Free seminar to examine love through theology and psychology

Central Christian Church will host a free 10-week course, "The Categories of Love," starting Oct. 2.

ENID, Okla. — A free 10-week course at Central Christian Church, 1111 W. Broadway, will examine "The Categories of Love," from both theological and psychological perspectives.

The course will meet 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 2, in the Central Christian all-purpose room.

Retired Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor Bill Masters and licensed professional counselor Buddy Arnold are teaming up for the seminar, which is based largely on the book "The Spirit and Forms of Love" by Daniel Day Williams.

Masters graduated from Phillips Theological Seminary in 1953 and served congregations in Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri from the late 1940s until his retirement in 1990. Since retirement, he has continued to teach and serve as a supply minister.

Arnold has practiced outpatient mental health since 1972, and still sees clients in Enid.

This is the second seminar on which the pair have teamed up. In 2017, they offered a free and well-attended 12-week course on "The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ" by James Stewart.

Masters said he's excited to work again with Arnold, and to dig deeper into the Christian and psychological aspects of love.

"I am really enthused and privileged to be doing this again, especially with Buddy," Masters said. "The dual perspectives provide a dynamic I don't have, just theologically, alone."

While love is a popular topic in culture and religion, Masters said Williams' book offers an "intriguing" approach to the topic, based on five "categories of love," including: individuality, and taking account of the other; freedom; action and suffering; causality; and impartial judgment in loving concern for the other.

Masters said they've added a study of the role of forgiveness alongside Williams' framework, since "forgiveness is such an integral part of God's love for us."

Arnold said when he and Masters started putting the course together, he found it approached the topic of love in a fresh way, that could be helpful for couples, or just people who have a hard time accepting love in their lives.

"In all my years of practice, I have never heard such a detailed description of what needs to go on to have not only a loving relationship, but also a lasting relationship, and why that doesn't always happen," Arnold said.

Whether participants approach the question of love from a faith-based or secular standpoint, Arnold said the course material gives a good examination of "love relationships."

"It looks at why some of them get in trouble, and why others don't," Arnold said, "and that has to do with what they're based on, and that may be a religious question, but not always."

There is no cost for the class, and people of all churches and religious backgrounds are invited to attend. Masters said it may be helpful to purchase a copy of the book beforehand, but materials will be provided and the book is not required for the course.

For more information and to pre-register, contact Central Christian Church at (580) 233-1214 or email bmasters73703@gmail.com. Registration is not required for the course, and walk-ins are welcome.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.

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