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Volume 13, Issue 2: Poimen

Professions for the Creatively Irresponsible

Joost Nixon

For the creatively irresponsible, a career as a lounge singer has its distinct advantages. For starters, you get to flaunt those funky blue tuxedos with such abandon. Add to that the free drinks and the invitations to all those bar mitzvahs, and it would seem that your career choice is as good as made. Those preferring a more sedentary life, however, might prefer to write for one of the cheaper tabloids. Imagine getting paid to make up stories about how visitors from the planet Kolob made illegal campaign contributions to Goreís election campaign and then getting to doctor the photos. Vacations? Who would need them?

But thereís another profession out there—for those who can manage to gag their howling consciences—that leaves both lounge singers and tabloid columnists wondering if they shouldnít have listened to their mothers. Iím referring, of course, to the pop psychologist.
When all the data are in, a career in pop psychology is the most coveted profession by the creatively irresponsible.1 The pay is good, the workdays short, and, best of all, there are few boundaries to hinder when those creative juices start flowing.
Take, for instance, the fellow who invented primal therapy. Somehow, he manages to convince responsible adults—like the guy watching over that little nest egg of yours—that the solution to their problems is to cry out to their mommies and daddies (who, incidentally, arenít present). When mom fails to answer (sheís so insensitive), the frustration culminates in a very undignified temper tantrum.2 And for the privilege of having someone supervise his tantrum, your broker forks over a considerable pile of dough. Ever wonder why those commissions were so high?
Primal therapy is all in good fun, of course. But sometimes pop therapy can have consequences that are more evidently tragic. Take ten-year-old Candace Newmaker, whose adoptive mother allowed her to undergo "rebirthing therapy" so they could bond better. Candace was wrapped tightly in a flannel blanket and surrounded with therapists who used pillows to simulate contractions. Though she cried for air, the therapists wouldnít release her, and Candace died of asphyxiation in her own vomit.3 Besides building a gallows for the lettered fools who caused Miss Newmakerís untimely death, how does one respond to such things? I presume we ought to get in line behind the broker at the Primal Center to release some angst.
One wonders how long it will be before the idiocy of the "mental health professionals" zeniths, and they ífess up that they really donít have a clue what theyíre doing. Thankfully, there are signs that this day isnít too far off.4 But for now we must continue to be afflicted with reports of their abuses. Ironically, as bankrupt as all those secular psychologists are, for some silly reason, we have some Christian counselors lining up at their back door for methodological handouts.5 Under the banner of "spoiling the Egyptians" they take the theories and methods of secular psychology, integrate them with biblical truth, and viola! a new " improved" counseling paradigm.
Presumably, because "all truth is Godís truth" integrationism is the best of all worlds. But in our wacky world, all "truth" isnít necessarily true. In fact, most of the stuff in the DSM-IV6 reeks suspiciously of brimstone.
This is not surprising, given that all counseling methodologies are based upon the counselorís worldview. How the counselor answers questions like "What is man?" and "What is his problem?" will inevitably affect his counseling. If he says man is a biochemical machine and "the mind secretes thought as the liver secretes bile," and that manís problem is chemical imbalance, then it is perfectly consistent for him to prescribe a chemical solution for anger, guilt, or whatever. And if he thinks that man is an animal and his problem is wrong conditioning, then why should we be surprised if he employs behavioristic methodologies in counseling?
But is man really just an animal or a sophisticated sack of chemicals with all the attendant problems? The Bible speaks infallibly on these questions, and the mental health pundits simply donít like the answers.7 What is man? God tells us that man is made in the image of God, and there is a fundamental distinction between him and the animals (Gen. 1:26—28). What is his problem? God tells us man is screwed up because he is in rebellion against the Most High. But God doesnít stop there—He provides a solution. There is mercy for sinners who cling to Christ in repentance and faith. Whatís more, there is genuine hope for Christians to change as they put on righteous behavior and put off the deeds of darkness by the sanctifying power of the Spirit (Eph. 4:25—32). Right solutions proceed from right presuppositions. And that is why the methodologies of secular psychology are so dangerous—they are houses built upon the sand.
The good news is that God in His kindness has provided everything we need for life and godliness, and so thereís no need to wander the slums of psychology for answers. There are real solutions in Godís Word for crummy marriages, depression, and dead beats, and all the other horrible consequences of sin. The solutions amount to more than mere infallible advice given to impotent creatures—God gives us His sanctifying Spirit to will and to work for His good pleasure.

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