I'm at a School of Spiritual Direction run by Larry Crabb (hence blog inactivity). Lapping it up. Go here for some lengthy and scattered thoughts about his approach to pastoral counselling.
Anyway here are some random notes taken during the teaching sessions. They may resonate with you - they certainly do with me...
Notes - part one
We have a core terror
Unmet desires become demands. Such desires fully faced become a crossroads.
Struggle awakens hope that empowers love (Col 1:4-5)
Or we yield to a spirit of entitlement. Demands! Now!
We live between two epiphanies - Tit 2:11,13 - first appearing: grace; second appearing: glory.
Am I looking for an experience of fullness or for Christ?
What's wrong with me?
- we've made our wounds more important than our sins.
- we have a passionate attachment to the wrong thing.
If u think yr prob is PAIN - all u'll see is RELIEF
If u know yr prob is SIN - You'll seek forgiveness/redemption
- Hos 7:13-14
That's true BROKENESS
All of life is repentance.
People don't have problems to fix - they have journeys to enter
We should always feel out of our depth
We really need a vision for the person
"I've been a psychologist for 40 years, and a good one, but I've never cured anyone."
Is it only sufferings that move you to maturity? No both sufferings and blessings will, if rightly received, chip away at our entitlement spirit. This is what fuels our clenched fist. Both miraculous catches of fish (Luke 5 and John 21) caused repentance! They both undercut merit-thinking. What we really need is a gracious, receiving spirit. Blessings and sufferings both can do a wonderful job of this.
Our problems are not understandable defensive reflexes but sinful responses that need confrontation and forgiveness.
Don't rearrange the flesh, don't socialize the flesh, release the Spirit.
When u say sin is at heart of problems ur not blaming the victim. In fact the victim blames themselves because of the flesh! They want to be in control.
If Jesus was abused He would have handled it differently to the way our flesh dynamics respond to pain. Is it wrong to be a victim? No. But our flesh handles that pain in all sorts of wicked ways.
Larry said, "What I was saying to my wife as I made my vows is 'I've been dating u 4 a long time, u make me feel nice, ur pretty, u look at me w appreciation, u want to be w me. Let's enter a contract whereby u'll keep me feeling this way for life.' My wife said, 'You don't know but I was abused, but I'm ok now, I'm pretty & personable, u've never violated me, I feel safe w u. I like it. Let's enter a contract...'" What were we entering into? Mutual manipulation
A picture of marriage: Two ticks and a dog. Problem is, most marriages are two ticks & no dog!
Incarnation - He's with us
Subsitutionary atonement - He's for us
Res/Ascension - He's with us
We don't dispense spiritual disciplines like a pharmacist dispenses pills.
'If you want your own way you will have it. Hell is the enjoyment of your own way forever.' Dorothy Sayers
Hell is the suffering of being unable to love.' Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamazov'
If you just try to untangle the past you get lost. You have to aim for the future. If you go into the past it's only to reorient you because you've gone off course. The goal is the future, not rearranging the flesh for the present.
Somewhere in your soul is a kidney stone. And when you feel kidney stone pain u don't care about blessing others.
[ My thought] Our hope is not our redeeming features, our hope is our Redeemer. But through Him we have some redeemed features - not fully, but noticibly redeemed features. The Scriptures call this the new heart. And it's ok to encourage our brothers and sisters about these redeemed features! In fact the Lord has put them there to be developed, built upon etc...
If u only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
If yr only tool is proof texts, exhortation, and accountability - u will treat people utterly simplistically. You'll bash them.
You get simplicity on the far side of complexity. Don't settle for premature clarity.
If I haven't found a problem in you for which Christ is essential - I haven't found your real problems.
The blood of God had to be shed for the rapist's sins and for mine. It's not that he needs the cross and I need a bible study! But if that's the case then I won't be scared off by the most depraved of behaviours and I'll never settle for 'good enough Christianity.'
I have a problem with the professionalization of talking. That's what's happened with the profession of counselling. As though you need to master a body of knowledge before you can have conversations that matter.
Who is God? Fundamentally He is trinity. What is His nature? Answer - to give what is completely Himself for the Other. To pour all of Himself for the sake of the Other.
Until you relate in a way that requires grace you're not really relating
- most relating depends on civility or self-protection.
Can we stand on Christ with all our weight? Our self-protective styles of relating show we don't really think so.
We're not going to bring all of us to stand on all of Him until we face our core terror.
The issue is not to heal our memories but to uderstand what's going on in me now.
Col 3:1-5 - you can't put to death what you don't see.
Hearts are deceitful. We're blind. We're stubborn
We've got to see what's behind our styles of relating. What am I scared of?
Matt 21 - Jesus reached through the fig leaves and was angry to find no fruit. Fig leaves and no fruit describes the majority of Christianity today.
Are we community of pretenders or the community of the broken?
Jesus doesn't want pretenders.
Augustine has a parable about first things and second things. Imagine God said 'Make a list of everything u want. Write it out, take your time.' Then God says 'I'll give u all of it on one condition - that you never see my face.' Your horror at that prospect is your love for God.