Years ago Crabb and Allender identified four questions hurting people ask: What’s wrong? Who can help? What will the helper do? What can I hope for?
I also appreciate their observation that not all therapies are created equal. Those offering help as well as the tools they use are built upon assumptions and beliefs. Counseling therapy, even a socratic approach, is not neutral.
Here’s a question of my own. When people seek help, from where do they think hope arises? Continue reading “Hope outside”
He sat in his car for over ten minutes struggling to enter. His story is familiar although he might have felt as though he was unique.
The scenario plays out in that surreal colorless shadowlands where shame, fragility, hopelessness, fear, guilt, feelings of failure and confusion reign. And yet, from within a car or from the motionless stance on a sidewalk the possibility that hope dwells within urges taking the first step. Continue reading “Hope inside”
The television screen displayed a would be narcissistic tyrant berating his listeners while demanding their obeisance. Throughout the movie this villain, who viewed himself a god, now proclaimed people are born to serve.
The heroes, filled with an indomitable human spirit, save the day because they refuse subjugation. One of the heroes smacks the tyrant around before muttering, “puny god.”
While exploring the producer’s intent behind this scene would be interesting, a more intriguing question is: Is an indomitable human spirit good, bad, or neutral? Such a question deserves a context to avoid over-simplification. Continue reading “An indomitable human spirit: good, bad or neutral?”
We can sense the LORD’s frustration. “I have spoken to you (Judah) over and over again, but you have not obeyed me. I sent all my servants the prophets to warn you over and over again. … But you did not pay any attention or listen to me” (Jeremiah 35:14,15).
These words grapple with a thorny and seemingly unchangeable problem. The lives of God’s people had not budged an inch in spite of God’s servants faithfully proclaiming God’s message. Godly transformation was nowhere in sight.
What can be done in such a situation? God resorted to a lesson from Jonadab’s house. Continue reading “A lesson from Jonadab’s house”
Some of us seem to possess the uncanny ability to spot everything that could possibly go wrong or which might fall short. If this statement resonates with you, then you might possess some trepidation in reading further. After all, such thoughts might be a little too painful and too revealing for comfort. However, I promise this article offers hope.
First of all, we need to know how anxiety and fear function. Emotions are fueled by our interpretative thoughts colliding with our values, expectations and desires. When these thoughts are negative, we will feel a negative emotion like fear, anger or anxiety. The stronger the emotion, the more we will be inclined to discover further thoughts corroborating it. In turn these thoughts can unleash even more emotion perpetuating a downward cycle. Continue reading “A house of fear or of faith?”
Spending time reflecting on pain can pay dividends in understanding anger and anxiety. Pain is a physical warning system. Anger and anxiety are emotional warning systems. Both our physical and emotional alert systems can be either healthy or troubled.
Continue reading “Our emotional warning systems: anger and anxiety”
2020 is in the rearview mirror. Yet, its impact lumbers forward. What 2021 will be remains to be seen.
In some ways the story of Naomi might resonant with the tenor of our experiences in 2020. Her story descended from pleasantness to dwelling in bitterness. Yet that was not the end of her story, nor need it be our story’s ending. Continue reading “A pleasant or bitter house?”
“It’s complicated” pervades social media, television shows and perhaps our personal interactions. When this phrase infiltrates communication, often someone desires to avoid clarity. Some seem to use this expression to justify, dismiss or evade topics.
We can be left with the impression that if they were to spend the necessary time to wade through all of the complexity, we would end up agreeing with their decision or situation. And so, they spare us all of the sophisticated details by saying, “it’s complicated.”
Is it complicated? Or might it often be something else? Continue reading “It’s complicated or is it?”
From a simple declaration to explanatory narratives, three of the Gospels refer to Jesus’ birth to further various objectives. The same historical event comes alive through recounting different carefully chosen details. Each of these Gospels presents us with a different treasure. Which one resonates most with you? Continue reading “One birth, three messages”
During years of study I have been challenging my assumptions regarding faith. The fruit of those explorations prying into faith’s nature became articles. How does the evidence align with our assumptions? The following bullets link to some of my column’s forays into faith. Continue reading “Articles on faith: abstracts and links”