A Global Anglican Future Conference is planned for June 2008. The aim of the Conference is to discuss the future of mission and relationships within the churches of Anglican Communion. The Conference will be chaired by Archbishop Peter Jensen. In a message to his people, he explains why the meeting is necessary. As some of you who read this blog have probably guessed, I am among those former Episcopal priests who found it necessary to realign myself with the main body of the church. One of the statements that Archbishop Jensen made in his communication really weighs heavy on me:
“The American actions. . . . impacted churches all around the world. In particular the churches of the Global South had to own the name ‘Anglican’ while living in societies where the actions of the Americans was condemned by all, especially Muslims. The action of some North Americans severely hurt the witness of these churches. It also hindered the good effect that membership of the Anglican Communion has for those who live in a situation where Christians are in a minority.”
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
There is Christianity lite and there is Christianity heavy. Christianity lite is “loving our neighbor” and the story of the Good Samaritan. Christianity heavy on the other hand is distilled in Martin Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” It goes like this: (I suggest you study each phrase carefully.)
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
During the current run for presidency, most of the candidates have felt called on to give a statement of their faith, and those who did, treated us to Christianity lite. During the You Tube debate, even the minister Huckabee described his belief as “Loving your neighbor” and “Except you do this unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me.”
If that is the sum of being Christian, then who needs a major revelation from the Creator of the Universe to tell us that? Most world systems from Communism, Atheism, Islam etc. have their systems of helping their neighbors. Loving your neighbor is what the secular mind believes religion to be all about and is the type of doctrine a secular mind would develop should a person be so disposed to make up his or her own religion.
We live in a very dangerous and evil world. Christianity lite does not give us an explanation of evil. With Christianity lite, politicians can end up looking for only psychologically understandable sources of evil and consequently psychological remedies such as: People in the ghettos are violent because they are physically or psychologically deprived. People in the Middle East attack us because they feel under cultural threat from us. People throughout the underdeveloped world butcher each other because they are exploited. If we would only love our neighbors, meet their needs, reduce their frustrations, we could have peace on earth.
Naive explanations lead to naive solutions. Naivete regarding evil leaves people exposed to evil. Posted by the Rev. Don Clark, Ed.D.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Just finished listening this morning to the TV preacher John Hagee. He was describing the Father’s last minute instructions to His son before He would be born on earth. He was to be born in a manger so He could understand human poverty. He would be kicked around a lot so He could understand human suffering. And, He would be a small business carpenter so He would know what it was like to live under a tax and spend government.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Fifty two years ago, in the movie “A Man Called Peter,” the Rev. Peter Marshall said to his wife: “Katherine, the Lord puts a desire in our hearts and then he fulfils it.” I paid attention to what he said, and God has done exactly that for me all my life. I was accepted into all the graduate programs I had desired, all the churches in which I desired to be their pastor, the clinical programs I wanted, and the exact university I wanted to teach in. I was selected for the Peace Corps. I met and married the perfect wife after only two dates and after seeing her in a dream. All the opportunities seemed impossible at first and all supernatural when they happened.
I decided to write this post today because I realize that after all these years, God changed the rules. Five years ago, as I was retiring from both the university and from the church, people were asking me, “Now what?” And for the first time in my life, I did not know. However, life happened: One day my wife said, “Look what I found in the paper, they are starting the first Tai Chi classes for seniors at the Senior Center.” So off I went, hardly knowing what Tai Chi was.
The next important chapter post-retirement, was attending a conference at Morningstar Ministries on learning to use the new media in spreading the Gospel. The folks from Charisma Magazine taught us about blogging. I had never heard of blogging. I came home and started my first Christian blog. In a short while, my local Republican party heard about my blogging and said, “Hey, we need you to blog to counteract the very active local blog on the Left. So, I started political blogging.
As always a very active person, it would be hard to admit that I was aging. As I look back now, I can see how, without me being aware, the Lord was fixing it so I did not have to deal with limitations. He knew I had to stop the pounding of my 10 K races. So, he dangled in front of me something I had hardly heard of, Tai Chi–the perfect exercise for one as they age. Secondly, He knew it was stressful to be supply preaching all over the place, so he slipped me into a ministry from my easy chair–blogging. He knew it was getting harder to handle all my volunteer work, traveling all over, so he gave me a community action work to do while settled in my warm, cozy home. Not one of these activities had I known about before so that I could desire them. God is so good!!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The diversity police want us to stop saying Merry Christmas at this time of the year, substituting instead Happy Holidays or the like. For centuries in our country, this season of the year has been to celebrate the night the Creator of the Entire Universe visited his creation!!
Now we are being asked to make room for other Holy Days as follows:
Chanukah the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days.
The Bodhi Day signifies the day when Lord Buddha achieved ‘Bodhi’ (Release From The Bodily Imprisonment). It was the day, when He attained “Enlightenment.
Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday bringing a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.
Eid al-Adha is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide as a commemoration of Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael for Allah. It does not always fall in this season.
As the kids like to exclaim: “Big Whoo!”
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
For those puzzled over the meltdown of the Episcopal Church, I ran across this quote: “The Church must be taken back from the shallow ephemeral wedding of Church to current culture and morality measured by social acceptability. Or as G.K. Chesterton would say, “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Episcopal Church in America has split. Following is an op-ed piece I ran across which goes straight to the heart of the cause of the split. Some of you may not even care one way or another, but for those of us who went through the split, it has been painful. The op-ed piece: “This is what it comes down to: Conservatives vs. liberals, constructionists vs. activists. You want to know how this argument is going to end? Look at the personalities of those involved in the decision-making, look at how they apply their personal overarching views and you, too, can play prognosticator.
That’s how it works when you are trying to discern how the U.S. Supreme Court, which began its 2007-08 term last week, will rule on the myriad cases before it. Will the conservative constructionists, who believe that the Founding Fathers actually were pretty clear in their intent and that that intent hasn’t changed over the years, form the majority?
Or will the liberal activists, who believe the Founding Fathers always meant for the Constitution to be interpreted in the context of the current times, be the deciding factor in cases this year?
Take away the discussion about the Supreme Court, insert the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and you could be having the same discussion.
The Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch, is divided in the same way between conservative constructionists and liberal activists. The former believe that the Scriptures are plainly written, can be plainly interpreted and that the meaning has not changed over time.
The latter believe the Scriptures are to be understood both in the context in which they were written and the context in which the believers now live, and that their meaning does change with the times. The former believe that culture cannot and should not influence interpretation. The latter believe that culture always influences interpretation.”
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The Left wing media are now after another Conservative. This time it is the outspoken Conservative, Ann Coulter. The latest furor erupted over an exchange Coulter had Monday with CNBC host Donny Deutsch on his show, "The Big Idea," during which she said the country would be better off if everyone were Christian. When Deutsch -- who is Jewish -- asked if she wanted to get rid of Judaism, Coulter responded, "We just want Jews to be perfected."
Some Jews are outraged and are calling for Ann’s head. The picture that immediately came to my mind was St.Paul standing before King Agrippa. Agrippa said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” And Paul replied, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.”
There was neither prejudice nor superiority in Paul’s profession. Paul just wished for King Agrippa, all the blessings of recognizing the king’s own Messiah. Can’t you just imagine the trouble for Paul today if he suggested something like that?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The following comes from my political blog
Is George Bush a modern day prophet? Because the story of the prophet Jonah is quoted by Jews for Yom Kipper this week, two editorial writers, Michael Oren and Mark Gerson, were inspired to editorialize in the Wall Street Journal regarding the plight of prophets.
Ordered by God to go down and call the people of Ninevah to repentance in order to escape destruction, Jonah found himself in a Catch 22. He realized if the people of Ninevah listened to him, destruction would not come. Then when nothing happened, they would be furious at him for making them give up their good times for no reason. On the other hand, if he did not go and they were destroyed, he would have to live with that. So Jonah cut and ran. Forced later to prophesy anyway to the people, everything happened like he expected. The people were angry with him.
The writers then give modern examples of Jonah’s dilemma. Churchill predicted that a rising Germany was a threat. But, if he pre-emptively attacked, would people thank him for averting World War II or accuse him of unnecessarily starting it. Truman prophesied that Japan would never surrender and that a quarter million Gis would die taking the mainland. He dropped the bombs, ending the war. Then he faced the judgement of historians who claimed it was unnecessary. God alone knows if those two made the right decisions and He is not telling us.
Which leads to George Bush. He prophesied that Islamic fascists would get weapons of mass destruction. He took the battle to them. Has that action kept the jihadists off balance for these past five years of no attacks on our homeland, or caused the problem, as some charge? Only God knows. We can never know.
The next president also has to be a prophet. Should we nuke the rogue nations before they use theirs and risk accusations of provoking Armageddon? Or, do we wait and see what happens? No wonder Jonah tried to high tail it out of town. Why does anyone want to be a leader?
Posted from the WSJ 9/21/07
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The other day, someone reading my blog was upset about what I had written on prayer. She had lost her son and she was the type who would take what I said and blame herself for her failed prayer. Once again, I became aware of how difficult it is to teach on the prayer of faith. I asked God to help me answer her pain, but I had to admit to her that He gave me no response.
If you include Jesus commanding sicknesses away as His type of praying, none of His prayers for healing went unanswered. If you omit one prayer of Paul’s, I don’t think there are any instances of prayers in the New Testament not being answered. (As to Paul’s prayer about his thorn in the flesh, I am among those who thinks his thorn was the persecution he suffered. I know other’s think it was an illness, however his statements are ambiguous at best). Therefore, if I tried to explain a failed prayer, I would have to go outside the New Testament to make up an explanation. There are no examples to point to.
So, I fell back on a story. When I first started learning to pray for healing, God put me together with three of His experienced prophets–all itinerant mountain preachers/prophets. They invited me to their regular prayer meetings.
Shortly after beginning with them, I read an article in Charisma Magazine by the Rev. Jerry Falwell in which he was outlining reasons why sometimes God did not heal. The article irritated me and I wrote a letter in which I said the following: “Babe Ruth was known as the home run king but he was also known as the strike out king. When I pray for healing, I would rather go for a home run every time. Even if in doing so I would sometimes strike out, I still would rather go down swinging.”
Charisma published my letter, and the night it arrived was a prayer night. Arriving a little late, one of the prophets entered the room saying, “Don I had a vision about you. It was strange. I saw you in a baseball cap and God said to tell you that you would not strike out.”
With no experience of prophecy that on target, I went ballistic. I accused all three of them of conspiring together in order to sell me on prophecy and I did not think that was funny. However, in a few moments, experienced psychologist that I am, I could see total confusion written on every face.
Not one person in that room knew what I was talking about! The poor young man who had given the prophesy had never even heard of Charisma Magazine! I spent a lot of the next hour apologizing and asking for forgiveness for my false accusations. (In atonement, I later bought the prophet a year's subscription to Charisma.)
When one of the presidential candidates was asked recently if he would be willing to be a vice-president, he indignantly responded that you don’t run for president thinking about being vice-president. No, and you can’t hit for the bleachers already making up your excuses as to why you might strike out. You can’t pray the prayer of faith if you are thinking of what you will tell yourself if you fail. Like Paul, I have to be true to the heavenly vision given me.
Unfortunately, in our Christian walk we have to become grownups. If we have a failed prayer, we can not look to the New Testament for our explanation. The only thing we can do when we fail is dust ourselves off, pick up another bat and practice, practice, practice.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
ChristiaNet.com, the world's largest Christian Portal with twelve million monthly page loads, recently asked, "Is it Biblical for Christians to speak in tongues today?" ChristiaNet's president. 5,000 Christians responded to the question of using the gift of tongues in today's times and 71% said "Yes."
Read the rest
I was riding in a truck the other day. The owner had two well-behaved boxer dogs in the back seat. However, the moment the owner left the truck to buy something, I was set upon by these two giant dogs. They licked me. They nibbled me. They slobbered all over my head, shoulders and arms. One jumped in my lap, licking me in the face; the other on my back nibbling the top of my head. It was hilarious. It reminded me of the commercial in which puppies are giving all this love to a little boy and he is giggling with delight. I was doing the same. Never had I experienced such total demonstration of affection!!
I have written on this subject before of our animals’ devotion to us as model for our love for God. That experience in the truck drove the message deeper. The first commandment–Love the Lord thy God with everything in you. I could just hear the Lord saying: “Donald, I sent you these devoted creatures for you to model how I want to be loved–with everything that is in you.”
I still say, if God enjoys being loved on half as much as I did that day in the truck, I can understand why He created us.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Interesting new thought on Sunday talk show regarding choices for Social Conservatives/Christian Right. Because of his success with crime in the Big City, and because of his cool headedness after 9/11, many Republicans believe that Giuliani has the best track record to protect us from our enemies. The observer said the question was whether Social Conservatives would be willing to make the trade off of their regular issues of abortion and traditional marriage on the one hand, for the struggle against the threat from a fast growing world-wide anti-Christian movement on the other hand.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Our teacher at church Friday night hit another home run. I will give my interpretation of what he said and I will go over the top a little. Anyway, as he talked the picture coming to me was of Jesus doing back flips and shouting “We did it! We did it! Father!!
Jesus sent the seventy disciples out two by two. (Luk 10:1) He gave them similar instructions that he had given the twelve disciples earlier. That earlier time, he told his disciples to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils (Mat 10:8). And, declare “the reign of Heaven has arrived.” (Phillips translation)
Scripture then records that the seventy returned with joy, saying Lord, “even the devils are subject unto us in your name!”
It was at this point I envisioned Jesus doing hand springs. Luk 21 records that Jesus was rejoicing in His spirit and was thanking the Father, the Lord of heaven and earth. Jesus was also shouting, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven!”
This is what I was hearing. The disciples were now establishing the sovereignty of God over the sovereignty of Satan. I see Jesus shouting, Father, we did it! They are doing what you sent me to show them and they did it! We did it! We are now on our way and nothing can stop us! We can leave it in their hands finally!
Of course at that point, he revealed to the disciples that now they were winning, get ready for everything to hit the fan; which of course it did. (Mat 10:15 ff)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Following CNN’s Christiane Amanpour’ series on God’s Warriors this week, I sent her the e-mail below. The program was well worth watching. She describes how the members of the three major religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are reacting to the perceived threats of encroaching secularism as well as from each other. She called the responders God’s Warriors. I hope a lot of people saw it, or will see it in the reruns. However, because it was a secular program, I was not surprised that all the weapons of warfare of all three groups were only understood through a secular lens. As a Christian, I was concerned that portraying only the secular approaches of Christianity, she made us appear as equivalent to the Taliban.
After the series, I sent Mrs. Amanpour the following e-mail.
That was a great piece of work! The young people of Islam were scary. There is one group of Christians however, that you missed who theoretically will be their match. If you had searched a little more, you would have discovered a substantial number of Christian God’s Warriors who approach the battle differently than those you interviewed. If you are planning to continue your study, I would point you to ministries such as Morningstar Ministries of the Rev. Rick Joyner. The Rev. Joyner has taken over Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s PTL buildings and property. His young people go through an entirely different boot camp from what you described and they take it to the streets. You will also discover that he probably represents the real cutting edge of modern Christianity in the world. So, you may have totally missed the big story as far as Christianity is concerned.
This group of God’s Warriors believes that the cultural and religious war has to be fought not on this plane, but on another plane of reality. St. Paul in the book of Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way: “For ours is no struggle against enemies of flesh and blood but against all the various Powers of Evil that holds sway in the Darkness around us.” And again in 1 Cor. 10:4 “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” In other words, the battle against secularism as well as the battle against radical Islam is to be fought not against an earthly enemy but against the spiritual forces that are behind that enemy and that energizes it. This approach is much closer to New Testament Christianity than any you described.
Thanks again for your contribution.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today on her program, Patricia King had Mary Goddard whom Patricia credits as being the person who mentored, raised-up, and released her into the ministry. When Mary Goddard related the story of her own start, she included a familiar story.
She described how she was in a small women’s fellowship. One of the women began to demonstrate exceptional spiritual gifts. She frightened the other women. Some even wondered if she might be a witch. However, one day the lady lead a hardened sinner to Jesus with a radical change of his behavior. That got the other women’s attention including Mary’s.
I wondered how many women do you suppose started their ministry by being a part of some small female study group, discovered the Holy Spirt, and suffered persecution?
At my university graduate school, we were encouraged to not study why people became psychologically ill, but rather to study those people who manifested exceptional abilities. So, observing the exceptionality of those receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I did what I was trained to do. I took my tape recorder and traveled through several states interviewing them.
After listening to Mary Goddard, I went back through my taped notes. I found the story of Sharon. Sharon and her husband were a ministry team. Her husband would sometimes run up on the stage when others were ministering and get outrageous. Reluctantly shy Sharon ran after him interpreting, making all the bizarre sounds and gyrations, he would make, and the crowd would go wild. Sharon was impressive.
I asked: Sharon, do you remember when you first started? Yes, I was in a Southern Baptist Church and there was a group of females we called 007 secret agents. Even at that time I had discernment enough to know that if I wanted an answer to a spiritual problem, I bypassed my pastor and went to them.
Were they Holy Spirit filled and speaking in tongues Baptists?
Yes, but it was as though the Holy Spirit wooed the people to that group and people who would be unnerved did not show up. There were other women’s groups in the church, but I could see something was going on there. One day, the pastor let a Charismatic Bible teacher instruct us if she promised not to mention the Baptism. But she invited me to her home and I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. After that, I too became a teacher.
Another person, Jane, got my attention because every time I was with her and she would start teaching in her small fellowship, people literally seemed to stop breathing in order not to miss a word. I thought that must be like it was around Jesus. I know I felt that way. I taped her interview.
Jane told a similar story to Sharon. She was in a small women’s Southern Baptist fellowship. Early in her life, she discovered she knew things about people that she could not have known by ordinary ways. After she received a real outpouring of the Holy Spirit in her life, the women in her group asked her to teach. The little fellowship grew quickly from a few people to a point where the room would not hold them anymore.
Needless to say, when the pastor realized she was teaching by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, she received the “left foot of fellowship.” Like the woman in Mary Goddard’s group, the pastor thought she had to be a witch.
Over the years, I have also met women who are now practicing metaphysicians. Early in their lives, they had profound spiritual sensitivities. They were cruelly treated in their churches, so took a different spiritual path than the Christian women I interviewed.
Two thoughts I have always pondered: How many small groups of women are out there as 007's manifesting the gifts of the Spirit, but either having to do it secretly, or undergo attacks, or be driven away? Secondly, how many of the metaphysicians out there might have stayed on and grown in the work of the Holy Spirit if only their supposed shepherds had not been so spiritually underdeveloped?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
These results of a survey on speaking in tongues are revealing. It is also sad because of all that people are missing in their walk with the Holy Spirit. Being a Christian and never discovering speaking in tongues is like being married and never discovering sex goes with it.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Our teacher taught a timely message for me this week. To His disciples, Jesus laid out the outline for their ministry in Matthew 10. I think if I had been there and He had said, “I am giving you power over unclean spirits and you will heal the sick,” I would have jumped up and down shouting “hot diggity dog!”.
But then He said, “that’s the good news.” “And the bad news, Lord?” “Oh that,” the Lord would answer. "Well there is this little matter that they will deliver you up to councils and they will scourge you and you will be a lamb among wolves.”
The pastor pointed out though, that that model of ministry, was exactly how it went with Jesus Himself–cast out demons, heal the sick and get lynched. Because that is the pattern, along with this is the realization that as we follow in His footsteps, the rougher it gets, the more we know we are in His presence.
There was also some small print in the contract. He said to be as wise as a serpent, and as harmless as doves.
The reason this sermon was important to me was what was going on at that moment in my life. I have created a politically conservative blog for local Conservatives. My best friend was concerned that getting into the political arena cannot only put me among wolves but also turn me into one.
Sure enough that is exactly what happened. For several weeks I had fun. Then the night before church, the left wing bloggers in town discovered me. They attacked, including having my blog temporarily shut down. Because they were people I knew and who knew me, storms of emotions were unleashed in me--hurt, rage and desire for revenge.
Then at church, I had to ask myself, how much of this did I ask for, and how much was unfair? “Harmless as a dove” jumped out at me and I spent the time during the sermon going over every attack article I had written and repenting where needed. I came away refreshed and full of the goodness of the Lord. In the future, I promise to try to be both as harmless as a dove, but not giving up “wise as a serpent.”
I do believe the 2008 election is pivotal for Christians as well as for Israel and worth getting involved.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
A ministry that is powerfully annointed by God is that of Patricia King. Amazing supernatural manifestations occur in her services. She is careful to always point what is taking place to Jesus. He gets the glory.
Over the past year, like all supernatural ministries, she has come under attack. Contacting her partners, she finally responded to each accusation. You can hear her defense on Extreme Prophetic with Patricia King. However, you have to first register on her webpage. Then click on “Watch Extreme Prophetic TV Now!”. Then go to "Extreme Moments" and click on the appropriate icon “Patricia King - Controversy.”
As she points out, every time God does a new thing, those who have settled into what meant a great deal to them, become uncomfortable and lash out. The test of any move of God is, does it lead people into a deeper relationship with Jesus?. One thing I know for certain is, people who become obsessed with attacking other ministries are not leading people deeper with our Lord.
Anyway, I sat down and wrote Patricia King the following e-mail
Dear Ms. King.
I watched your clip telling us about the lies being circulated about your ministry. I watched it all experiencing deep empathy and sorrow. I am a Board Certified Psychologist, an Anglican priest, a former Baptist minister, a retired university professor and a lifetime friend of the Rev. Charles Osborne. It was Father Osborne who turned me on to you
Spending my adult life doing psychotherapy tenderized me to psychological suffering. So I probably experienced more pain for you than you feel yourself. Anyway, I did go into intercessory prayer.
I know you realize that what is happening to you in these attacks goes with the territory. My son is a successful Rhema pastor, and no one suffered more attacks than his teacher, Kenneth Hagin. As you know, Hagin was called everything from new agey to heretic. Right now, I attend a Morningstar fellowship, and when I first heard of Rick Joyner and Googgled him, I knew he had to be on to something, as all I saw was him being accused of everything short of murder.
I know you had to let us who love your ministry know what was going on, but you have done it. As a minister and psychologist with over 45 years of experience behind me, I do hope you will take Jesus’ advice and now just shake the dust of your sandals off as a testimony against them.
Over the years watching Kenneth Hagin and Rick Joyner, I have never heard them waste a minute on their detractors. Please save your energy for your work.
“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (Neh 6:3 )
Sunday, July 8, 2007
In the August edition of Elijah Rain, C. Peter Wagner had some sharp insights into the Iraq situation. Summarizing of his article, he first acknowledges that obviously Saddam Hussein was a genuine threat and had to go. Then he asserts though, that the design for the rebuilding was flawed from the beginning. He continues, with four questionable assumptions.
The first questionable assumption was that a people who had lived a long time under oppression could quickly embrace Jeffersonian democracy. The second questionable assumption was that Iraq really is one unified nation. Third, that free elections would work, when they obviously would produce a Shiite majority with past grievances against the long reigning Sunnis.
The fourth questionable assumption is that Allah is just another name for the true God. Wagner writes, “The reality is that Allah is a high-ranking demonic spirit who has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy.” If one makes that assumption, then the worship of it grants it to have authority over that part of the planet.
Therefore, we have dropped our young men and women into very unsafe spiritual territory. Thus, there is the need for serious intercessory protection around them in the spiritual realm. The article can be obtained from Elijah List.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Just returned from a week at Tai Chi camp. There is something about Tai Chi students that connects them to Liberalism, so there is a lot of friendly banter with me because I am the only Conservative in the group.
One morning, as I was listening to our teacher tell us the importance of keeping the study pure as it was handed down through tradition, the thought came to me: “My fellow Tai Chiers are actually all Conservatives.” Most of them teach Tai Chi, and they would not dare tamper with the traditional ways passed on to them. None of them think they are smarter than their great teachers of old and should be free to fiddle with the accepted ways.
Thus, they are all conserving and protecting that which was handed down to them through antiquity. That is what Conservatives do.
I kept my thoughts to myself because we were at camp to learn the ways of our forefathers, not to get into political haggles. That would have spoiled the comradery.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
I had hoped to make my blog mostly about spiritual matters, however this political scene is getting so exciting, I can't stay out of it. I will have to apologize to any readers on the Left, but I just came back from being a delegate to our state GOP Party Convention. Going to a convention is like going to a revival meeting. I came home so pumped that I have been using my writing energy to fire off Letters to the Editors of my local papers. So far, they have been publishing them although like so much of the media, they lean left. I know my letters must pain them. Here is one of them:
BUT WHERE DO WE GO?
As conservatives and libertarians, for the sake of truth in advertising, suppose we grant that we are not comfortable with the war in Iraq. We can even tell ourselves that when we voted for George Bush, he promised he would not get into nation building. We may even confess our uneasiness of having to support him, not because we now believe his mission of creating a democracy is doable in this sick part of the world, but because he is our man and we must stick by him.
We have not been attacked in five years. Now where do we go? We do have an enemy. They speak clearly that they intend to either convert us or if unable, then to kill us. What part of those words are hard to understand? The desire to conquer us did not start yesterday. Historians say conquering may have been in some people’s minds and pursued off and on since 630 A.D. What makes today different, is that some of the worst of this group now have the weapons, the money, the communication abilities, the leadership, the expertise, and the will, to be serious. They also sense a spiritual vacuum in our part of the world.
In front of this peril, those against our president appear clueless. Instead of telling us how they plan to protect us, each candidate scrambles over top of the other trying to convince the base that he or she can hide deeper under the bed than the other guy. That is scary.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
When I would come home on furlough, I would always visit my grandmother who helped raise me. Loving to test her extra ordinary abilities, I would never let her know I was coming. Every time, as I sneaked in the door (those days, people left their doors unlocked), her familiar voice would ring out “Donald, is that you?”
Because my grandmother’s paranormal abilities were so amazing, no one should be surprised that when I became a psychologist, I would have a great interest in the field of parapsychology
Paranormal abilities seem to run in families, and as a psychotherapist, when I first began listening intensely to my patients, I would sometimes hear what they were thinking. Believing they had spoken aloud, I would respond back to them. When they realized I had read their thoughts, both my patient and I would be startled. Sometimes however, my intuition would misfire, so over time, relying more on training and experience, I dampened down the ability until it nearly disappeared entirely. (I hope to write more about that later.)
In America, William James began the first scientific study of the paranormal in the late 1800's at Harvard. Of course he was criticized by colleagues because so many psychic practitioners were being exposed as fakes. He tells a funny story on himself when he faked once.
His story goes like this. Scientists of his time were very excited over the discovery that electrical impulses stimulate reactions in the nerves. In order to demonstrate this phenomenon in front of his class, James would apply an electrical impulse to the muscles of a frog, creating movement. However, one day, he applied the stimulus and nothing happened. (He discovered later that the muscles had just worn out from use.) Quickly, he secretly jammed his finger inside the frog and as he continued his lecture, kept the dead frog wiggling.
He would tell that story to make a point. The point was, sometimes from many experiences, you know a thing is supposed to happen but it doesn’t. He knew those failures could unexpectedly happen to genuine psychics. When the expected didn’t happen, they sometimes faked it. Sometimes they were caught.
James was willing to cut them some slack and continued studying paranormal experiences throughout his life and so have I.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Jerry Falwell is gone. There may never be another solid religious block like the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority to counterweight the large voting blocks on the Left. However, there are stirrings in the religious world that can be like leaven, peeling people out from these Leftest blocks. Specifically, I am thinking of the Pentecostal/Charismatic (called Renewalist for short) phenomenal growth.
The Left pulls its strength from those who tell themselves they are disempowered or are victims. In an, earlier post I wrote how a direct encounter with the living Jesus can be empowering. and turn a person around.
Polls indicate that the new Hispanic immigrants (not the earlier ones) are forming a block vote for the Left. At the same time, polls also reveal that the new Hispanics are being drawn to Renewalist churches, Roman Catholic and Protestant. Following is a quote from the Pew study: “Renewalist Christianity, which places special emphasis on God's ongoing, day-to-day intervention in human affairs through the person of the Holy Spirit, is having a major impact on Hispanic Christianity. Among Latino Protestants, renewalism is more than twice as prevalent as among their non-Latino counterparts.” I predict the Left cannot count on these new immigrants to feel disempowered forever.
Following the idea of the impact of the Renewalist movement on traditional blocks of voters, another group are the African Americans.
Again, the same concept of the Renewalist movement and empowerment can be made for them One of the characteristics of Renewal churches which has been there since the beginning at Azusa Street in 1901, is that in these churches, red and yellow, black and white have worshiped side by side on equal ground. Many African Americans attend churches whose major message is empowerment. So, the Left can watch as empowered leaders arise in the Black communities.
Another group of interest, are those Southern Democrats, sometimes called Blue Dog Democrats. They are my neighbors here in the South, and when I ask them how they stay in a party whose Hollywood values violate everything they believe, they often say, “My daddy was a Democrat, as was his daddy and his daddy’s daddy, and I will live and die a Democrat.” Here in the South, there are families who have never forgotten what the Northern Republicans did to the South during Reconstruction days. It is no accident that in my state of North Carolina, ruled by Democrats, the most powerful of them come from former slave holding areas of the state. Hatred of Republicans is in their DNA. One day, however, they have to notice the world changed.
A last group that may some day be impacted by the Renewal movement, are the Jews. For a long time Jews have been solidly on the Left. However, it is beginning to dawn on many, that the only real friends they have on this planet are those in Renewal churches. These are people who live by the Scriptures. God says of Israel in Gen 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curse thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Some day, Jews have to wake up and recognize who their friends are.
Posted by Blogger at 8:47 PM
The Morningstar fellowship that I attend, does training in personal prophesying. If you are not acquainted with this concept, following are two illustrations of the gift and the powerful impact it can have. When Nathaniel first met Jesus, the Lord revealed a secret about Nathaniel that He could not have known by ordinary means. Nathaniel was so blown away that he became a disciple. A similar example was with the woman at the well. Again Jesus revealed something that could not be known in ordinary ways, and this time the woman became Jesus’ evangelist. (John. 1:48 and John 4:18) Later St. Paul describes the impact of prophesying in 1 Cor 14:24 ff.
The first time someone revealed something extraordinary about myself that they could not know ordinarily, I had the same reaction as the people in the New Testament mentioned above. The medium was the message. It was not what was said that changed my life forever, it was the overwhelming awareness that Someone out there had me on His radar.
I have a friend who knows how excited I get developing this gift, but who always says “Big woo. What good is it?” Last night, our teacher said something important in this regard: “At all times, God has every one of His children on His mind. He wants them to know it. Our giving a personal prophesy to a person that could only have been known supernaturally, lets the person know that God is thinking about him or her.”
We can understand why Paul said we all should be “zealous to prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:39) Fortunately, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that can be sharpened.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Lanny Davis, former Clinton White House counsel and lone democrat on the privacy oversight committee, resigned this week. He faulted no one, saying only that Congress had made an error by putting the committee into the White House, allowing the committee to be co-opted by White House staff.
Listening to Mr. Davis was deja vu. I reminisced over my own oversight committee experiences for which legislators had good intentions, but officials cleverly subverted them. I learned two things. Bureaucrats are insidious sabotagers of watchdog committees, and secondly, resigning is an act of integrity.
My first experience was being appointed to the NC Commission on Mental Health, Developmental Disorders, and Substance Abuse Disorders. Ostensibly, this citizens’ oversight committee signs off on all the laws for those disabilities.
As a college professor, I had a long experience of faking out students in to believing they were a part of university governance. Often, students did not recognize they were being had, or if they did, they did not care because everything looked good on a resume.
Years of such experiences, made it easy to spot the fakery on citizen’ oversight/watchdog committees. In the case of the Commission, the state officials would come in, give us their dog and pony show, apologize for getting the material to us too late to study it, then ask us to rubber stamp what they had already done. We did. Then, my political party lost an election, and I was replaced.
Through that experience I learned to never underestimate bureaucrats. They may not get much done, but they are the masters of faking it and of keeping their jobs. I soon became aware of what presidents learn and that is, no matter what they want to do, the bureaucrats can keep it from happening.
Then, I was appointed to another committee. This committee’s mandate was to have citizen’s input in to and oversight over the spending of money that had been block granted back to the states from Washington. Again, legislators had good intentions. This committee was half made up of bureau chiefs and half citizen stakeholders, the disabled themselves and their advocacy groups.
Now I was to learn a new lesson. Bureaucrats hate oversight committees. So, no matter whether they agree or disagree, they scratch each other’s backs. This time, it did not take the stake holders long to see they were being had and one by one, they would move back to their own more effective advocacy groups.
Once again, the bureaucrats came in with their dog and pony show, apologize for getting the material to us at the last minute, and ask us to sign off on it. Finally, as the chair, I went to the top officials, who with a wink and a nod, informed me that the director actually believed the money was his personal money.
I then turned to the officials in Washington. Block Grants are to be locally controlled, so they had little authority. But, we hatched a scheme in which they would visit and in front of the stakeholders, they would make it clear what was the intent of the Congress. First, of all, I had to get the state officials to agree to their visit.
To my shock, the state officials agreed with enthusiasm. Two days later, I received the following telephone call. “Oh, Dr. Clark, we just discovered that your term of office has expired” (a move never enforced before). Surprise, surprise, the president elect cancelled the government visit. This time I resigned.
What I learned is, no matter what the legislators want to accomplish with civilian oversight committees, the entrenched bureaucrats are too clever to let it happen.
My second learning is that many watchdog committee members are political pay backs. They don’t have a clue what is going on and could care less. They enjoy the status and the meals. We had one dear lady on one local committee who for 20 years, loved to be the one who said “I move we accept the proposal.” Didn’t seem to ever matter what.
Bottom line, I wrote this to get it off my chest. I can say as a Conservative, I believe in citizen watchdogs, but no one should underestimate the ingenuity of a bureaucrat.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I posted a letter to the editor that I sent to our local newspaper, then added it as a comment to another blog. The local paper comes out today so I will see if they posted it. Meanwhile, tonight, Giuliana will have another shot at in in the debate.
As I wrote in an earlier post, Google sends me links to every new post on speaking in tongues. After witnessing people praying in the spirit, some bloggers come away, mocking what they observed. Those, remind me of the old nursery rhyme:
Pussy cat, pussy cat,
Where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat,
What did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse under the chair.
Then came back and blogged about it?
Monday, May 14, 2007
Last election, people had bumper stickers reading “Anyone else for president.” Somebody must have read them. The Dems are ga ga over a pretty boy with absolutely nothing in his resume that qualifies him for president. (He hasn’t even run a tiny town.). Now the Republicans are doing the same, going ga ga over a TV actor whose only claim to fame was a dismal performance as Senator. (On his one committee assignment investigating the Democrat’s fund raising, they ate his lunch.).
Looks like Americans really think "just anyone" can do the job.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Whenever any one writes in their blog on the subject of Speaking in Tongues, Google notifies me. I had really hoped bloggers would be sharing their exciting experiences and insights. Instead I have found mostly tiresome, theological yakety- yak.
I am being reminded of when we young males were going into puberty. You would hear us say, “Girls! Yuk!” A few years later, our hormones kicked in and it was “Girls! Yippee!”.
Amazing how a little experience changes our conversation.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Sigmund Freud discovered the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego. Modern Christian teachers are finding similar discoveries in St. Paul’s Epistles.
For Freud, the Id is similar to Paul’s Flesh, with all its lusts. For Freud, the Ego is similar to Paul’s Soul, that is, the conscious cognitive abilities, including the will. (Although sometimes, Paul includes both Id and Ego under the word “Flesh.”) Finally, for Freud, the Super Ego is similar to what St. Paul called “The Law.” (The Super Ego is the internalized values of one’s culture.)
Each writer had similar approaches to dealing with the problems arising from our Id/Flesh. For Freud, the Id is to be brought into conscious awareness by the Ego; thus, giving the Ego control. Freud’s mantra: “Where Id was, Ego must be.”
St. Paul had a similar system to that of Freud’s which he describes in the 6th Chapter of Romans. He identifies the offending part of his Flesh/Id, however, instead of bringing it under the power of the Ego as Freud does, he is going to bring it under the power of God. Paul does this by declaring himself dead to that part (“member,” the word translators use). Now the problematic member can go through God’s process of being crucified and raised to new life. Paul’s mantra: “die daily.”
There is another similarity between Freud and Paul. Freud discovered that rather than use the Ego to control the Id, some people use an overbearing Superego. Crushing the Id with the Super Ego/Law can produce serious psychological pathology and even kill you.
St. Paul made a similar finding described in Romans Chap. 7:15. He reports his struggle using the Super Ego/Law to control the Id. He gets sicker and that method is killing him. I mention both Freud and Paul’s discovery here because trying to crucify the flesh by the Super Ego/Law creates toxic people. Much of the rejection of Christians is brought on by such legalism. Also, legalism used in the manner Freud and Paul described, leads to early aging and deaths of Christians and sometimes even the people around them.
Both systems, Freud’s and Paul’s, call for a kinder, gentler and safer way of dealing with the Id/Flesh. Both work, but Paul, at the same time, cleans us up for eternal life.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Rich Tatum sent an e-mail “There’s a debate raging on my blog right now about homosexuality.” Because he received so many comments, I thought it better to add my comment here.
There is a new controversial system of Biology, Sociobiology. If the theory holds up, it creates a problem for those who advocate homosexuality. According to the Sociobiologists, we think our mating choices are consciously made. Wrong, they say! In reality, far below our awareness, we are being driven by our genes. The goal of these genes is to jockey themselves into the best advantage for their own future. Nothing else matters.
So, if Sociobiology is correct, when the siren song of one person’s genes lures the genes of the same sex, then like in the story of Ulysses, these genes have been lured to their destruction. A long historical line of great DNA has been tricked into a dead end.
What is my point? It is this. If we are hard wired so our genes direct our passions in ways to fulfill their own purposes, how hard is it to believe that we are also hard wired for our genes to experience abhorrence when being defrauded.
Remember the commercial: “It is not nice to fool Mother Nature.” If, true, than discomfort when being sexually approached by a member of the same gender, is not a disorder, i.e. phobic. Rather it is the genes’ revulsion at being lured to their destruction.
Observing nature, you can’t miss each species’ unrelenting appetite to replicate themselves. At Creation, God said: “Be fruitful and multiply”. I see nothing to make me believe He rescinded that order.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Last night, I watched the new movie Bobby about Bobby Kennedy. I don’t know if the producers were simply trying to take us on a walk down memory lane, or if they actually thought they were making a political statement. If it was a statement, then the movie is scary, because we have a presidential candidate, Barak Obama who obviously thinks it is time to be Bobby Kennedy.
For us who lived through the 60's, the movie was nostalgic. The 60's was an emotionally charged time and because I was in a university, I lived them to the fullest–marching in the streets, sit-ins, meeting with Freedom Riders in Mississippi, protesting the war, possibly being the first to hire a black professor in a southern university, serving in the Peace Corps, listening to Bob Dylan. Now, as a psychologist looking back, I know what caused that amazing time.
The 60's started with the end of WW II. The veterans came home and catching up with lost time, they had children by the millions, producing the “baby boomers.” Those millions hit adolescence at the same time in the 60's.
Today, we know a lot about adolescence. For example, we know the adolescent’s brain is rewiring itself, producing a higher type of reasoning ability. This new-found intellectual ability comes with both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that they can now hypothesize about complex matters. The curse is they believe they are the first people who ever had such incredible ideas for solving the world’s problems such as: “If everyone would just love one another, we could all get along.” Or, “anybody can see that if we stop polluting, the planet would be saved.” Their naive minds believe if they can see how simple the solutions are, why can’t everybody. With all the energy, impatience and arrogance of youth, they took on everything in the 60's. dominating our values, our music, our politics, and even the way we dressed and wore our hair.
In the movie, clips of Bobby Kennedy’s speeches are played. Looking through the lens of the past 40 years, I began to wonder, “Did Bobby really believe what he was saying, or was he just a smart politician giving the young people what they wanted to hear?” It was such a naive time created by so many innocents.
Fortunately, the brain continues to mature after adolescence, producing an even higher type of thinking which may be better adapted to our times. The next step in brain development is dialectic thinking. We lose our adolescent naivete and experiencing a complicated world, we can hold contradictory ideas at one and the same time. We can only hope the boomers get there.
Every problem we face today seems to include both good and evil mixed together. The most evil enemy we have ever known comes at us calling us the Great Satan. We try to fix global warming only to find that we put our people out of work and fall behind other nations in productivity. We create a welfare system to help people, only to discover that we have dis-empowered them. We try to give people a better life through cheaper goods, only to realize we are building up competing countries such as China and India. We give jobs to hungry people from south of the border only to wake up one day to find portions of our culture overrun and it is too late to make them go back home.
Through it all, many of us have the uneasy feeling that no one who is putting himself or herself forward to be our leader, is really up to the job. As Christians, we understand a world in which both good and evil exist side by side. But the answers to our problems we are getting today, especially from the Left, carry the same naive ring of those bygone innocent days of the 60's. Barak Obama’s followers look familiar.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Jackleg Christian Dream Interpreters
As a psychologist, I have been interpreting dreams for the past half century. In graduate school, I even received the nickname of “Joseph.” I published a book, now out of print, on dream interpretation. So, I watch with interest the many books as well as workbooks about dream interpretation, now pouring out from Christian writers. There was even a person with her workbook as our speaker last week at church.
I am dismayed that many of the writers sound just like the little grocery store manuals of dream interpretation. “If you have this dream, it means thus and so, etc.” Our speaker last week, did just that, and I was bored to tears.
Experienced dream interpreters have always found dreams to be idiosyncratic, that is, the meaning of the dream symbols are specific to the individual dreamer. The only dream authority teaching a generalized interpretation of some symbols was the Swiss psychiatrist, Gustav Jung. He did discover some archetypal symbols which appear to be embedded in and issue out of the DNA of the entire human race.
Given the long history and vast literature of psychological dream interpretation, my personal preference is that if these Christian amateurs are determined to wade into this field, their best service would be in discovering the archetypal symbols revealed in the Bible. Right now, most of what is being written is jackleg mishmash and makes no original contribution to the field.
Having said that, I have found several interesting observations from these Christian dream interpreters. The first is that it is Biblically sound to expect God to communicate to us by dreams. Job 33:15 In a dream , in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed.” Because of my personality, I like what one person said: “Dreams are the lazy person’s way of receiving revelation. No long hours of praying. No singing, dancing and worshiping. You can just sleep right through it.” Now that has appeal.
A second is that saturating oneself in Bible imagery, trains one to mentally process mythologically, archetypally, and metaphorically, the language of dreams.
A third is, God is the interpreter of our dreams. That is Scriptural, and we can ask for the interpretation and He will answer.
A fourth observation is to watch for dreams that may be God trying to alert us to something we need to quickly repent of so as not to block Him.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The news of the Virginia Tech shooting took me back to the days when I was an active leader in the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). That organization has made a great contribution by convincing decision makers that psychosis is a treatable disorder of the brain.
The success of that campaign however, created an unanticipated dilemma. If psychosis is a brain disorder, what is societies’responsibility(see the debate) for someone like Cho Seung-Hui, the shooter, who shows up in the mental health system.
Advocates for the mentally ill, using similar rationale, ended up in two opposing camps. One side, fought against forcefully locking people up. They argued that it was inhumane to treat someone as a common criminal because that person had been unlucky enough to have been born with a damaged brain. No other type of illness is treated in that manner.
The other side argued that mental illness is a special case in that, unlike other illnesses which create discomfort, the mentally ill often cannot know they are sick. The part of the brain which informs them that something is wrong, is damaged. The forced treatment group argued that it was inhumane to the psychotic person, not to forcefully treat him.
One of the psychiatrists that I had speak to our state meeting, gave a dramatic and chilling demonstration of what it is like to be mentally ill and not know it. Turning to our director, he asked: “Mr. Johnson, what do you do?”
“I am the director of the mental health association.” Mr. Johnson replied.
“No, Mr. Johnson, I am sorry you are not. You just think you are. Actually, you are suffering from a mental illness and your parents are here with the police to take you away.”
A gasp went through the crowd as the psychiatrist had made his point.
As I watched the tapes of Cho, I was thrown back into that debate. Cho was psychotic. As he looked into the camera, he totally believed he was making sense. He would be completely unaware that he was talking nonsense out of a deranged mind.
Cho is the argument for forced treatment. Had the judge had that option, and taken it, a lot of people would be alive today.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Although I am an Anglican Priest, I also align myself with Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries. I believe Rick is at the cutting edge of what God is doing right now. I also have had periods of fellowship with him personally and enjoy his fellowship.
I attend Rick’s conferences in Charlotte, NC, but that is a 200 mile round trip. I also have attended one of his churches, but that is an 50 mile round trip. He had promised me that one day there would be a MorningStar Church in my home town.
Thus, I was very surprised to find that a MorningStar Church had actually started here less than three months ago and right over on the next street. So, last Friday night, I made my first visit and to my joy, Rick was making his first visit that night. He and I had a time of fellowship and he delivered an unforgettable message.
I kept saying to the Lord, “Letting me get together with this man I have such fondness for, God you are so amazing.” My best friend, Father Charles, wrote to me: “You were surely led by the Spirit to show up at the very time Rick paid his first visit. Had that happened to me, I would have felt very attuned and taken it as a consolation from the Lord. Glad you didn't miss it - or the fellowship with Rick.”
Friday, April 13, 2007
FIRING OF DON IMUS
I have wanted to post on my usual subjects today, however, I can’t get past what happened to Don Imus, fired by MSNBC and CBS. As one commentator said this morning, the one group who has not had the opportunity to be heard is Don Imus’s fans. I felt that was a valid point. I am one of those Imus fans who does not have a voice at this moment.
I have to admit that I only watched him when he was interviewing someone. I had to switch him off at all the other parts of his programs because of his crude remarks about women, which were offensive to my female family members.
However, for me, he was the most interesting interviewer on TV. He beat the other cable news interviewers such as Tim Russert on NBC and Chris Wallace on Fox and Chris Matthews on MSNBC, hands down. The reason I liked Imus’ interviews was that his interviews were always so unpredictable while at the same time, substantive.
His morning competition was boring, boring, boring. Fox and Friends is thin. On CNN once you heard the morning news, it was the same old, same old, all day. Imus knew how to engage people.
Ann Coulter made her usual sharp observation when she pointed out that women’s basketball players should be grateful, as Imus was probably the only person in America, watching women’s basketball. She had a point, because those of us who followed Imus, realized that what he said was meant to be his locker-room admiration for the toughness of the Rutger’s women team. Unfortunately, the comment came out badly.
Imus is not a racist. He supported the black candidate Harold Ford for U.S. Senator. He raises money for Sickle Cell Anemia victims, a disease that primarily strikes blacks. The percentage of young blacks he brings to his camp for children with terminal illnesses, is equivalent to the percentage in the general population.
He does make insulting remarks about women and I always wished he would not do that. On the other hand, you learned a lot about his respect for women when you watched him interact with his wife, Deirdre. She is a strong personality, and on the program, she would take him on without fear or favor. He interacted with her with deference and humility.
Imus is showing class as he apologizes. His class is matched by the wonderful Rutger’s women players. I can’t say as much for all the other people who are using this tragedy to push forward their own agendas such as Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and even the presidential candidates.
It is a sad day.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
What would Jesus do? That was the title of a CNN special over the Easter holiday asking what Jesus would do in today’s world of economic inequities and diseases like Aids.
The answer to that question by the discussants? He would be a Mother Theresa, serving in the ghettos of the city. Or, a revolutionary Che Chevera fighting evil capitalists.
I would have loved to tell the people, “Turn off your televisions. Go to the source–preferably Mark’s gospel, because it is the short one”.
I would say “For this exercise, speed read. So you won’t be slowed down pondering, skip over Jesus’ teaching. Just keep asking the question: “What did Jesus do”? It won’t take long for the pattern to emerge. He wasn’t a social worker and he wasn’t a revolutionary, nor any of the other types the secular minds want Him to be. No. He spent a lot of time ordering demons to leave; a lot of time commanding illnesses to disappear. He fed hungry people by multiplying food in an extraordinary way. You might then get interested in finding out the reasons He gives for His actions.
Being “Christ-like” is nothing close to what the secular mind believes. But what the heck, how often do they get to see the real thing? Not being able to do what Jesus did, the church has been like that bumper sticker: “Do something, even if it is wrong!”
Monday, April 9, 2007
THE PSYCHOLOGIST ON THE FLOOR
The following is a rewrite of an earlier post of how, in 1980, I began to speak in tongues. New information has been added, also, I seem to have picked up some regular readers now.
I am laying on the floor of a little store front church proclaiming “I love you Jesus!!!” and laughing uproariously. My life was changing forever.
What was a psychology professor doing on the floor in the first place?
In August 1980, my son dragged me to a storefront church. Although reluctant, what can you do when all four of your children challenge you with “What are you afraid of, Mr. Psychologist?”
I needed to know what they were getting in to
Surprised, I was impressed when the young preacher spoke with authority.
The following Wednesday night, I showed up, startled to find only the pastor, the piano player and me. Catching me off guard, the minister inquired, “Have you ever received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?”
As a seeker after spiritual experiences, I was interested. Earlier, as a Baptist minister, I had led the singing at revivals that had gone wild. I once gave an invitation to which an entire church responded by rededicating themselves. Scared the fool out of me.
I had seen some amazing things, but the only thing I knew about what they called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was that it had something to do with speaking in tongues. As kids, we had peeked through the windows at the crazy goings on in the local Pentecostal churches. But they were on the other side of the tracks.
Still, I had always been a high risk person when it came to spiritual things and that night I said to myself, O.K. you’ve danced with the Sufis, chanted with the Yogis, beat drums with the Baktis, so what the heck? I blurted out: “Well I want everything God has to give. I don’t want to miss anything.”
Then the young man said “O.K.., do what I do.” He began saying words of praise to God. I did what he did. All at once he said, “Now, no more words in English.” Pointing to my chest, he said, “Praise Him from there.” He began to make strange sounds.
One of the many meditations I had tried in the past, involved hours listening to various sounds deep within me. The Hindus teach that these are the sounds of the Chakras, energy centers of the body. Following his instructions, I focused on the region he pointed to. There were sounds! Not like his, but sounds. So I spoke the sounds I was hearing.
Along with the sounds bubbling up, came the most joyous sensations. They gushed up like I had tapped an oil well. (To be continued in next post.).
Posted by Blogger at 7:01 PM
A PSYCHOLOGIST EXPLAINS HIS HEAVENLY LANGUAGE
So much happened to me in the days following my speaking in tongues, that I wrote an article trying as a psychologist, to make sense of the experience. Here is what I wrote:
I wonder how surprised my printer would be if it could be aware that it is not creating these words on this page by itself. Perhaps it would be no more surprised than I was when words from an unexplained source came out of me.
As to my printer, if it could reflect on its own inner workings self-consciously as I can, it might try to explain to itself this unexpected discovery of words already formed somewhere in its circuitry. The words were there for a few moments before in some inner labyrinth. Deeper still, and even more impatient to get on with matters, are the ideas which I am now placing into the printer’s circuits. My printer would be quite humbled to learn that it is not creating these words. Rather, it has become an outlet for phrases and ideas already present.
Now, back to me. As I reflect inwardly, like the printer, I find a similar situation. As I focus, I soon discover words and phrases, already existing within me. To my fascination, language and thoughts are right there, waiting for my typing fingers, or for my vocal cords to give them an outlet. I sense that I possess a great deal more words and ideas than I can express. In addition, any problem of expression I have, lies merely in bringing to the surface already existing sounds, words, and phrases within me.
The whole process of speaking and writing, actually seems to be more an act of focusing awareness and then giving vent to what is already there. It is less of an act of self-consciously creating the thoughts I speak. The process is much like Plato’s metaphor of the bird cage full of birds. We reach in and release them. The word “educe” means to “pull out.” From educe, comes the word “education.”
One day, I discovered an entirely new language system within me that I did not know was there. That was the day, I spoke in tongues.
Pentecostals then informed me that what I was hearing within, was the Holy Spirit forming those words. The mind-blowing thought was that He had probably been carrying on that praying in me from the time, as 12-year-old youth, I had invited him to indwell me. HE HAD BEEN THERE ALL THE TIME JUST WAITING FOR ME TO DISCOVER HIM! (To be continued in next post)
A PSYCHOLOGY OF PRAYING IN TONGUES
Following is a continuation of the article I wrote shortly after I learned to pray in tongues.
Generally when we psychologists want to explain behavior, we fall back on our understanding of simple things like animals. It has long been noted for example, than an animal’s behavior can be accounted for by observing its response to the consequences of its behavior. Animals repeat a behavior which is followed by a positive consequence and cease behavior which is followed by a negative consequence, or by no consequence at all. We believe the same can be said for humans. Thus, when we see someone do something, we examine the consequences resulting from his or her behavior.
This principle of positive and negative consequences to behavior can be applied to many things, including how and why we learn to speak a language, any language. For example, my mother recorded in her diary what occurred when as a baby. I made my first meaningless (to me) sounds: “ma ma” and “da da.” The whole world exploded in positive consequences.
“He said mama!” “No, he said daddy,” my parents exclaimed. Naturally, like babies all over the world, I kept making these sounds, and like fathers and mothers everywhere, my parents provided me with interesting an stimulating consequences. So I learned my native tongue by mouthing meaningless sounds coming up out of me which were followed by positive results.
Now, as an adult, when I made the meaningless sounds arising from the region of my heart, God, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, showered positive consequences upon me. So, I learned my new tongue the same way I learned my native tongue, watching God reward my sounds.
(To be continued in next post).
Posted by Blogger at 6:54 PM
GOD REINFORCED SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Previously, I wrote that God reinforced my speaking in tongues. These next two posts will let you know why I have continued praying like this every day for 27 years.
When I returned to the storefront church the next week after my initiation into speaking in tongues, there was a young man with a guitar strung over his shoulder. While he talked, I was preoccupied with an inner conversation with God. Suddenly the man stopped, pointed at me and began to reveal the exact dialogue I was having between myself and God. Then he gave me God’s response to the question I had been asking.
My mind began spinning. How did he read my mind?
Then, inviting me to come to him, he lightly touched my forehead. And that is when this psychologist discovered himself on the floor.
I had no idea how I got there. I could hear myself calling out: “I love you Jesus!” Then I laughed uproariously because I also had this thought of some colleague walking by and looking through that storefront window. It did not happen; yet what a hoot!
But that was just the beginning. The leader said, “Get him off the floor and bring him up here. Brother the power of God is all over you. Lay your hands on these people!” At that moment an energy poured through me. I felt like what Popeye demonstrated when he downed his can of spinach and his fists turned into power drivers.
Barely touching people, sometimes just pointing at them, I watched them go down like bowling balls. My knees began to buckle from the surges, and then I felt my wonderful wife, arms wrapped around me, holding me up. Finally, overcome from all the excitement, I had to sit down.
At that point, my rational mind kicked back in. “What is this? Suggestion? Maybe, hyperventilation?” As a psychologist, I had studied and practiced hypnosis. “Is this all this is?”
As I sat there, I looked down beside my chair at a young man who had crashed face down on the floor. The scientist came out in me. The man started to get up, at first on all fours. Making sure he could not see what I was doing, I sneakily put my hand about a foot above his back. If he could not see what I was doing, then it wasn’t hypnosis.
Ka Bam! He slammed to the floor as power shot through me again. He tried to rise and I sneaked my hand above him again. He was pinned to the floor as if an elephant had his foot on him.
This was not hypnosis! (To be continued in next post.)
GOD REINFORCES PRAYING IN TONGUES
Days followed my first experience with many thrilling events. We laid hands on a woman who had congenital heart disease from birth, and she was healed. A few Sundays later, a group of us laid hands on a man with prostate cancer. He was healed and the healing was certified by his Urologist.
I began to notice changes in myslef. I could not get enough of reading the Bible. I would lock myself in my office and read for hours.
Like many people, I had suffered all my life from what I called the Paranoia of the Father. I just did not trust Him. Either He was going to get mad at me and hurt me, or if I was enjoying something, He would take it away to keep me from having any fun, or on the other hand, He would love me and send me off to die in Africa just to prove myself. Whatever, God was scary.
I woke up one morning and the Paranoia was gone. Shortly thereafter I was riding down Poplar Grove Rd. in Boone, NC, right past the Winn Dixie. Suddenly I was lifted into another level of consciousness. There was this incredible sense that God had stopped taking care of the Universe and was now focused only on me. I was all that existed in His attention. No one else. Nothing else. Now words begin to fail. But Love was communicating, “Donald has come home." All of Heaven stopped to listen. “Donald I love you. Nothing that you have ever done, are doing, or ever will do, will make any difference to Me.” From that day on, I have never been without that sense of His love and His presence.
Over the years, I have discovered in the writings of the great mystics, that others had this experience of a moment of God’s total focus. Mystics are defined as people who have a direct tangible experience of God.
In Living Flame of Love, the great Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross wrote: “For the soul now feels God to be so solicitous in granting it favors and to be magnifying with such precious and delicate words, and granting it favor upon favor, that it believes that there is no other soul in the world whom He thus favors, nor ought else wherewith He occupies Himself, but that He is wholly for itself alone” p81
The great English mystic, Julian of Norwich in Revelation of Love wrote: “It is God’s will that I see myself so bound to him by love as if he had done all his deeds just for me.” p145 One of the phrases God implanted in her heart went as follows: “All shall be well, All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. This was said so tenderly, without blame of any kind toward me.” p55
Julian understood her experience in much the same way as I do. Also, like me over these past 27 years, her experience remained with her throughout her life.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
You will want to read the thoughtful exchange in the Comments section of the post on research on speaking in tongues. Two of the commentators were considering the question of how much control we have over the process of speaking in tongues. Does the Holy Spirit directly use our vocal apparatus, or is there a separate system, our spirit, which speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
Neither writer would accept findings of scientific research if they contradicted their belief systems; nor would I for that matter. However, I see one of my functions as both a priest and a psychologist to at least talk about research findings and possible implications.
The present study compared the neuroimaging of the brains of people speaking in tongues, people singing gospel hymns, as well as a prior group of meditators. The results were as follows: In those speaking in tongues, there was decreased activity in that part of the brain connected with intentional control. Such a finding would seem to support the idea expressed by the anonymous commentator who believes he is lending his voice to the Holy Spirit. A similar idea was supported by Scripture by Rich Tatum, if I understood him correctly. On the other hand, if I understood another commentator, Father Charles, he was bothered by the idea that the Holy Spirit is doing the praying. His concern is that wrong belief might block a person from having this very Biblical experience.
A second finding of the researcher was that in those practicing speaking in tongues, there was an increase in activity of the left superior parietal which suggests that even though there is a decrease in control, there is no loss of a sense of self. If I understand Father Charles, this finding supports his idea that the person is fully aware. Rich Tatum also seems to go along with that thought. Incidentally, the parietal is less active in the group of meditators, indicating more of a loss of self, one of the goals of meditation.
Finally, I am still confused about the emotional areas of the brain and the contradictory findings. For example, those singing gospel hymns had elevated blood flow to the caudate compared to the people speaking in tongues, who had a decrease. One recent studydiscovered that the caudate lights up when people are in love.
Where do I now come down after all this research and discussion? Anyone reading my blog knows that I believe when I focus my attention inward, I hear someone praying, and it is not me. Adding together Scripture, my phenomenological experience, and the empirical research, I will commit to the Holy Spirit praying through me.
I will now probably muddy the water when I point out that there are a number of illustrations in the New Testament of spirits speaking with the vocal apparatus of a person. For example, there is, the Gergesene (Mat. 8:28) as well as the spirit who said: “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you?”(Acts 19:15). If an unclean spirit can do it, why not the spiritually pure spirit of Jesus, i.e., the Holy Spirit, doing the same, when invited to?
Now, for another complex discussion of the research, see the following
Monday, April 2, 2007
For those of us who have learned how to pray in the Spirit, the recent study of brain activity is fascinating. The fact that some scientist would find this form of prayer interesting, is in of itself, positive. Moreover, discovering that this form of prayer sets off different patterns of brain activity than that found with other types of praying, is something we have suspected. Finally, having empirical findings match up with phenomenological experience is always interesting to us psychologists.
What did the scientist find which was so interesting? First of all, was the difference in the brain activity of a person praying in tongues, and someone praying in understandable English. When a person is talking, the expectation is that the part of the brain that creates and controls language will light up. That, however, is not what happened with those speaking a language that they believe is the language of the Holy Spirit.
The brain activity in the language centers and in the centers that control speech were quiet in those who believe the Holy Spirit is praying through them. Thus, that brain finding fits the belief that the person praying is a passive observer of his or her own inner state. At the same time, the centers that control awareness were active, indicating the prayers were not in an uncontrollable trance. They knew what was going on around them.
There was one finding however that does not match up with experience. That had to do with emotions. Because those of us who pray in the Spirit, experience incredible ecstasy, one would expect the areas that control emotion to light up. However, that did not happen.
What if besides hearing the Holy Spirit internally, we are also feeling the ecstasy that the Holy Spirit is feeling as He prays? Then, just as we speak His language without activating the brain, we experience His feelings without activating the brain.
As a psychologist, the thought intrigues me.
Regarding “speaking in tongues,” I like Phillip’s translation “speaking in ecstatic language.” A more phenomonological description however, would be “the ecstatic experience resulting from an inner speech.” The first “speaking in ecstatic language,” is the behavior observed from without. The second, “the ecstatic experience” is viewed from within.
In other words, it is not tongues that is ecstatic speech, it is ecstatic states produced by the speech.
In studying humans, psychologists took two approaches: describe behavior from outside the person or described the inner experience. The first, the easy one, was called Behaviorism. The second proved more difficult and was called Phenomonology, i.e., “the study of the phenomena.”
Shifting then from outside the person to inside, what then is it like to have an ecstatic state produced by a strange source from within?
As a trained phenomnologist, I will turn my awareness inward. Using my awareness like a flashlight, I come upon sounds that seem like speech. Trying then not to turn myself into an outside observer of myself, I enter and abandon myself to the experience.
Later, I can leave the phenomonological approach and return to the external approach. Studying myself externally, I realize that I am being led into all the other experiences described by the New Testament disciples.
After the ecstatic experience, I become more in love with the Word of God, both written and in Jesus of Nazareth. I discover myself growing in the ability to perform miracles.
Thus, by approaching myself phenomonologically, I live the ecstatic experience. Then, studying myself behaviorally, I get to evaluate the benefits and compare them with those of the original Biblical writers.
Ah!. It is great to be a psychologist!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I will be away from my computer for a few days so it seemed like a good time to go back and revise some of my old posts. In doing so, I spotted some patterns in what I have been writing.
This post will be to point out the patterns in what I have written so far.
1. Trying to keep the main thing, the main thing. Jesus departed from earth leaving us our instructions. Mat 10:7-8 “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.”
I am concerned that because carrying out Jesus’ command has proved so difficult, the church has turned to just doing what it can do and not what it was ordered to do.
2. In a number of my posts, the operative word is hegemony. Hegemony is when one state assumes domination over another state. The word is used regarding political states, but can also be used to indicate states of consciousness. I stay alarmed at how many Christians are so naive as to how they have let the discursive, rational operation of the mind claim hegemony over the non-rational states of consciousness.
3. As a psychologist and priest, I am also addressing psychological problems people have with God and His Church.
Posted by Blogger at 1:23 PM
Sunday, March 25, 2007
When I was a child, my grandmother use to scold me with “what you do, speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” My grandmother’s teaching helped when I became a psychologist. Whenever I was confused about something someone said, I could watch actions. “Actions speak louder than words” she taught me.
For example, Jesus confused me when he told the story we call the Good Samaritan. He had just finished telling people to love their neighbor, when someone asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Obviously, they all knew who their neighbors were. For thousands of years, a neighbor was a fellow member of their tribe plus anyone who worshiped Yahweh. Everyone else was excluded. Typically, when people asked such obvious questions, they were baiting Jesus.
So did Jesus take the bait and scandalize them that day by making Samaritans their neighbor? If He did, then where was the reaction?
You want to see a reaction? One day Paul declared to the Jews that the Spirit ordered him: “Depart for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” At the word “Gentile,” the listeners went nuclear: “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live!” They screamed. He barely got away with his life.
So how did Jesus get a pass that day if He said something similar? Why was there no riot?
Maybe the reason they did not react to Jesus’ story of the Samaritan was because they heard the story the way Jesus told it. Reading carefully, we see the neighbor in need of love was their fellow citizen in a mess. It took a hated Samaritan to remind them how to treat him.
The story is a very shaky foundation upon which to build an entire theology. Yet a lot of people who do not know their Bible well, do just that.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
The Anglican primates met at Tanzania and demanded two specific things from the bishops of the American Episcopal Church: first, unequivocally promise not to authorize Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions; second, unequivocally promise not to consecrate any more actively homosexual bishops. It has been described as an ultimatum, and it comes with a deadline (September 30) and consequences: If not followed, the Episcopal Church will not be invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference and so in effect will be judged to have walked apart from the Anglican Communion.
The American bishops were also told to desist from persecuting those bishops, priests and church people who are staying with the the worldwide Anglican Communion rather than remaining in the disfellowshipped Episcopal church.
After meeting together, the Episcopal Bishops on March 20, 2007 REJECTED the ultimatum.
For a background of today's post, the following is taken from an earlier post.
They met and this is what they got:CNN
The above was the secular press' take and the following is from one of the PRIMATES.
Today, another chapter: The Southern Cone Primate says "it is time to split."
Deliverance from irrational reactions to God can come slowly and sometimes immediately.
As a psychotherapist, I have had patients whose negative issues with God cleared up along side the issues with their earthly parents. Somehow, parent emotional responses had cross-wired with God responses. Often the person only recognized their problem with God, after they were cured.
I have also seen people supernaturally delivered from what I have learned to call: Paranoia of the Father. Both type healings happened to me.
I frequently likened what occurs as similar to having a physical disorder; take anemia for instance. The person accepts the tired feeling as the norm. One day a doctor diagnosis anemia, gives some pills and zappo, they feel good. Only when they have been delivered can they exclaim “so this is the way a normal person feels!”
In my post,The Zapped Psychologist, I relate an encounter with God and a deliverance from my paranoia of Him which I did not recognize until it was gone. Besides my story, I have seen other sudden deliverances. The one I am about to describe is one of the more dramatic ones.
I was in an office one day with a woman who was almost totally catatonic. Usual approaches had failed. In desperation, I took off my psychologist’s hat and donned my priest’s. Suspecting something deeper than I had ever encountered, I tried to get her to just say aloud the name of Jesus. She tried, but the word would not come out.
I was treading somewhere I had never been, and really did not know what I was doing. So, I retreated to my office. There I began to quietly pray.
Suddenly, an inner, almost audible voice, said, “Brace yourself, she is coming.” To my alarm, there she was at the entrance to my office. Pathetically, she began to beg me to stop praying. “I know you think you are helping, but you are damaging my brain. You must stop!” She begged.
In my panic, I had enough presence of mind to realize that there was no way she could have known I was praying, plus there was no way I could have known she was coming. I knew I was in over my head.
So, I said to her, “I will call a friend of mine who knows about these things. But, Jane I am not saying this to you, I am talking to that something or someone who is talking to me.”
I dialed my friend and he responded, “I am on my way right now.”
At that exact moment, she snapped up straight, color returned to her face and she exclaimed, “It’s gone! It’s gone!” Raising her hands to her head, she said “It was like a giant vulture had his talons deep in my brain. I heard a whirring noise, and he was gone!”
(Afterwards, she went back to college, graduated with honors and did the same in graduate school.)
People have all sorts of hangups with God. If they ever get delivered from them either through psychotherapy or supernaturally (Mt 17:21), they often look back and exclaim “Man, I was really messed up and didn’t even know it!”