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Book Review: “Breakthrough” by John C. Robinson

John Robinson takes on a challenge that befuddles most of us in this interesting and even challenging book, Breakthrough. How does a scientist, or in this case a psychologist, deal with someone who has had a deeply, life changing spiritual experience, and yet has had no religious or spiritual experience himself. Most professional psychologist are not trained for this kind of thing, and Tom was no exception.

Tom, a psychologist in practice was clearly someone who had very little personal background in “matters of religion,” or anything that smelled of spirituality for that matter. With the exception of a couple of significant characters, neither Tom’s family nor colleagues had anything to do with things spiritual or religious. This is a story about how Tom struggled through this dilemma with some surprising results.

The book opens at the First Christian Church of Mayhew. We meet Emma Jensen and her husband Paul, as well as Pastor Hoeller, a Bible thumping, fire and brimstone pastor. One day Paul, someone who worked in a garage, has a significant spiritual experience that alters his vision of reality. He was dramatically changed in the process. When Emma started talking to the Pastor about her husband and his new way of looking at the world, with love for all sentient beings, Pastor Hoeller decided to force Paul to give testimony in front of the entire church. When Paul’s testimony did not add up to the same dogmatic view Pastor Hoeller was preaching, Hoeller became incensed. It became a war.

Both Paul and his manipulating wife were eventually kicked out of the congregation. His wife begged him to change his story but Paul really could not understand why anyone would do that. He was confused and was not certain which direction to go. Without an appointment, Paul found his way over to Tom’s office. When Paul briefly told Tom what was going on in his life, Tom agreed to see Paul professionally. He asked Paul to come back later in the day, making an appointment he thought Paul would never keep. Paul did show up and he began to tell his complete story. Tom was at first surprised, then curious, and then moved to learn more about what had happened to Paul… and that is when Tom’s seemingly perfect life, went into a tail spin.

The rest of the book is devoted to watching Tom’s life fall apart and we watch him put it back together again. After listening to Paul, Tom decides to cancel his appointments, and go to a Vision Quest in the desert to see if he can get some idea what Paul had gone through. His family, including his wife were wondering what was going on. What he learned helped Tom seek out other people who he thought might help him gain some further insight. He does gain some insight and we the readers are benefactors of the struggle that Tom goes through. We are the winners as Tom goes through an Alice in Wonderland experience.

If you are not comfortable with spirituality and the thought of a loving Presence around and among us, I would not recommend this book. For the rest of us, I think Robinson has provided an interesting and stimulating book.

Robinson is a retired psychologist who has written several books on this topic. If you are interested in further research I would recommend his books to you. To Purchase Breakthrogh click here.

Review & Commentary