Wednesday, January 31, 2007
He's fairly confused about his identity as a person, especially when it comes to religion. When I counsel people it always comes back to religion. Well, not religion. One's relationship with God, Higher Power, whatever. I say God.
The bottom line is, I believe that there is much healing and wholeness which comes with giving in to the great unknown. Releasing pain and trusting for wholeness goes a long, long way toward providing the resources for discipline and will. (That's way too packed an idea to unpack here.)
How do you get that message across? How do you convey the personal power gained through submission to the concept of an all-loving God? Or is it all a head game?
Sunday, January 28, 2007
yah, life with God can just plain suck at times, as this article by Carrie Antlfinger, published 1/28/07 in the Washington Times, suggests: Minister Who Lost 3 Sons Counsels Youth
I don't have any commentary on the "fairness" of what happened to the three dead sons.
Not supposed to re-print, and the link will likely not last, so here's a summary:
Who: The Rev. Leondis Fuller of
His response: Word of Hope Ministries, and in his work running an organization that helps young fathers on probation or parole find jobs and become better parents; also counsels drug and alcohol addicts at a local church and gives motivational speeches to prisoners and at-risk kids.
How he got there: A wake up call in 1990, when his stepson asked a drug dealer for $5. The reason, the boy said, was that it was the drug dealer who had Fuller's money. Fuller went clean, attended college, earned an associates, bachelor and master's degree and became an Baptist minister.
What he has to say about where he is today:
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The distinction I make between Old Law and New Law is taken from sermons and Bible StudiesI sat through back in the day ... i tried to listen carefully and eventually realized that they were spouting stuff they neither understood nor thought about.
Here's the deal:
God says "Yes, there is an Absolute Right and and Absolute Wrong. This is the Old Law. It is black and white. But, it's way too complex for humankind to administer.
"Therefore, I introduce to you the New Covenant, with its concepts of Justice and Mercy. This is to help you humans figure out how to let the judging up to Me. Your job is to recognize that while sin is black and white, circumstance and value and the complexity surrounding life exercises all kinds of mitigating factors.
"It's not your job, O puny human, to do my job.
"Your job is to acknowledge complexity and exercise compassion. I don't mean that you can't ever determine what is good and what is evil. I mean that if you spend your energy encouraging instead of judging, you'll be serving Me, the God of Love, a whole lot more effectively."
when the interviewer was told "two members treated for bi-polar disorder and one for depression, all three no longer under a doctor's care," she raised a skeptical eyebrow and asked if that decision was made by doctor or patient.
the interviewer was operating under the inaccurate paradigm that says some mental disorders are life-long and incurable. Treatable, but incurable.
The paradigm is wrong.
It's like saying that an alcoholic can never be near alcohol. But a "cured" alcoholic can deal with alcohol just fine. They simply don't drink it. They can buy it, store it and serve it—but they honor their body's response to alcohol by not drinking it.
Same with lots of mental illness: Medication can play a vitally important role in the return to mental health. Patients who assume no responsibility for wellness will likely be on medication for life. Patients who do the opposite can—and often do—return to a medication-free, wholesome, well-adjusted existence.
And now, science is gathering evidence to support that truth. That information oughta trickle down to the practioner level in...what? 25 years or so?
From the 1/14/07 online edition of the Washington Times (article by Betsy Hart) cut and paste below on this very topic:
Is happiness all in your head? No. But we may be able to influence our own happiness more than we, well, think.
I first came across the academic study of "happiness research" when reading "The Progress Paradox," a book by Gregg Easterbrook. The paradox, he writes, is that in the West we have ease of life, health, prosperity and leisure time unimaginable to previous generations. Yet our depression rate had gone up tenfold since the 1950s.
Yes, a good deal of this is due to better reporting, better recognition and less social stigma surrounding depression. But most experts believe there has been a significant rise in actual cases of depression during the last 50 years.
What's going on? Mr. Easterbrook looked at the work of Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the
who has pioneered the new interest in happiness research, in his 2003 book. He says Mr. Seligman believes that reasons for our rising depression rates include our country's rampant individualism (if our setbacks become all about us, they take on huge significance), an overemphasis on self-esteem (there must be something wrong with me if I'm not happy at this moment), the teaching of "victimology and helplessness," and runaway consumerism. Universityof Pennsylvania
Well, Mr. Seligman and colleagues were back in the New York Times magazine in a spread titled "Happiness 101," by D.T. Max, writing about the increased interest in positive psychology -- particularly in colleges.
Mr. Max describes research into the "hedonic treadmill," the situation in which feeling good only creates a hunger for more pleasure, whereas doing good, presumably then being "other" focused, is what can lead to lasting satisfaction. He recounts a class on positive psychology taught at
George Mason Universityin . The students were first asked to do something they themselves found pleasurable. Then they were asked to do "good." They gave blood, collected clothes for a woman's shelter and so on, and generally reported more long-term satisfaction with the latter actions. The professor went on to focus on gratitude and forgiveness, close relationships and love. Virginia
Such courses are replicated around the country. "Positive psychology brings the same attention to positive emotions (happiness, pleasure, well-being) that clinical psychology always has paid to negative ones (depression, anger, resentment)," wrote Mr. Max.
Can such an emphasis lead to more personal happiness? Certainly common sense, as well as the early research, seems to say "yes." Neuroscientist Jeffrey Schwartz shows in his 2002 book, "The Mind and the Brain," that while it's long been known that what we do can physically affect our brains, new research actually shows what we choose to think about can affect the physical wiring of our brains, too.
So, for instance, Mr. Schwartz found people who only thought about carefully playing a piece of music on the piano over time had the exact same physical changes in their brains, as measured by CT scans, as people who physically practiced the same piano piece over time. Mr. Schwartz determined with similar studies that we can sometimes choose to think differently about things, change the physical wiring of our brain and, in doing so create, a kind of "upward spiral" for ourselves.
None of this is to minimize the seriousness of depression, by the way, or to suggest there aren't real physical causes of it that often need to be addressed. But it does seem our creative human fullness may be more at play in determining our own happiness than we thought.
As the article in the Times suggested, the growing study of human happiness suggests it is appropriate for us to deliberately focus our thoughts on what broadens us, elevates us and connects us to others. And the result may be that focus helps bring us the greatest satisfaction and happiness.
But, is this really news? Almost 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote, as he instructed Christians to be joyful in all things, "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8.)
No wonder. Scripture also tells us there is nothing new under the sun.
Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting Our Kids -- and What to Do About It." WASHTIMES 1/14/07
said, you worry about that, i'll take care of my end. you can call it psychological if you'd like. maybe you'd even be right. who knows?
anyway, that was and is my miracle cure. my heart has resumed a steady, comfortable rhythm and i am back to running. not a lot. six miles a week isn't setting any records...but the bottom line is if you really want to stay well, reflect for a minute upon your own behaviors and attitudes. are you practicing the thoughts and behaviors that you hold when you are healthy?
and, if you have good insurance, be very wary of doctors who are oh-so-willing to treat the well- insured.