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Friday, June 3, 2005

I've just started reading the How People Grow Workbook by Christian therapists Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

It starts out:

It was my (Henry's) first day on the job in a Christian psychiatric hospital. I was all geared up to teach the patients how to find the life I knew awaited them as soon as they learned the truth I had been taught. I was thinking all I had to do was tell people God loved them, and if they would understand more of what he has said, they would be well.

Then a woman in a pink bathrobe walked out of her room, extended her arms outward, and exclaimed, "I am Mary, Mother of God!" [The woman, as it turns out, isn't Catholic.]

Suddenly I was shaken into reality. This is going to be harder than I thought, I realized. It was a thought I would have many times in the years to come.
Henry Cloud has a charmingly self-deprecating way of writing, and I'm sure that he is overstating the degree of his naivete. But that healing disturbed Christians would be much harder than he realized is, I'm sure, not an exaggeration.

Cloud goes on:

In Christian circles at the time I was beginning my training, there were basically four popular ways of thinking about personal growth.

The sin model: All problems are a result of one's sin.
The truth model: The truth of the Bible will set you free.
The experiential model: Get to the pain in your life, and then somehow "get it out."
The supernatural model: The Holy Spirit heals, sometimes instantly and sometimes gradually.
Cloud then asks his readers:

What value do you see in each of the four models?

And I'll ask our readers the same question. Or, if you believe that one or more of these models is not at all valuable, please say so (and why).

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