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Tag Archives: weakness

Projection and Transference

Ernst Becker, in The Denial of Death, observes we have a universal human need for heroic figures who are less helpless or broken than ourselves. We transfer our childlike feelings of dependency to celebrities, mega-church pastors, or other authority figures. (Freud called this transference). They appear to have triumphed over the hardships of life. They dazzle us with their self-confidence. We compare ourselves to them, feeling diminished in their presence. If we happen to get close to them and see their ugly side, we feel shocked and betrayed. We forget. They too feel frightened, inadequate, and vulnerable like the rest of us. Read the biographies of all spiritual, military, economic, intellectual, political, and artistic leaders through history. You will discover they each had their shadows and monsters. People will, at times, put you on a pedestal, idealizing you and projecting onto you qualities as if you were indistinguishable from the rest of humanity. But. Read more.

Projection and Transference

Ernst Becker, in The Denial of Death, observes we have a universal human need for heroic figures who are less helpless or broken than ourselves. We transfer our childlike feelings of dependency to celebrities, mega-church pastors, or other authority figures. (Freud called this transference). They appear to have triumphed over the hardships of life. They dazzle us with their self-confidence. We compare ourselves to them, feeling diminished in their presence. If we happen to get close to them and see their ugly side, we feel shocked and betrayed. We forget. They too feel frightened, inadequate, and vulnerable like the rest of us. Read the biographies of all spiritual, military, economic, intellectual, political, and artistic leaders through history. You will discover they each had their shadows and monsters. People will, at times, put you on a pedestal, idealizing you and projecting onto you qualities as if you were indistinguishable from the rest of humanity. But remember:. Read more.

Fast – the Achilles Heel of the Church

In Homer’s Iliad, we read of Achilles who had been dipped in the river by his mother to make him invulnerable. The problem was all of him was dipped in the river except his heel by which she held him in the process. This heel was where he suffered his deathly wound during the Greeks’ battle with Troy. Our Achilles’ heels are our weaknesses, our dark sides, the unconscious parts of us that can be our undoing – regardless of how strong we are or how well we are doing in every other way. I have become convinced the Achilles heel of the Western church is our rushing. The crowds can be large, the programs effective, our growth impressive. But if we participate in the speed of our culture and do not slow down, it will prove to be our mortal wound. Why? It is violent. As one scholar noted: “The dominant form violence takes. Read more.

Fast – the Achilles Heel of the Church

In Homer’s Iliad, we read of Achilles who had been dipped in the river by his mother to make him invulnerable. The problem was all of him was dipped in the river except his heel by which she held him in the process. This heel was where he suffered his deathly wound during the Greeks’ battle with Troy. Our Achilles’ heels are our weaknesses, our dark sides, the unconscious parts of us that can be our undoing – regardless of how strong we are or how well we are doing in every other way. I have become convinced the Achilles heel of the Western church is our rushing. The crowds can be large, the programs effective, our growth impressive. But if we participate in the speed of our culture and do not slow down, it will prove to be our mortal wound. Why? It is violent. As one scholar noted: “The dominant form violence. Read more.

The Illusion of a "Strong" Church

What looks like great strength is actually great weakness. What appears to be great weakness is actually great strength. We think a “strong church” is big in numbers, powerful in influence, has great programs, lots of money, great buildings, a gifted staff, and tens of thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram followers. As Jean Vanier says, the push of the world is to pretend we are big. We are not. We are extremely,  fragile, dependent, and vulnerable. Paul learned a hard truth over many years and though much pain – that “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9). What will it take for me, for us, to deeply learn this and thus become the change our world so desperately needs?

The Illusion of “Fast” Church

We want deep churches where people are transformed. We also want wide churches that grow rapidly in numbers. The problem is that these two values are often incompatible. Think about it. Let’s say you are committed to bridging racial barriers in the church. That requires you slow down enough to listen to people’s stories, to ponder the complexity of structural and personal racism, to wrestle with issues of power and privilege, to read history and perspectives different than your own. Let’s take sexuality, singleness, and marriage. You can offer a class for 300 people at a time, touching broad theological issues at the 10,000-foot level. The problem, however, is that the issues are highly complex and nuanced. Each person and marriage has personal questions and struggles that require one-on-one conversations. The very preparation for this kind of formation slows you down. Think about the breadth of what is involved in a person’s formation in. Read more.