‘Am I doing ok?’ was the question I was most frequently asked when I was a pastor/chaplain. ‘Is this Church safe’ was another. Keeping pace were other limping souls …
- ‘Am I welcome here’
- ‘Does God really love me?’
- ‘I can’t seem to get it right’
- ‘… keeps telling me that I need to do … if I am going to be ok and be part of this church’
- ‘I keep going back to my addiction, I feel so guilty, God is angry’
At this point nice gentle Pastor Barry feels like getting a whip, going to certain churches and people, overturning pews, casting out tithing bags and shouting…
‘Stop laying heavy burdens on broken backs’
Continue reading “3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health”
When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help.
At the school where I grow vegetables, it can be very noisy. I have a group of children that love to help and to get my attention they will often speak louder, and wave hands like windmills. It can all be a bit overwhelming.
The other day the noise was particularly loud. I happened to look to my left and here was this young boy quietly getting on and picking up some old leaves that we had discarded. Quietly without anyone noticing he did the work.
We think that if we do more we will get more. If we turn up the volume, literally and figuratively, of the worship God’s ears will be pleased. Continue reading “When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help: Toxic Faith pt. 5”
Life has a tragic way of repeating itself. It seems at times that we just go round an endless loop of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Then someone says ‘forget what lies behind’.
One of my favourite classic movies is Groundhog day with a very young Bill Murray.
Weatherman Phil Connors is sent to cover the first day of spring in a small town called Punxsutawney. At night he goes to bed and then wakes to the alarm going off at 6 am.
It’s not 6 am the next day, but weirdly 6 am of the same day. He gets the opportunity to live the same day over and over and over again until he gets it right. Continue reading “To Heal You Just Need to ‘Forget What Lies Behind’: Toxic Faith pt. 4”
It’s always dangerous when we subconsciously create a ‘saviour’ out of a sinner. If you stand too close to the pedestal, of a venerated statue, you’ll get damaged by the cracks.
I always cringed when someone would call me ‘Pastor Barry’. If possible I would always ask them to never do this again. I would say ‘My name is Barry, and part of who I am, is I am a pastor’.
I don’t want to be considered as more special, pastoral or have a certain status than anyone else. We are all priests. Sure I may specific gifts and training that helped me to pastor, but in the end, Christ won’t welcome ‘Pastor Barry’ home, instead, it will simply be ‘Welcome Barry, good and faithful servant’.
I also know that this small step of veneration is a little step towards a slippery slope of them making me into a sub-conscious ‘saviour’. It can also fuel pride in myself, and who needs that.
We see it politics, sports, entertainment, business and the church. The extolling of someone to the heights of a type of worship.
It’s kind of like a teenage crush.
Continue reading “The Danger of Turning a Sinner into a ‘Saviour’: Toxic Faith Pt. 3”
We are all like druggies, wanting that quick fix to kill the pain.
Be it a drug, some porn, a sale, a comfort food, an altar call, a dose of the ghost (Holy Spirit), or a faith formula to get what we want. Anything, just anything to avoid going deep, facing our sinfulness, repenting and making the change.
Maybe they had seen too many telly Evangelists. They told me they had been to multiple healing services and now they had come to me and wanted me to ‘pray the demons out of them’. When I said that I would like to know more about them, they stormed out of the room and asked the passing caretaker to pray for them. He looked kind of shocked and puzzled. Continue reading “Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2”