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Attaching to God: Neuroscience-informed Spiritual Formation
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Attaching to God: Neuroscience-informed Spiritual Formation

Author: Geoff and Cyd Holsclaw

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Attaching to God connects relational neuroscience and attachment theory to our life of faith so you can grow into spiritual and relational maturity. Co-host Geoff Holsclaw (PhD, pastor, and professor) and Cyd Holsclaw (PCC, spiritual director, and integrative coach) talk with practitioners, therapists, theologians, and researchers on learning to live with ourselves, others, and God. Get everything in your inbox or on the app: https://www.grassrootschristianity.org/s/embodied-faith

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Emmanuel—God with us. We have heard this promise of God’s presence. But might our attachment wounds skew, distort, or hinder us from embracing this reality? Do we live as slaves to our attachment strategies rather than as beloved children of God? And how can we learn to do something different in our spiritual lives?Summer Joy Gross is an Anglican priest, retreat leader, and spiritual director whose work is guided by the belief that our stories can be transformed by God's invitation to make hi...
There is an innate need in all of us to know that there is something more beautiful than the dark places of the world we live in. After two losses within their community just prior to the 2020 pandemic, St. Andrew Methodist Church in Plano, TX discerned that God was asking them to go on the offense against the darkness of mental illness.This is the story of Beacon of Light, a ministry providing much-needed resources, support, and treatment for those struggling with mental health issues while ...
The inaugural episode of season six, and all about "Geoff's Second Half of Life 'Crisis' and why we renamed the podcast" (and note, 'crisis' is in scar quotes).Welcome to Season 6, of what is now called the Attaching to God podcast. We are going to be doing more episodes of just the two of us talking (Cyd and Geoff). But we will also have interviews with people, and hopefully a regular guest appearance (if we can get him to commit once a month).In addition to this, we are adding a regul...
The problem of toxic masculinity is much bigger than contemporary expressions of Christianity. Mistreatment of women and men dehumanizing others is a feature of human culture fraught with sin. But the church is called to be salt and light, so how can we foster a non-toxic masculinity?Our guest today is Zachary Wagner, a writer, researcher, and minister. He serves as the editorial director for the Center for Pastor Theologians. We’re talking about his book Non-Toxic Masculinity: Recoveri...
Many children today are growing up amid adversity, whether brought on by family difficulties or larger societal crises. All children need to be able to deal with stress, cope with challenges, and persevere through disappointments. While we cannot protect children from all hardships, we can promote healthy development that fosters resilience.Our guest, Dr. Holly Catterton Allen, recently retired from her position as Professor of Christian Ministries and Family Science at Lipscomb University in...
Research tells us that when people suffer from a mental health crisis, the first person they turn to for help is not a physician, a psychiatrist, or a social worker, but a pastor, a priest, or a minister. Unfortunately, many church leaders are not trained to recognize mental illness and don’t know when to refer someone to a mental health professional. And how do we know the difference between a mental illness and a spiritual issue?This is what we are talking about with Dr. Matthew Sanford, au...
Does God hate? Is God emotional? Emotions feel irrational, impulsive, and problematic for God, especially when we think about hate, jealousy, or sorrow. But the truth is the Bible is full of all sorts of stories that express God expressing emotions. This episode focuses particularly on God and the emotion of hate.Our guest is Dr. David Lamb. He is the MacRae Professor of Old Testament and in 2017 the Dean of the Faculty at Missio Seminary. He is the author of "God Behaving Badly: Is the God o...
For many people, sorrow, despair, anxiety, and mental illness are everyday experiences. And while we have tremendous advancements in therapy and psychiatry, the burden of living often comes down to some mundane choices, like "Should I still bother to get out of bed?"Dr. Alan Noble joins us to talk about life with mental anguish and his book, On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden and Gift of Living. We talk about faith and hope in the goodness of life amid the struggles and pain.Stay Connecte...
How do we help people get their brains back online? Can the Spirit lead us through a process of healing without triggering re-traumatization? And how can we attach more deeply with God?Guest Stephanie Rossing (Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist) talks about her own journey as a therapist, discovering and receiving training in trauma treatments (EMDR and Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and how she learned to let the Spirit lead treatment and how Immanuel Prayer helps us attach to God more d...
(This and the previous episode are part of a special Thanksgiving Double Feature Rewind of past episodes that are good to revisit in the ups and downs of a holiday)What is so important about joy? The great commandment is to love God and others, but is joy even more central than that? Where does joy fit in the landscape of political outrage and cynicism, in the seriousness of life today?We're talking about it. Looking at why joy and love are so connected.Stay Connected: NEED spiritual direct...
We often think that freedom comes through casting off what controls us, and that we need to find our true selves apart from community. But what if it is the constraints of the spiritual life that set us free? What if it is focused practices in community that lead to the flourishing of individual lives? Today we are talking about finding freedom in constraints. Our guest today is Jared Patrick Boyd. He is a Vineyard pastor, spiritual director, and Founding Director of the Order...
When atheists want spirituality, how should the church respond? In a secular age offering a buffet of spiritualities, all focused on the self and personal transformation, how is the Christian view similar or different than these alternative pathways? When everyone is spiritual, but few are religious, what is distinctive about following Jesus? And can I be a mystic without God?Dr. Andrew Root joins the podcast to talk about the rise in secular mysticism and what it means for the church in the ...
What is spiritual formation? Is that even a very good term for life with and in Jesus? What are we being formed into anyway? Or, maybe we should ask “when” are we being formed?In this episode, we talked with Dr. Richard Middleton about formative spirituality, agency in the Bible, and being human, and how God is always looking for partners to work with and through. Dr. Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary and Roberts Wesleyan University (Rochester,...
Have you ever been tossed around by the storms of life and wondered where God is in all? Or have you wished Jesus would quiet the storms a little quicker and more often? Today we are talking about bearing God in the storms of life. Marlena Graves is the Assistant Professor of Spiritual Formation at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY. She has written five books, most recently Bearing God: Living A Christ-Formed Life in Uncharted Waters. She wants people to know God delights in them.S...
Scripture tells us, “Be still and know that I am God”. But for so many of us, this is so hard. Today’s episode explores downtime, devotions, and distractions as we seek to be with God in our private and public lives. Our guest, Brian Heasley, is a long-term pioneer within the 24-7 prayer movement and serves as the International Prayer Director, he has years of experience in local-church and pioneer missions. Brian is passionate about prayer, mission, and justice that is rooted in ...
Is the abundant life as promised in Scripture possible for trauma survivors? Can those who suffer deep tragedy really find wholeness, or happiness, again? Today we are talking with a medical doctor who has walked with many people through trauma and tragedy even as he was walking through it himself. Dr. Lee Warren (MD) is an award-winning author, brain surgeon, and Iraq War veteran. Dr. Warren hosts a podcast exploring the complex interplay between faith and science. We are talking with him ab...
When reactions shoot out of us that we regret, then what do we do? Do you blame or berate yourself? Do you shame and shout at yourself? Too often we are unkind to ourselves in situations like this. But instead of this, we need to cultivate compassion (and build understanding) for the attachment strategies that have (literally) shaped our nervous systems, which fire semi-automatically when we are stressed out. In this episode, Cyd and Geoff Holsclaw talk about being kind to your engr...
How can two different people experience the same event differently? Do we see, hear, and even feel the world differently? Are we filtering social and emotional information in different ways? The answer is yes. And this has to do with what Dr. Todd Hall calls attachment filters (or what attachment theory calls "attachment styles"). Dr. Todd Hall is Professor of Psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University. Dr. Hall’s writing and research focus on relational approac...
The church is not immune to the growing mental health crisis, certainly not pastors and leaders. And we don’t always know where to get mental health resources for creating resilient individuals and churches. Howe guest today is passionate about bridging that gap.Laura Howe is a clinical mental health social worker, addictions counselor, and projectmanager. She has spent her 15-year career supporting and serving the marginalizedand suffering in her local community. Laura launched Hope Made Str...
(During our Summer Break we are airing important past episodes)We're tackling a topic that treads the tightrope between theology and personal acceptance - body theology and body shame. Why have we turned "your body is a temple" into a shaming mechanism? What if our bodies are the place we meet God? The place through which we glorify God?In this episode we wade deep into the waters of Western philosophical tradition, consumer capitalism's impact on body shaming, and the misinterpretation of sc...
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