Things I Think…

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28 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “There is a remnant, but they are very quiet…”

    Remnant here.

    “I believe that both science and doctrine evolve and I’m grateful for that fact…what we have in the moment is just a snapshot in time…”

    Imagine what the condition of the Church might be if its doctrines hadn’t evolved? Imagine a church where the apostolic doctrines recorded by Peter, Paul and the others were upheld today?

  2. Captain Kevin says:

    #7 – Wow and Amen!!

  3. Officerhoppy says:

    @ # 3 the gospel preached in most pulpits in America says that a follower of Jesus will prosper, be a good parent, wife and husband. But what I read over and over in scripture is that the followers of Christ will suffer. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t sell very well here!

  4. Nathan Priddis says:

    In the moment, I suspected the redirect to the Canadian pharmacy that really wanted to sell viagra…was not a personal message from God. But these are uncertain times and I wasn’tsure. Glad you straightened out my confusion.

  5. Shawn says:

    Michael, first off what a crappy anniversary to commemorate. My family survived the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise and Magalia, CA. In one day I almost lived through the horror of my biological family being eradicated. My brother’s business and sister’s home burnt to the ground. Somehow his home was spared along with ten others.

    They might have escaped with their lives but the are not all right. The after effects have been a divorce, mental illness, PTSD, and the constant fear that it might happen all over again.
    And you are dead on all my CC pastoral training and even my Seminary education did not prepare me for anything near that. Prooftexting is not actually helpful in the moment.

    On what was supposed to be the day, November 8, that we were to gather and celebrate my mother’s life turned into a living hell that keeps on making its presence known even to this day.

    My deepest sympathies and prayers are with you. May the Lord strengthen you and give you vigor to keep fighting.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Shawn.
    I have friends who lost everything in the Paradise fire…I pray for the survivors there as I pray for those here…the after effects are indeed stunning.
    The Lord be with you and yours…thank you again.

  7. Shawn says:

    Should read: lived through the horror of almost losing my biological family…

  8. Jennifer Johnson says:

    I so appreciate you, your blog, your love of cats, the way you uncover the abuses within the church, things you think…so much. Please know you bring great value in sharing. And yes, you are right, pastors are NOT therapists…I can attest to the trauma a wannabe “counselor” pastor can create.

  9. Michael says:


    Thank you…it means a lot to me.
    Sometimes we don’t know if we’re making a difference or not.

  10. Linn says:

    #3-A church really committed to the cause of Christ and using their gifts as the Spirit leads can make such a difference both for the church and the community.

  11. The New Victor says:

    Shawn, my son (11) and I watched the Camp Fire documentary on Netflix this afternoon. I never knew that hundreds of people were trapped in basically a parking lot, yet survived. How horrifying. Moreso, those who were trapped in cars and died… (I don’t watch the news, but get it from the radio).

    Not three weeks into the school year, and I’ve taken time off to get my son tested, who was exposed at school to a covid positive adult, then a few days later, my daughter who had sore throat and congestion and cough. Both were negative (I think they caught a cold I had last weekend), but I had to watch my son at home today, and possibly tomorrow, since he had the same symptoms though he tested negative last week. What a mess…

  12. BrianD says:

    2. You’re right, but that therapist will HAVE to be a Christian for many sincere believers to agree tp wprk with him or her.
    This begs the question: with a long history of complete distrust in secular institutions, how do you get the believer to consider a trained therapist instead of Brother Ray or Pastor Pete?

  13. Dave says:

    #4 – probably works for dogs too!
    # 9 – remember Elijah (I Kings 19:13-18)
    #10 – resist the devil and he will flee from you

  14. Michael says:


    Good point…they usually won’t until the pastoral counsel shipwrecks them and they leave the church…

  15. Duane Arnold says:

    With reference to pastoral counseling, in one Episcopal Church diocese, there is a code of ethics for clergy which includes this direction…

    Clergy should “…exercise good judgment in pastoral counseling, recognizing limitations in counseling skills and referring those in their pastoral care to reputable health care professionals when warranted, not exceeding 6 sessions without such referral or supervision.”

    When I was in parish life, all the places I served limited it to 3 counseling sessions before referral… and that was with all of us having had graduate level pastoral counseling courses.

  16. Em says:

    Great post, Michael.. .. AND ….. some good comments it’s prompted….
    Right now our 25 mile fire is coming close enough that i’m pretty sure i could see it, if i wasn’t too old to hike the hill behind the house – i could make it up, but hikers will tell you it’s the coming back down that gets tricky….
    But we’ve got some great firefighters up here and i doubt they’ll let it reach this river valley….. the insurance companies wouldn’t be happy
    Prayer appreciated as this old world is still under the influence of the evil one.
    One of my children Emailed this morning, “I don’t know what’s ahead for this countrry, so I am concentrating on God’s Kingdom.”. Me too

  17. Michael says:

    Praying you’ll be spared from the fires, Em.
    The kingdom of God is the only one that will last…

  18. bob1 says:

    Duane, I really like what you posted about Episcopal guidelines for pastoral counseling…

    One of the saddest memories I have of my time at CC was when there was at least 1 individual I knew who was deeply in need of counseling. Unfortunately, the CCs in our area were dead set against “psychology.”
    All kinds of BS reasons to avoid counseling, etc.

    Which meant that those really in need of it would be extremely unlikely to consider it or go near it.

    Seemed to me it was like sitting out on a tree branch and then sawing off the limb…

  19. Duane Arnold says:


    This “Code of Ethics” is from 1993, but it is still in use and, I think, valuable…

  20. Xenia says:

    How many here have gone to the pastor for some counseling and was given the Four Temperaments test?

  21. Michael says:

    I remember that…it was all the rage twenty some years ago.
    I think I was “choleric” or something like that…

  22. Xenia says:

    Regarding the Four Temperaments test, I was whatever I wanted to be at the time I took the test. If I wanted take on a church leadership job, I slanted my answers to appear choleric. If I wanted to appear godly, I slanted them so they all came out equal, “like Jesus.” My answers to the questions changed with my mood and aspirations on the day I took the test. That anyone would use this flakey system in counselling is ridiculous.

  23. Filbertz says:

    That stuff was from Lahaye and his Transformed Temperaments book from the mid 70’s.

  24. Officerhoppy says:

    It was a bunch of hooey!

  25. filbertz says:

    I remember working through it as a book study in High School youth group one summer. It was fun taking the quiz and comparing who was what, but it was all lost on us.


  26. pstrmike says:

    Never heard of the Four Temperament test. Sounds like I haven’t missed anything important.

    While there have been different studies that produce different results many studies have indicated that the main factor for success in counseling is the therapeutic alliance between counselor and client. This is true regardless of the modality. Certain modalities, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy actually stress the importance of establishing and maintaining a good therapeutic alliance from the beginning.

    In consideration of the therapeutic alliance, some people feel quite comfortable being counseled by their pastor, while some, I think most, will be hesitant to be completely honest with their pastor (due to the dual relationship), and will be more comfortable talking with a counselor.

    A friend who is a pastor told me that he was in a Masters program for counseling. During his internship, he found that he was preaching too much, and realized that counseling wasn’t his gift, preaching was. He left the program, just short of completing. Counseling, like preaching, can be a matter of calling, but like preaching, should be developed through a good education program.

  27. Officerhoppy says:

    Counseling as a calling…i like that concept.

  28. Dan from Georgia says:

    I recall the Four Temperments Model. To me it seemed like more of a fad and gimmick than something actually helpful. So I am a melancholic…so what? Faddish…like Birth Order…don’t get me started on that one….grrrrrrr…..People are too complex to say “a last born should never marry a last born”…which I did…and have celebrated 11 anniversaries and more to come!

    Good thoughts pstrmike….I have one or two counseling relationships that went nowhere because I just basically didn’t like the counselor, and one seemed to question my faith because of my struggles.

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