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Current Projects

People often ask me about my current work. This has inspired me to add a page to this website detailing what I have been up to, and what I have planned for the near future. Here are some of my ongoing writing projects, both books and scholarly articles. These include both solo work and work that I am doing, or am planning to do, in collaboration with colleagues.

My current efforts are focused in four distinct areas (although the first three somewhat overlap):

  1. Epidemiologic research, writing, and consulting on the impact of compassionate and altruistic love, broadly defined, on indicators of population health.
  2. Conceptual and theoretical writing on healing and the work of healers, with an emphasis on fostering collaborative partnerships between scientists and healers and on identifying the underlying mechanisms that explain the efficacy of energy-medicine-based modalities.
  3. Academic writing on my model of the natural history of health, an effort to rethink the basic sciences of healing and informed by Antonovsky's theoretical work on salutogenesis.
  4. Exploration of canonical and rabbinic perspectives on the role of divine love in Jewish moral theology, with an emphasis on actions that promote tzedek (justice), chesed (mercy), and g'milut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness).

Books in Progress

Divine Love: Perspectives from the World's Religions (with Dr. Stephen G. Post)

    An edited book of original scholarly essays on the topic of divine love from the perspectives of the world's major religious traditions. Forthcoming by the Templeton Foundation Press.

    A dozen of the leading academic religious scholars in the world systematically dissect this concept, answering the what, how, why, and whither of divine love. Each chapter focuses on the definition and conceptual boundaries of divine love; on its expression and experience; on its instrumentality and salience; and both on how it can become distorted and on how it has been made manifest or restored by great historic exemplars of altruism, compassion, and unlimited love. To love and to be loved by God, to enter into a mutual and covenantal relationship with the divine, is offered here as a solution to the current world crisis. Only a loving relationship with the Source of being within the context of the great faith traditions of the world can fully inform and motivate the acts of love, unity, justice, compassion, kindness, and mercy for all beings that are so desperately required to counter the toxins of divisiveness, separation, judgment, indifference, antagonism, oppression, and cruelty fueled by distortions of religiousness and faith.

The Natural History of Health: Toward a Science of Salutogenesis

    An expansion into book form of my recent chapter in Dr. Stephen G. Post's Altruism and Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, published by Oxford University Press. My chapter was entitled, "Integrating Positive Psychology Into Epidemiologic Theory: Reflections on Love, Salutogenesis, and Determinants of Population Health."

    This book will be an academic project integrating research and writing on salutogenesis and theoretical perspectives in psychosocial epidemiology with the conceptual foundations of the natural history of health, a concept that I have been developing for several years. I intend for this to be my ultimate statement on population-health theory, from my perspective as a social epidemiologist, as well as a foundation for a scientific field that I hope will emerge around the study of the healing process.

Upon These Three Things: Jewish Perspectives on Loving God 

    A scholarly introduction to Jewish moral theology and social ethics.

    I summarize what normative Judaism says about what it means to love God, how we go about doing so, and how this affects our lives and our world. I believe that, for Jews, loving God is morally constructed and outwardly focused, grounded in a covenant which outlines obligations to God, to one another, and to the world. Accordingly, Jewish observance and social consciousness are not mutually exclusive, but rather inseparable expressions of the Jewish covenant with God.

Healing to All Their Flesh: Essays on Spirituality, Theology, and Health (with Dr. Keith G. Meador)

    An edited book of original essays on the interconnections of religion and health by leading Jewish and Christian theological, pastoral, ethical, and religious scholars.

    In this book, prominent theologians ask us to step back and carefully rethink the relationship between religion and health. They do so by examining overlooked issues of theology and meaning that lie at the foundation of religion’s putative salutary function. Is a religion-health relationship consistent with understandings of faith within respective traditions? What does this actually imply? What does it not imply? How has this idea been distorted? Why does this matter—for medicine and healthcare and also for the practice of faith? Is the ultimate relation between spirit and flesh, as mediated by the context of human belief and experience, a topic that can even be approached through empirical observation, scientific reasoning, and the logic of intellectual discourse? These questions and others are addressed throughout this book.

Religion and Population Health

    A introduction to and concise summary overview of the many ways that religious faith and religious institutions ideally influence the health of populations.

    This book is intended as a primer on the subject of religion and population health and also as a primary text for graduate-level courses in public health. Accordingly, the book contains chapter-length summaries of the role of religion in each of the core disciplines and content areas of the field of public health: epidemiology and biostatistics, health behavior and health education, health services and health policy, and environmental health. Religion and Population Health also contains an in-depth discussion of the importance of faith-based initiatives for global health in the 21st Century.

In a Good Old Age: Jewish Perspectives on Aging

    A follow-up to Upon These Three Things, continuing my exploration of canonical and rabbinic perspectives on Jewish moral theology and social ethics.

    This monograph will describe what normative Judaism has to say about the aging process, about the stages of life, about the uniqueness of old age, about what constitutes successful aging, and about the covenant of mutual obligations that binds the Jewish people and their elders. I suggest that, for Jews, aging is a moral journey-a process of maturation leading, ideally, to greater service to God, to fellow Jews, and to all people.

Handbook of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine: Theoretical, Experimental, and Clinical Perspectives (with Dr. Karl Maret)

    An edited, academic handbook comprising scholarly papers on topics related to the emerging scientific field of subtle energies and energy medicine.

    This book represents a "best of" collection of the first two decades of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). ISSSEEM is an interdisciplinary scientific society organized to promote the study of the basic sciences and biomedical and clinical applications of subtle energies. The 27 chapters in this handbook represent the very best theoretical, experimental, and clinical writing that has appeared in the journal, and in this field. Contributors to this handbook include the leading figures in this field, and among the most preeminent scientists and thinkers in all of new-paradigm science.

Medicine and Religion: Collected Essays (with Dr. Harold Y. Vanderpool)

    A retrospective of our theoretical and conceptual writing on the interconnections between medicine and religion.

    This book will contain a collection of scholarly papers on the mutual relations between religion, spirituality, and theology, on the one hand, and health, healing, and medicine, on the other. These will include classic essays by the two of us, writing alone and in collaboration, published from the 1970s through the 2000s. This work will be collected under five headings: Theological, Historical, and Ethical Perspectives; Shared Functions and Identities; Alternatives to the Allopathic Model; Epidemiologic Reflections; and, The How and Why of Religious Factors in Health and Healing. In each section, the selection of classic papers will be supplemented by a respective brand new essay written jointly by us.

With Healing in Its Wings: Jewish Perspectives on Spirituality and Well-Being

    A third book in my series on Jewish moral theology and social ethics.

    I will provide an explicitly Jewish perspective on the reality of spirituality-health and spirituality-healing connections. Nearly all of the best writing on these topics is grounded in perspectives based implicitly on Christian or Buddhist themes, respectively, such as found in the work of my friends Drs. Harold Koenig, Keith Meador, and Larry Dossey. I will provide a uniquely, and much needed, Jewish take on these issues, based on these premises: Jewish spirituality is a life-long process of attainment, not a finite state or a package of activities that can be practiced alone; for Jews, redemption and repentance, two essential works of spiritual growth, are defined and acted on communally; in Judaism, while the mind, heart, and body are each engaged as a part of the spiritual journey, moral action trumps learning and worship conducted for their own sake; and, for Jewish spirituality, personal renewal and transformation are not end goals, but rather means to achieving social and cultural transformation and reawakening the holiness in God's creation.

Esoteric Healing Traditions

    An expansion into book form of my recent article of the same name, published in EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing.

    This book will present a comprehensive scholarly examination of the history and principles of eight major traditions of esoteric healing. I will describe beliefs and practices related to health, healing, and medicine from the kabbalistic tradition, the mystery-school tradition, the gnostic tradition, the brotherhoods tradition, the Eastern-mystical tradition, the Western-mystical tradition, the shamanic tradition, and the new-age tradition. Commonalities across these traditions will be summarized with respect to beliefs and practices related to anatomy and physiology; nosology and etiology; pathophysiology; and therapeutic modalities. My plan is for this book to be based on both scholarly research and first-hand participant observation, where possible, over a period of a few years.

5 Simple Rules for a Sane and Happy Life

    A brief monograph about how to eliminate the false thinking that causes suffering.

    In this book, aimed at the mass-market self-help audience, I will discuss how so many of the most fundamental things that we believe to be true are not true. These include our most tacit beliefs about the nature of existence, our identity, and our possessions, and about time and space. To counter false thinking in each of these five areas, respectively, I will present five simple rules: Rule 1: This isn't real. Rule 2: I'm not that. Rule 3: This isn't mine. Rule 4: It's not then. Rule 5: I'm not there. These five rules, taken to heart, promise to clear the fog from our minds and empower us to live with energy and joy. This book will be a journey of exploration and, ultimately, liberation—from the false thinking that ruins our lives and keeps us from our birthright as human beings.

Immortal Lives: Stories of Extraordinarily Long-Living Saints and Masters

    Biographies of extraordinarily long-living saints or masters or adepts of respective religious or wisdom traditions whose longevity is ostensibly attributable to their spirituality, compassion, or morality, i.e. adherence to some sort of transcendently originating set of life principles. 

    This book, to be written solo or as an edited collection of essays, will contain respective chapters on historical and legendary personalities such as Methuselah, Babaji, St. Germain, Master Chang San-Feng, Shangri-La's Father Perrault, Li Ching Yun, and perhaps others. Each of these individuals is credited with a life span that far exceeds the known limits of human longevity. Each, too, is held up as an exemplar of a spiritual path whose characteristics is generally implicated, in part, in the exceptional length of their life. Each chapter will contain a biographical summary, an overview of putative contributors to longevity, a discussion of moral lessons to be learned from this life, and an annotated list of sources.

Articles in Progress

“Religion and Mental Health: Theory and Research”

    An overview of the history of psychiatric and psychological research on religion, including a critique of conceptual models of religion and an elaboration of promising theoretical perspectives based on behavioral, biological, psychodynamic, and transpersonal interpretations of existing findings. Invited for a special issue of International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies.

“Judaism and Health: Sketches of an Emerging Scholarly Field” (with Michele F. Prince)

    Historical perspectives on the interconnections of Judaism, health, and healing, including a summary of the work of the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health and of new directions in research and scholarship.

“Energy Healers: Who They Are and What They Do”

    A conceptual overview of the work of energy healers, with an emphasis on putative core concepts and techniques that may exist across categories of healers.

“What is Healing: Reflections on Diagnostic Criteria, Nosology, and Etiology”

    A conceptual overview of the concept of “healing,” emphasizing its multidimensionality and the multifactoriality of its antecedents.

“Theory in Religion and Aging”

    A critical discussion of the place of theory in the study of religion and aging, including summary overviews of grand theory, mid-range theoretical perspectives, theory-based operational models, and potential mediators, or “mechanisms,” posited for religious effects on psychosocial and health-related outcomes.

“New-Paradigm Scientific Beliefs: Measurement, Patterns, and Correlates”

    Validation of an index of new-paradigm beliefs about science (including belief in inherent harmony, intelligent design, the gaia hypothesis, and subtle energy), as well as identification of religious and sociodemographic correlates.

“God, Love, and Happiness: Findings from a Clinical Study”

    An empirical study of the impact of feeling loved by God on measures of positive affect—a follow-up to prior published studies of the impact of a loving relationship with God on measures of health status and depressed affect.


Home | Biography | Abstracts | Books | Appearances | Current Projects | The SMILE
Resources | News | Inspiring Quotations | Favorite Websites | Baylor ISR | Contact Info

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