Though it's been around for a while (2003), I just bought a copy of Jon Courson's Application Commentary which, I'm sure, induces anal exegetes to apoplexy; yet it's not bad as an aid to the homiletical adventure of actually trying to remint then communicate timeless truths in a hermeneutical kinda way.
Revealing creativity generated by inspiration or indigestion, he dropped these lines to illustrate the dangers of genealogical obsession or reverting to the past to explain the present which inhibits an ameliorated future so often: "I once read an article that talked about a group of psychologists who were studying the victims of the Holocaust...They found that 40% of the survivors who had adjusted well and had gone on successfully in their lives versus the 60% who were still struggling shared one common denominator that set the world of psychology topsy-turvy. That is, the 40% who had adjusted well did not, when asleep, dream about their past experiences. Until this study, the traditional rap in psychology had been to follow this advice: If you want to get over your hurts, you need to dwell on, relive, and work out the past...[but]...those who were healing were those who had been able to say, 'That's a closed chapter in my life. That was then. This is now. I'm going on.'"
Paraphrasing a friend (TC), here's the short version: "You'll never get better if you keep blaming your problems on poor potty training."
That's a big part of why Jesus said, "You must be born again and from above."
That helps me to understand why some folks never get better; and I'm going to keep that in mind when I'm contracted for my next church mediation.
I do a lot of that; and I've discovered, regardless of theology for conservatives or ideology for liberals or, uh, whatever for moderates or even socioeconomics, most churches can't move into the future because they're living in the past which generates all kinds of pejorative pathologies in the present.
I've been contracted to mediate disputes in rich, poor, middle class, white collar, blue collar, dirty collar, lipstick-stained collar, no collar, never-want-to-see-anything-happen-for-the-first-time, two-feet-planted-firmly-in-the-air, they're-experiencing-a-theophany-or-need-directions-to-the-restroom, and we're-in-church-leadership-because-Rotary-wouldn't-have-us churches; and I've discovered Jon Courson is totally on target in assessing why people and their churches/organizations/all-of-the-below are so dysfunctional.
Yeah, Matthew 18 is a good place to start.
I've got a whole outline of brilliant mediating counsel in Fifteen Secrets; but, uh, folks are so busy reading and watching RW and JO that, well, uh, you know...
Ron Rand of Upbuilding Ministries - you can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org and begin plans to have him come for some of the most exciting renewal weekends for your local parish - has a persuasive "Good Report Card" on resolving conflicts.
But, and it's a very big bold-faced but, have you ever noticed how people will follow reconciling rules as long as they get their way?
Truth is some folks need exorcism more than psychospiritual care.
The only people who don't believe that preceding sentence are still in some tower with all of the windows covered by ivy.
Terrorism isn't only reserved for ragheads, islanders drinkin' too much mist, and all of those other my-way-or-the-highway characters undistinguishable by color, class, or culture.
They show up in the stands for youth athletic events, start fires in churches so they can help put 'em out, start fires wherever because they're just sick relational arsonists, and do whatever-whenever-to-whomever to justify themselves.
Or something like that.
The only people who don't believe in original sin or the Calvinist's understanding of total depravity live in that tower mentioned in the previous section or smoke too much weed.
Be that as it is until Jesus comes back, a dear friend who really loves Jesus and really tries to love like Jesus tried the mediation thing with some irregulars about five years ago; and she gave a copy of her counsel to them to me which I will use when the next church calls on me to fix what too many would prefer remain broken because they think it's healthy to remain sick.
With minimal editing, here's what she wrote:
I believe there are 7 steps to bridge our
relationship with Jesus and each other.
First, we need to get down on our knees
and really humble ourselves before Jesus.
We need to ask Jesus to forgive our sins
and purify us through the power of the
Second, we need to learn how to
communicate better and more often.
Third, we need to learn how to confront
our problems honestly and with wisdom
and understanding of God's will - not our
own will. We need to allow our Lord to
be the Judge!
Fourth, we need to practice forgiveness
on a daily basis. Jesus told Peter to
feed not hurt His sheep.
Fifth, we must represent our church
with God's purpose and plan. God's will
not ours must control all situations. We
are accountable to God alone for our
Sixth, we need to try harder to love
one another; really meaning it when
we say, "I am sorry if I hurt you...Will
you forgive me?...I care about you..."
This needs to be done more often;
because actions speak louder than
Seventh, we need to listen to our
pastor's sermons about love rather
than smiling in worship and then
scowling at each other once we're
out of the sanctuary.
Jesus is the answer to every
Now you know why we're in
Jesus smiled on that effort.
But it took an exorcist to take care of the rest of 'em.
I had a grandmother who did not die well.
She never got over the past - tough childhood, bad marriages, and lots of other disappointments.
She killed herself by smoking even more after a doctor told her that she was smoking too much and it would kill her.
I loved her.
I miss her.
I wish she didn't kill herself.
I wish she would have taken the hand of Jesus and left the past and walked through the present and into the future with Him.
I may be wrong, but I think Jesus feels about the church kinda like I continue to feel about my grandma.
Blessings and Love!