All Posts Tagged: healing
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything
that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—
and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
“In the beginning …” (Genesis 1:1) Father started a manufacturing business (for those into theology it’s called “the Kingdom”!). Every manufacturer has the same MO: MULTIPLICATION. For example, in 2016 Apple sold its one billionth iPhone. McDonald’s sells“more than 75 hamburgers per second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of the year.” That’s multiplication!
“‘Then God said, ‘Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then PRODUCE the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.’ And that is what happened.'” (Genesis 1:11-12) “Then God said, ‘Let the earth PRODUCE every sort of animal, each PRODUCING offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened.‘” (Genesis 1:24-25) Finally, humankind is created. “So God created human beings in his own image, male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, ‘BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY. ‘” (Genesis 1:28)
Sometime later a deadly virus caused a massive product defect. (Genesis 3:1-7) The Creator quickly responded with a product recall. (Genesis 3:8-13) To fix the problem Father chose an antiviral drug called GRACE! (Ephesians 2:8) Due to its exorbitant cost, humankind was unable to pay a dime for the medication So, the Father flipped the bill (1 Peter:1:18-20). That’s why John Newton, the hymn composer, wrote:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
To commence the therapeutic process God began with a trial group, the Jewish race. Nothing special about this group except that Jesus was to come through that hereditary line. Similar to many medications Father began with a small, test dose to prepare for that which was to come. Finally, the Great Physician (Mark 2:17) arrived to deliver the requisite dose.
But it was our sins that ripped and tore and crushed him!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
It may appear that I got sidetracked from the subject of multiplication. Not so! “The Gospel is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.” (Bonhoeffer) Here’s Jesus’ grace-filled call to the disciples to become his business partners!
“When Jesus finished teaching, he said to Peter,
‘Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.’
Peter said, ‘Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow.
But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.’
It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity.
They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them.
They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Peter and everyone with him.
Jesus said to Peter ‘There is nothing to fear.
From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.'”
They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
“We are saved by grace through faith—a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8
“God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Humans were designed to love and be loved! Jesus confirmed this: “Love God … and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
The virus of sin has caused a major malfunction in the human spirit so that we “fall short” of loving God, others and self. We’re dis-eased and the disease is deadly! “We were dead because of our sins….” (Ephesians 2:5) We exist but are unable to fulfill our destiny!
“How helpful it is to see sin, like addictive behavior, as a dis-ease, a very destructive dis-ease instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable, or “made God unhappy,” If sin indeed made God unhappy, it is because God desires nothing more than our happiness. and wills the healing of our dis-ease.” (Breathing Under Water, p xv, Richard Rohr)Though our prognosis is extremely bleak, we’re not hopeless! Father has a medicine to cure our dis-ease.
Blood is red in appearance; yet it contains white blood cells. When your body is under a viral assault, white blood cells attack the virus. However, in gaining victory they die. Healing is won via death!
Father’s medicine is called GRACE: God’s Restoration At Christ Expense! “We are saved (the meaning of this word is “made whole”) by grace….” The old hymn calls it “amazing.” Why? Whereas grace is extremely costly (“You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19), yet, it’s “a gift from God”!
How does one obtain the Medicine Of Life? Jesus said, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.” (Mark 2:17)
Have you been to the Doctor yet?
“Love by its nature seeks union. The invitation of union is extended not only for Christians of iron will, austere seekers of God, those who preach the gospel and get doctorates in theology. It is not reserved for those who are well-known mystics or for those who do wonderful things for the poor…. It is for those poor enough to welcome Jesus. It is for people living ordinary lives and who feel lonely. It is for all those who are old, hospitalized or out of work, who open their hearts in trust to Jesus and cry out for his healing love. I would add that the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude NO ONE, neither the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish, ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers, and the most overweening of snobs. THE LOVE OF CHRIST EMBRACES ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION!” —Brennan Manning, The Furious Love Of God
This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan continues the “Training Wounded Healers” series all about our signature Training Certificate, a year-long program that guides individuals through engagement with their own stories of harm and trauma for the sake of learning to offer healing and restoration in the stories of others. Here, Dan is joined by Cathy Loerzel, MA, co-founder and Executive Director of The Allender Center, and Rachael Clinton, MDiv, a pastor, certificate facilitator, and member of our Teaching Staff. Cathy and Rachael are also graduates of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.
Cathy shares the story that led her to pursue an MA in Counseling Psychology at The Seattle School. Cathy was eventually invited to oversee the planning and execution of The Seattle School’s conferences, a position that led to her vision for the The Allender Center. In her current work facilitating the Externship Program, Cathy continues to develop her capacity to train others in the work of fostering healing and transformation.
Cathy: “If it’s important work, let me figure out how to make it accessible, so that we can train people, so that this is something that can be happening all over the country and all over the world.”
Rachael was invited to join The Allender Center at the very beginning, and as a leader she offers a unique presence that is both pastoral and therapeutic. She shares how working as a research assistant on Dan’s Sabbath book eventually led to the opportunity to teach and facilitate groups, particularly at the intersection of trauma and spiritual formation.
Rachael: “I just fell in love with getting to do story work in a group setting with people. It was the best kind of pastoral care you could ever do. […] I really, really love journeying with people in the midst of their stories where their theological imagination, biblical imagination, the way they understand themselves in relation to God, God in relation to them, has been disordered because of the harm they’ve experienced.”
Dan: “It’s crucial and so simple to say you can deal with the depths of a person’s horizontal story, their relationships with others, but always, always, always our labor is ultimately about your heart with Jesus, your engagement with God. And unfortunately or fortunately, the framework of your trauma provides a very substantial lens for how you interpret life in relationship to how you see God.”
Cathy talks about the ongoing work of creating a standardized training program that allows for the particularities of every individual and the artistry of story work, while also offering the theoretical education and technical training that allows space for nuance and creativity. The desire to offer all of that, and to distill Dan’s complex theories into a practical, hands-on training, gave birth to The Allender Center’s Training Certificate and the Externship Program.
Cathy: “We’re able to do a catalytic event that allows people who are very specifically trained to read into difficult stories and reveal things that are not typically revealed in an average reading of story. […] How many people can we train over the next 10 years? How many people can we equip who are doing this work on the ground as lay leaders, as pastors, as friends, as spouses? My dream is to continue to equip people to go into the trenches and bring some sort of healing and allow Jesus to be revealed in ways that don’t happen through average care.”
Rachael: “Part of what we do is give people categories through which to interpret their story more truthfully, to give them more freedom. So when I’m working with people I want to create a sanctuary where there is safety, and goodness, and a place for healing, but also a call to arms, that they would be empowered to come to life, to take what they’re receiving and learning and be able to offer that others.”
Dan: “The design and desire is to give it away, to train people to be able to go out, somewhat under our experienced supervision and input, but go out and start works that engage, in your local church and your community, life and resurrection in the face of trauma. […] We’re not going to be embarrassed to say, in some sense, this is an invitation to come check us out and begin to ask, how are you called to engage the issues of trauma, and how can we join you in the work of God to help you become better at what you do?”
Last time on The Allender Center Podcast (check out part 1 by clicking here), Dan launched a new series exploring our signature Training Certificate, a year-long program that guides individuals through engagement with their own stories of harm and trauma for the sake of learning to offer healing and restoration in the stories of others. This week, Dan is joined by his wife, Becky Allender, who shares about her own experience of going through the Training Certificate and the impact that it continues to have in her life.
Becky: “I had the most wild and wonderful ride with my group leader and the six other people in my group, just loved it. I couldn’t believe what reading one story and then processing it could do, and then listening to their stories and processing. And with the skill of a facilitator who has done this for over a decade, it was transformative. I was over the moon experiencing life and freedom and more connection with the group leaders, the teaching staff, and my friends and family.”
For years before enrolling as a participant herself, Becky served as a behind-the-scenes intercessor and prayer team leader during the Training Certificate sessions. She saw the importance of the program and the work it was fostering in the lives of many, and she loved praying and laboring on behalf of the people going through the work. But, says Becky, she was resistant to pursuing group story work herself.
Becky: “Then I realized the power of the group experience, and I was a goner. I came home a changed woman. […] I became more aware of desires and needs that I have, and I spoke to those more forthrightly.”
Dan: “The work you did in the group opened so much more of your heart’s desire for connection than almost any other experience I’ve seen you go through.”
Becky: “With the stories that I didn’t even really remember until the assignment to write, I think it gave an avenue of clarity of why I am the way I am, and why my style of relating has been the way it has been. It allowed me to have compassion for parts of myself that I wasn’t proud of—I wasn’t proud of my quietness, my timidness, and I was able to see the root of the reasons why that became such an integral part of myself as a very young child.”
Dan and Becky discuss the experience of learning to honor and bless both the harm and the goodness they received in their families of origin with more depth, kindness, and freedom. For Becky, the experience has changed how she approaches her marriage, how she tends to the wounded parts of herself, how she steps more fully into her unique calling, and even how she interacts with more intention, clarity, and gratitude with others in day-to-day settings, like the grocery store or a yoga class.
Becky: “In this setting, you have the luxury of time to follow the sentence that leads to shame, to follow the sentence that left that person in such a vulnerable, dark place, not just to have sympathy—and for me this has been the uncomfortable part—but to go deeper into the sorrow. From my own experience, it was the deeper, sorrow-filled, dark parts that the leader or other members of my group kept pushing me to go a bit farther in, that is where the lights connected and went off. […] It’s that releasing of stories that allows such freedom and new awareness of yourself and others.”
Dan: “You do engage my own heartache differently. Instead of just the care that you normally would have provided, you really are committed to deepening and broadening the implications of the matters that my heart is engaging. And—my goodness—you are way more powerful with regard to the sword you carry.”
Becky: “There was more healing—so much more healing than I ever could have imagined.”