hyper-focused on the thought and the interpretation of said thought, often characterizing themselves as “evil” or “bad” for having the unwanted thought. This can lead to anxiety and depressive symptoms as well.

Three Junes by Julia Glass

Three Junes

Takeaway: Probably best suited for bored winter moments

I recently read Three Junes after it was recommended to me by several avid readers with glowing recommendations. I was a bit hesitant at first because this book is one of the “multiple perspectives” books which, at times, I find exhausting to read. This book has many themes, which include, but are not limited to, infidelity, fertility problems, aesthetic pleasures, extreme family discord, and most prominently, HIV/AIDS contraction and symptom management. Those are many differing and serious themes, even for a somewhat long book.

The problem with Three Junes is not that it is badly written. It tends to drag towards the middle but has some creative prose. The main issue I had with this bestseller is character development- specifically the question of WHY? Why does the main character engage in these activities? Why does he/she act this way? Why did he/she react this way? These questions never really get answered, for any of the three main characters (or main perspectives aka the three Junes/summers of the main characters), leaving the reader confused and feeling like the characters are one dimensional, and to be honest, stereotypical. Fenno, a gay book shop owning main character, feels especially rudderless. The decisions, or more accurately, his lack of decision and apparent apathy for life made him difficult to connect with on any level.