Dyer, “Loving Thyself: A Kohutian Interpretation of a ‘Limited’ Mature Narcissism in Evangelical Megachurches”

March 15, 2012

Dyer, Jennifer E (2012). “Loving Thyself: A Kohutian Interpretation of a “Limited” Mature Narcissism in Evangelical Megachurches” Journal of Religion and Health 51(1).

Abstract:

Evangelical megachurches across the United States provide a subculture for core and committed members who immerse themselves in these communities of faith. This article argues that American evangelical megachurches fail to mitigate “the narcissism epidemic” in the dominant secular culture. Using object relations theory, I discuss splitting as a psychological foundation for narcissism, and I employ Heinz Kohut’s self-psychology to analyze idealized, mirroring, and twinning self-objects in evangelical megachurches. Finally, given Kohut’s categories for a mature narcissism, I find that Evangelicals achieve creativity, empathy, transience, humor, and wisdom, in part, but their ideological frameworks, organizational characteristics, and beliefs challenge a transformation to mature narcissism.

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