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Old 12-07-2007, 10:24 PM
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nahkoe nahkoe is offline
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Disfunctional people and the love of God.

Awhile back, my pastor made a comment that I thought about quite a bit and then filed away. I've been thinking about it again lately.

He said that when people come into the church, they do fine for awhile. As long as there are things they need to do, repent, change, etc. They understand that language, they get things being wrong with them. But when the love of God comes into the picture, the pure, amazing, powerful love of God, they back up. Some back right out of the church, some struggle awhile and eventually find their footing. He said the more disfunctional they are before coming into the church, the more difficult this is for them.

Or something like that. lol It's been several months.

Thoughts?

Ways to make it easier to stay on track? heh
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2007, 10:32 PM
Rhoni Rhoni is offline
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Lightbulb Jesus came totake the diss out of diss-function

Quote:
Originally Posted by nahkoe View Post
Awhile back, my pastor made a comment that I thought about quite a bit and then filed away. I've been thinking about it again lately.

He said that when people come into the church, they do fine for awhile. As long as there are things they need to do, repent, change, etc. They understand that language, they get things being wrong with them. But when the love of God comes into the picture, the pure, amazing, powerful love of God, they back up. Some back right out of the church, some struggle awhile and eventually find their footing. He said the more disfunctional they are before coming into the church, the more difficult this is for them.

Or something like that. lol It's been several months.

Thoughts?

Ways to make it easier to stay on track? heh

Actually, I look at this from a different perspective. The more dysfunctional they were; the more they love Jesus, and the better saints they make.

It is people who think they are 'normal' who have a more difficult time changing and adjusting to the life of mercy and grace. They try to 'work' their way into heaven.

The dysfunctional know they can't get to heaven except for the grace of God and they are the easiest to change and adapt to Christian living...it is what they were hoping and praying for

Blessings, Rhoni
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2007, 07:43 AM
SDG SDG is offline
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Quote:
The more dysfunctional they were; the more they love Jesus, and the better saints they make.

It is people who think they are 'normal' who have a more difficult time changing and adjusting to the life of mercy and grace. They try to 'work' their way into heaven.

The dysfunctional know they can't get to heaven except for the grace of God and they are the easiest to change and adapt to Christian living...it is what they were hoping and praying for
Amen, Sister Rhoni .... I would like to add to your thoughts.

I was thinking about this during the week and especially during the last two days.

As a teacher of Special Education ... and well aware that many of us have various needs and disabilities ... I worry that the church is not addressing those needs.

In the classroom, we modify instruction and make accommodations for those w/ physical disabilities, learning disabilities and even emotional disturbance.

In the church ... I see that some have made some strides to address the needs of those w/ physical and maybe even learning disabilities - i.e. sign language, wheel chair ramps, etc.

We even give those w/ learning disabilities a pass when we deal w/ them ... passing off their quirks as "they ain't just all there ... you gotta be patient w/ him/her"

Yet, I am deeply concerned about how we have dealt w/ those w/ emotional disturbance and mental illness. Our theology and practical approach to those w/ these needs is not scriptural, unloving and unhealthy - IMO.

Most in the church utilize the 'TOUGH LOVE' approach ... when dealing w/ the wide realm of confusing issues that are inherent w/ those w/ mental illness and emotional disturbance.

We chalk off their behaviors as ... they're just choosing to live in sin or disobedience. "I'm not going to excuse that sin or behavior because they've been in church long enough" ....

We often give folks time lines to shape up or ship out ... and are willing to even shun the brother or sister if they don't straighten up.

We must first realize that those w/ emotional disturbance/mental illness have a real disability... we may not see it w/ our own physical eyes ... but it's real ...

Whether it be because of a trauma ... or chemical imbalance ... or neurological defect ... it's REAL.

We are patient and loving w/ the person in the wheelchair who may be obstructing our path ... yet when we deal w/ those w/ mental or emotional issues .... we blow up ... and lose it.

I submit that we should not excuse sinful behavior or give a license to sin ... but are not our illnesses a product of sin?

Rhoni, the more dysfunctional they were ... the more love Jesus showed them.

Those who knew better he was hard on ... but those who were in need ... were shown incredible amounts of patience, love and grace.

Some will say "well ... I treat everyone the same" ... "I treat everyone fairly".

Yet, I fear some measure fairness based on the offering equality of results ....

Fairness is meeting everyone's need. Giving them what is necessary and beneficial as to having an equal opportunity to succeed.

Also understanding that they may never attain what others have.

That's where grace comes in ...

Not everything is fixed, peachy and restored when someone prays through at the altar ... we've got a microwave mentality in Pentecost.

Thank God for His Grace ... I need it more than others and some more than me.
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2007, 08:24 AM
staysharp staysharp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahkoe View Post
Awhile back, my pastor made a comment that I thought about quite a bit and then filed away. I've been thinking about it again lately.

He said that when people come into the church, they do fine for awhile. As long as there are things they need to do, repent, change, etc. They understand that language, they get things being wrong with them. But when the love of God comes into the picture, the pure, amazing, powerful love of God, they back up. Some back right out of the church, some struggle awhile and eventually find their footing. He said the more disfunctional they are before coming into the church, the more difficult this is for them.

Or something like that. lol It's been several months.

Thoughts?

Ways to make it easier to stay on track? heh
From the viewpoint of a pastor, here are my observations. "Dysfunctional" and "normal" are subjective terms. Most dysfunctional people do not consider themselves to be dysfunctional. Just as most legalist don't consider themselves to be legalists, etc.

Usually, these behaviors were introduced during the formative years and have become "normal" to them. This is all they know as "normal". This is why when you introduce them into grace or unconditional love, they cannot receive it because it is not "normal" to them.

When "normal" behavior growing up was hearing your mom and dad kick, fight, scream, etc. the child will consider that to be "normal" and usually repeat it through adulthood, unless he/she is able to see clearly through it, however I have noticed that even when the child becomes an adult and understands it's wrong behavior, they usually engage in it out of unconscious habit and will deny its existence in their lives.

I have tried a myriad of techniques to help people from classes to counseling, however since they don't think they have a problem, in their eyes they don't need help and will do everything to get out of attending.

Most dysfunctional behavioral issues stem from the child/adult unconsciously trying to fix whatever was wrong growing up. If a man was not validated by his mother, he will enter in and out female relationships always looking for the love he never received from his mother, but to no avail, because unconsciously he's trying to marry his mother, and most normal women do not want to mother their husbands. Occasionally however, he strikes gold and finds a woman who is looking to "fix" her relationship with her father and "WOW" love at first sight.

My point is this; the church can only do so much, at some point the responsibility for Godly living falls on the shoulders of the individual and unless they are willing to take responsibility for their healing, they won't survive except under strict legalism and then of course their not surviving at all.
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:06 AM
Rhoni Rhoni is offline
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Alicea View Post
Amen, Sister Rhoni .... I would like to add to your thoughts.

I was thinking about this during the week and especially during the last two days.

As a teacher of Special Education ... and well aware that many of us have various needs and disabilities ... I worry that the church is not addressing those needs.

In the classroom, we modify instruction and make accommodations for those w/ physical disabilities, learning disabilities and even emotional disturbance.

In the church ... I see that some have made some strides to address the needs of those w/ physical and maybe even learning disabilities - i.e. sign language, wheel chair ramps, etc.

We even give those w/ learning disabilities a pass when we deal w/ them ... passing off their quirks as "they ain't just all there ... you gotta be patient w/ him/her"

Yet, I am deeply concerned about how we have dealt w/ those w/ emotional disturbance and mental illness. Our theology and practical approach to those w/ these needs is not scriptural, unloving and unhealthy - IMO.

Most in the church utilize the 'TOUGH LOVE' approach ... when dealing w/ the wide realm of confusing issues that are inherent w/ those w/ mental illness and emotional disturbance.

We chalk off their behaviors as ... they're just choosing to live in sin or disobedience. "I'm not going to excuse that sin or behavior because they've been in church long enough" ....

We often give folks time lines to shape up or ship out ... and are willing to even shun the brother or sister if they don't straighten up.

We must first realize that those w/ emotional disturbance/mental illness have a real disability... we may not see it w/ our own physical eyes ... but it's real ...

Whether it be because of a trauma ... or chemical imbalance ... or neurological defect ... it's REAL.

We are patient and loving w/ the person in the wheelchair who may be obstructing our path ... yet when we deal w/ those w/ mental or emotional issues .... we blow up ... and lose it.

I submit that we should not excuse sinful behavior or give a license to sin ... but are not our illnesses a product of sin?

Rhoni, the more dysfunctional they were ... the more love Jesus showed them.

Those who knew better he was hard on ... but those who were in need ... were shown incredible amounts of patience, love and grace.

Some will say "well ... I treat everyone the same" ... "I treat everyone fairly".

Yet, I fear some measure fairness based on the offering equality of results ....

Fairness is meeting everyone's need. Giving them what is necessary and beneficial as to having an equal opportunity to succeed.

Also understanding that they may never attain what others have.

That's where grace comes in ...

Not everything is fixed, peachy and restored when someone prays through at the altar ... we've got a microwave mentality in Pentecost.

Thank God for His Grace ... I need it more than others and some more than me.

Dan,

This is an awesome post. My mother and I just had lunch and she was reminiscing about he experience when she first came into the Apostolic way. She was known for her "shouting in the spirit".

A critical person asked the Pastor why my mother had to rejoice and 'shout' like that in every service? The wise Pastor said, "You don't know what she has to put up with when she goes home!"

There are many mentally ill people who look for peace in our churches and sometimes we shun them or mark them and never try to meet their needs. This is why it is so important to have a counselor on staff, separate from the Pastor who needs time to minister to other needs, in order to help bring stability to a person's life. This is as much a part of 'discipling' as any thing else.

Blessings, Rhoni
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:21 AM
Carpenter Carpenter is offline
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I can't imagine someone with a dysfunctional background coming into the church and being scared off by intimacy whether it be spiritual or social. In fact, these are the things that a church thrives on for growth. It is the highly disfuntional who lock into the structured culture because of the lack of structure they had on the outside.

I will also caution a guess that the more dysfunctional people are probably less educated, come from less than stable family relationships, and are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scales.

Unfortunately the love of God comes in second after a person assimilates into the culture, and maybe, just maybe this could be the way it is designed whether the church recognizes or realizes it or not. Why the thrust, NOT to encourage a spiritual personal relationship with the Lord, but instead adherance to those cultural aspects that will "...bring you into a greater and stronger relationship with Jesus."

I am not just talking about the UPC, but you gotta admit you will be hard pressed to find a more rigid social and culturally structured organization.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:23 AM
Rhoni Rhoni is offline
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by staysharp View Post
From the viewpoint of a pastor, here are my observations. "Dysfunctional" and "normal" are subjective terms. Most dysfunctional people do not consider themselves to be dysfunctional. Just as most legalist don't consider themselves to be legalists, etc.

This may be true of some but many do admit they have 'issues'.

Usually, these behaviors were introduced during the formative years and have become "normal" to them. This is all they know as "normal". This is why when you introduce them into grace or unconditional love, they cannot receive it because it is not "normal" to them.

I disagree with this. I do not espouse Freud or his psychology and 'normal' is subjective. If you are talking about Biblical family hierarchy and structure...this is a learned behavior from family of origin, but spiritual 'normalcy' is subjective to the 'religious' environment you were raised in. Quite frankly both family and religiosity are traditions of men/groups/church communities. I do agree that many who are 'legalistic' don't think they are, as many self-righteous traditional Christians aren't really Christians at all.

I think we are discussing those with mental illness and handicaps d/t physical or sexual abuse, chemical imbalances which result in psychosis, chronic depression, or manic behaviors. This is different and needs addressed in our churches just like having singles ministries, men's ministries, women's ministries, and children's ministries.

When "normal" behavior growing up was hearing your mom and dad kick, fight, scream, etc. the child will consider that to be "normal" and usually repeat it through adulthood, unless he/she is able to see clearly through it, however I have noticed that even when the child becomes an adult and understands it's wrong behavior, they usually engage in it out of unconscious habit and will deny its existence in their lives.

They can't deny what they experienced. But just like some who are raise din an alcoholic environment who never choose to drink; those who have experienced domestic violence choose not to hit. It is not an unconscious habit but a personal choice to which everyone should be accountable.

I have tried a myriad of techniques to help people from classes to counseling, however since they don't think they have a problem, in their eyes they don't need help and will do everything to get out of attending.

You cannot help people by telling them they 'need' counseling. They have to realize they have a need and you must have the resources available to meet that need. Example: You can have a "Divorce Recovery Class" available but only those who are ready for the change will sign up. The person has to be empowered to make their own decisions and you cannot force the decision upon them. Maybe your tactics have not been right. Just a thought.

Most dysfunctional behavioral issues stem from the child/adult unconsciously trying to fix whatever was wrong growing up. If a man was not validated by his mother, he will enter in and out female relationships always looking for the love he never received from his mother, but to no avail, because unconsciously he's trying to marry his mother, and most normal women do not want to mother their husbands. Occasionally however, he strikes gold and finds a woman who is looking to "fix" her relationship with her father and "WOW" love at first sight.

You have been listening to too much secular psychology.

My point is this; the church can only do so much, at some point the responsibility for Godly living falls on the shoulders of the individual and unless they are willing to take responsibility for their healing, they won't survive except under strict legalism and then of course their not surviving at all.
The church can do much more than it is doing and has done. Don't blame the people for not meeting the needs of your community.

Blessigns, Rhoni
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:25 AM
staysharp staysharp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoni View Post
Dan,

This is an awesome post. My mother and I just had lunch and she was reminiscing about he experience when she first came into the Apostolic way. She was known for her "shouting in the spirit".

A critical person asked the Pastor why my mother had to rejoice and 'shout' like that in every service? The wise Pastor said, "You don't know what she has to put up with when she goes home!"

There are many mentally ill people who look for peace in our churches and sometimes we shun them or mark them and never try to meet their needs. This is why it is so important to have a counselor on staff, separate from the Pastor who needs time to minister to other needs, in order to help bring stability to a person's life. This is as much a part of 'discipling' as any thing else.

Blessings, Rhoni
Rhoni, I agree there needs to be a counselor on staff apart from the pastor. Most pastors think they need to do all the counseling and of course most are unequipped to do so. Having said that, a pastor should not counsel too, and here's why.

When a pastor knows the intimate details of the parishioners lives, the parishioner will eventually distance him/herself from their spiritual leader. The opposite of what should happen.
And if the pastor intervenes or tries to help, they will view it as an intrusion.

Most people are insanely afraid of exposure at any level and as a pastor, I recommend to other pastors to maintain proper boundaries. If you give them advice and something goes wrong, they look for someone to blame and that's usually the one who gave the advice. A counselor apart from the pastor is the only thing that works properly. Then, when spiritual advice is given, it will be from a level of generic guidance and not intrusive. God bless.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:27 AM
Rhoni Rhoni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpenter View Post
I can't imagine someone with a dysfunctional background coming into the church and being scared off by intimacy whether it be spiritual or social. In fact, these are the things that a church thrives on for growth. It is the highly disfuntional who lock into the structured culture because of the lack of structure they had on the outside.

I will also caution a guess that the more dysfunctional people are probably less educated, come from less than stable family relationships, and are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scales.

Unfortunately the love of God comes in second after a person assimilates into the culture, and maybe, just maybe this could be the way it is designed whether the church recognizes or realizes it or not. Why the thrust, NOT to encourage a spiritual personal relationship with the Lord, but instead adherance to those cultural aspects that will "...bring you into a greater and stronger relationship with Jesus."

I am not just talking about the UPC, but you gotta admit you will be hard pressed to find a more rigid social and culturally structured organization.
There are some good thought and some misconceptions here:
  • dysfunction crosses racial, socioeconomic lines, classes, and cultures.
  • assimilation into a church culture does nto necessarily mean healing has happened.
  • education, those with more or less, does not determine dysfunctionality! Some of the most 'dysfucntional' people I know are therapists and highly educated people. At least they know it, try to understand it, and try to overcome it.
Just some things to think about.

Blessings, Rhoni
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2007, 11:28 AM
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Felicity Felicity is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staysharp View Post
From the viewpoint of a pastor, here are my observations. "Dysfunctional" and "normal" are subjective terms. Most dysfunctional people do not consider themselves to be dysfunctional. Just as most legalist don't consider themselves to be legalists, etc.

Usually, these behaviors were introduced during the formative years and have become "normal" to them. This is all they know as "normal". This is why when you introduce them into grace or unconditional love, they cannot receive it because it is not "normal" to them.

When "normal" behavior growing up was hearing your mom and dad kick, fight, scream, etc. the child will consider that to be "normal" and usually repeat it through adulthood, unless he/she is able to see clearly through it, however I have noticed that even when the child becomes an adult and understands it's wrong behavior, they usually engage in it out of unconscious habit and will deny its existence in their lives.

I have tried a myriad of techniques to help people from classes to counseling, however since they don't think they have a problem, in their eyes they don't need help and will do everything to get out of attending.

Most dysfunctional behavioral issues stem from the child/adult unconsciously trying to fix whatever was wrong growing up. If a man was not validated by his mother, he will enter in and out female relationships always looking for the love he never received from his mother, but to no avail, because unconsciously he's trying to marry his mother, and most normal women do not want to mother their husbands. Occasionally however, he strikes gold and finds a woman who is looking to "fix" her relationship with her father and "WOW" love at first sight.

My point is this; the church can only do so much, at some point the responsibility for Godly living falls on the shoulders of the individual and unless they are willing to take responsibility for their healing, they won't survive except under strict legalism and then of course their not surviving at all.
Good post! Great observations!

**thumbsup**


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