The following is part of a talk I was invited to give to a group of psychiatric residents (doctors-in-training) here in the Twin Cities a few years ago. The talk was on “the evangelical tradition,” and was intended to give these medical practitioners a sense of the beliefs of evangelicals, possible impediments to serving this constituency, and ideas of how to serve them better.
I have already posted other portions of this talk here under the titles “Basic, basic Christianity” and “Evangelicalism–a basic summary,” part I, part II, and part III. What follows is the final portion of the talk, which outlines issues that may face a professional providing evangelicals with psychiatric services, and ideas on how to serve (some) evangelicals better:
Now I’d like to turn the corner and address more directly some of the challenges that may come up in serving evangelical Christians from within the field of mental health care.
The insights that follow mostly come from my Bethel colleague Steven J. Sandage, Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Studies, Bethel St. Paul. Steve has served as clinician, psychologist, and chaplain in a variety of settings (community mental health, correctional, university) and currently engages in part-time clinical practice. He taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Medical College of Virginia as an adjunct faculty prior to coming to Bethel.
As Steve has related it to me, some evangelicals have a tendency to over-spiritualize—they frame problems as spiritual, not being able to think in an integrative way about the interactions of their minds, emotions, spirits, and the material world. They may refuse medication, for example, because they think this would show a lack of faith in spiritual truth or spiritual reality. Continue reading
Posted in Resources for Radical Living
Tagged anti-intellectualism, Bible, charismatics, evangelicalism, healing, medicine, mental health, New Testament, Old Testament, Pentecostalism, psychiatry, sexuality, Spirituality, therapy
The following is a capsule summary of Christianity from a talk I was invited to give to a group of psychiatric residents (doctors-in-training) here in the Twin Cities a few years ago.
The talk was on “the evangelical tradition,” and was intended to give these medical practitioners a sense of the beliefs of evangelicals, possible impediments to serving this constituency, and ideas of how to serve them better.These medical residents came from all kinds of religious backgrounds and several ethnic backgrounds and countries-of-origin. So I couldn’t assume they had any knowledge of the basics of Christianity.
I’ll post at least one more bit of this talk soon (see “Evangelicalism–a basic summary,” part I, part II, and part III, and “Evangelicals and psychiatric services“), but here’s the “Christianity-in-a-nutshell” intro, which came first in the talk, before any details about evangelicalism itself. I’m curious: What do you think? What did I miss? What did I get wrong? What would you have said differently?
First, the basics. What is the Christian faith that these evangelicals profess?
Christianity is rooted in Judaism, which teaches that the human race was created by a personal God. The Hebrew Scriptures, also accepted by Christians as authoritative, teach that from the beginning, despite the love of this God for humanity, humans have failed to return this love, preferring instead to “do their own thing.” This is symbolized in Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, by two stories. Continue reading