Monday, April 30, 2007

Homophobia or an Angry Mother Nature?

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 I see nothing to make me believe He rescinded that order.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Movie Bobby, Barak Obama, and the 60's

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.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jackleg Christian Dream Interpreters

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.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Should the Judge Have Jailed Cho When He Had Him?

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.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rick Joyner and Me

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.”

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus Firing is Overkill

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.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CNN and What would Jesus Do?

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!”

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Psychologist speaks in tongues


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.).

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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)

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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).

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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.)

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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.

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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Check out other blog

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Saturday, April 7, 2007

Great Debate on Research into Speaking in Tongues

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

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Monday, April 2, 2007

Research on Speaking in Tongues

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.

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Psychologist and praying in the Spirit

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!

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