27 August, 2007

The Spiritual Girdle

Weekend Fisher poses an issue around Psychology or Spiritual Direction. Along the way, she takes some pretty tough shots at therapy.

I've got my own thoughts on counseling, and I have definitely benefited from extended periods of professional counseling. I recommend it, and don't know that WF doesn't.

Still, her criticisms of the therapeutic relationship bring back to mind the biggest opportunity the church has to change the world. If I wanted to develop deep relationships within my church, I would have to do so outside of anything the church fosters. The members of my church live too far apart - geographically, emotionally, daily, and life-objectives wise. About 4 hours a week, we learn things together. The other 164 hours, we are as far apart from each other as I am from my neighbors.

(Larry Crabb wrote a book, "Connecting," which was just brilliant on the subject of how the church can build healing relationships within its own walls. I strongly recommend this book to any church. I'd link my review, but none of my searches says I ever wrote such a thing. Ah well.)

I continue to grow more convinced that the church is the tiny bonds that grow up between saints, and not the organization the saints attend at all. It's our relationships more than our organization. That organization could be doing so much good and facilitating precious bonding. Instead, it facilitates learning. You can get learning from a book. Why waste precious time on something so simple?

It takes time to get really raw with someone, to expose the stuff that scares you the worst and to see whether it's as ugly as you fear. That won't happen when you meet three times a week in a learning environment. It just can't. We need to be eating together more. We need to be playing together and shopping together and doing home repair together. This habit of stuffing the ample body of Christ into a girdle of spirituality is killing us.


Milly said...

Good points.

I hang with a group of folks that I think of as family. One night our associate minister walked into our little room and looked around. (You can often hear us before seeing us.) He smile and said that we had our own small group in the works. We prefer family we don’t study the bible in that time and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make Sunday roll, we do talk about God and stuff but it’s a social and tech time for us. We also try to sit together for dinner on Wednesday nights when we can. I don’t get as much time as I’d like with them but still I cherish those moments. Distance and time seems to hinder a lot of what we want to do.

Missy said...

"...convinced that the church is the tiny bonds that grow up between saints..."

I like that. I, too, am convinced that this is the kingdom - not the corporate church. It surprises to learn that so many don't have this - and often how some don't even want it.

Kansas Bob said...

I continue to grow more convinced that the church is the tiny bonds that grow up between saints, and not the organization the saints attend at all.

Me Too!! Well said CP!

pearlie said...

Good post. We are after all the body of Christ. When one part of us hurts, it is natural for the whole unit to experience the pain. It is when we do not, which shows how dead the body is.

karen said...

Good points, CP.
I always got tickled when our small church wanted to get big so we could have small groups! :-D

Patchouli said...

CP, this is right on the money. M.Scott Peck wrote a book "A Different Drummer" that should be required reading for pastors along with Crabbe's.