Browsed by
Tag: change

Good Pastors, Bad Congregations

Good Pastors, Bad Congregations

Parish ministry : It’s good I left when I did. I was shaped as a congregational leader in the 1960’s and 70’s: heady days of steady church membership, confident budgets, and familiar ethic traditions holding everyone together. Despite the daily pain of Viet Nam, race riots, assassinations, and a rising violent drug subculture, middle class Americans believed in the power of their institutions. It was this general optimism that brought the votes to ordain women in my Lutheran tradition in…

Read More Read More

Do People Ever Really Change?

Do People Ever Really Change?

The final episode of the season of AMC’s Mad Men¬†has aired, and many of us who have watched the series have spent some time in reflection on its many observations about human behavior. The main character Don Draper, a premier ad man in New York City during the 1960’s, is such a deeply flawed character, it was often painful for me to watch. But with such¬†wonderful writing, I was compelled to watch hour after hour, as I would read a…

Read More Read More

Disorders of the Will : Happy New Year?!

Disorders of the Will : Happy New Year?!

On this day when so many of us are glad for the blank sheet of paper, the turn of the calendar, the new year’s fresh start, I continue to wonder about how people change. That, after all, is what people are really after when they seek therapy. Some relationship, some turn of mind, a problem beyond their experience to avoid or help draws them to consider the time apart, the confidential help that therapy provides. After years of reading, debating,…

Read More Read More

The Church in Recession : What Now?

The Church in Recession : What Now?

My occasional column for the Savage Pacer was just published yesterday. I wrote about the financial free fall the mainline denominations are in with the current recession. If you want to read the full column, go here. Here’s my concluding paragraph: The storm that my denomination finds itself in will one day blow through, and a different way of being the church in the world will have to be found and lived. In every generation, it has never been the…

Read More Read More

And Furthermore

And Furthermore

While pain is the energy that moves us toward change, the absence of pain isn’t enough to sustain it. This is one of the factors that makes change so hard: we experience the lack of pain as relief, as a kind of balance or homeostasis. We tend to rest there; we’re comfortable again. We take a few pills, and our pain decreases. We see a therapist once or twice, and we don’t go back. Many of us aren’t really that…

Read More Read More

Be It Resolved

Be It Resolved

I think about change for a living. Psychotherapy is an interpersonal process meant to help people achieve personal goals. It’s a form of reflective conversation. Clients talk; I ask questions, make observations, teach them models that describe their experience. Our sessions remind them they are not alone in their private pain or struggle, and that some real things can be done about it. It’s an assumption in my field that people can’t change until they are ready. Until, (in my…

Read More Read More