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Posted November 18, 2006
Theology Professor Emeritus, and expert in the field of pastoral counseling for those with alcohol, drug, and behavioral addictions, The Reverend Howard J. Clinebell, Ph.D., made one simple statement in endorsing this book by Dick B. Dr. Clinebell had himself long been involved in researching A.A., and he said of this title: 'Carefully researched volume by the leading historian of A.A.' And it takes one to know one. In fact, Clinebell had asked Dick to review and endorse his own recent updating of the famous pastoral counseling book and he wanted to be sure the A.A. material in this new work was in tune with several decades of new research. And it was. It was for the reason that it marked the point where Dick had located, earmarked, and published on the several historical roots of A.A. and felt compelled to examine their applicability in the trenches. This book was published and used at the time of Bill's 1998 A.A. heritage lectures at The Wilson House in Vermont. Dick reviewed A.A.'s origins in Akron and origins in New York and then raised the plaguing question 'Is A.A. spiritual, or religious?' The answer involves three different points: (1) It is both since the two words are synonymous when the Society is examined in terms of its cardinal objective--to help alcoholics find and establish a relationship with God. (2) It really doesn't matter since most AAs, if pressed, could not agree on the difference, if any. (3) The distinction really involves whether one is looking at the A.A. of yesteryear (Christian and religious) or the A.A. of today (universal in stated mission, yet recognizably religious in action. Early A.A. is examined for its Bible roots, primarily from the Book of James, Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. Then its Steps are examined for those verses which gave rise to the progression of life-change ideas designed to lead to a conversion. Then for the verses which were the foundation for the all-important morning Quiet Time and the subsequent Eleventh Step--a new birth, an evening review, a morning start with Bible/prayer/guidance/and devotionals. Then for the ideas and verses used in the Oxford Group and by Rev. Sam Shoemaker to buttress the life-changing actions. Then for such contributions from the teachings of Dr. Bob's wife and from the literature AAs read. Then followed Dick's introduction to the theme he has used to this day: You cannot dispel the nonsense gods and their absurd names, nor the half-baked prayers, nor the self-made religion, nor the obsession with the importance of 'meetings' until and unless you learn from A.A.'s own history that none of these had a signficant part in early A.A. You can make sense of A.A. as it is today if you choose to learn its history and study it as you study the A.A. Big Book and Steps. I'm all for it!
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Posted April 29, 2008
I wanted a book that compiled, shortened, and summarized Dick B.'s findings on how early AAs got well with God's help. This short work pulls together the sources of A.A. ideas and shows how they may be used to achieve healing in today's recovery fellowships and programs
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