A gal sent out this little tweet and made me laugh! It said, “I’ve heard lots of pastors ask how their churches can best serve their single people. And honestly, just stop sending men to seminary and send them to therapy instead.”
If that offends you, well you could always say, “send all the women to therapy,” or whatever. The point here is, what does “therapy” represent? It represents mental well being, self awareness, emotional maturity, and healthy relationship skills. “Therapy” doesn’t always deliver that, nor is it necessarily the best vehicle for producing those fruits, but that is the idea behind it.
The problem being “religion,” seminary, even bible studies, so much of our bureaucratic faith structure, has more to do with the intellectual, rather then the spiritual and emotional. It is “book learning” rather then experiential, applied spiritual wisdom. It’s kind of like high school algebra, 75% of us have no idea how it will even apply to the real world and will never use it anyway.
You can take a real creeper and send them to seminary and all you’ve done is leveled up their creepiness. The same is true of psychology, of therapy. CS Lewis once said, “Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” Ain’t that the truth! Nothing quite like believing your own brokenness is now God endorsed and your mandate is to go forth and inflict your wounding onto others.
My lament today is that, it should not be. That little gal’s tweet should not resonate so loudly, there should not be this vast chasm between “seminary” and “therapy,” between our faith and our emotional well being, relationship skills, personally applied spiritual wisdom.
I realize I am mostly just spitting in the wind here, trying to grasp oil in my right hand, but we still need a dream, a vision, an ideal. We need to understand that Jesus is often called The Great Physician because He can heal what is within us, because the fruits of His Spirit ARE relationship skills, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
She is NOT lamenting, So, you know what’s wrong with Christian guys, they just have too much joy, kindness, peace, and love going on…..
Which brings me to the idea of community, of relational intimacy with one another. That can be really hard, I mean my own spirit just goes, community?! Oh, uhg, that involves people. If it’s related to people it’s sure to give you trouble.
I truly wish to just retire to a remote lighthouse somewhere…… or make myself very small and crawl into a drum. However, I happen to know there is huge value in community, that we need connection and intimacy, that isolation is a very real and present danger. Also, our own relationship with our heavenly Father is shaped, influenced, and learned, through our healthy relationships with other people.
It’s a huge struggle, there is tremendous grace and mercy it is just that applied spiritual wisdom produces fruits, fruits that help us to create community, and connection and relationship then becomes a powerful vehicle for healing and thriving.
I live in an area where a real dominant theme is loneliness, isolation, separation, relationship fractures, addiction, suicide, and that’s just the church. Hear me here, that’s “the church.” She needs a spiritual facelift, an emotional make over. Thems some tough words, they don’t make me real popular, most people just want to hear, “we’re fine, we’re doing pretty good.”
In the second most secular county in the nation, just plagued by addiction, relationship fractures, overdoses, and people sleeping out in the woods, we could do a whole, whole lot, better.
We WILL do a whole, whole lot better. I’m going to just insist upon it and it is going to happen, because God said. From here in the middle of nowhere, we will be lifting His name on high, and we will be leading the whole darn church to revival, to restoration as the Bride she is intended to be. It’s a done deal.