No, this is not a post on fitness. I just could not resist the lovely picture. And besides, the image is not totally disconnected from the content. As part of another conversation I posted yesterday that we are in need of a theology of the body. While this post will not go very far in advancing us toward that particular end, I have been thinking a lot about the idea in Scripture that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Probably most of us have heard of Jim Collins’ bestselling book from 2001, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t. It is an interesting and insightful book. If you have not read it I highly recommend it, irregardless of whether or not you work in the business field. But this is neither a plug for, nor a review of, that book. It is, as usual, a segue to some thoughts on spirituality.
1. the act of progressing; forward or onward movement.
2. a passing successively from one part of a series to the next; succession; sequence.
The path of the spiritual pilgrim is full of both ups and downs, glorious mountain tops and deadly valleys. At times we all experience joy unspeakable (cf. 1 Peter 1:8). But there are other times when, like Much Afraid in Hinds’ Feet on High Places, our constant companions are Sorrow and Suffering. The inexperienced pilgrim arrives at either one of these places and believes that it could be their final destination. However, with time all pilgrims learn that seasons come and go, and that the most important duty on both the mountain and in the valley is to not get so distracted by the surroundings that one ventures off the path.
"The fear of the Lord teaches wisdom, and humility precedes glory."
Emily recently wrote about Mary the mother of Jesus as a type of Christ carrier for all of us to model ourselves after. There are several Mary’s mentioned in the New Testament. Perhaps I am the only one that finds this peculiar. But there is Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:27); Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2); Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42); Mary the mother of James and John (Matthew 27:55-61); Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12); and Mary of Rome (Romans 16:6). That makes six altogether. The last three are only mentioned in passing, but the first three played very significant roles in the life and ministry of Jesus. Consider those three Mary’s and what they might teach us about our relationship with Christ.
As I have mentioned before, my Grandpa was a gregarious and boisterous coal-miner-turned-Pentecostal-preacher from the Appalachian mountains. There was nothing subtle about him. He would not hesitate to pray for someone in the middle of the grocery store, or any other public space, and he never heard of a prayer that was quiet and soft spoken. And if he started praying you could pretty much bet that he was going to speak in tongues, as well as let out at least one of his trademark high-pitched, Whoops! If you encountered a person in need, no matter the situation, there was really no hope that Grandpa would minister to that person subtly.
Prison is a lonely place to be. It is a place without hope. No hope of escaping those walls that men have built. Yet over time, one begins to depend on the very same walls he once despised. Believe it or not, this is true. With time walls are transformed into something they once were not, something you once would have never dreamed they could have become. And for those who have been there the longest, life outside those walls becomes a very scary thing.
It is mid-November as I write this and I am starting to feel the thrill of anticipation running through my veins even while my heart and my mind are keeping still. Christmas season is not here yet, but I am enjoying the wait…letting the energy build.
Parallel process is a clinical term used to describe the common occurrence in therapy when the therapist’s own experience is reflected in the client’s. It is when a client comes in grieving over the loss of a loved one while the therapist has only just experienced his or her own loss as well. It is a therapist helping a client through feelings of anger and hurt that the therapist has also just recently confronted.
Therapy is way more than a toolbox of intervention. Information alone cannot replace professional help. However, information can be very powerful. So, for what it’s worth to you, here is the weekly post offering a therapeutic idea, concept, or intervention that you can try out in your own life or relationships.
I met Mike Dyer eleven months ago, which begs the question, Why am I preaching his funeral? That is a question that I intend to answer. And in so doing I hope you will see and hear the message that God is speaking, because our relationship was ordained with a purpose. And I hope you’ll learn a few things about Mike along the way, too.
Sometimes I will use a temperament/personality assessment when I work with an individual or with a couple. The one I use is a very simple instrument that looks at things like depressed mood, anxiety, sympathy or care towards people, passivity and submissiveness or aggressiveness and competition. It looks at impulsivity, how outgoing the person is, as well as how affectionate or expressive. It is meant to be a snapshot of a person on a given day in time…not a means of diagnosis.
As I write we are on our way to the beach for our summer vacation, passing through Atlanta, specifically Marietta, and I am struck by a wave of memories.
I like positive people. Really, I do. I love how they push me to see the silver lining and keep me from slipping into the depths of despair. I love their smiley faces and perky steps. I love their eyebrows, simultaneously raised while nodding me on as I talk. I love them. I admire them. Sometimes I am one of them.
Today I bury my Grandma, Edna Eloise Stone. She would have soon turned 97. She lived a long and fruitful life, had 5 children, 13 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, hundreds of spiritual children and thousands of people who were touched by her life. She was strong to the end, and died peacefully in her sleep. In other words, there is nothing I can complain about. Who could write a better script?