Posted on Leave a comment

Looking at the Past and Present of Counseling

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Article 02.25.2010
Source: 9 Marks
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Rachel Strong

The following is an interview with David Powlison

LOOKING AT THE HISTORY OF BIBLICAL COUNSELING

9Marks: Are there significant points of commonality between biblical counseling in the past, such as the Puritan approach, and proper biblical counseling today?

David Powlison: The church forgets things. The church rediscovers things. But when it rediscovers something, it’s different because it’s always in a different socio-cultural-historical moment, and different forces are at work.

Caring for the soul, which we try to do in biblical counseling, is not new. Two of the great pioneers in church history would be Augustine and Gregory the Great. Even secular people will credit Augustine’s Confessions as pioneering the idea that there is an inner life. Augustine did an unsurpassed job of tearing apart the various ways in which people’s desires become disordered.

Gregory wrote the earliest textbook on pastoral care. He pioneered diverse ways of dealing with a fearful person, a brash and impulsive person, an angry person, an overly passive person. He broke out these different struggles and sought to apply explicitly biblical, Christ-centered medicine—full of Christ, full of grace, full of gospel, and full of the hard call of God’s Word to the challenges of life.

The Puritans represent a second era of great riches in the area of pastoral care, and the question is often asked about CCEF’s relationship to the Puritans. People are more familiar with them because we still read them. You think about people like Richard Baxter, whose Christian Directory offers a treatise on everything from melancholy to domestic violence to addictions. Now, the Puritans use a different language set. There are certain ways that their studies are not as nuanced and sophisticated as ours, but there is a tremendous correlation of current wisdom for pastoral care in the cure of souls.

I would say that we have commonalities and discontinuities with the Puritans. In terms of commonalities, we share a way to understand people and their problems as well as a way to address their problems candidly and thoroughly in a God-centered manner. The living God sees our problem, weighs it, and has something to say about it. That commonality is what makes us Christians.

Discontinuities, I think, come in large part because of cultural context. What’s interesting about the current rediscovery of biblical counseling is that it’s the first time the church has had to grapple with doing counseling when there’s a very powerful competitor in the wider culture. Historically, no one did counseling except the church. People were too busy making crops grow and making babies and making war. But the modern world does have time to do it.

The modern psychologies present a tremendously stimulating, informative, and threatening challenge. These psychologies are stimulating because they push us to ask questions that we may not have already considered. They’re informational because they are very observant. They’re threatening because they are a self-conscious alternative to the church and would love to take over the care of souls. They’re willing to do our job for us, letting us be a religious club that does good works while they deal with the deep stuff and the long stuff.

That being said, the church is the place where we should think about what makes people tick and how the human heart can be renewed.

Maybe a brief way to illustrate it would be to point to Jonathan Edwards’ A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. It’s a master work of empirical, thoughtful study on how people respond to God and how their emotions, affections, loves, and experiences can be distorted or greatly ordered. If you look at the courses CCEF has produced in the last couple of decades, you could say that we have been working in this direction. But we have to engage the problems in case studies in a much more fine-grained way. I think that is because of the provocative stimulus that living in a psychologized culture offers to us.

The psychologies are the great challenge to us. And the church can respond to these challenges either by syncretism—a kind of reverse conversion where we let the psychologies call the shots—or by doing something better than the culture. It’s that “doing it better” that’s actually our mission.

LOOKING AT COUNSELING IN CHURCHES TODAY

9M: What most discourages you about the way churches are approaching the field of counseling and discipleship?

DP: Counseling is about what? The cure of souls. How can we understand people and their life circumstances? We do so through the eyes of God as revealed in Scripture. We need to redefine the word “counseling” from the start, because when churches think about counseling these days, their first impulse is not the right impulse. They either mimic what the world does inside itself or they refer people out to the world.

The word “discipleship” is essentially a synonym for counseling. Maybe we could nuance it and say that counseling biblically is a more problem-centered form of discipleship. But that is just playing with words because discipleship means helping people change into the image of Jesus Christ. And that’s what counseling is. That’s what transformation is. That’s what sanctification is.

In our evangelical culture, the word discipleship tends to mean some kind of structured program—learning how to have a quiet time, learning what your gifts are, learning certain facts about the church. All of those are great and certainly a part of discipleship. But the essence of discipleship is that the disciple is becoming like the master, and the master is someone who trusts God and loves people. If we are people who trust ourselves and use people, there is a gap. Discipleship is actually meant to bridge that gap so that people who trust themselves learn to trust God, and people who use other people learn to love other people.

This personal ministry—or inter-personal ministry—isn’t just from the pulpit or even small group. It’s climbing into one another’s lives. Part of CCEF’s mission is to convince local churches of these things and then to help churches take hold of a counseling and discipleship that is really worthy of the name.

LOOKING AT CCEF

9M: Speaking of CCEF, what is CCEF trying to do that’s unique?

DP: For starters, we’ve got one of the world’s best mission statements: Restoring Christ to Counseling and Counseling to the Church. Let’s think about that first part—restoring Christ to counseling. Christ is not in most of the counseling that’s in our world, because people do not understand the human dilemma. They don’t understand what suffering really means. They don’t understand the forces of enculturation. They don’t understand the nature of sin or the nature of our desires. And they don’t understand that Christ is the one who immediately, intrinsically, relevantly speaks to what people have been dealing with.

Every Bible-believing church on the planet would agree that we ought to preach Christ. But how many people have the idea that we need to counsel Christ? What does that mean? When you preach, you exposit the Scriptures and show how Christ applies. But when you counsel Christ, the process is typically going to be bottom up, not top down. You start by getting to know a person. You love the person. You get to know their world. They know you care. They have reasons to trust you. Once you’ve done this, you have a better idea of how to make the gospel of the one true living God immediately relevant to their lives.

The second part of our mission is restoring counseling to the church. The church ought to be a place where we “go deep” and “hang in long” in one another’s lives. “Deep” and “long” don’t tend to be qualities that are found in the church of Christ. Hence, people are willing to pay money to others who will never lead them to the Savior of the World. But that must change.

CCEF is also unique even within the wider biblical counseling movement in two more ways. One is what I call “R&D”—a research and development purpose. We don’t believe that saying “biblical counseling” means that we have figured it all out. We are a work in progress. We have a core commitment to push, to develop, to build, to tackle a new problem.

Second is an evangelistic purpose. We try to think through how to reach those who disagree with us. How can we reach both the Christian community and a non-Christian community with the relevant counseling oriented message that is christocentric?

CCEF has five full-time faculty members who share a wonderful synergy, in part because you have people who all have a dual expertise—a primary commitment to Bible and theology, coupled with some other expertise. Our director, Dr. Tim Lane, was a pastor for years. He brings a sensitivity to how counseling ministry links to the other aspects of church life.

Dr. Mike Emlet is an M.D. who had a family practice for years. He’s the scientist who brings an awareness of mind-body issues like psychiatric diagnosis and medications.

Dr. Ed Welch has a PhD in neuro-psychology and a burning interest in the nuances of actual counseling moments and how counseling actually happens.

Winston Smith stays very current with the psycho therapeutic world. He has given his life to issues of marriage and family and group dynamics.

My graduate work (besides Bible and theology) was in the history of psychiatry, history of science, and history of medicine.

I am only just speaking of the faculty and not speaking of various members of the much wider counseling staff who have various interests. It’s a very rich environment with a common commitment to biblical counseling.

LOOKING AT POWLISON’S OWN WORK

9M: Can you give us a quick introduction to your two booksSpeaking Truth in Love and Seeing with New Eyes?

DP: The books I’ve written are labors of love. They are very personal.

You will notice that in the title of Speaking Truth in Love there is no “the” in the title. That’s very intentional because biblical truth is not just the truth with a capital “t.” The Bible also gives us what is true with a lower case “t”—truth about what is happening in our lives. The living God gives us truth that is once for all, unchangeable, incarnate, and written, and that is always true and real and candid and direct. Speaking Truth in Love is both. In counseling it’s both. If you’re speaking to someone who is depressed, and you want to speak truth in love, you don’t just proclaim the glories of God. You talk about the experience of depression. You talk about what he or she is going through. You talk about what may be motivational factors. You talk about the one who is the truth and the God who is true in his Word. So counseling is about bringing “big T Truth” and “little t truth” together into conversational, counseling ministry, implying a give and take. You want to deal with the life that’s on the table.

So the book asks how such a counseling ministry or conversational ministry can proceed. The first half of the book is a series of case studies on counseling methodology. The second presents a series of case studies or perspectives on how the church can organize and think about a counseling ministry.

The burden of my other book, Seeing with New Eyes, is that God has a point of view on human life. I mean, it sounds like the most obvious thing in the world once you say that, but the counseling world has been almost blind to the fact that God has a point of view on counseling issues. It presents an endeavor that is obviously from outside the church. Even counseling inside, the church is often unhinged from God’s point of view. But God has a point of view. He made the world. He judges it. He evaluates it. He redeems it. He invades it. He challenges it. He destroys it. He has a point of view on whatever happens in human life.

Not only that, God has revealed his point of view. He has told us how he sees things. On the one hand, the heart is deceitful and opaque. On the other hand, he has told us how to evaluate it. You can illustrate this point by considering the most profound psycho dynamic theories—the Freuds, the Jungs, the Adlers, and so forth. At some level, they are exactly right in their descriptions. They can observe the sorts of forces at play in the human heart— the “power drives” or “spirituality instincts” or “sexuality instincts” at play. At the same time, they don’t know how to make sense of these forces. Their theories never get to the most profound depth of the human heart because they never see the religious dynamic taking place beneath all these forces and instincts.

What other ways have we departed from God? How do you find your way back? How has capitalism / profit impacted the way we see healing and health?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Juicing & Ginger

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Featured Photo Source: Unsplash, Hilary Hahn

When we began to experience health concerns one of the first things we did was change our diet, which is also typically the first thing your doctor asks you about when you come to them with health concerns. As we begin to change our diet one of the things that was recommended to us was to juice. Indeed vegetables, fruits and even roots posses many of the medicinal benefits our body needs to receive proper nutrition, stay health, heal and to be strong tackling whatever we wish to achieve whether that is low impact walking for fitness or athletic super bowl greatness. In fact it is reported that Lebron spends $1.5 million on his body alone keeping his body at the top of its athletic game and all his championship wins is a testament to that.

So we recently made an investment in our body and in our health by getting a juicer. One of the first things we began to make is a ginger, turmeric and honey tea with our juicer. Read our other article today to learn more about the medicinal benefits of ginger. There are many ways to invest in your body from personal fitness trainers to protein shakes. How do you invest in your body and consequently your health? How wold you like to invest in your body? Time is also a form of investment. Search “10 minute exercise” on our site to learn more about how you can increase your lifespan by investing 10 minutes a day. What are 3 things you spend 10 minutes a day on? Are you willing to use that time lengthening your days?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger

Source: Health Line

Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia. It’s among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet.

It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and it’s closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It’s often called ginger root or, simply, ginger.

Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. It’s a very common ingredient in recipes. It’s sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics.

Here are 11 health benefits of ginger that are supported by scientific research.

woman chopping raw ginger root on a wooden cutting board
Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images
Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1. Contains gingerol, which has powerful medicinal properties

Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It’s been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few of its purposes.

The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.

Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger. It’s responsible for much of ginger’s medicinal properties.

Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, according to research. For instance, it may help reduce oxidative stress, which is the result of having an excess amount of free radicals in the body (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

2. Can treat many forms of nausea, especially morning sickness

Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea (3Trusted Source).

It may help relieve nausea and vomiting for people undergoing certain types of surgery. Ginger may also help chemotherapy-related nausea, but larger human studies are needed (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source7).

However, it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.

According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1–1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea.

However, this review concluded that ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes (8Trusted Source).

Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you’re pregnant.

It’s recommended that pregnant women who are close to labor or who’ve had miscarriages avoid ginger (9Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Just 1–1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea, including chemotherapy-related nausea, nausea after surgery, and morning sickness.

ADVERTISING

3. May help with weight loss

Ginger may play a role in weight loss, according to studies conducted in humans and animals.

A 2019 literature review concluded that ginger supplementation significantly reduced body weight, the waist-hip ratio, and the hip ratio in people with overweight or obesity (10Trusted Source).

A 2016 study of 80 women with obesity found that ginger could also help reduce body mass index (BMI) and blood insulin levels. High blood insulin levels are associated with obesity.

Study participants received relatively high daily doses — 2 grams — of ginger powder for 12 weeks (1112).

A 2019 literature review of functional foods also concluded that ginger had a very positive effect on obesity and weight loss. However, additional studies are needed (13).

The evidence in favor of ginger’s role in helping prevent obesity is stronger in animal studies. Rats and mice who consumed ginger water or ginger extract consistently saw decreases in their body weight, even in instances where they’d also been fed high-fat diets (14Trusted Source1516).

Ginger’s ability to influence weight loss may be related to certain mechanisms, such as its potential to help increase the number of calories burned or reduce inflammation (1316).

SUMMARY

According to studies in animals and humans, ginger may help improve weight-related measurements. These include body weight and the waist-hip ratio.

4. Can help with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common health problem.

It involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.

One literature review found that people who used ginger to treat their OA saw significant reductions in pain and disability (17).

Only mild side effects, such as a dissatisfaction with the taste of ginger, were observed. However, the taste of ginger, along with stomach upset, still prompted nearly 22% of the study participants to drop out.

Study participants received between 500 milligrams (mg) and 1 gram of ginger each day for anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks. A majority of them had been diagnosed with OA of the knee (17).

Another study from 2011 found that a combination of topical ginger, mastic, cinnamon, and sesame oil can help reduce pain and stiffness in people with OA of the knee (18Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

There are some studies showing ginger to be effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritis of the knee.

5. May drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors

This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties.

In a 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12% (19Trusted Source).

It also dramatically improved hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker for long-term blood sugar levels. HbA1c was reduced by 10% over a period of 12 weeks.

There was also a 28% reduction in the Apolipoprotein B/ApolipoproteinA-I ratio and a 23% reduction in malondialdehyde (MDA), which is a byproduct of oxidative stress. A high ApoB/ApoA-I ratio and high MDA levels are both major risk factors for heart disease (19Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that this was just one small study. The results are incredibly impressive, but they need to be confirmed in larger studies before any recommendations can be made.

In somewhat encouraging news, a 2019 literature review also concluded that ginger significantly reduced HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it also found that ginger had no effect on fasting blood sugar (20).

SUMMARY

Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.

HEALTHLINE RESOURCESTake our free 3-question diet quiz

Our free assessment ranks the best diets for you based on your answers to 3 quick questions.FIND YOUR DIETS

6. Can help treat chronic indigestion

Chronic indigestion is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.

It’s believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach (21Trusted Source).

People with functional dyspepsia, which is indigestion with no known cause, were given either ginger capsules or a placebo in a small 2011 study. One hour later, they were all given soup.

It took 12.3 minutes for the stomach to empty in people who received ginger. It took 16.1 minutes in those who received the placebo (22Trusted Source).

These effects have also been seen in people without indigestion. In a 2008 study by some members of the same research team, 24 healthy individuals were given ginger capsules or a placebo. They were all given soup an hour later.

Consuming ginger as opposed to a placebo significantly accelerated emptying of the stomach. It took 13.1 minutes for people who received ginger and 26.7 minutes for people who received the placebo (23Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort.

7. May significantly reduce menstrual pain

Dysmenorrhea refers to pain felt during the menstrual cycle.

One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain.

In a 2009 study, 150 women were instructed to take either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the first 3 days of the menstrual period.

The three groups received four daily doses of either ginger powder (250 mg), mefenamic acid (250 mg), or ibuprofen (400 mg). Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the two NSAIDs (24Trusted Source).

More recent studies have also concluded that ginger is more effective than a placebo and equally as effective as drugs such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen (Novafen) (252627Trusted Source).

While these findings are promising, higher-quality studies with larger numbers of study participants are still needed (27Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period.

8. May help lower cholesterol levels

High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels.

In a 2018 study of 60 people with hyperlipidemia, the 30 people who received 5 grams of ginger-pasted powder each day saw their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels drop by 17.4% over a 3-month period (28).

While the drop in LDL is impressive, it’s important to consider that study participants received very high doses of ginger.

Many cited a bad taste in the mouth as their reason for dropping out of an OA study where they received doses of 500 mg–1 gram of ginger (17).

The doses taken during the hyperlipidemia study are 5–10 times higher. It’s likely that most people may have difficulty taking a 5-gram dose for long enough to see results (28).

In an older study from 2008, people who received 3 grams of ginger powder (in capsule form) each day also saw significant reductions in most cholesterol markers. Their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels dropped by 10% over 45 days (29).

These findings are supported by a study in rats with hypothyroidism or diabetes. Ginger extract lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (30Trusted Source).

Study subjects from all 3 studies also experienced drops in total cholesterol. Participants in the 2008 study, as well as the lab rats, also saw reductions in their blood triglycerides (282930Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

There’s some evidence, in both humans and animals, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels.

9. Contains a substance that may help prevent cancer

Ginger has been studied as an alternative remedy for several forms of cancer.

The anti-cancer properties are attributed to gingerol, which is found in large amounts in raw ginger. A form known as [6]-gingerol is viewed as especially powerful (31Trusted Source32).

In a 28-day study of individuals at normal risk for colorectal cancer, 2 grams of ginger extract per day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon (33).

However, a follow-up study in individuals at a high risk for colorectal cancer didn’t produce the same results (34Trusted Source).

There’s some evidence, albeit limited, that ginger may be effective against other gastrointestinal cancers such as pancreatic cancer and liver cancer (35Trusted Source36Trusted Source).

It may be effective against breast cancer and ovarian cancer as well. In general, more research is needed (37Trusted Source38Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger contains the substance gingerol, which appears to have protective effects against cancer. However, more studies are needed.

10. May improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process.

They’re believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Some animal studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain (39Trusted Source).

There’s also some evidence that ginger can help enhance brain function directly. In a 2012 study of healthy middle-aged women, daily doses of ginger extract were shown to improve reaction time and working memory (40Trusted Source).

In addition, numerous studies in animals show that ginger can help protect against age-related decline in brain function (41Trusted Source42Trusted Source43Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Animal studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also help improve brain function in middle-aged women.

11. Can help fight infections

Gingerol can help lower the risk of infections.

In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria (44Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

According to a 2008 study, it’s very effective against the oral bacteria linked to gingivitis and periodontitis. These are both inflammatory gum diseases (46Trusted Source).

Fresh ginger may also be effective against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cause of respiratory infections (47Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger may fight harmful bacteria and viruses, which could reduce your risk for infections.

The bottom line

Ginger is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

It’s one of the very few superfoods actually worthy of that term.

When we come down with simple colds or infections ginger can help besides the host of other medicinal benefits of ginger. Which medicinal benefits are helpful to your health and diet? How can you introduce ginger into your diet? Do you juice?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pastoral Counseling

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Physician heal thyself comes from the Bible. Specifically, it can be found in Luke 4:23 where Jesus quotes a common Jewish phrase of the time, saying, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself’.” (KJV).

Over the centuries pastoral counseling has been one of the main responsibilities of pastors throughout the church. Jesus provided pastoral counseling to his disciples and to the crowds that followed Him. He talked regularly with those who were physically sick and emotionally hurting. The Apostle Paul also gave pastoral counseling to his young students and preachers such as Timothy and Titus. He also gave pastoral counseling through his letter to Philemon to address the issue of Onesimus returning home. He even gave pastoral counsel to Peter as he attempted to correct the issues facing the church in book of Acts.

Throughout all church history, pastoral counselors have been the foundational and focal point of helping people deal with all sorts of issues and problems. Pastors are frequently the first person church members will seek help from when dealing with grief and death issues, crisis situations, marriage struggles, family issues, health problems, job-related problems, etc.The goals…This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. American Association Pastoral Counselors. Retrieved September 15, 2008 from http://www.aapc.org/about.cfm
  2. The Holy Bible, New International Version. (1984). International Bible Society. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.Google Scholar
  3. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 15 September 2008 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counselor.
  4. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 15, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pastoral.
  5. Porter, N. (Ed.) (1998). Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Version published 1913, by the C. & G. Merriam Co., Springfield, MA. 1996, 1998 by MICRA, Inc. of Plainfield, NJ. Last edit February 3, 1998.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

How to cite

Cite this entry as:Allen D. (2010) Pastoral Counseling. In: Leeming D.A., Madden K., Marlan S. (eds) Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-71802-6_825

Are you religious? Do you have a church, temple….etc. you belong to? How do you obtain a healing from those things that ill people in the seasons of their life of you are or are not religious? What is your religious beliefs?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Beliefs, History & Model of Care

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: CCEF
Featured Photo Source: Unsplash, Anna Might

Physician heal thyself comes from the Bible. Specifically, it can be found in Luke 4:23 where Jesus quotes a common Jewish phrase of the time, saying, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself’.” (KJV).

Understanding the roots of medical branches is key to implementing your own health care properly to secure a healing, a cure. When one goes to the doctor, they do so seeking a solution to their health care concerns. What is important to understand about profit and Western medicine is that in the pursuit of profit medical professionals seek to manage and not cure illness leaving patients in a state of perpetual illness, which typically leads to other disease and chronic disease which insurance companies and patients grapple with from rising health care costs to patient deaths. In fact doctors often prescribe medications with murky clinical trails with no true proof of healing or medical solution. In fact health care cost have gotten so out of control that people such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet have taken notice.

Below CCEF reminds us that historically pastors counseled and that God’s promise to us is a healing not a perpetual state of disease. CCEF looks at the rise of mental health and mental illness secular rise in the 1800s, which was born out of Germany. Prior to this advent of modern medicine pastors counseled people regarding the seasons of the human condition such as dealing with job, home and loss of loved ones (all of which many have experienced during COVID 19). Indeed, the CCEF is calling you back to the healing hands of God … (for those who did not go to the church for such counseling historically family comforted and counseled one another).

Beliefs
Source: CCEF (Christian Counseling Educational Foundation)

We are Protestant. We affirm the unique authority of Scripture, and subscribe to the historic creeds of the early church and Reformation (i.e., Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Westminster Confession of Faith, London Baptist Confession, Heidelberg Catechism). And though we are grounded in the Protestant reformed tradition, we are also ecumenical and seek to minister to and with Christians from a range of theological perspectives.

We seek to apply these core commitments of historic orthodoxy in ways that are humble and winsome.

  • Because God teaches us to see the world the way he sees it, and to see all things as they exist in relationship to him, we are committed to the complete trustworthiness and primacy of the Scriptures.
  • Because the working of God in human life unfolds historically, we are committed to the narrative perspective provided by redemptive-historical theology, the story line that frames our understanding of systematic theology, practical theology, and church history.
  • Because God’s saving work in Christ Jesus creates a people for his own possession, we are committed to serve the visible church.
  • Because there is one Body and one Spirit, we are committed to serve Christians of many different denominational associations.
  • Because God’s ways and words are relevant across time, in all places, and to all peoples, we are committed to cultural sensitivity. Because the church is called to move towards the world redemptively, rather than existing in defensive or hostile isolation, we are committed to cultural engagement.

Brief History of Pastoral Care

The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) was founded in 1968 and stands in a long tradition of pastoral care that dates back to the 1st century church and the New Testament. Through the centuries there have been high points and low points in the church’s understanding and practice of good pastoral care. High points include the early church fathers, the Reformation, the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards. In principle, for the first 1900 years of the church’s existence, the Scriptures formed the basis for diagnosing both psychological-spiritual maladies and interpersonal problems. And Scripture offered a consistent basis for addressing people’s problems by rooting our lives in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So, in many ways, CCEF’s ministry is not new, because its theology expresses this heritage of a God-centered understanding of people and a Christ-centered understanding of how God redeems people. But CCEF is doing something new in terms of its application of these time-tested truths to modern problems.

Whether or not the church was doing a good job of pastoral care, for the first 1900 years all Christians agreed that Scripture was the basis for restoring human lives. But a fundamental shift came with the advent of the modern secular psychologies, pioneered by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800’s. In a short amount of time, historic biblical categories of creation, fall and redemption were replaced by secular categories of mental health and mental illness.

The main effect of that shift meant that secular psychological thinking excised the personal God from the world he made. In the new theories and psychotherapeutic practices, there was no mention of sin, of God, of the necessity of a Savior, or the promise of eternal life. The solution to our “personal and interpersonal problems” lay within us and counseling involved drawing it out.

Though these were secular theories, they greatly impacted the church. From the turn of the 20th century, a shift took place in pastoral care instruction in seminaries. While many seminaries continued to make the Scriptures primary in the preaching of God’s word, they no longer made the Scriptures primary in pastoral care and counseling. This vacuum was filled by a host of alternatives that tended to minimize, change or overshadow the redemptive message of the Scriptures.

Responding to this trend, David Powlison writes in his book Speaking Truth in Love: Counsel in Community :

But as we look more closely at life, it becomes clearer and clearer that Scripture is about counseling: diagnostic categories, causal explanations of behavior and emotion, interpretation of external sufferings and influences, definitions of workable solutions, character of the counselor, goals for the counseling process…These are all matters to which God speaks directly, specifically, and frequently. He calls us to listen attentively, to think hard and well, and to develop our practical theology of conversational ministry.

The Advent of CCEF and Biblical Counseling

In response to these trends in the church and pastoral training, a “biblical counseling” movement emerged in the late 1960’s. The initial spokesman for this approach to pastoral care and counseling was Jay Adams. In 1968, Jay Adams and John Bettler started the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation just outside of Philadelphia. For the past four decades, CCEF has been growing and contributing to the biblical counseling movement as that movement has grown in both influence and maturity. For a more detailed history of the biblical counseling movement, see The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context by David Powlison.

CCEF’s early history was largely prophetic and therefore polemic. The church was challenged to rethink its beliefs about why people struggle and how to help them when they do. CCEF called pastors and seminaries back to the primacy of Scripture as the basis for thoughtful and effective pastoral care and counseling. From the beginning, there was always a concern to define what could legitimately be learned from modern psychology, but Scripture provided the orienting “generalizations”: a God-centered view of people and problems and solutions. What was at stake was which source would be primary.

As CCEF entered the 1980’s and 90’s, it was apparent that the second and third generation of leaders benefited from the strengths of their predecessors as well as learned from their weaknesses. They moved CCEF in a direction of increased sensitivity to human suffering, to the dynamics of motivation, to the centrality of the gospel in the daily life of the believer, the importance of the body of Christ and to a more articulate engagement with secular culture.

As CCEF enters the 21st century, it continues this positive trajectory with a commitment to work out the implications of biblical counseling in many areas of counseling methodology. CCEF continues to emphasize the centrality of the body of Christ as the primary context for care and counseling while recognizing the legitimate place of broader resources within the body of Christ. The relationship between biblical counselors and fellow evangelicals involved in professional, clinical counseling continues to be worked out in the pursuit of cordial relationships in which differences can be constructively discussed. Biblical counseling offers a distinctively Christian understanding of people, problems, influences, suffering, motives, and change processes. These beliefs are continuing to be developed and applied at CCEF.

Model of Care

CCEF’s distinctives regarding counseling grow out of our theological convictions. The points listed below express some of the counseling implications of our theological convictions.

  • We are Christ-centered. Therefore, we point people to a person, Christ, and not a program. He is wisdom from God, the inexpressible gift who delivers us from our sins and sufferings. He is the faith-nourishing foundation in whom the call to obedience finds its inner principle and power. People need the Savior, not a system of self-salvation.
  • We believe in God’s common grace to all humanity, and therefore we can learn from those who do not espouse a Christian or even a theistic worldview. For example, while the fundamental worldview of secular psychology runs counter to Christianity, there are descriptive riches to be found in the writings and teachings of those who have gained case wisdom through their research and care. These materials can enrich our care of those in need and can be useful to us as we continue to develop our biblically-based counseling method.
  • We are aware that human behavior is inextricably tied to deeper motivational drives. Therefore, we emphasize the primacy of the heart, because all human acts arise from a worship core, either disordered or rightly ordered.
  • We believe that we best image the triune God as we live and grow in community. Therefore, we embed personal change within God’s community—the church, with all its rich resources of corporate and interpersonal means of grace.
  • We believe the Scriptures are rich in their understanding of who we are as human beings. Therefore, we use Scripture with a full commitment to its authority and sufficiency, convinced that from beginning to end, it reveals Christ and his powerful redeeming grace addressing the needs and struggles of the human condition.
  • We believe that human beings are both spiritual and physical beings. Therefore, we recognize that people are physically-embodied by God’s design. A variety of bodily influences impact moral response. We take the whole person seriously, granting that there are ambiguities at the interface of soul and body. We seek to remain sensitive to physiological factors, as the context within which God calls a person to faith and obedience.
  • We believe that people are socially-embedded by God’s design. Therefore, we recognize that a variety of socio-cultural influences and sufferings influence moral response. We take the person’s whole context seriously, granting that there are ambiguities at the interface between an individual and their environment. We seek to remain sensitive to social factors, as the context within which God calls a person to faith and obedience.
  • We believe that the incarnation of Jesus is not just the basis for care but also the model for how care is to be administered. Therefore, we seek to enter into a person’s story, listening well, expressing thoughtful love. Such incarnational patience recognizes that a particular season of intentional counseling plays one part within a life-long process of Christian growth.
  • We believe that Jesus is our faithful Redeemer who enables us to persevere in the midst of our problems. Therefore, we understand that change is often slow and hard. Jesus promises no instant panacea. He abides in us as we abide in him. He gives grace to walk a long obedience in the same direction, learning wisdom.
  • We believe that we at CCEF have not “arrived.” We have not fully and clearly expressed all that the Bible has to say about counseling ministry. Therefore, because Jesus tarries and we are not yet what we shall be, we humbly admit that we struggle to consistently apply all that we say we believe. We want to learn and grow in wisdom. We who counsel and teach counseling live in process, just like those we counsel and teach.

Were you aware of this history? How do you deal with the seasons of the human condition? How do you reconcile medical profit with your health care outcomes? What would you like to see happen?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Biden and Pope Francis Could Make a Climate Change Miracle

How the new U.S. leader and the liberal pontiff—like presidents and popes before them—can cooperate to transform American politics.

BY TIMOTHY NAFTALICHRISTOPHER WHITE
JANUARY 31, 2021, 4:22 AM
Source: Foreign Policy

Pope Francis is joined by then-Vice President Joe Biden after the pontiff addressed Congress on his first U.S. visit on Sept. 24, 2015. MINDY SCHAUER/THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/MEDIANEWS GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

America now has its second Catholic president. It took 60 years and, in some ways, the two eras could hardly be more different for American Catholics. In 1960, John F. Kennedy worried that many American Protestants would not vote for him because he was a Catholic. In 2020, Joe Biden had more reason to be concerned that it would be his fellow Catholics that would refuse to vote for him.

But there is a key similarity. President Biden comes into office uniquely positioned to work productively with a powerful ally in the Vatican on an issue that a week into his presidency he has already described to the American people as “an existential threat:” climate change. Sixty years ago, when nuclear annihilation posed the greatest threat to humanity, a like-minded pope helped Kennedy to broaden domestic public support for a change in Washington’s posture in the Cold War, preparing Catholic opinion in particular for a shift in the rhetoric towards Moscow. There may be some lessons for the incoming Biden-Harris administration as it grapples with the fact that 74 million Americans voted for a climate-change denier.

It took Kennedy two years to risk identifying himself with any initiatives from Pope John XXIII. Initially, Kennedy felt he had to keep the Vatican at arms’ length. Anti-Catholic bigotry had not prevented his election but it had suppressed the Democratic vote in some parts of the country. The Vatican was equally sensitive. Days after his inauguration, the Holy See took the unusual step of making clear in a public statement that the president would not be expected to kneel in any future audience with the pope.

Although Kennedy never fully lost his wariness about seeming too close to Rome, he wasn’t naive about the potential benefits of papal support in a world staring nuclear annihilation in the face. The Kennedy White House had a hand in shaping the pope’s call for peace during the Cuban missile crisis. And after that 13-day dance on the precipice of nuclear war, both Kennedy and John XXIII—an elderly man whose pontificate had begun in 1958, three years before the dynamic young JFK took his oath—wanted to change the global conversation about peace and soften Soviet resistance to a détente.

As John XXIII was dying with cancer in 1963, the Vatican initiated a back-channel effort, led by Jewish-American journalist and peace activist Norman Cousins and blessed by Kennedy, to move Washington and the Kremlin closer to achieving the first nuclear arms-control agreement. The Pope’s most important contribution was Pacem in Terris, or “Peace on Earth,” a papal encyclical calling for a new approach to peacemaking, one that relied not on weapons but on words and the power of negotiation.

The New York Times published the letter in its entirety in April 1963, marking a first for the paper, and for the Vatican it marked a course correction. No longer would papal enyclicals be directed to Catholics alone, but, in John XXIII’s phrase, to “all people of goodwill,” words that proved very helpful to Kennedy, who knew that among America’s most hardened anti-Communists were his fellow congregants. The Vatican had made a point of sending the Kennedy White House the final proofs of the encyclical days before it was officially published.U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Pope Paul VI meet at the Vatican on July 2, 1963. The pontiff praised the first Roman Catholic U.S. president for his "untiring” efforts to obtain peace in the world.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Pope Paul VI meet at the Vatican on July 2, 1963. The pontiff praised the first Roman Catholic U.S. president for his “untiring” efforts to obtain peace in the world. BETTMANN ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES – Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Highlighting the papal message in a speech at Boston College a week after its publication, Kennedy said “that document surely shows that on the basis of one great faith and its tradition there can be developed counsel on public affairs that is of value to all men and women of goodwill. As a Catholic I am proud of it, as an American I have learned from it.”

With the Vatican having gone first, it was politically easier for Kennedy to issue his own extended statement on seeking peace in the Cold War, resulting in his June 1963 American University speech, which helped pave the way to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Moscow later that summer.

The pope wasn’t the only religious leader who played an important role in encouraging Americans to support relaxing tensions with Moscow. But the Vatican’s highly visible use of soft power to reduce nuclear danger helped shift attitudes at the height of the Cold War. Now five decades later there is an opportunity for a pope and a president to work together on a different issue that threatens the future of humanity.

In the United States, some Christian leaders have politicized the issue of climate change, pitting science against faith. Not the Vatican. The condemnation of Galileo was 400 years ago, and Rome insists that the faithful not see any tension between their faith and climate science—or between their faith and their public responsibility as citizens. Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’, like Pacem in Terris, was an urgent appeal for a new dialogue on “how we are shaping the future of our planet.” In this case it is the proliferation of fossil fuels and not nuclear weapons that is the cause of the urgency.

Francis’s encyclical was strategically timed to influence the Paris Climate Agreement, which was later abandoned by the Trump administration. In his new book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, Francis recalls how after being elected pope, he assembled the world’s best scientists and asked them to provide a summary of the “state of our planet.” He then asked theologians and scientists to work together on the document, to serve as a blueprint to galvanize people toward engaging on climate concerns. When the pope was traveling to Strasbourg in 2014 to address the Council of Europe, then French President François Hollande’s environmental minister urged the pope to complete the letter and release it before representatives of the world gathered in Paris for what would become the climate accords, in order to help solidify support for the agreement.

With the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris initiative, the challenge now, as in 1963, is to convince more of the American public to shed their superstitions and tribal blinders and embrace the complex reality of an existential threat to the planet. The pope, who has tried to appeal to all people of goodwill to tackle the threats to the environment, can be of great help to Biden in persuading people of faith that there are no liturgical and theological roadblocks to combating global warming, just as there were none to seeking to reduce the danger of nuclear war with an atheistic Communist state.

Like Kennedy and John XXIII, a half century ago, the current pope and president will need to speak over the leadership of the American church directly to American Catholics on the existential issue of their generation. Just as John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris contradicted years of hard-line Cold War statements by prominent American Catholic leaders such as former Senator Joseph McCarthy’s ally Francis Cardinal Spellman, Pope Francis’ bishops in the United States aren’t fully in unison with him or the man who is now the nation’s most prominent Catholic in recognizing the existential threat of climate change. Just minutes after Biden took office, the head of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, issued a letter to the new president saying he hoped they could work together on certain issues, but that abortion remains their “pre-eminent priority.” Gomez’s approach to climate change is not an aberration among the hierarchy. In 2019, his predecessor, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said that combating global warming was important, but “not urgent.” In the same vein, Eternal Word Television Network, the world’s largest Catholic news network released a voting guide ahead of the 2020 election labeling environmental concerns a “negotiable policy issue” for Catholics. But Catholic laity are ready for a new message. Whereas only 57 percent of white evangelical protestants say they are concerned about the environment, according to polling from Yale University and George Mason University, 77 percent of white Catholics were worried about climate change.

Because of the anti-Catholic bigotry of his times, Kennedy had to receive help indirectly. Biden can embrace it openly. In fact, he already has. When the pope called Biden to congratulate him on his election win, among the chief issues they pledged to work on together was environmental action. Biden’s choice for special climate envoy, fellow Catholic and former Secretary of State John Kerry, recognizes the remarkable opportunity presented by Francis’s Vatican to soften the political divide on environmentalism. In 2015, as he was negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement, Kerry praised the global importance of Laudato si’ and, after Biden tapped him for his new post, Kerry said the nation’s 46th president “will trust in God and he will also trust in science to guide our work on Earth to protect God’s creation.” When then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced the Biden administration’s climate team last month, she specifically quoted the encyclical, citing the pontiff’s words: “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.”Trending Articles

In the same way that Laudato si’ proved to be an effective tool of soft power in helping Hollande and other heads of state embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, Francis can prove useful to Biden both in terms of his powerful evocation of environmental concerns, but also through practical leadership on the ground. Francis’s point man in the U.S. capital, Archbishop Wilton Gregory—whom he just elevated to be a cardinal in November, making him one of the pope’s principal collaborators—is among the top leaders of the U.S. bishops when it comes to environmental concerns. In his previous post in Atlanta, Gregory mandated climate education in Catholic schools and an energy audit of the church’s schools, churches, and other institutions. Now, in the nation’s capital, he is well positioned to do the same. During an interview with television host and political commentator Stephen Colbert in December, Biden revealed that Gregory had recently called him and said he looked forward to partnering with him. Biden would be well advised to take him up on that offer. Through a strategic partnership with the Biden administration, as one of the largest landowners in the world, Catholic institutions could pave the way in setting new standards for environmental stewardship. Finally, during this week’s signing of executive orders relating to the threat of climate change, Biden announced that he had directed the Department of Justice to establish an office of climate justice. Including a faith outreach team as a part of that office could prove to be a pivotal partnership for bringing about the environmental justice that both the president and the pope say that are committed to achieving.

Like Kennedy and John XXIII, Biden and Francis share a similar posture on the most important issue facing humanity. In different ways—spiritually and politically—both men will be seeking converts in bridging the divide between faith and science. Biden and Pope Francis are in their seventies and eighties respectively, and while both are at the top of their respective hierarchies, they have a relatively brief window of opportunity, which like an earlier pope-president combination could fundamentally change the world.

Timothy Naftali, a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU (Wagner) and co-author of Impeachment: an American History, is writing a presidential biography of John F. Kennedy. Twitter: @TimNaftali

Christopher White is a national correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

Posted on Leave a comment

Healthy: the New Normal after COVID 19

covid 19 shidonna raven garden and cook

When we begin this journey and started our garden, it was February. Several weeks later COVID 19 grew into a global pandemic. Before the pandemic our health and finding a true healing, not medication management, was very important to several of us. In fact for many along this journey health is very important to them on a professional and personal level. When COVID 19 hit the world and the communities with preexisting conditions the hardest, health took on a whole new meaning. Healthy became the New Normal. No longer is it acceptable to wait around for the next illness to add to or make other illnesses and one’s over all health worse. Seeking and identifying real cures and healing is more important than ever now that COVID 19 has highlighted how preexisting conditions can have a profound effect on your current and future health. In fact we discovered with our own health challenges that chronic illness can lead to other illness.

Like many people with preexisting conditions we took extra precautions. We also doubled down on our efforts to achieve good health. The good news is that we are on a path that we hope is the path to healing. Our journey has highlighted many concerns about the Western approach to ‘health’. As one medical professional said. “There is no money in health. The money is in disease”. These chilling words remain with us as we struggled with several medical professionals who could treat symptoms, manage medicine (the pharmaceutical industry) and prescribe one medicine after another. Indeed they could prescribe medicines for one’s medicines. However, they were not good at finding a sustainable cure. They could offer procedures that gave temporary relief but no actual cure.

Should you have an illnesses or just want to improve your health, we hope your journey leads you to good health and a healing. COVID 19 has taught us many lessons and will teach us many lessons yet. One lesson that we have learned is not to simply accept the first answer(s) or solutions. But, to look for a sustainable healing that does not lead to dependency on medications. It caused us to ask: what do you do when you are not healthy and a pandemic or illness hits? You make healthy your New Normal. How has your health been impacted by COVID 19? How has COVID 19 adjusted how you socialize? Do you do more virtually? Share your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.