August 16

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Everybody loves a good story!  The teaching team at my church (The Fellowship at Two Rivers) is teaching the next series through the New Testament by telling the stories of the people.  We will very likely remember the stories and make the connection to our own lives.

So I’ll tell you a story of my latest trip to McKay’s Used Book Store.  I traded in some books and came back with some treasures.  One in the free bin caught my eye.  It was written by a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who contrasted the medical model of treating people with mental illness with what the author believes is the more accurate means—psychotherapy.  And why?  Because, he says, we are more than our brain—we are souls, souls in need of healing.  (E-mail me if you want the author’s name; I’m at poetryforthejourney@gmail.com.)

What do people need?  We need as infants to be nurtured and loved (I personally saw one precious little child in Haiti now receiving lots of love, but who cannot speak possibly because of just such a lack in infancy).  But we don’t stop needing love.  When we don’t get what we need, when we are hurt or neglected, we might survive physically but we carry around the wound.

Medicine can anesthetize a symptom but this author says to pay attention to our symptoms, they are trying to tell us something.  We are not physicians, but we as Christians are in the business of offering spiritual (or soul) healing.  How do we do this?  Well, one way I believe is simply to tell our stories.  I am starting to look at the senior members of my fellowship as treasuries of a lifetime of stories of God’s faithfulness.  Do you have a story?

August 12

PORN PROTECTION

As I walk on this journey to blogging, several things are clear so far.  First, all kinds of things can go wrong.  Second, few people are searching on my “key words” – such as healing, expressive writing, etc.  Third, I have learned by reading a blog from the Christians for Biblical Equality that if one types in “rape porn” on Google, one would find over one hundred million search results.  One hundred million rape videos on Google.  The author of CBE’s blog further stated:

“As I speak with churches, I find they are overwhelmed by the effects of porn on their congregations: sexualization of children, widespread addiction, abusive sexual practices, infidelity, broken marriages, intimacy problems, sexual violence, domestic violence, and trafficking.”

She further reported that it’s estimated that one-third of Christian men are so addicted.  It’s hard to know what to do with these facts.  I do know that the Holy Spirit notices and cares.  In one of my first sermons, as I was speaking my prepared message, the thought came into my mind, “pornography.”  I didn’t know what to do with this thought but realized later on that it did indeed come from God.  A man in church that day came to me afterwards and asked me to pray for him.  Later he admitted to me that he was addicted to porn over the internet.  Although he had asked for prayer, when I suggested he shut down the computer if necessary, he refused.

I’m not into preaching sermons any more, but I am into healing—the healing that comes from writing and the ultimate healing that only God can give.  There is forgiveness and healing and freedom when we honestly want to turn away from our sin.  Paul, in speaking to Christians said, “For we must never forget that [God] rescued us from the power of darkness….[therefore] have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty-mindedness, uncontrolled passions, evil desire…”  (Paul’s letter to the Colossians.)

There is no way to be rescued except to reach out to the one holding out His hand.  I’ve had a time or two when I had to fall on my face before God and I can tell you that He is a good, good God and He will receive you with open arms.

July 31

ANGRY AT GOD? AT CHURCH MEMBERS? LET’S TALK.

From the outset, I have been aware that of the occasional visitors to my blog there are two general camps.  One is the person with a strong faith in Christ, walking the walk and convinced that God is real and alive and present in their lives.  The other is the person, often a professional man or woman, who somewhere in their past may have heard the Gospel message but for some reason they have walked away.  I wonder if we could get a conversation going.  Believer, if you would be willing, tell us how you found faith and why you stay.  Or if you have been disillusioned or disappointed by someone in the church, and have walked away, talk about it.  Let this be a safe place to share.  After all, what topic could be more urgent?   Those people who are in the field of biblio-poetry therapy know how healing this kind of conversation can be.  Come sit down, make yourself a cup ‘a tea and let’s talk.  Just comment where you see that option below.

October 20

Ultimate Healing–Go After It With All Your Heart

The poems people have enjoyed the most in our “Poetry for the Journey” classes are the ones that are entertaining but have a line or two that really speaks to the heart.  Recently we looked at “Advice to Myself” by Louise Erdrich.  I love this poem.  Erdrich advises herself (and us) to “let pink mold collect in the refrigerator,” i.e. let anything go that gets in the way of — and here is the “zinger” — in the way of our pursuing what is authentic.   She says that (of course) we need to decide first what is authentic.  Oh, my.  In biblio-poetry therapy, the goal is healing.   For me personally, there is an ultimate healing and it is when the creature (man or woman) finds herself face to face with her Creator, and knows that he (she)  is loved.  The way to recognize that love is not to earn it or work for it but to accept the Creator’s offer.  The truth is, if we don’t come to terms with a Cross, we keep stumbling (and needing healing).  Once on the other side of the Cross of Jesus Christ, sometimes we do also stumble or fail or suffer, but we know whose we are.  Then other kinds of healing go into the soul quicker and deeper.  After all, who but the Creator has given the gifts of music, art and poetry? I for one am thankful for all the gifts of my Father, and I hope to share them for the rest of my (authentic) life.