John Pugh’s The Dynamics of Change in the Human Race explores the importance of Christian formation in shaping all aspects of a person’s life. Written as a guide for future therapists, analysts, and spiritual directors, the author stresses the need to identify the work of the Holy Spirit in ourselves and others to open a path to growth and awareness.
Pugh emphasizes four primary responses that can arise during times of conflict, fear and indecision, and the desire for control. These are: pleasure-seeking, denial, self-effacement, and blame-shifting. Moreover, he examines how these choices can impact a person’s self-concept, social interaction, and behavior.
Pugh also stresses the importance of repentance and faith in responding to life’s difficulties and how those who adhere to the conviction of the Spirit (i.e., awareness of sin and wrongdoing) can find contentment and peace. Additionally, the author highlights the value of a faith-centered perspective when dealing with trauma, mental illness, depression, addiction, and anger.
Pugh advocates for cultivating one’s faith through spiritual practices, emphasizing that Christian formation cannot occur in isolation. To be a Christian means to live in and through community, relying on others to support us during our spiritual journey.
This is an intelligent and practical book. At times, however, it can be a dense read with awkward and puzzling run-on sentences, as in: “While the study of theological pneumatology traditionally carries the study of the Holy Spirit to higher-level theological explanations that involve a greater understanding of [sic] human experiences are transformed by the work of God, this text….”
Moreover, the text includes numerous grammatical errors, including missing commas and questionable phrasing and fragments, such as: “However, the blame shifter’s fear of being controlled almost as much as they manipulate others for their selfish purposes.”
Overall, the book has the potential to be a valuable resource for Christians but would benefit from editing and copyediting to elevate it to an authoritative level.
Also available as an ebook.