The Pastor and The Shrink

In an episode of the old Soupy Sales Show, a man knocked on Soupy’s door and exclaimed “Hey buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!” Soupy replied “Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”  As the man pulls a tree past the door, he says “come on, dear.” 

The conventional wisdom today is that when people have problems, the talisman to resolve them is the shrink. Have a problem, take it to the shrink.  

“Mental illness” is a misnomer perpetrated by secular psychologists. “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all,” wrote Biblical Counseling Movement founder Jay E Adams.  In his seminal book, Competent To Counsel, Dr. Adams challenged churches’ practice palming off people with problems to secular psychiatry and psychology. 

https://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm 

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. When he came back to Dr. Jung, this shrink told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous 

The Oxford Group 

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy: 

  • All people are sinners 
  • All sinners can be changed 
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change 
  • The change can access God directly 
  • Miracles are again possible 
  • The change must change others 

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives. 

Besides the legal dope that harms “patients” dished out by shrinks that causes physical harm and masks the root of the problem, the lack of absolute truth and conviction of sin replaced by psychobabble prevents people from overcoming their problems.  

It was broken people who went to groups in the vein of The Oxford group that help reform, again, churches that became institutional, just a shell that had little fidelity to scripture, dead to the word of God.  

Without absolutes, it might be considered normal by today’s standards to believe you are a tree. 

Jesus and Depression

Seemingly out of nowhere, it hit! Saturday afternoon a dark, deep depression came over me. I was overwhelmed with sadness, crying, and felt like I being pressed down into a pit of quicksand. My head hurt. To relieve the physical symptoms, I drank a cup of coffee and took some aspirin.  

Distraught, this problem needed immediate attention, so I texted my pastor. He empathized with my depression and understood why it was happening. Although it seemed to come on suddenly, my mentor and true friend explained that my depression did not come out of nowhere, but that my brokenness after being hurt was festering but now God revealed it, and I cried out to God for His help to deal with it. 

God delivered me from the pit of depression in short order. Jesus healed my hurt.  

I remember the lines from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus“, an old hymn that touched me about four years ago after I had turned away from God and was broken, hurting. 

Oh, what peace we often forfeit 

Oh, what needless pain we bare 

All because we do not carry 

Everything to God in prayer” 

And the line “Jesus knows our every weakness” tells us that Christ is with his children. He understands our weakness and hurt. And he heals us 

After I heard that song four years ago, this Prodigal Son came home. And I don’t want to leave home again! 

As bad as I felt on Saturday, I didn’t go to the ER or even think about starting to see a shrink. I called on the pastor, who referred me to God. By Sunday, it was as if nothing had happened. I needed no anti-depressants, which I believe, in the long run, do more harm than good. As father of the Biblical Counseling movement Jay E Adams wrote in “How to Help People Change”, drugs that allegedly resolved problems such as depression just mask the hurt. Depression is like the “check engine” light in your car that alerts you that something is wrong and has to be fixed.  

I paid attention to the check engine light and was referred to the master mechanic to repair the problem. I can better see that the idea that God can handle our problems is not just theory; it’s fact! 

Of course, as with our cars, we need regular maintenance with God by praying, reading the Bible, singing praises and through individual worship and with the assembly of saints (going to church, etc.)  “As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 

 

What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?

“What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” is a simple question to answer. Just “put him in the guardroom until he gets sober!” Other questions, such as what shall we do with the high druggie and the homeless are not so simply answered. Today, these questions are treated like a rhetorical question (for those of you in Doylestown, one that doesn’t require an answer), as, for example, when Jimmy Ruffin sang “what will become of the broken hearted?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vf3ZE7CLg0

The drug epidemic and homelessness keeps lingering on. The drug problem keeps getting worse because people fighting it, especially the government, has made it more complicated than it should be.  This must be by design. As a guy who recently successfully kicked his toxic habit on his own said, “there are recovery and treatment centers that can help people quit using drugs — in fact, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry

http://levittownnow.com/2017/07/07/do-it-yourself-detox-can-be-freddy-krueger-scary-and-usually-fails/

There’s a long waiting line to get into city and state funded drug rehab programs and they are expensive.

The establishment and some of the dopers kin weave a tangled web to explain the problem but they deceive. One thing they got wrong is that the problem is all the drug dealers fault. They think if all the drug pushers are rounded up the problem will be solved. Another thing they got wrong is when they say drug abuse is a disease and it can be treated with just the right drugs, err… medications.

A better way to address the problem is to stop treating a druggie, in the words of Curly of The Three Stooges, as “a victim of soy cum stances.”  It’s a matter of the will.  People make excuses to not face the world and choose to escape through drugs.

The trick is to get to the root of the problem, whether it be drugs, booze, anxiety…   After I lost my job and had other problems, I suffered from anxiety and depression. I allowed myself to be roped into treatment at the Penndel Mental Health Center, Penndel, PA.  I was put on Paxil. It made me worse! My hands started shaking almost more than they did when I thought we took a direct hit when I was passing up ammo at the bottom of the gun chain on a destroyer when I was in combat in Viet Nam. The difference is on the destroyer my hand tremors lasted just a few minutes, whereas my hands shook almost constantly when I was on Paxil. The clinic and someone in the mental health industry who went to the Salvation Army Community Center, Levittown, PA told me it was OK – it just takes time to break in.

After a few months using the legal dope I stopped cold turkey, and suffered withdraw.  My near constant hand shaking abated and I kicked that bad habit.

I found a simpler way to deal with my problem.   I did some research and found that dark chocolate does the same thing as Paxil and more, and with no fear of withdraw. Kava tea is a natural relaxant, and, like dark chocolate, if you use moderation there are no ill effects.

Problems such as anxiety and depression is not just a matter of physical, medical symptoms. It’s also a result of the way one thinks. Knowing that God watches over you and that you have His guidance is the way to fight problems such as anxiety and depression. It’s a gradual process as we try to match His will with ours. When we do we are on the road to recovery as we become restored to the way God made us.

Three and ½ years after I got really messed up – not a result of drugs or alcohol, and after letting the Lord direct my paths, my condition improved. I got back on the right path. I have to just look in occasionally to see what condition my condition is in.  Yea, oh-O Yea…my condition was in.

As a result of churches passing on their responsibility to help people with problems to worldly psychologists and psychiatrists, Jay E Adams started the Biblical Counseling Movement.  https://revolfaith.com/2014/12/05/the-biblical-counseling-movement-origins-and-philosophy/

People become homeless for different reasons. Not all of them are there because of a drug habit. Homeless people are just a microcosm of society. Today’s drug epidemic hits all communities, not just the homeless. Some druggies just happened to slip into the homeless community.

To resolve the homeless problem, one obstacle to overcome is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Hobophobia permeated the meeting held at the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township, New Jersey between the Citizens Serving The Homeless and the local community back in February when they discussed the plan to build a homeless community.

Locals at the meeting feared the homeless going through trashcans, panhandling, attacking people, and generally problems as a result of drug addiction. Here’s a link that sheds light on who the homeless really  are:  http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/myths.html

Where ever you have people you have problems, and the homeless are no exception.  Anyone who comes to the shelter who has a substance abuse problem will be ministered to, like everyone else. Citizens Serving The Homeless will need to provide adequate supervision for them. They are not just going to build a flop house but I trust they will protect the community from problems.

Drug abusers, the homeless and those helping them need to trust in and follow God. His precepts are the model we need to follow to help one another.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  –Proverbs 3: 5-6