What does it mean to live in a "therapeutic" culture? How does this way of life subconsciously affect our worship? TERM TO LEARN -- “Therapeutic Spirituality” Today’s spirituality is novel in the sense that it is based upon a person’s felt needs, as opposed to an authoritative person or text. Self-expression has become the new form of worship in both traditional and innovative religious practices, rather than God forming us through worship practices. This spirituality adopts preference as a means of self-actualization (i.e. a way of becoming the fullest expression of yourself as a human being). The commitments to these preferences are deeply personal and subjective, which results in the expression, “Your own personal Jesus” who neither confronts with his transcendent ‘Otherness’ nor deals in categories of sin, hell, or judgment. Therapy as a model of spirituality has replaced traditional norms due to the secularization of culture (i.e., the cultural shift that has resulted in religious beliefs becoming wholly individualized and disassociated from the social sphere). Divine Providence over mankind has been replaced by the invisible hand of economic forces. Whereas the Almighty beneficent being was previously seen as integral to daily life and well-being, today, he is seen as a cosmic bellhop who comes at our beck and call. With the loss of life’s ‘center’ by these competing visions of reality, faith has been left only with an interior and subjective expression which allows ‘believers’ to cope with the ‘real world’ science and technology have given them. In the face of this modern nihilism (i.e., the belief that there is no true reality beyond that which is apprehended through the senses), religion has often attempted to fill the vacuum through such therapeutic modes of expression. Even in traditional, conservative contexts orthodox worship and practice may succumb to this mode of spirituality, ultimately leaving little effect upon the practice of the worshipper or in the public square at large. Concrete, external liturgical practices (such as the reading of the law, corporate confession, a declaration of pardon, and corporate supplication) are often displaced by personalized small groups that help believers in their life journey. This is deemed as more ‘relevant’ to the therapeutic man, and an improvement upon the ‘dead rituals’ that don’t speak to the hearts of worshippers. Worship thus becomes a therapy ‘session’ something akin to Alcoholics Anonymous, a place where kindred spirits can hear one another’s stories and help one another cope with their weaknesses and failures, rather than a place of divine judgment and salvation where sinful people meet with a holy God, and through faith in their Savior, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are forgiven for their rebellion, and comforted by the assurance of their salvation. (Timothy W. Massaro, “Therapeutic Spirituality") https://goo.gl/4v7AYK
What people are for is, we believe, like guided missiles, to home in on God, God who is the one truth it is infinitely worth knowing, the possession of which you could never get tired of, like the water which if you have you can never thirst again, because your thirst is slaked forever and … Continue reading What are people for?
We all experience times of mild depression or melancholy that we popularly call "funks." The key to handling these periods of low energy is to prepare ahead of time and address it rather than give in to it. Funks often come during or immediately following periods when we've experienced something intense either physically or mentally. As a pastor, … Continue reading 5 ways to escape a funk
Conflict can be hot or cold--what are you dealing with? @jeffgissing Conflict is a part of life. Our goal should never be the total absence of conflict because, more often than not, the absence of conflict is more a sign of disease than of health. Our goal ought to be the healthy and respectful expression … Continue reading Bringing conflict to the temperate zone
Evangelical Churchmen, it is to be hoped, will find out that a few spiritual thoughts and nice doctrinal statements are not sufficient to make an able divine in these latter days. They must really learn to read and think far more than most of them do. J. C. Ryle (1860-1900)