During my postdoctoral fellowships in neurology and neuropsychology at UT Southwestern Medical Center I was blessed to work and train with many talented people. It was an honor to be a part of the efforts of these men and women who worked tirelessly day and night, fulfilling a passion they have to care for their fellow man. Theirs is a passion to relieve, as best as possible, the physical and emotional burdens of another’s often unfathomable suffering.

Published in
Monday, 06 January 2014 16:45

Depression and the Ministry

During the past year, I have had the privilege of working very closely with Paul Tripp in the development of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care. That experience has given me a deeper understanding of the particular stresses and temptations experienced by pastors in ministry, and will considerably inform the comments that follow as it regards the questions, “How much should you share about your depression with a congregation? How do you explain it?”

 

Published in
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 17:16

Do I Worship My Own Approval?

When a counseling intern sits down to write a blog that he/she knows is going to be published on a website that supervisors will read, clients might read, and potential clients might stumble across, all kinds of thoughts go through the head of that intern.  Is my writing going to be doctrinally accurate? Is it going to be inspiring? Is it going to be helpful?  Will what I write make sense?  Will it make me look like a spiritual first grader?  Do I have anything to say that has not already been said?  Will it bring glory to God? 

 

Taking my cues from Alcoholic Anonymous literature, I decided that my best bet is to stick to writing about where I have experience, strength, and hope.  Maybe I will sound more spiritual if I say that I am going to aim to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” from 2 Corinthians 1:4.  How about the radical thought that others struggle with the same things I struggle with and what God teaches me might also be helpful to them?

Published in
Monday, 02 July 2012 16:56

The Biggest “But” in the Bible

 

Many of us who have been reared in the American Evangelical religious system seldom think about how we got there.  As Americans, we have money in our pocket or purse stamped with the words “In God We Trust”, we see a church building on every major street in our city, and celebrate at least 3 National holidays that have strong religious overtones.  It is easy to think that if we were born in America, we are naturally Christians.

Published in
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:49

Not Wrong, Just Different

If you want to really learn how different men and women are, try raising a child together! Now, I know I am generalizing a lot and this is not just a male/female thing but its how things have played out in our house the last four months. My wife and I have a wonderful 4-month-old son and we are having a blast with him! We do seem to have different opinions (to state nicely) as to how some things need to be done however. For instance, if we drop his pacifier on the ground I’m thinking “5 second rule” however my wife has purchased all natural food grade pacifier wipes that must be used before we give the pacifier back. Am I wrong (maybe)…is she wrong? It’s not wrong, it’s just different! Little boy spits up on his shirt..I think, “a little spit up never hurt anyone”…however before I even have time to say what I’m thinking; my wife has already got him in a new onesie. Who is wrong? Neither of us! Not wrong, just different.

Published in
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:36

When Shame is Your Middle Name

 

For as far back as I can remember, Shame was my middle name.  Of course, that is not hard to imagine if you also grew up in the generation I did and the adults around you used the phrase, “Shame on you!” to control your behavior.  We don’t seem to hear that as much since John Bradshaw and others wrote on shame and its effects during the decades following the 1950’s but it was a fairly common expression when I was growing up.

My shame began at birth.  I only realized this when my mother wrote a chapter for a book for Christian women.  She asked me to listen to the tape and edit the copy for her.  She told the story of her remarkable life and when she got to my birth, the story became sad.  She described her alcoholic mother coming to the hospital intoxicated while her Sunday school class was there visiting.That event, coupled with the fact that she had given me her mother’s name as my middle name, only added to the shame.  Every time one of the relatives called me by all three of my names, I felt a pang of shame.  People in our community and family associated that middle name with dysfunction, sin, rebellion, and addiction.  In addition, I looked like that grandmother so it was not hard to identify with the association that everyone had made with that name.

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012 15:19

Family Conflict and Idol Worship

For the last 14 years, I have spent the better part of my career reading police reports and reaching out to provide services to the victims of crimes. During this time, I have noticed some reoccurring themes in the reports involving family conflicts. Situations that become so volatile that someone feels the need to call the police for help can often be attributed to the economy, in-laws, teenagers, and stress. The victim sometimes makes the call, but often it is a neighbor or other relative who is concerned about the yelling, banging into walls, sounds of conflict, or unexplained bruising.

Published in Christian Living
Monday, 26 March 2012 15:42

Allowing God to Tend My Garden

 

For the last five years, I have found great pleasure in growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers in my backyard and flowerbeds.  Almost every time I put my hands in the dirt, I think about God and His wonderful plan when He put Adam and Eve in a garden.  We see in Genesis 2:15 that mankind’s first home was a garden, and Revelation 22:2 shows us that our ultimate home in heaven will include at least one tree as well. There are so many parables and examples in the Word of God that refer to nature and agriculture.  Jesus used birds, flowers, rocks, wheat, and flooding rains to make the truth of the Kingdom of God real to the people of His day.  Today, He might talk more about computers, gigabytes, and digital media, but His heart for His children never changes.  Matthew 10:30 says that He still numbers the hairs on our heads and Matthew 13:1-23 reminds us that He examines the soil of our heart. 

Published in Christian Living