A Short Theology of Marriage

I recently wrote a paper summarizing issues of marriage, divorce and remarriage. This is an excerpt of the paper that captures the theological meaning of marriage. Genesis 1-3 is the fountainhead of marital theology. These chapters reveal the Creator’s original marital design, the nature of marriage and the consequences of sin on marriage. Both testaments […]

What Vulnerability Creates

I have been thoroughly enjoying Richard Beck lately. I read his book on the Slavery of Death and found it to be challenging and compelling. He discusses at length the linkage between vulnerability, understanding our frailty, embracing our mortality and the possibility of love marking our relationships. Check out what he has to say. “Notice […]

The Pastor’s Depression

Charles Spurgeon was no stranger to depression. He knew the lonely journey that marks the gospel minister. He used the term “fainting fits” to describe the ups and downs that characterize the pastor’s soul. He is so helpful in this vein. This entire post is drawn from his book Lectures to My Students. In the midst […]

Compassion as Rebellion

Pain is a constant in human existence. This regularity necessitates response, which in time becomes habitual. We develop a particular posture toward pain and a way of handling life when it hurts. These mechanisms for coping, making meaning and supporting others have great potential for help or harm. Responses that work to ignore, deny, minimize and numb pain are at best unhelpful. […]

Absorbing the Pain of Others

Compassion at heart is to suffer with someone, to enter their pain, shoulder their suffering and walk with them in their valley. Stanley Hauerwas hits the nail on the head in his discussion on the appropriate posture of Christians toward the problem of evil…we need a pastoral posture rather than a philosophical stance. “For the early […]

Round 2: Why does God’s Indwelling Presence Matter?

We explored some of the implications of indwelling in the past post. We talked about reframing our discussions and thinking on the presence of God, increasing our appreciation for the cross and resurrection, and heigtening our worship of the Triune God. This post concludes our work together on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I […]

Practical Theology and the Messiness of Life

Stephen Pattison wrote an article entitled, “A Vision of Pastoral Theology.” In the article, he places practical/pastoral theology in the realm of “soft knowledge.” He argues this type of knowledge comes from wisdom, intuition, and mystery. He further argues that practical theology thrives in the “messiness” of life. It is down to earth and real. Here […]

A Theologian You Need to Meet

Stanley Hauerwas calls him the “premier pastoral theologian of our time.” I first encountered him three years ago when I picked up his book on engaging the problem of evil. Since then, I have been trying to get my hands on everything he has written and I have not been disappointed yet. His theology is practical, […]

Counseling a Despairing Man

I think Scripture is loaded with great instruction for engaging with people in all seasons of life. This post focuses on engaging with a believer during a difficult season in their life. 1. Give them voice Job 6:26 says, “Do you think you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind?” Let […]

Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious Trauma is a term used in the psychological health field. Here is a definition of that concept. Vicarious trauma is the process of change that happens because you care about other people who have been hurt, and feel committed or responsible to help them. Over time this process can lead to changes in your psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being. This is […]