Hey, Get the Phone! (It’s for You!)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I’m sure most, if not all, of you know this old story, but I’m going to tell it anyway. (Don’t stop me if you’ve heard it!) Two old prospectors are arguing over the best way to train a pack mule. The first one maintains that you have to be extra firm with a mule from the beginning–just to let him know who is boss right away. The other prospector maintains that you have to be gentle to win over a mule; you have to speak to him softly and sweetly. Then, he says, you can get the mule to do anything. The first prospector doesn’t believe a word of this and asks the second …

Dumb Things People Say about Preaching on Stewardship

We had just begun to pass the food around the table at Thanksgiving dinner last year when a friend of the family said, ‘The reason our church’s giving is good is because our pastor never preaches about money.’ I responded as casually as I could, ‘So you’re saying that your church’s giving is good because your pastor never preaches any of the countless biblical passages about money?’ She didn’t answer me and I let the conversation flow in other directions. But I was struck with the absurdity of her statement. Assuming that a church’s giving is good because the pastor neglects to preach any of the 2,350 Bible verses on money is like saying, ‘The reason our people are honest …

Christian Psychotherapy for Convicts?

Repeated research studies have revealed that secular efforts at rehabilitation have been unsuccessful in preventing recidivism. Not one of the various approaches to psychological counseling has been able to demonstrate success statistically in helping inmates rehabilitate. Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5% were re-arrested within 3-years. A study of 1983 releases estimated 62.5% (Langan and Levin, Bureau of Justice Statistics, June 2002). Historically, this has been true according to the publication of The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment (Lipton, Martinson, & Wilks,1975), which highlighted the controversy as to whether correctional treatment reduces recidivism. This review examined a variety of treatments (e.g., individual and group psychotherapy and counseling, intensive casework, and skill development) and reported the results …

Belief, Opinion, Pride, Expectation

None of us can predict the future, but we can choose which paths that we take. What’s the big deal with people expecting you to do what everyone else does? Mathew verses 7-14 says that there are two paths. One more travelled and one less travelled. You think people would be excited for you to do something different. Belief. So your a bum when you go your own way, but then suddenly your succesful when you make something of yourself. It’s the dollar that talks soo loudly these days. It’s terribly distracting. Like you’re trying to keep things low profile, but it’s turning up the volume with “Black or White” on. Your parents want you to be quiet. And It’s …

Appealing for a psychic reading

Nowadays, you will find more people choosing to seek guidance from a psychic helpline than from psychoanalyst or from a priest. Perhaps the advice of the priest is too restrictive and, in some parts of the world, the church does not manage to follow up the speed of the modern life. Psychological counseling may be too expensive and too pretentious on occasion. People seem to find the idea of a psychic reading more approachable and helpful. A psychic helpline seems to have many benefits. First and foremost, just like other forms of counseling, it helps people divert the responsibility of personal decisions from themselves to a “professional” psychic, to someone outside the situation, endowed with special psychic capacities and who …

Addiction to Spirituality

Lian had been meditating for many years before consulting with me for his depression. He had been part of a spiritual community that encouraged their members to turn to God through prayer and meditation whenever they were feeling any difficult or painful feelings such as anger, hurt, anxiety, or depression. He had been taught that Spirit would transmute his feelings for him and bring him the peace he sought. Yet Lian was depressed. “I have faithfully practiced what I’ve had been taught, so why am I still depressed? What am I doing wrong?” Lian was suffering from what is called “spiritual bypass.” Spiritual bypass occurs when people use their spiritual practice as a way to avoid dealing with and taking …