Monday, April 26, 2010

Sex-abuse Worldview Vs. Christian Worldview

By Fred Martinez

Professor Allan Bloom, a philosopher who wrote "The Closing of the American Mind," thought that Friedrich Nietzsche was the father of modern America. He said, "Words such as 'charisma,' 'lifestyle,' 'commitment,' 'identity,' and many others, all of which can easily be traced to Nietzsche ... are now practically American slang."

But the most important Nietzschean slang word is "values."

"Values" are the death of Christian morality because values simply mean opinions. If opinion is how things are decided, then might makes right.

One must remember that whenever someone talks about values in modern America – family values or religious values or place-the-blank-in-front-of values – they are saying there is no real or objective right or wrong – only opinions of the self and its will to power.

Nietzsche's philosophy is summed up by Bloom as

Commitment values the values and makes them valuable. Not love of truth but intellectual honesty characterizes the proper state of mind. Since there is no truth in the values, and what truth there is about life is not lovable, the hallmark of the authentic will is consulting one's oracle while facing up to what one is and what one experiences. Decisions, not, deliberations, are the movers of deeds. One cannot know or plan the future. One must will it.
As a philologist, Nietzsche believed there was no original text and transferred this belief to reality, which he thought was only pure chaos. He proposed will to power in which one imposes or "posits" one's values on a meaningless world.
Previous to Freud's psychoanalysis, Nietzsche's writings spoke of the unconscious and destructive side of the self. In fact, Freud wrote that Nietzsche "had a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived or was likely to live."

Max Weber and Sigmund Freud are the two writers most responsible for Nietzschean language in America. Few know that Freud was " profoundly influenced by Nietzsche," according to Bloom. Freud, much more than Weber, profoundly changed America from a Christian culture to a therapeutic or self-centered culture.

The therapeutic approaches, which started with Freud, have a basic assumption that is not Christian. The starting point is not the Christian worldview, which is summed up in the parable of the prodigal son: a fallen and sinful world with persons needing God the Father to forgive them so they can return to be His sons and daughters.

Unlike the Christian worldview, the therapeutic starting point is that the individual must overcome personal unconscious forces, in Freud, and in Carl Jung the person must unite to the collective unconscious, which is shared by all humans.

In both cases, the therapist assists his client to change himself to 'become his real self.' Forgiveness and returning to God are not needed. What is needed are not God and His Forgiveness, but a therapist assisting a self to reach the fullness of its self.

Freud, under the influence of Nietzsche, moved psychiatry away from the mechanistic and biological to the previously "unscientific" model of the "symbolic language of the unconscious."

Freud's pupil Carl Jung took the symbolic language of the unconscious a step further. Unlike his mentor, Jung's unconscious theory is not just about making conscious sexually repressed or forgotten memories. His symbolic therapy used what he called the "active imagination" to incorporate split-off parts of the unconscious (complexes) into the conscious mind.

He believed with Freud that dreams and symbols are means to the unconscious, but for Jung the dream and symbol are not repressed lusts from stages of development. They are a way to unite with the collective unconsciousness.

Many Christians thought this "language of the soul" was a step forward from what they considered the cramped scientific reality of modernity. What they didn't understand was that Jung's theory was part of a movement that led to the rejection of objective morality and truth.

Jungian (and Freudian) psychoanalysis reduces Christian concepts such as God, free will and intelligence to blind reactions, unconscious urges and uncontrollable acts. Even more disastrous, Jung inverted Christian worship.

Leanne Payne, a Christian therapist, considers Jung "not a scientist, but a post-modernist subjectivist. Jung's active imagination therapy is hostile not only to the Judeo-Christian worldview, but to all systems containing objective moral and spiritual value. Within this world the unconscious urge becomes god. What the unconscious urge wants is what is finally right or moral. These psychic personae [complexes] are literally called 'gods' (archetypes),' and so an overt idolatry of self follows quickly."

Within the modern French Nietzschean schools of thought, a type of Jungian unconscious urge is replacing the old existential conscious self who chooses. The post-modernist is moving from the idolatry of self to the idolatry of autonomous inner "beings" that, according to Payne, are similar to pagan "gods."

As C.S. Lewis predicted in "The Screwtape Letters," we are moving to a "scientific" paganism. C.S. Lewis' name for the "scientific" pagan was the Materialist Magician and the name of the autonomous inner "beings" was the "Forces."

In "The Screwtape Letters," his character who is a senior evil spirit said:

I have high hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to the Enemy [God]. The "Life Force," the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful. If once we can produce our prefect work – the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls "Forces" while denying the existence of "spirits" – then the end of the war will be in sight.

Some of the largest audiences for this "scientific" paganism with its inversion of worship and the Judeo-Christian worldview are followers of Christ. By using Christian symbols and terminology, Jungian spirituality has infiltrated to a large extent Christian publishers, seminaries, even convents and monasteries.
Many Christians are using Jung's active imagination as a method of prayer. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., thinks this is dangerous "because this fantasy life has no moral underpinnings, because it helps to reinforce an experience of autonomous inner 'beings' accessible via the imagination, and because it is a defense against redemptive suffering, it easily allies with and quickly becomes a Gnostic form of spiritually with powerfully occult overtones."

If one is under the influence of the autonomous inner "beings," uncontrollable urges can overpower the self. One can go temporarily or permanently insane. And in the Christian worldview, the autonomous inner "being" is not always just an imaginary being, but can be a personal being, which then makes possession a rare, but not impossible, occurrence.

In fact, according to one Jungian therapist, Nietzsche himself went insane permanently when an autonomous inner "being" (archetype) overpowered him. So, unfortunately with the widespread acceptance of Jungian spirituality, mainstream Christianity seems to be moving to post-modern Nietzschean insanity and possibly, in some cases, possession.

Jung's autobiography is full of insane or occult experiences. He was continually hearing 'voices.' In his autobiography he said his home was "... crammed full of spirits ... they were packed deep right up to the front door and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe."

During the Hitler regime, which itself was obsessed with the occult, Jung edited a Nazi psychotherapeutic journal where he said, "The 'Aryan' unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish." Keep that word "potential" in your mind. It will be used by American psychology.

Once opinion is master, then might makes right. In "Beyond Good and Evil," Nietzsche proclaimed a new morality, "Master morality," which was different from Christian morality – or "slave morality," as he called it. He thought the weak have the morality of obedience and conformity to the master. Masters have a right to do whatever they want; since there is no God, everything is permissible.

In what Nietzsche considered his masterpiece, "Zarathustra," he said the new masters would replace the dead God. The masters were to be called Supermen, or the superior men.

After Freud and Jung came Alfred Adler, also a follower of Nietzsche, with "Individual psychology," which maintains that the individual strives for what he called "superiority" but now is called "self-realization" or "self-actualization," and which came from Nietzsche's ideas of striving and self-creation.

The "human potential movement" and humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers are imbedded with these types of ideas. The psychologists of "potential" teach the superior man.

Edvard Munch said:

Alfred Adler translated Nietzsche's philosophical idea of "will to power" into the psychological concept of self-actualization. Thus, Nietzschean thought forms the foundation for and permeates Alfred Adler's Individual Psychology, Abraham Maslow's Humanistic Biology, Carl Rogers's Person-Centered Psychology, and has influenced many other psychological ideas and systems. ... Alfred Adler was the first psychologist to borrow directly from Nietzsche, making numerous references to the philosopher throughout his works. Adler took Nietzsche's idea of "will to power" and transformed it into the psychological concept of self-actualization, in which an individual strives to realize his potential.
Mary Kearns, in an address to the Catholic Head Teachers Association of Scotland, spoke of the Nietzschean ideas now being taught in Catholic schools in the name of "scientific" psychology. Kearns said:

The methods are based on "the group therapy technique" first developed in America in the 1970's by two psychologists, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They described how emotional conditioning should be carried out by a group "facilitator". The facilitator does not impart knowledge like the old fashioned teacher. Instead he/she initiates discussions encouraging children to reveal their personal views and feelings. The facilitator's approach is "value free". There is no right or wrong answer to any religious or moral question. Each person discloses what is right or wrong for them. All choices are equally valid even if they are opposites. Everything depends on feelings or emotions. Reason and conscience are discouraged. If anyone attempts objective evaluation, they are to be treated as an "outsider" and there will be a strong emotional reaction against such "judgemental intolerance".

If it is true that Catholic education now uses these techniques in "teaching religious and moral education," then the Catholic education system has entered into the Nietzschean insanity. If these are the techniques being used in education and in the seminaries, then sexual misconduct charges against priests are a symptom of "scientific" paganism replacing Christianity.

Santa Rosa priest Don Kimball, who is charged with sexual misconduct, is an example of someone whose "approach" was "value free" – that is, there was "no right or wrong answer to any religious or moral question."

In 1996, Karyn Wolfe and Mark Spaulding of Pacific Church News said, "THE WEDGE! You can't do youth ministry (any ministry for that matter) without it. ... Basing his theory on psychologist Abraham Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs', the Rev. Don Kimball developed this model for the growth and maturity process of a group."

Another example of the value-free approach is Thomas Zanzig, a major leader in the Catholic Church for youth ministry, plus an editor and writer of Catholic textbooks.

According to Marks S. Winward, Zanzig, in a book on youth ministry, "bases his 'Wedge Model' on a similar model developed by Fr. Don Kimble." Homeschool leader Marianna Bartold said, "Sharing the Christian Message by Thomas Zanzig has students come up with as many slang or street words as possible for penis and vagina in three or four minutes."

Now, many might say these are only isolated cases of misuses of Maslow and Adler until one reads the original text. According to William Coulson, a former collaborator of Carl Rogers,

Maslow was always a revolutionary. ... In 1965, working a radical idea about children and adult sex into his book about management, "In Eupsychian Management: A Journal," [Maslow said]: "I remember talking with Alfred Adler about this in a kind of joking way, but then we both got quite serious about it, and Adler thought that this sexual therapy at various ages was certainly a very fine thing. As we both played with the thought, we envisioned a kind of social worker ... as a psychotherapist in giving therapy literally on the couch."

As one can see, the basic therapeutic assumption leads to certain results in the real world. These thinkers don't believe in the basic Christian assumption that there is a need for forgiveness from God. Instead, they believe there is no sin, only selves needing to reach the fullness of themselves.

It is understandable that atheists such as Nietzsche, Maslow and Adler could hold these basic assumptions, but that Christians and priests hold these assumptions is a disgrace. The denial of original sin and personal sin is, in large part, behind the headlines of the sex-abuse catastrophe and other dioceses.

The failure of these Catholic bishops is a failure to teach the faith and moral teachings of Jesus Christ. Getting rid of a few priests will not solve the problem if these basic assumptions stay, because more – only cleverer – sex abusers will rise up to take their place.

I feel sorry for these bishops and other Church leaders if they don't take a look at themselves and repent of these basic assumptions in their dioceses. They must eventually come face to face with the Living God. He is the Father of these little ones who have been scandalized and abused.

http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/xn-psych.html

Christian Psychology:
Is Something Missing?

A Review of Larry Crabb's Book "Connecting"
Rich Milne

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The Church as a Healing Community
World views shape the way we think. Psychology, once an outsider both to the sciences and most people's experience, has become a world view for many people today. Evolutionary psychology, the view that our long evolution from animal to human has deeply imprinted all our behavior, is gaining acceptance on a rapidly widening scale. Psychology is often used to provide an explanation for everything from our "religious aspirations" to our behavior as consumers. How should a Christian view psychology, and what does psychology offer the believer? This essay will consider only one small part of the answer to those questions.
While specifically Christian counseling was once rare in the church, today it is a recognized part of many churches. As Christian counseling has become more widespread, some see it as the answer for the struggles that seem to plague most of us. The therapeutic world view sees many of our problems and struggles in life as stemming from unresolved problems arising in childhood. The cataloging and diagnosis of psychological disorders has become widespread, both within the church and in the culture at large. Professional counselors are seen as the primary way of dealing with these disorders. How many of us, when faced with someone enduring an ugly divorce, or hounded by problems of self-guilt, or struggling with their self-image, don't think, "This person needs to see a counselor"?

Larry Crabb has done much to bring counseling into the American church. Having written books for more than 23 years, Crabb has always seen the church as being central in the counseling process. He has trained many of the counselors working in churches today. He has written books, taught, founded schools, and lectured around the country on Christian psychology. He has successfully questioned the church's distrust of psychology.

Now Larry Crabb is asking a new question: Is the common, therapeutic model of Christian psychology really right? Should the church depend on mental health professionals to do all but minor, pat-on-the-back, words-of-cheer kinds of counseling? Is counseling really a matter of education and degrees and specialized training?

While being very clear that professional Christian counselors have an important role to play in the Christian community, Crabb is asking, Could we be depending on counselors too much? Could it be that God has given all believers more resources than we think to help one another deal with many of the troubles and struggles we face in daily life?

Going even deeper, Crabb asks the heretical question, Are psychological disorders really at the bottom of most of our struggles? "I conclude," says Crabb, "that we have made a terrible mistake. For most of the twentieth century, we have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorders and delegated their treatment to trained specialists."(1) What he proposes in his book, Connecting, is both revolutionary and profound. In giving us new life in Christ, God has put in each of us the power to connect with other believers and to find the good God has put in them. We have the opportunity to heal most wounded souls. This is Larry Crabb's proposal. While he is still solidly behind professional counseling, he has come to see a broader place for healing within the context of Christian relationships. In this essay we will talk about what it means for two people to connect, and how God can use this connection to heal the deepest wounds of life and expose a beautiful vision of God's work in us.

What Is Connecting?
Some people seem to write a new book as often as most of us buy new shoes. And, like shoes, most of those books don't attract too much attention. But when well-known author Larry Crabb questions the very discipline that he helped establish, his book Connecting may cause more of a stir.
Christian psychology views human problems as primarily the result of underlying psychological disorders. We may be angry at a teenager's disobedience, but anger is only the symptom of problems buried within us. Stubborn problems may require deeper exploration of our thinking. Counselors are those people who have special training, enabling them to understand the various disorders we struggle with, and how to fix what's wrong.

In this book, Larry Crabb calls this whole picture into question. He describes the most common ways we react to people who are hurting and puts those reactions into two categories: moralistic and psychological. The moralist looks for what scriptures have been disobeyed, rebukes our disobedience, calls us to admit our sin and repent, and sees that we have some sort of accountability in the future. The psychologist listens to us, tries to find out what is wrong internally, and then helps us learn healthier ways of living. This process often takes months of self-exploration to find the roots of our problem, and to chart a course towards self-awareness and better ways of coping with the world.

Could there be another way for people to relate to each other when problems arise? Crabb's suggestion is a powerful one. Could it be, Crabb asks, that God has put within each of us His power, which, when we connect with another person, allows us to find the good that God has already put in them, and to release that good so that they can respond to the good urges God has placed there?

This is the main premise of the book Connecting. Coming straight to the point, Crabb says, "The center of a forgiven person is not sin. Neither is it psychological complexity. The center of a person is the capacity to connect."(2) The gift of salvation gives us the Holy Spirit, Who allows us first to connect with God the Father, and then, on a new and deeper level, with each other. But what is connecting?

Crabb uses an analogy to the Trinity to make his point clear. The Trinity, Crabb writes, is "an Eternal Community of three fully connected persons."(3) They have delighted in each other for eternity, there is no shadow of envy or minute bit of jealousy between them, and they love to do what is best for each other. Since God made us in His image, we too can enjoy one another, but we must rely on the power of God in us to show us what is good in the other person.

Connecting is so powerful, Crabb says, because it requires that we look past the surface of people and see the new creation God has already begun. Connecting with someone else requires us to look at what a person could be, not just what he is right now. With God's insight, we look beyond the small amount God may already have done and ask God for a vision of what this person could be like. Connecting finds the spark in someone else and is excited about what it could flame into.

Is professional counseling unnecessary? Of course not, says Crabb. But connecting is a powerful way God uses us to bring out His good in others. What keeps us from doing this more?

What Keeps Us From Connecting?
If connecting is what God has made us for, and if this is what the Holy Spirit equips us to do, then why don't more of us connect with one another? Larry Crabb's answer is developed around four analogies. We tend to be either city builders, fire lighters, wall whitewashers, or well diggers.
City builders are those who know what resources they have and how to use them. They know their strengths, and they have a solid sense of their adequacy to meet whatever lies ahead. City builders want to be in control, and fear that they might be found inadequate. City builders have a hard time connecting with someone else because they are looking for affirmation of themselves, not what is good in another. They can work together with other people towards a common goal, but only if it increases their sense of adequacy.

Martha Stewart, for example, has built an empire on feeding people's desire to be adequate, able to handle any situation. She is in control of her kitchen, her house, her yard, her life. And she is the one who will show us how to bring our lives under control.

God has created us with a desire for good. We want to please others, we want to live in peace, we want to have everything work out right. And in heaven it will. But we are not in heaven, and too often we try to insulate ourselves from the messiness of the world around us. City builders depend on their own resources to bring a sense of control into their lives. Their adequacy comes from themselves and what they can accomplish. But this blocks them from depending on God. God encourages us to seek peace with all men (Rom. 12:18), but at the same time we must realize that following Christ is a path of difficulty, not ease (2 Tim. 3:12). We are being prepared for perfection, but we are not to expect it here on earth. God has prepared a perfect city for us, but we are not to try to create it on our own now (Heb. 11:13-16).

Fire lighters are like those people described in Isaiah 50:10-11. They walk in darkness, but rather than trust in God to guide them by His light, they light their own torches, and set their own fires to see by. Fire lighters, Crabb says, are those people who must have a plan they know will work. Their demand of God is the pragmatist's "Tell me what will work!" Fire lighters trust and hold closely to their plans, so connecting is hard for them because it would require them to trust God and not know what might happen next. Connecting requires us to give up our plans and expectations so that we can recognize and enjoy God's plans. We can either trust God or trust our own plans, but we cannot do both. It is not wrong to plan, but we must be willing to give up our plans when Jesus does not fit into them in the way that we want. As C.S. Lewis describes Aslan, the great lion who represents Jesus in The Chronicles of Narnia: "It's not as if he were a tame Lion."(4)

Have you ever known people whose primary efforts in life were directed towards protecting themselves and their children from any difficulties? When safety is your top priority, then you have become a wall whitewasher, Crabb says. Wall whitewashers build flimsy walls of protection around themselves and their worlds, and then whitewash them to make them appear stronger than they really are. These people want protection from whatever they fear. They are sure that their lives of dedication to the Lord are a protection from major problems. "Wall whitewashers cannot welcome tribulations as friends. . . Character isn't the goal of a wall whitewasher. Safety is."(5)

Many people who feel God's calling in their lives, also assume that God will take care of them and of their families. And He will, but not always in the way that we imagine. As we raise our children and watch the terrible struggles that seem to overcome so many other young people, we may feel that at least God will protect our own children from such affliction. But if our trust is that our serving the Lord is protecting our family, then we have built up a false sense of security. We are trying to cover our own uncertainty about the future with the whitewash of our own good deeds. God builds us up and shows us our need to depend on Him alone in our tribulations, but we often want to hide ourselves and protect our families from the very misfortunes that God wants to use to strengthen us. We are whitewashing a failing wall when we try to put up a hedge around ourselves and our families, sure that God will protect us from trouble. Everything that happens in our lives has come through God first, has been "Father-filtered," as someone once said. But we must depend on the Lord in all circumstances, not just when we feel protected. God loves us perfectly, but His desire is to give us His character, not to protect us from any difficulty. That is why, as James says, we are to greet tribulations as friends, and not with fear.

Crabb's fourth class of people who thwart God's purpose in connecting are those he calls well diggers. The image comes from Jeremiah 2, where God marvels at the broken, pitiful wells that the Israelites make instead of coming to Him for real, unlimited water. Well diggers are looking for satisfaction on their terms, and they want to escape pain at any cost. The well digger asks, "Do I feel fulfilled?" If the answer is no, then he renews his quest for something that will give even a moment's pleasure. We judge drug addicts harshly, but what about needing to have a certain position to feel good, or driving a certain kind of car to prove we're reaching our goals?

Well diggers also are characterized by something that marks our whole first-world culture: the desire for satisfaction now. Well diggers dig their own wells because it often seems faster than the way God is providing water. We want to be filled, and we want it immediately. We live in a fast-everything world. We stand around the microwave oven, wondering why it takes so long to heat a cup of water. Or, more seriously, we wonder why God is taking so long to bring along the right woman or man, so we find our own ways to satisfy our desires, whether in pornography, or cheap sex, or relationships we know can't last. We want to be satisfied, and if God seems slow, we find our own satisfaction any way we can.

God plans for eternity, and builds to last forever. But it takes time, and patience. If we fulfill our own desires, we will be like the Samaritan woman at the well: we will soon thirst again. But if we allow God to provide for our thirst, He fills us with living water, and we are filled in ways we could never have known otherwise.

Whether we are city builders, fire lighters, wall washers, or well diggers, we will never be able to deeply connect with another person until we kill these urges of the flesh, and allow God to strengthen our spirit. What will help us connect with other people?

Finding What God is Doing in Others
To connect with another believer, we "discover what God is up to and join Him in nourishing the life He has already given."(6) This is why Larry Crabb sees connecting as central to the Gospel. To connect with another Christian is to let the power of the Holy Spirit in you, find the good that God has planted in the spirit of another believer. It requires us to get past our flesh, which Paul instructs us to crucify (Gal. 5:24), so that we can be alive to the Spirit, the one Who makes connection possible. Connecting with someone else is a triumph of the Spirit over my own fleshly desires to control my own life (being a city builder), to create a plan I know will work (fire lighter), to protect myself against the uncertainties of life (wall whitewasher), and to find my own ways to feel good when I want to (well digger). To connect with a fellow believer I must see what God sees in him or her, not just what I can see.
So how do we see as God sees? God's forgiveness of us provides a clue. Does God forgive me because I am such a nice fellow? No. Does God forgive me because I have such a good heart? No. Am I forgiven because I will always do the right thing in the future? No. God forgives me because He sees Jesus' death in my place. It must be the same when I look at a fellow Christian. I must see him or her as someone whom God cared enough to die for, and as someone worth the incredible price that Christ paid on the cross.

Just as God looks past what is bad in my flesh to what He is creating in my spirit, so I must learn to look at other people and find the good that God is working on in them.

Have you ever heard a child learning to play a musical instrument? We don't just listen to the noises coming from the violin or piano or drums. We listen to what is behind the music--the effort, the intensity, the desire to do better, the willingness to work. We listen for the spark that might indicate that this child really connects to music. That is just what we need to look for in one another: the sparks of eternity God has placed in each one of us. We need to look for what God is doing in our friends that can delight us, and make us "jump up and down with excitement" at how wonderfully God is remaking them.

If we would truly connect with someone else, we must also be putting to death the flesh and feeding the spirit. Larry Crabb goes back to an old Puritan phrase, "mortifying the flesh," to describe what we are to do as we discover urges of the flesh rising up in us. As Crabb emphatically writes: "The disguise [of the flesh] must be ripped away, the horror of the enemy's ugliness and the pain he creates must be seen, not to understand the ugliness, not to endlessly study the pain, but to shoot the enemy."(7) This is an ongoing war, one we will fight until we are home with Jesus, but alongside this battle to "crucify the flesh" (Gal. 5:24) we must also feed the Spirit. By this Crabb means that we are, as a community of believers, to "stimulate one another to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24). As we put to death the flesh, we are indeed made alive in the Spirit (Rom. 8:10-14).

Discerning a Vision for Others
Larry Crabb's book Connecting has two subtitles. The first subtitle is "Healing for Ourselves and Our Relationships." Earlier, we saw how we are healed as we allow Christ to sweep away all of our own methods of dealing with life. Whether we are city builders, fire lighters, wall whitewashers, or well diggers, these are all ways that we try to manage life. Jesus does not ask us to manage our lives. Instead, as a father might take his son through a crowded mall, God asks us to take His hand, and let Him guide us to where He chooses. The urges we need to kill are the very urges that whisper in our ears that we must take care of ourselves.
Remarkably, as we abandon our own techniques for survival, and let God use our lives in His own way, we also find that we can approach others much more openly and honestly. We are free to love people for who they are, not what they can do for us. And this opens up what is one of Larry Crabb's most important ideas. When we look at others the way God does, we begin to see what He is doing to make them new and incredible creations, just as He is doing for us.

The second subtitle for Connecting is "A Radical New Vision." It is certainly radical when one of the leading voices for Christian psychology suggests that lay Christians themselves can deal with many of the personal problems they often refer to counselors. But the radical view he has most in mind is a new way we can relate to and view one another.

Crabb's challenge is for us to kill the bad urges in ourselves so that we are able to begin seeing and hearing what God is doing in other people. This will not be just a warm feeling. We discern visions for a person's life; we do not create them.

When a doctor announces "It's a girl!" he is not making her a girl, he is announcing what is already the case. In the same way, Crabb writes, we are, by prayer, listening, and reading God's Word, to discern what God is doing in someone's life and then announce it. And the process of seeing what God is doing in someone's life may not be easy.

Larry Crabb's vision for the church is that we will become communities of people who care desperately about one another, so much that we will let down our guard. People can truly know us, and we can see into them. In this process of connecting with a few other people, we will see God take the power of His Holy Spirit, and use that power to see what another person could be. As we walk with the Lord, and grow in godly wisdom, He enables us to see the good in other believers, and to encourage that good in a way that gives that person a vision of why she is here. It is this vision of who we could be in Christ which can transform each of us. But we must be willing to die daily to who we are on our own, and arise daily to do and say the things that God desires us to do and say. Are you ready for a radical new vision? It will fill your whole world with the power God has put in you to release the good He has put in others. What a calling of hope!

© 1998 Probe Ministries International

Notes

1. Larry Crabb, Connecting (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), p. 200.
2. Crabb, 38.
3. Crabb, 53.
4. C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (New York: Collier Books, 1970), p. 138. 5. Crabb, 121.
6. Crabb, 49.
7. Crabb, 91.



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About the Author
Rich Milne is a former research associate with Probe Ministries. He has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Rich works in the area of the philosophy and history of science, focusing in particular on the origin of the universe and the origin of life, and the history and philosophy of art. He and his wife, Becky, are currently on staff with East-West Ministries in Dallas, Texas. He can be reached via e-mail at rmilne@eastwestministries.org.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Media Propaganda Psyche-war Against Pope Benedict is Nazi-like Disinformation

Many things are being shaken in the world, and within the Church there is much sifting. For example, the media's desperate straining to find evidence of Pope Benedict's complicity in a sexual abuse cases is so very interesting, and very revealing. That he is entirely innocent of cover-up or lack of prudence in these matters is ignored, while the little shreds of nuanced inference are whipped up into a global crisis without any basis in fact. It is innuendo, circumstantial "evidence." If such groundless allegations were brought into a courtroom, any sane judge would immediately dismiss the case and fine the accusers for contempt of court. The unjustly accused could easily file a libel suit.


Whenever the media goes into a shark-feeding-frenzy against the Church, their own radical bias is exposed. For example, the number of school teachers accused of sexual abuse of the young, during any given year, is usually about 10 to 20 times higher (one recent article claimed the figure is closer to 100 times higher) than the number of accusations against priests. It would be interesting to know the statistics about sexual abuse by journalists. Inevitably, when a teacher or journalist is found guilty of a sexual offense, the media reports it as an isolated case (if it is reported at all), and their attitude could summarized as, "That man (or woman) did a bad thing and should be punished." No one suggests that the institution of journalism is inherently corrupt and should be dismantled and rebuilt according to whatever sociopolitical theory is currently popular. Similarly, no one even thinks of, let alone disgorges oceans of ink and electronic text, calling for the dismantling and recreating of the education system.


If a priest commits the same offense, the media instantly launches a full scale psyche-war. Moreover, if sins of persons associated with the Vatican are stripped bare in the naked public agora, the war gets hotter. There are thousand of employees at the Vatican, and they hold all manner of diverse opinions on a wide variety of topics. Being human, they are also capable of much that human beings are capable of, if they should fall from grace. Any honest journalist knows this, and the disregarding of this fact is clearly a case of other agendas operative in their reporting. Josef Goebbels' Reich MInistry of Propaganda or Josef Stalin's organs of Disinformation would have been immensely proud of current media behaviour. Josef Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) enjoys no such power, and would never want it, never use it. Like Christ, like the Church, he chooses to be weaponless before the shrill irrationality of human malice.


The sins of a small number of clerics are shameful, indeed evil. Yet the vast majority of pastors and consecrated religious are innocent, living heroic lives day by day, year after year. Why, then, this phenomenal obsession, one might say this hungry voyeurism, on the part of the media? The violation of normal journalistic standards is nothing other than a radical prejudice in action. As is the case with all bigots, they justify it to themselves and to their audience as a defense of truth. Truth, they should be the first to know, is the first victim of such double standards.

In the midst of these crises let us not be easily shaken. Let us keep our eyes focused on the true horizon, the coming victory of Jesus over the entire cosmos. As we approach that great Day, there will be much that will test our faith. Yet every test is an opportunity for growth, for strengthening, for purifying us as the Bride is made ready to meet the Bridegroom. That day may be near or it may be yet distant, but in every age and every generation we must stay sober and alert, and in a state of confident expectation.

Grace and peace be with you in ever greater measure,

Michael D. O'Brien

Friday, April 16, 2010

Media Lies about Pope and Hides Massive Public School Teacher Sex Abuse Scandal

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36362

Anti-Catholicism and the Times
by Patrick J. Buchanan

04/06/2010


"Anti-Catholicism," said writer Peter Viereck, "is the anti-Semitism of the intellectual." It is "the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people," said Arthur Schlesinger Sr.

If there was any doubt that hatred of and hostility toward the Catholic Church persists, it was removed by the mob that has arisen howling "Resign!" at Pope Benedict XVI.

To American Catholics, the story of pedophile priests engaged in criminal abuse of children, of pervert priests seducing boys, is unfortunately all too familiar. That some bishops covered up for pedophiles and seducers and enabled corrupt clergy to continue to prey on boys was equally disgraceful.


But to American Catholics, this is an old story. The priests have been defrocked, some sent to prison, like John Geoghan, who was strangled in his cell. Bishops have been removed. "Zero tolerance" has been policy for a decade.

Pope Benedict came to America to apologize for what these men did. And no one has been more aggressive in rooting out what he calls the "filth" in the church. And as the recent scandals have hit Ireland and Germany, why the attack on the pope here in America?

Answer: The New York Times is conducting a vendetta against this traditionalist pope in news stories, editorials and columns.

"Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys," blared the headline over a Laurie Goodstein story that began thus:

"Top Vatican officials -- including the future Pope Benedict XVI -- did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys ...

"In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee's archbishop at that time."

The facts:
Facts Vs. Media
That diabolical priest, Lawrence C. Murphy, was assigned to St. John's School for the Deaf in 1950, before Joseph Ratzinger was even ordained.

Reports of his abuse of the deaf children surfaced in the 1950s. But, under three archbishops, nothing was done. Police and prosecutors were alerted by parents of the boys. Nothing was done.

Weakland, who became archbishop in 1977, did not write to Rome until 1996.

And as John Allen of National Catholic Reporter noted last week, Cardinal Ratzinger "did not have any direct responsibility for managing the overall Vatican response to the crisis until 2001. ... Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome."

By the time Cardinal Ratzinger was commissioned by John Paul II to clean out the stable, Murphy had been dead for three years.

Yet here is Times columnist Maureen Dowd's summation of the case:

"Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed 'God's Rotweiler,' when he was the church's enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys."

In Goodstein's piece, Weakland is a prelate who acted too slowly. The controversy over his clouded departure from the Milwaukee archdiocese is mentioned and passed over at the bottom of the story. It belonged higher.

For Weakland was a homosexual who confessed in a 1980 letter he was in "deep love" with a male paramour who shook down the archbishop for $450,000 in church funds as hush money to keep his lover's mouth shut about their squalid affair.

According to Rod Dreher, Weakland moved Father William Effinger, who would die in prison, from parish to parish, knowing Effinger was a serial pederast.

When one of Effinger's victims sued the archdiocese but lost because of a statute of limitations, Weakland counter-sued and extracted $4,000 from the victim of his predator priest.

Dreher describes Weakland's tenure thus:

"He directed Catholic schools ... to teach kids how to use condoms as part of AIDS education and approved a graphic sex-education program for parochial-school kids that taught 'there is no right and wrong' on the issues of abortion, contraception and premarital sex. He has advocated for gay rights and women's ordination, bitterly attacked Pope John Paul II, denounced pro-lifers as 'fundamentalist' and declared that one could be both pro-choice and a Catholic in good standing."

Speaking of sex-abuse victims in 1988, Weakland was quoted: "Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often streetwise."

Just the kind of priest the Times loves, and just the kind of source on whom the Times relies when savaging the pope and bashing the church.

As the Catholic League's Bill Donahue relates, 80 percent of the victims of priestly abuse have been males and "most of the molesters gays."

And as the Times' Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 10 years ago, often, "three-quarters of the people deciding what's on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals."

Is there perhaps a conflict of interest at The New York Times, when covering a traditionalist Catholic pope?

Response to Cardinal Ratzinger's 1985 Letter to Bishop Cummins of Oakland -- By Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

OPINION, April 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press, and publisher of Catholic World Report, submits the following and is available for interviews:

A response to Cardinal Ratzinger's 1985 letter to Bishop Cummins of Oakland
By Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

The so-called "stalled pedophile case," blame for which has been laid at the feet of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, had nothing to do with pedophilia and everything to do with strengthening marriage and the priesthood.

Here's what was happening in 1981, when Bishop Cummins of Oakland first wrote the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking that one of the priests from his Diocese of Oakland be dispensed from his promise of celibacy.

Well, first, what was not happening.

The letter came a week before Cardinal Ratzinger had even assumed his duties as prefect of that congregation. This is a very important office of the Roman curia. It handles a variety of cases worldwide, mostly having to do with defending and promoting doctrinal integrity in the Church. There's a lot of work to do, and it takes time for someone to become fully engaged in its activities.

But much more pertinently here: By 1980 the effects of the sexual revolution on marriage and the priesthood had been devastating. In 1965 there had been 59 marriage annulments granted by Rome to American couples. By 2002, there were more than 50,000 annulments per year in the U.S. alone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of priests were asking for dispensations from their promise of celibacy in order to be able to marry.

The Catholic Church holds the marriage vows to be indissoluble. Even an annulment, contrary to a widespread misconception, does not dissolve those vows. It is a declaration that because of some impediment, there never was a valid marriage in the first place.

Priestly ordination is also "indissoluble," in the sense that a validly ordained priest never ceases to be a priest.

And here's the rub. It was literally scandalous in the Church that priests, who had been prepared for eight to 10 years for their ordination (which would be permanent, irreversible) and their promise of celibacy (which also has the character of a solemn promise before God), were, in the 1970s, being so easily dispensed from their promise of celibacy.

Married Catholics said to themselves: If a priest, who is so well prepared for his commitment, can so easily be dispensed from it so that he can marry, why can't we be dispensed from our commitment so that we can remarry?

When John Paul II was elevated to the papacy in the fall of 1978, he immediately changed the policy on priestly dispensations. I remember at the time that many of us were amazed that the very large number of dispensations under John Paul II's predecessor, Paul VI, suddenly were reduced to almost zero. It was almost impossible to get a dispensation in 1980.

What was John Paul's intent? To restore the integrity of the priesthood and of marriage. These commitments are permanent. A priest may be removed from ministry, but he will not be given a dispensation to marry. Priests are to be made to take their commitments with utmost seriousness. They will be an example to married couples to take theirs seriously also. When a priest makes a promise of celibacy, it's forever; when a couple make vows of marriage, it's forever.

This is the decisive context of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter to Bishop Cummins. It is not a smoking gun. It did not mean that Ratzinger was not taking the priest's sins seriously. (He called the accusations "very serious" [gravis momenti].) It meant that he, following the policy of John Paul II, was taking the priesthood and its commitments very seriously.

And again, this entire affair had nothing to do with preventing further abuse by this priest. That had already been done, or should have been done, by the local bishop.

A final, minor but significant point of translation: The translation being used by the media of an important part of Ratzinger's letter is: "your Excellency must not fail to provide the petitioner with as much paternal care as possible". This has been rightly interpreted by some to mean that Ratzinger was saying that the bishop should keep a watchful eye on the priest. The original Latin makes that even clearer: "paterna...cura sequi" which means "to follow with paternal care." We get the word "persecute" from the Latin "per- sequi." "Sequi" is much stronger then "provide."

There is a completely mistaken first premise underlying all this criticism of the Holy Father in the media. The premise is that "defrocking" has anything to do with protecting victims and preventing further abuse.

First, the media needs to know that according to Catholic teaching, Holy Orders is a sacrament which leaves an "indelible mark"; in layman's terms, once ordained a priest, a man is always a priest. The word "dispensation" is used in the correspondence because that is what happens technically: the priest is dispensed from his obligation of celibacy. In a sense, this works in the opposite direction from protection: a restraint is being removed.

Further, as if to prove this point, the priest in question continued to abuse children after he was "defrocked" and had married. QED.

Secondly, nothing at all prevents a bishop from removing a priest from all ministries, from removing his faculties, from reporting him to civil authorities. There is no need even to inform Rome about this. The only reason (until 2001, or before then in cases of abuse of the sacrament of confession) that the case needed to be sent to Rome is if the priest appealed the bishop's actions.

Thirdly, why was the CDF involved anyway? That was not the congregation that handles abuse cases, except where abuse of Confession has played a role. I believe the CDF was involved in cases of dispensation from celibacy. (Though you would think that should be under the Congregation for Priests.) But, again, dispensation has nothing to do with preventing further abuse. It may appease the sense of justice on the part of victims. But at the same time, it normally takes eight to 10 years to become a priest. It's not a club one joins. It is a very serious thing to dispense a priest from celibacy, and there needs to be a careful process to protect innocent priests.

Fourthly, there are definitely cases of priests who have been falsely accused. Especially the American media ought to be sensitive to the principle that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Civil law requires that to be done in a court of law. A bishop can, and in many cases, should take action against a priest before there is any canonical trial.

Finally, let's compare this to the difference between a criminal and a civil trial. Criminal trials can be expedited, but even then in all but the most grievous cases, a criminal defendant is a free man until convicted. In the case of priests, the "punishment" of removal from ministry can be applied immediately by a bishop even before there is any canonical trial, which is like a civil trial. How long do civil trials take in this country? I know of trials that have dragged out for more than seven years.

If Ratzinger took part in "stalling" a "pedophile case," as has been claimed by some media outlets, the worst one can say is that he wanted care taken in a canonical trial. And, let's not forget, this wasn't "punishment" at all from the priest's point of view. He had asked to be dispensed.

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. is founder and editor of Ignatius Press, and publisher of Catholic World Report. This piece first appeared on the Ignatius Blog, Ignatius Insight. For interviews related to this opinion piece, please contact Christine Schicker of The Maximus Group at 404-610-8871 or cschicker@maximusmg.com.


Christian Newswire
To: National Desk & Opinion Editors
Contact: Christine Schicker, The Maximus Group, 404-610-8871, cschicker@maximusmg.com
Christian Communication Network | 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW | Washington | DC | 20006

ASSOCIATED PRESS GETS WISE ADVICE

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offers the Associated Press (AP) some words of advice:

What a fabulous story the AP has today on 30 Catholic priests accused of abuse who were transferred or moved abroad. AP put some money into this investigative report: it spans 21 countries in six continents. Now consider the following:



· In October 2007, AP released a report on sexual misconduct committed by public school teachers and found 2,570 cases over a five year period. In fact, it's much worse than this. As AP disclosed, "Most of the abuse never gets reported." [My emphasis].

· Why does most of the abuse go unreported? "School administrators make behind-the-scenes deals to avoid lawsuits and other trouble. And in state capitals and Congress, lawmakers shy from tough state punishments or any cohesive national policy for fear of disparaging a vital profession."

· What happens to molesting teachers? "Too often, problem teachers are allowed to leave quietly. That can mean future abuse for another student and another school district." Indeed, it happens so often it is called "passing the trash" or the "mobile molester."

· Moreover, "deals and lack of information-sharing allow abusive teachers to jump state lines, even when one school does put a stop to the abuse."



Advice to AP: Do a story on the "mobile molesters," using the report on priests as a model, i.e., don't just write an article—name the names of the teachers, principals and school superintendents. Also, track down molesting teachers in Maine where it is illegal to make public the cases of abusing teachers. Go back to California and Hawaii where AP was stonewalled in 2007 from getting hard information on molesting teachers, and this time do your own investigating. For more advice, call my office.



Contact Michael Oreskes, the AP official who oversees investigative reporting: moreskes@ap.org

Monday, April 05, 2010

Media uses "Groundless Allegations" to Attack Pope as it Ignores Public School Teachers "10 to 20 Times Higher" Sexual Abuse Crisis

"It is innuendo, circumstantial "evidence." If such groundless allegations were brought into a courtroom, any sane judge would immediately dismiss the case and fine the accusers for contempt of court. The unjustly accused could easily file a libel suit."

"Whenever the media goes into a shark-feeding-frenzy against the Church, their own radical bias is exposed. For example, the number of school teachers accused of sexual abuse of the young, during any given year, is usually about 10 to 20 times higher than the number of accusations against priests. It would be interesting to know the statistics about sexual abuse by journalists."

Commentary by Michael O'Brien

Note: Michael O'Brien is a Catholic visual artist and author of numerous novels, including "Father Elijah" and "Strangers and Sojourners."

March 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The media's desperate straining to find evidence of Pope Benedict's complicity in a sexual abuse case in Munich is so very interesting, and very revealing. That he is entirely innocent of cover-up or lack of prudence in the matter is ignored, while the little shreds of nuanced inference are whipped up into a global crisis without any basis in fact.

It is innuendo, circumstantial "evidence." If such groundless allegations were brought into a courtroom, any sane judge would immediately dismiss the case and fine the accusers for contempt of court. The unjustly accused could easily file a libel suit.

Whenever the media goes into a shark-feeding-frenzy against the Church, their own radical bias is exposed. For example, the number of school teachers accused of sexual abuse of the young, during any given year, is usually about 10 to 20 times higher than the number of accusations against priests. It would be interesting to know the statistics about sexual abuse by journalists.

Inevitably, when a teacher or journalist is found guilty of a sexual offense, the media reports it as an isolated case (if it is reported at all), and their attitude could be summarized as, 'That man (or woman) did a bad thing and should be punished.' No one suggests that the institution of journalism is inherently corrupt and should be dismantled and rebuilt according to whatever sociopolitical theory is currently popular. Similarly, no one even thinks of, let alone disgorges oceans of ink and electronic text, calling for the dismantling and recreating of the education system.

If a priest commits the same offense, the media instantly launches a full scale psyche-war. Moreover, if sins of persons associated with the Vatican are stripped bare in the naked public agora, the war gets hotter. There are thousand of employees at the Vatican, and they hold all manner of diverse opinions on a wide variety of topics. Being human, they are also capable of much that human beings are capable of, if they should fall from grace. Any honest journalist knows this, and the disregarding of this fact is clearly a case of other agendas operative in their reporting. Josef Goebbels' Reich Ministry of Propaganda or Josef Stalin's organs of Disinformation would have been immensely proud of current media behaviour. Josef Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) enjoys no such power, and would never want it, never use it. Like Christ, like the Church, he chooses to be weaponless before the shrill irrationality of human malice.

The sins of a small number of clerics are shameful, indeed evil. Yet the vast majority of pastors and consecrated religious are innocent, living heroic lives day by day, year after year. Why, then, this phenomenal obsession, one might say this hungry voyeurism, on the part of the media? The violation of normal journalistic standards is nothing other than a radical prejudice in action. As is the case with all bigots, they justify it to themselves and to their audience as a defense of truth. Truth, they should be the first to know, is the first victim of such double standards.