A Song For Counselors, Formal or Informal

In Introduction to Counseling class today while talking about the elements of counseling from a Christian perspective, during the “Discern Damage to Dignity” section, I thought of this song. It is a wonderful injunction to simply be with folk in whatever state they are in. Psychological counsel and Christian witness each, in different though sometimes overlapping ways, enjoin us to go further with people guiding them toward healing and wholeness, if the person is willing, but, hey, I can’t think a better place to start than the willingness to simply “Sit down.”
P.S. This is the original recorded version which has better lyrics than the video version in my opinion, lyrics which are very easy to follow in this video.

Three Rosebushes, One Rose

I was talking to my friend Tanya the other day and told her that I could not remember whether my mother was a sensitive person when it came to figuring out how people might be feeling and ministering to their emotional needs or not. I do know that she certainly quickly came to know what sort of physical needs that people had, and if it was within her power to meet them in a way that would be beneficial to the person, she would readily do it, often sacrifically.
That does not have much to do with the picture below, but it was interesting to me, nonetheless, to think about. This picture was taken I think at Christmas in 1983 when my brother Virgil was visiting from America. We each gave my mother a rosebush for Christmas, which is what she really wanted. OK, and my mother did have her unconventional theories. She brought some placentas home from the hospital and, American Indian fashion (only they used dead fish with corn), had our gardener place them next to the roots of bushes as he planted them. She must have either read that it was a tradition in some place or just thought scientifically that it would work as fertilizer. It is a bit weird to write that out, but it was not nearly as weird as it seems, if you knew my mother.
Incidently, after she died she received an award from the Pakistani government for her service to the country in delivering over a thousand babies, or something like that. At any rate, she delivered a lot of babies and stepped out when she was assisting in the OR to give her own blood when a patients relatives weren’t being cooperative and would often pay patients bills on her own and tried to hook up couples who wanted babies with babies who needed parents and a dozen other things.
I was talking to my Aunt Carolyn, my mom’s sister-in-law, the other day at Thanksgiving, that is hard to talk to people about a relative who was rather extraordinary, because they will be, yeah, right, she was your mother. I am not even sure why I am doing this blog post at this time, other than Thanksgiving is the time when I miss my mother the most, with Christmas being a close second. Well, perhaps it is to let you vicariously know, even if only a very little, a rather extraordinary person who just happened to be my mother.
Oh, and a little note on our attire. I don’t think that stain on Adrian’s oh-so-sexily-opened shirt is a curry stain from the meatball or chicken curry we inavariably would have eaten that day, but rather a flaw in the photograph. Yeah, I’d like to show this picture to his congregation. Stud pastor. Oh, and my shirt, with the poofy sleeves and long collar? I loved that shirt. I bet I could get some money for that shirt at Rag-o-Rama.

Coffee Cup Art

Last Friday, hanging with Jesse at the Grind on a cold, dreary afternoon, I did this little doodle. I am not sure why it turned out the way it did (analyse away), but I think it looks kind of cool. The Grind, by the way, is pretty cool, completely different from any other coffee shop I have seen in St. Louis. It seems pretty cosomopolitan and would not necessarily be my favorite spot for a friendly gathering for tea, but it is hip and very photographable.
coffee art.jpg

He has compassion on all he has made

1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
145, of David

Saturday PM, Art Show, Francis Scaheffer Institute, St. Louis, Missouri

It was a lovely evening, with lovely friends in support. Here are the pictures. As to my talk? Well, it is getting late, so let’s just say it invoved four “S” words, a couple of scriptural reflections, and ended with the reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins “Pied Beauty.” Want more? Well, you’ll just have to come to the next show 😉

The Golden Compass – A Trustworthy Guide

Well, the major movie filling the holiday fantasy slot this holiday season will be The Golden Compass, the first movie to be made from a trilogy of books by Philip Pullman, which he partially wrote to discredit his understanding of Christianity and its God as oppressive, worthy to be overthrown.
If you want to prepare yourself for the upcoming controversy concerning the movie or would just like a discerning guide to help navigate the trilogy, I can think of no one better to be that guide than Jeffrey Overstreet, flim critic and author. Here is a very thoughtful post as to how Christians might think about and respond sensitively to Philip Pullman’s books and the upcoming motion picture. Below is a short excerpt, but I highly recommend reading the entire post if you are at all interested in this matter. Oh, and Jeffrey has also recently written a fantasy novel himself, which I hope to be digging into over the holidays. And here is another of his books on the movies.
The best way to make Phillip Pullman’s stories look like gospel truth is to respond by acting like the villainous Christians in his stories.
The best way to expose Pullman’s lie is to respond like Christ himself: With grace and truth, not hysteria and condemnation.
If we respond with wrath, condemnation, and protest, we play right into Pullman’s naive caricature of Christianity. I’m not saying we shouldn’t point out where he is wrong. His story is deeply flawed, and his religious bigotry is shameful. We should not ignore that. But we also should not ignore the excellence of his artistry. And should speak the truth in love, as Christ commands us. We should respond with truth and grace.