i finally have my blog relocation done! the website is www.biblicalchange.com. blog posts will slowly come down and shift to the real site.
I have an actual website now! http://www.biblicalchange.com. (most of the posts for the next few months will be repeats, BTW).
Generally, the movies that I find to have the most redeeming qualities tend to be found by most Christians to be irredeemable. What I mean by this is that most of the movies I find to have a quality story with the potential to have a positive impact are typically shunned (more fun of a word to use than “boycott” since the religious implications), largely due to language, violence, or sexual content. I am not saying that I prefer for movies to be more on the adult side, but that generally the “clean” movies lack a quality story or a solid message that is not obvious from the beginning. For instance, one of my favorite movies from recent years was Gran Torino (I will have to review that one soon, but it does not lack in the language department).
That being said, The Heart of Texas is one of the best movies about forgiveness, redemption, and truly exhibiting Christlike behavior. Even if you are not a Christian and think that we are all hypocrites (Most people are hypocrites, Christians just tend to have a larger percentage than most. Or at least brag about not being one the most, which makes it worse.), this movie is worth watching.
I don’t want to go to in-depth because spoilers are awful, but it is the true story of a family in the heart of Texas who deals with one of the worst tragedies imaginable. I watched this with a group of friends. Many of the women left and everyone, including our tough, manly men, teared up. The unimaginable occurs. Definitely a need-to-watch.
How many Christians who are hostile to Biblical Counseling view Biblical Counseling. Though I have been tempted a few times . . . . .
The last few months have been very busy. In many very good ways. Starting out our antithesis of 2009, my wife and I purchased a house. We were originally going to close in May, but were not able to do so until the beginning of July. As a result, I have been very busy working on the house and making it a comfortable and desirable place to live (I believe ”subduing creation” would be the appropriate theological term).
she has been very busy working in a different way. We found out that we will be greeting our first child this December! This has been very exciting and surprising news.
Throw in a couple side projects and add in the fact that we have both been working a lot due to promotions and in preparation of this upcoming year, and the result is that I have been very busy and so not spending as much time as normal staring at my computer screen.
With all these good things going on, there is a good chance that my posting will be a bitmore sporadic than it has been the last few months. Most of my posts this far were made in June while waiting for the house to close, a large portion of them based on or adapted from work I had done previously. I had anticipated getting back into posting last month, but I now think it will be until the cooler weather sets in or at least the house appears fit for human habitation.
It also appears as though ministry will continue to be a voluntary endeavor for the foreseeable future. If Paul did it, it should not bug me as much as it does (still doing some self-counseling there). Still, there are some areas where God is using me greatly as well as sharpening our family. There are some ideas working for how we may be used in our community of Colorado Springs in the near future, but we will see how and when he leads.
Thank you for your use of my simple blog and helping to refine my thinking and approach.
Review of Christian Psychology’s War on God’s Word:
The Victimization of the Believer by Jim Owen
What most struck you as you read and pondered this book?
Self-esteem is a very tricky to think about. I guess this is because it is so prevalent in so many parts of American culture. I did a very in-depth study of this topic a few years ago. The study was somewhat difficult to do since it is so engrained in so many works and topics, whether discussed by Christians or others. This was probably one of the topics that has caused me to think very thoroughly about the influence of psychology on the world, particularly Christianity. I think part of this is due to the desire that all people have to feel good and enjoy life, combined with the underlying way of thinking that since America was founded on a belief in God; so therefore, cultural ideals are the appropriate ones to have. So the goals of accomplishment and obtaining possessions are now the driving forces of society, and if a person does not want to become obsessed with this pursuit, then there is something wrong with him. This is ridiculous. To then place the love of self between the command to love God and love others is ludicrous.
The influence of psychology on daily life is not always that straightforward. It goes deeper than just a misunderstanding of what the Bible says. Even among those Christians who have studied how the Bible speaks of certain topics, there is a practical disconnect between what they say that they know and how they act and speak when their Bible is not sitting on the desk in front of them. Christians talk about dealing with addictions, depression, low self-esteem, victimization, etc. on an almost daily basis. The focus is not on personal responsibility, but on outward causes. I have noticed in my own life that I try to shift blame onto other people or causes for my sin. “I only responded that way because he . . . . ,” “I fail in my thought life because I am a guy,” or even “I would spend more time with God if I was not so busy doing his work.”
Victimization is one of the biggest problems since it has replaced the core of the gospel. Instead of having the fact of sin and the need for redemption being the focus of what is taught, the thought that “people are hurting” has come in. Granted, people have problems and pain, but the cause for that is sin. That’s it. Sin. It is really frustrating to think about how this has changed the entire way of thinking of Christians. Feelings are the only focus and theology and actions are seen as secondary or unimportant.
When I took Human Personality the prof mentioned how Larry Crabb’s influence on Christianity was the second worse thing to happen to Christianity in the 20th century (James Dobson being the first). I was not sure of this until seeing his statements on victimization recounted in this book (and I just caught the full meaning of title). It is really sad the amount of material that is presented as being Christian in nature but is actually a repackaging of psychobabble. I have often wondered why they are so firm in their beliefs. I have talked with several people who are strong in this belief, and the thought of using the Bible in counseling is as ridiculous to them as using humanism is to us. I do not understand why there is such a firm grip on psychology. Even in the broader social context of true left-wing liberal secular progessives and the fact that psychology is their “sacred cow.” It is sad that many Christians and true liberals are both holding onto the same faulty theology/philosophy while other groups (including Scientologists) are completely against it.
I think that the most important thought from this book is the quote from Alexander Maclaren “The truth you do not live by becomes less and less real to you.” I firmly believe that this is true, as well as the corollary which would be “What you live is what you truly believe.” If you truly believe that a person’s appearance does not matter when they come to church, then you will not care when he dresses in a way that you do necessarily prefer. When you counsel, you will not talk about self-esteem and victimization as the cause for a person’s problems in life.
What are the implications for your thinking and ministry?
I am going to be very careful when I talk to others to be sure that I do not use terms or concepts borrowed from psychology. I am going to deal with the sin issues and not just some made-up problems. I will keep the gospel at the core of what I counsel, teach, and preach.
After thinking about the overlap of the Christians and the secularists in this area, it causes one to wonder what other areas of overlap there may be with other groups in which there is a divergence of opinion about the “primary” matters of life. The other thing this caused me to think about was the level of cooperation with those who agree with us in some areas but disagree with others. Is it right to join with the Catholics in going against abortion or Islamofacism? How about Mormons on areas of family values and morals? Scientologists against psychology? Have long thought that I would cooperate with other churches as long as it was on areas of mutual agreement and areas of disagreement are left out of the picture for said events and purposes, but I am not sure how far I would go. Granted, it is impossible for two churches to agree on everything (sometimes even for two pastors at the same church to come to agreement), but where is the line?
I am going to make sure that when I make a decision for my family or church I have thought through the possible implications and that I am ready for the implications to be lived out.
Posted in Book/product reviews, Counseling, Inflamatory | Tagged Biblical counseling, Christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, church, Focus on the Family, God, James Dobson, Larry Crabb, life, marriage, opinion, parenting, philosophy, psychology, ramblings, random thoughts, rants, relationships, religion, reviews, spirituality, training, victimization | Leave a Comment »
Review of Knowing God by J. I. Packer
The title of Packer’s book represents adequately his goal in writing. This book is very challenging in that it not only gives the intellectual side of knowledge, but also the wisdom to apply this knowledge to daily life.
In the foreword, he compares two different styles of Christian living. One is such that the person observes the second group as they makes their way through life, and are concerned primarily with criticizing and commenting on the others as they make their journey. The second group is concerned with the journey. Their needs and problems are practical, focused on daily living. This really stood out to me because I often have questions about the nature of the Christian walk. I want answers to the theoretical, but what I really need to do is live out in reality, and then the theoretical meets with reality in the practical.
He starts out with the accurate premise that man was crated to know God. Many men have made the goal of studying themselves, while the real goal should be to study God. After study of God, the study of man will be in the appropriate perspective. Many times I have the tendency to try to figure out people in and of themselves, when the real goal is to help them from God’s perspective.
Chapter 10 is a discussion of God’s wisdom compared with man’s wisdom. Many times Christians want to receive God’s wisdom in a way that they see all that is going on in their lives. Answers to each and every question are desired. But this is a false understanding. God’s wisdom is not necessarily our understanding of what is going on in each situation, but the realization that what is occurring is according to his purpose and trusting him with the outcome of that situation. This is very difficult for me because I like to know what is going on all the time. But am I really trusting God?
Packer discusses God as judge, which is a very important concept today considering all of the emphasis on God’s “softer” attributes. The main reason for this misunderstanding is that the view is taken that God being a judge is totally cruel and heartless, but the Biblical standards for judgment are different than this understanding. A judge is to be not only authoritative and powerful, but also balances what is good and right with wisdom. There is the reality that doing wrong will bring judgment, but it will be a fair judgment. I tend to forget that everything that I do will be brought under judgment, both good and bad. Keeping this in mind would be a help to daily struggles. To simply think “I shouldn’t do this” is not enough in comparison with “God will make me explain what I did and hold me accountable to it.”
By far the most impacting section of this book is the last three chapters, specifically chapter 21 which focuses on the inward trials of the Christian. The fact that many times new believers are told that the Christian life is an easy and joyous road is true, but not all of the time. They are not told that they will have to face hard times, some that are worse that what they would have run into had they no known God. The focus is placed on the power of the Spirit living in the believer, and they are sometimes told if they are not handling their situations in the best Christian way possible, and life is not great, then it is because they have fallen away from God. The Christian life is not always easy! It’s outright hard sometimes! Life is tough, and being a Christian does not change that fact. The chapter closes with the thought that “Unreality in religion is and accursed thing.” A false view of God and the Christian walk only serve to cripple the believer. The closing hymn by John Newton is a great summary and reminder that growth requires stretching. God does not just endow a person with wisdom and discernment, but it is learned by having to make decisions, some of which turn out bad, but ultimately provide one with the ability to make wiser choices. This is a very big thought for me because I tend to want to grow without having to go through the growth process. I am going to have to memorize that hymn.
Overall this book was very good. There were some small areas that I did not agree with, but since they were not of any large focus it is hard to determine the authors true standing (i.e. – weak view of hell). This book will definitely be recommended to others to read, and I intend to wear out my own copy, hopefully taking a longer time to better digest the material.
Posted in Book/product reviews, Classwork, Theology | Tagged Biblical counseling, character, Christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, church, counseling, God, j i packer, life, marriage, ministry, opinion, packer, parenting, philosophy, psychology, ramblings, random thoughts, rants, relationships, religion, reviews, spirituality, theology, training | Leave a Comment »