Emotional First Aid for United Methodism



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Emotional First Aid

When Dan Church was inaugurated as the last General Secretary of the prior General Council on Ministries, he preached with great fervor that the dilemma of the church was not structural (body / organizational) but spiritual. In his report at the end of his first year, he stood and confessed that Yes, structural issues were huge constraint on the ability of the church to be effective.
Likewise, there was a deep movement of awareness in the mid-1990's that the essential problem was the "spiritual bankruptcy" of the church's leadership, starting with but not limited to its clergy, in no small part because of what we were collectively looking for (numeric growth, etc.)
I could go through a few more chapters, but the lesson remains the same: it's not one or the other, it's both. One's physical and emotional health are profoundly interdependent; it is not impossible to improve or remedy the whole by focusing on just one aspect. For example, the discipline of physical therapy or a diet is entirely contingent on the motivation and willpower of the individual, and conversely, mental/emotional/spiritual shifts are inevitably and essentially caused by and matched by changes in physical behavior.
Like "walking with the two feet of justice AND mercy," transforming the church will move forward when it engages both its structural and spiritual issues equitably. IMHO.

Gary M. Keene more than 2 years ago

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Cynthia, thank you for writing this. I suspect you are right--our level of emotional woundedness may have reached the depth of the abyss. We have hurt one another and then abandoned the hurt and fallen, seeing them merely as collateral damage on our way to doctrinal purity to sexual purity or social holiness or whatever it is that is our "god" instead of sitting ourselves humbly and gratefully at the feet of the true Holy One. Deep grief has resulted and is festering in its unhealed state.

Christy Thomas more than 2 years ago

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