Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Christian Society and Errors of Communism

Christian Ideal of Society

Ever since the Fall of humanity through Adam, a temporal realm came into existence.  This temporal realm created a vacuum for a temporal society.  Humanity came together to form a bond and collectively came together to form the first societies.   Christianity looks for a balance within this temporal society of the collective and individual good driven through charity and justice; Moral laws that bind humanity together in love but also fairness.  When this becomes imbalanced through hate, greed and theft, a rift appears in society and violence erupts

Christian Society is based on justice and charity. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

Christianity does not promise a perfect material world in this temporal realm.  There is no utopia on earth but only in the next world.  Hence Christianity and its social ideals look for the best possible scenario within society that promotes freedom, liberty, and dignity to the human person through charity and justice.   The social virtue of justice driven by charity is the key to peace and prosperity.   When justice is denied, then violence emerges.

Understanding the importance of justice to the social order, Christianity believes that the state exists to serve the individual.  It exists to permit the individual in all his or her excellence to bear fruit for the common good.  The state exists to nurture the talents of society, protecting rights and promoting a common unity that it enhances through individual excellence.  The state furthermore, promotes a liberty among the people to express themselves to God unhindered.  It does not look to place one altar over another, but stands as a safeguard protecting the beliefs of all involved.

While a Christian state most excellently captures the moral laws of God, one has seen in past centuries, a corruption due to a misguided zeal to maintain a pure society.   This has led to religious persecution and a denial of the individual to develop within his or her own will.  While the state should look to protect the common good from individuals who pursue corruption, it is important to carefully balance the need of the many versus the need of the few.  Hence the question, when does one’s personal views become so public as to disrupt the public foundation of the society?  How should such diverse views be censored or debated?  How can the person’s inherent rights still be protected?  The best recent example of this would be gay marriage as an individual expression that is counter to the traditional norm of societal marriage between a man and woman.

So, the first purpose of this blog was to clearly point out the important ideals of a Christian society, while albeit within a pluralistic society, certain key foundations should exist that balance the individual and the collective through charity and justice.   The state protects the integrity of the whole but also protects the expression of the individual.

Capitalism

The social philosophers, Hobbes and Locke, pointed out that the moment individuals came together to form society, they entered into the social contract.  With that social contract, individuals became dependent upon each other, working together, sharing common needs and goals.  Within that contract, individuals gave up many individual rights to permit the function of society.   This meant individuals while using their talents for a wage and living, also contributed and shared with the overall community.

Capitalism rewards hard work and preserves personal property but like all systems if misused can become a system of corruption and greed.

 

Each individual, according to biblical principles, would earn according to his or her work.   With work, came personal property and excess funds for others.  Some would earn more than others based upon talent.  Naturally, this would lead to economic imbalances.  Some in society would excel more than others and hence become more prominent within the society.   As the industrial age emerged in Europe, the imbalance between the have’s and have not’s grew considerably.   Vast amounts of wealth and power were consolidated within the hands of steel barons.

Without Christian principles of charity and justice at play, many so called Christians sought wealth above justice and fairness.  Without the constraint of the virtue of justice, the imbalance became even greater.  The worker became victim to unjust wages, horrible working conditions, and long exhausting hours.  There was little care for the worker as a person with dignity nor the worker’s family.  While the worker became a mere cog in the wheel, the barons became excessively wealthy and with the excessive wealth, became politically more powerful.  This led to oppression.

Hence capitalism while adhering to the natural right of property and earning, like all temporal systems can become corrupted without Christian or even basic moral virtue.   Unhindered Capitalism can become a poison to society.  When monopolies occur and when individuals become more powerful than the masses, an imbalance can occur that can lead to social unrest.  Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical “Rerum Novarum” or “New Things” looked deeply at the issues of unmonitored capitalism and how it could be a corruptive agent against society.

During the late 19th Century, Leo saw the corruption within factories and the mistreatment of the worker.  He identified the need of balance within the state to protect the individual worker from the collective demands of the industry.  Again, he looked to balance the needs of the many and the need of the few, or in some cases, one, who owned the factory.  He reminded everyone that justice demands that the worker utilize his talents and time to benefit the employer, but the employer in turn, must compensate the worker fairly.  Of course, the employer will  have more wealth than the worker.  This is the nature of capitalism.  Some have more than others based upon talents or ambition or authority, but all receive a just amount for their particular talent and place.  An equal dignity is given to everyone in the process of their role and application of it.

When capitalism is devoid of state regulation and moral virtue, but instead driven by atheistic materialism and greed, then capitalism can become an economic system that can be enslave the worker.

Communism

Communism was an adverse reaction to the abuses of capitalism.  Karl Marx, the founder of Socialist Doctrine, expounded in his Communist Manifesto, the need for a new social system.  The idea of communism preached a utopia for the disenfranchised.  It became quickly attractive to the poor and poverty stricken and it pointed out the many abuses of capitalism.  Marx offered a social utopia where everyone shared their talents and no one had more or less but all equally benefited.

Marx taught that society was evolving towards a a classless world where everyone was equal.  Authority, power, and wealth would have no meaning in this new world.  Since ages ago, the master and slave, lord and serf, and now baron and worker were all phases of domination of one class over the other but merely adapting to new titles.  Through conflict and revolution, Marx believed a new society would give birth to a communal society void of private property.  Instead of the state existing to serve the person, the person would exist to serve the state, but through this service, all would retain equality.

Of course, within this philosophy was a materialist belief that this world can be perfect.  Communism was atheistic in belief and denied God.  It saw religion as an “opiate of the people”. Marx saw the church, its moral laws and structures as ways of control, no better than the steel barons.   The belief in a world that was not materialist or temporal was way to keep individuals occupied, while others accumulated power and wealth.

Communism promises equality for all but in reality leads to human slavery to the state.

 

Using the abuses of the state, industries and church as a rallying cry, he utilized envy and resentment as a tool to instill in the workers a revolution.  King, Tsar, Pope, or employer became seen as oppressor.  With a purely materialistic mindset, this philosophy would spread across Europe and the world, infecting millions into the communist cause.   With its implementation in Russia in bloody revolution in 1917, communism would find its home base and spread its errors throughout the world.

Within communism, personal property was stripped of individuals.  The individual became property of the state and creating a perfect utopia.  Personal choice, personal belief or any religious ideas that were contrary to the envisioned goal of the state became counter productive and eliminated.  This led to massive persecutions of anyone who did not fit the proposed social outline.  Ultimately, the failed experiment of communism could not sustain itself.

The basic tenets of human nature look at work and reward.  If one works harder or has greater ideas, then they reap the award, but when this type of innovation is not rewarded, but equally distributed, then the drive for personal gain is prevented.   In Russia alone, many were forced to a new servitude on state farms where those who worked harder were given the same as those who did not.

Soon, a new slavery emerged, where the illusion of communism became evident.   A top the communist party, sat the new barons and kings, under the guise of directors for the common good.  This exposure was illustrated in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” where the animals on the farm are made to believe their hard toil is for the common good, while the communist pigs engorge themselves upon the work of the other animals.

In essence, Communism strips the human being of all personal dignity under the false direction of a greater common good that ultimately falls upon itself because it refuses to reward creativity and hard work.  Coupled with its materialist and atheistic tenets, it leads to a system more oppressive than unregulated capitalism.  This is exactly what Pope Leo XIII had warned.  He warned everyone of the pitfall of both systems but the overtly more dangerous outcomes of a communist regime.  His words proved to be prophetic under the rules of Lenin and Stalin and subsequent communist leaders throughout the world.

Christian Response

After the words of Leo, came the words of Pope Pius XI in his encyclical “Divini Redemptoris” on Atheistic Communism in 1937..   In it, Pius reiterated the errors of communism made by his predecessor regarding communism.  He pointed out that the right to private property and accumulation of wealth is within the dignity of the human person and that the state exists to help the individual progress.   He listed the numerous errors that are also found in a materialistic society that promises only material things in a fallen world.   Pius reminded everyone that no utopia promised by the communists can exist in a fallen world.  He pointed out instead that humanity can only attempt to make the most just society on earth by emulating Christ, moral virtue but especially charity and justice.

Pope Leo XIII explained the balance of a Christian society between Communism and Capitalism and both their own inherent errors

 

Pius called for a regulated capitalism where a balance existed between the needs of the many and the needs of the individual.  He reminded workers and employers of the reciprocal justice that they owed each other.  He called for those within Christian ministry to preach the Gospel to the workers and re-Christianize the world.  He called for ministers equipped to battle the lies of the communists and to preach what true justice demands.

Pius reminded the State itself, its grave importance in maintaining a harmony between the individual and the collective.  He supported regulations that promoted fair and just working wages, conditions and hours.   Through charity and justice, he felt the world could present a more Christian society that granted a more sound balance and economic system.

Despite the pleads, a more secular world was deceived by communism.  After the Second World War, Stalin masterfully played the West and divided the world between free capitalistic societies and enslaved communist societies.  Russia continued to spread its errors through the aftermath of World War II leading to the decades long Cold War which on numerous occasions brought the world to the verge of nuclear annihilation.

Communism would spread to Latin America, South East Asia and China.  To this day, China remains an oppressor to freedom, with the re-emergence of Russia, not as a communist state, but nonetheless a authoritarian state with communist DNA still flowing through its leader, Putin.

Christians must respond as Pius and Leo pointed out with social action that promotes justice and charity in society at all of its levels.  Society within Christian teaching is first and foremost at its cellular level within the family.  The family is the key to society.  A family that follows Christ and His laws is able to give to society a gift of charity and justice. Springing forth from the family, these virtues can boost the work place and secular venues in a shared vision of mutual gain.

Also of great importance is prayer.  Prayer for a better society that reflects the Natural Law and laws of Christ is something that a Christian should remember everyday.  In Catholicism, Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 warned the world of communism and the errors Russia would spread.  She pleaded with the world to find repentance with God and to prayer the Rosary.

There is no perfect society in this fallen world, but we can try to make it as best as we can despite our own inherent weaknesses and sin.  It is through a society based on Natural Law and Christ that can give humanity its best chance.  This society will look to balance the needs of the one and collective but also look to serve the individual instead of repressing the him or her.  This society must base itself on charity and justice.  Without these two social virtues, no system or society can thrive.

Christian Counseling Perspectives

As Christian Counselors it is important to remind the distraught or financially strained that God has a plan.  One cannot be tempted in business to take illegal shortcuts or use other human beings as a means to an end.  Individuals who are suffering financially should look for guidance in the poverty of Christ as a way of simplicity.  Christ Himself worked an honest day work as a carpenter with His father St. Joseph to serve as an example of what it means to work and share one’s talents.  In Christ, there was no envy of others who made more money, but always charity and respect with justice to all.

Communism looks to stoke jealousy in the poor and to lead them to a far more dangerous path that strips one of property and earnings, while unregulated capitalism uses the human person as a means to an end.   Christian Counselors need to guide the disenfranchised down the middle road and to always work hard, be fair and keep faith in Christ in all financial troubles.

If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s  Christian Counseling Certification, then please review the program and see it if matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Other Resources

Divini Redemptoris by Pius XI.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

 

 

Christian Counseling Certification Video on Counseling the Divorced and Re-married

Christianity condemns the idea of divorce.  It is contrary to the sacred vow between a man and a woman.  Christ teaches of this sacred nature of marriage and discourages those who look upon married people with even impurity in the heart.

With these strong condemnations against divorce, the Church has looked to protect the sanctity of marriage but in a broken world divorce still happens.  In some Christian communities, re-marriage is even permitted.  So how does one counsel others going through divorce or considering remarriage?  How even more so, do counselors help those within Catholic and Orthodox traditions find a place as a divorced person within the community?

The video below reviews Church teachings and difference of opinions within various groups of Christianity and how those who are experiencing divorce need special pastoral care.  Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Please review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on The Resurrection and Faith

The foundation rock of the Christian faith is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Without the Resurrection, the Christian faith is no more than a philosophy of how to live life.  The Resurrection definitively places Christ as God and makes His ministry more than mere philosophy but a redemptive act.  Christ’s crucifixion and sacrifice means nothing without the Resurrection.  As the apostle wrote, as one dies with Christ, one will also rise with Christ. Christ’s Resurrection validates the sacrifice of the cross and glorifies Him as both man and God.  It is hence a critical belief central to Christianity and without it there can be no Christianity.

Faith and the accounts of the witnesses form the foundation for this central dogma.  Unlike St Thomas who was given empirical verification, believers must rely merely on the words of witnesses found in Scripture.  Faith is belief in something that cannot be verified.  As Christians, we will never physically see evidence of Christ’s Resurrection, but Christians can place hope in their placed faith that the accounts are true.

While faith teaches us that Jesus did rise from the dead historically, it is still an event that does not have empirical proof and is a historical fact based on faith alone. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

Those who witnessed and wrote the stories related to the Resurrection, found in Gospels, all relate to both a Resurrection of Christ.  Those who bore witness also suffered horrible martyrdom for their witness.  This gives credibility to their accounts.  Individuals do not tend to give their lives for a falsehood or a lie.   The first generation of Christians who witnessed Christ live among them for forty days gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in account for this truth.

Still, later generations lived by word of mouth and faith.   Christ told St Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen yet still believe” in regards to His Resurrection.  Hence faith and this divine promise is all modern Christians have.  A faith in an account handed down two thousand years ago.   This is the crux of faith.  Faith believes in what it cannot witness.  Faith accepts mystery.  Faith accepts miracles that contradict the law of nature.

For many years, unbelievers assaulted the Gospel account.  They questioned if the apostles were delusional, or if the Romans had actually really crucified Jesus properly, but as time proceeded, enemies of the faith began to question the account itself as something not historical.  The account was seen as something mythical or something to help one understand the nature of spiritual life and rebirth in God’s grace.  This watering down of the message was popular in Modernist circles that looked to demytholize Scripture and attempt to interpret it as not a historical account.   The Resurrection, according to the Modernist, could no longer be seen as historical but mythical with a deeper meaning for humanity.

Within this endeavor, the Modernists looked to weaken the historical accuracy of the account and within the Gospel of Mark claim that the Resurrection narrative was added to the account later after the original had been written.  This suggested that the idea of Resurrection was something the Christians added to the story years after Christ’s death.  This pure speculation fueled the Modernist attack on Scripture itself.

Whether one chooses to believe or not Jesus resurrected is one’s own decision but the attempt to divorce the Resurrection from Christianity, or to claim that the Resurrection was a mythical concept to the early Christians, or that they purposely lied about the account is a very large assumption.  In essence, if one chooses to be Christian, one carries the dogmas that come with it.  One cannot choose to cherry pick the numerous dogmas of the faith as if it is a buffet to pick and deny.   The Resurrection is an article of faith.  It cannot be proven empirically.  It is mystery and goes well beyond the laws of nature.  It is something who believes in Jesus Christ must accept if one wishes to bear the name Christian.

The noise of those who doubt can challenge one’s intellect.  It can even at times cause doubt.  It is natural to question.  This is the true crux of faith in a fallen world.  It is accepting the unexplainable and still choosing to accept it.   One can theologically come to the conclusion of the necessity of the Resurrection, but faith itself pushes one beyond reason.  Faith pushes one to accept it as historical fact.

Many individuals have faith though in supernatural things.  Other faiths hold true to ideas that are also beyond reason but Christians deny.  The point is there will always be debates between religions, or debates between secularists and religious, but one holds to faith regardless.  This is a human phenomenon and not something to be denounced as illogical or foolish.  Logic and philosophy can only go so far.  To understand the deeper mysteries, empirical tools become mute.  It is then up to the soul to firmly attach to an idea, such as the Resurrection, as something that occurred and was important to human history.

As Christians we choose to believe Jesus rose. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

I do not mean to put all beliefs, simply because of faith, to be on par with Jesus’s Resurrection.  As a Christian, the Resurrection is not myth or fairy tale but a true historical act.  The only point is faith is something that pushes the intellect to the side and allows the soul to immerse itself in something beyond the material world and accept it with spiritual eyes.  In faith, we choose to dismiss the arguments of others and hold true.  This is the virtue of hope.  A hope that what we believe will one day be seen.

The words of Christ again echo importantly, “Blessed are those who still believe, yet not seen”

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

For further sources and reading

Here is a short essay and particular verses pertaining to the Resurrection in the Four Gospels.  “What Are the Resurrection Narratives and Why Do They Matter?” by Aaron Massey.  Click here7

“Proofs of the Resurrection” by Jack Zavada.  Click here

The heretical work, “Jesus Christ and Mythology” by Rudolf Bultmann.  Only read this if interested in understanding those who hope to undermine the faith not as a source of faith.  Click here

 

Christian Counseling Training Video on Theistic Evolution

An interesting debate within Christianity is if evolution has a place within the creation process of God.  Was creation ex nihil or was it through a process designed by God.  Creationism or Theistic evolution presents an interesting debate that looks at how Christians interpret Scripture literally and allegorically as well as the role of science and faith.   The video below looks at the debate more in depth.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Training and see if it meets your academic and professional needs.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Please also review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on the Crisis of Doubt in Faith

One of the most encouraging lines in Scripture assures that blessed are those who have not seen yet still believe.  This response from Our Lord to St Thomas who refused to believe Christ had risen unless he saw the wounds of the cross and put his hand in the side of the Lord assured that those who still believe but without proof receive great blessings.  With those great blessings those come great trials and tribulations.   Some may even wish to have seen, like the apostles who witnessed Christ’s miracles, resurrection and ascension.  With that belief came a even far greater obligation to the faith but those who have not seen but do not demand face their own trials of faith.  Christian Counselors can help many through their faith questions and desolations and fears.

Desolation

Unlike the empirical verification St Thomas received, believers today are left without verification.  The faith is based on the stories of others found in Scripture.  Faith is based upon the accounts of others and seen within Christian theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit which is fueled by grace.  Faith is a voluntary choice to believe something that is beyond verification or seen.  It is companioned in this world with the virtue of hope in that which is promised will come to pass.

Desolation of the soul is a painful time when the soul cannot feel God within . Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

Still in many instances, challenges to faith and hope in what faith promises can envelop the most devout Christian.  This period of desolation or testing can be the most terrifying moment for a Christian.  Indeed St Teresa Avila speaks of desolation of faith.   She promises that these desolations can make the soul become more dependent upon God and test, like Job, the soul’s commitment to God.

Imperfect World of Design due to Sin 

These desolations occur for a variety of reasons.   For some it may because of a loss or death of a loved one.  For others it may because a prayer was not answered.  Others may call out why this world is so cruel and how a good God can permit the evils of this world.  Others may find desolation due to the corrupt behavior of those who represent the Church or hold position of authority within the Church.   Why is such evil permitted.

When humanity chooses sin over God, bad things occur.  The human condition is a result of sin of the first parents.  This brought these sufferings to the world.  Yet, Christ, permitted Himself to serve as a suffering servant and example to His creation.  God Himself, permitted Himself to suffer as Job, to not only redeem but to also teach.

Yet, where is God in nature.  One can see examples of beauty in creation.  One can see examples of Heaven in love in this broken world, but in this world, one still sees the reality of predation and prey, creation and destruction and unending cycles that design the universe.   One could truly say God may have done better.  Any pet owner would never put another pet with something that could harm the other pet.  Yet one sees in nature since the epoch of time, creature devour creature for mere survival.  The explosion of a star for the creation of others.  Science and its observation shows a clear design but definitely a messy one.   Many can question God, why such things occur.  Prior to the discovery of the universe’s origins, St Augustine truly believed that the lion laid with the lamb.  Evolution shows a different tale, where certain evolved tactics and designs within one creature makes one the predator and the other prey.   While a neutral action in nature, why would this be permitted?  How can a good God watch the lion devour the lamb?   To question God over what is right or wrong or natural and evil may be a daring thing, but it is a rational thing.  Faith may question such things, but it also concedes to the soul’s own ignorance.  It realizes questions of evil, whether moral, or merely predation and destruction in nature, are questions that one day will be discovered in the next life.   Not even science has all the answers.  The worship of science over faith has caused a generation of atheists.  One cannot be like St Thomas and demand verification to a Divine Being.  Yet at the same time, one’s cry, if God is our Father, should receive something?  Shouldn’t it?

Existential Cry 

The existential cry to find God sometimes also goes unanswered.   For many, the feelings of presence of God, which are only within oneself are not enough.  One may begin to doubt the voice of God and confuse it with their own inner dialogue.  Discernment, a long time process, may become loss in this type of desolation.  One becomes no longer able to distinguish the inner voice of God with one’s own voice.   In turn, instead of questioning one cannot hear God, they demand that God come to them.  Many suffer desolation in solitude or lack of God’s touch in their life.

There are many Christian Counseling ways to discuss these pains but until one questions itself, one cannot truly feel the lost of identity and relationship with God until one feels the desolation itself.

How can a good God not come to one?  “What have I done wrong?”  Many may blame oneself, or blame one’s prayer, or see prayer as more contract as covenant.  Like a child, the soul expects what it feels is best instead of what God wills.  The will must comply to the Divine Will.  It must not question self but instead conform self to the Divine.  Like Christ did in the garden, one must be willing to put self to the side.

Still, does not a father come to his child in his or her deepest need?  Why does not the Lord come to one?  Does not a parent run to the child at night who screams from a nightmare?  Where is God in this way?  Why cannot He comfort?

These type of serious feelings can cause deep tension within the soul.  The soul and its intellect tends to question.  It begins to search for answers.  These wanderings are in themselves not bad.  For one should question all forms of reality.  God has given one a mind to question things and one should question but when questions dominate faith it can become toxic.   In this type of desolation, the soul experiences a far deeper existential crisis.  It becomes more like Thomas.  It seeks verification and answers to questions that cannot be answered in this world.

The soul may begin to question Christianity, it may even question Theism.  It may entertain thoughts of Existentialism and seek to fulfill its needs through its own cries.   “Why cannot my Lord come to me, and command me and tell me what to do?”    This is a haunting statement.   As history has shown, God can through dreams, angels, and even Divine intervention, slice through the walls of reality, but rarely is this seen in everyday life.   Instead, one is left with clues and discernment and guidance.   I think, many of us, would prefer a more divine proclamation rather than think, analyze and sometimes doubt, but for whatever reason, if our faith exists, we must let go of the intellect and the “whys” and commit to what faith demands.   No route in this world, even the explanation of the universe, will ever be truly known.  As children, we must accept the reality of doubt, lack of answers, and fear, and hold onto what has been handed down and with faith companioned by hope, choose to believe and allow grace to heal.

The atheist existentialist will challenge one to let go of the comfortable feeling that someone is out there and to embrace oneself and make one’s own road, but those words are eerily similar to the temptations of the serpent.  When God’s presence is not felt, it is for a reason to become stronger or a call of focus on ourselves to be better.  It is not a call to look for other answers.

Faith During Desolation

During desolation, faith can be strengthened or weakened but a seed of faith grown in solid ground can never die.  One’s faith will find itself again in certain feelings, senses, or places.  It will find itself in family and identify, and most importantly it will mourn God’s absence.

More saintly may find existential terror in prayer life only, while others may stop prayer temporarily.  They may stay away from God because it hurts the soul to talk to him.  They desire what heaven offers while on earth.  They do not understand the love that would consume them and distract them from their earthly mission.  So some may take a time out.  Others may become spiritually slothful and maybe, to Satan’s delight, partake in secular plans.  Faith, however, that is secure is always secure.  The soul will find its way back to God that has the virtue of faith.  Little things will bring it back through prayers of others.

The examples of the martyrs, saints and Christ Himself, detail to one the difficult road of desolation during faith but on how to put aside doubt and one’s own will but to give to God.

In this dark time, one can turn to Scripture, the writings of the saints and a Christian Counselor or a Spiritual Mentor or Advisor.  Sometimes, these same familiar comforts may not immediately answer questions, but they can become a bedrock to prevent farther fall from faith.  One in faith can then in prayer call upon God not to leave oneself even though one is in doubt.

One must also be careful of the insidious trap of the evil one.  While desolation can bring one closer to God by understanding how much the soul needs God, it can also be a device when used in temptation to tear the soul away from God.  Satan can challenge one’s  notions of God and through this doubt make one question God’s love and kindness.  This can lead to anger towards God or misconceptions about God’s love.  This attempted wedge by Satan between the soul and God can lead to further alienation.  One must always remain vigilante in the role the demons play in weakening faith and how they look to accomplish it for a particular person.

Faith of Thomas or Job

Will our faith be of Job or demand verification like Thomas? Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

We must choose to either demand verification in our faith or be more like Job.  Is Job’s faith an affront to reason?  If we continue to question, we are being human.  I do not think questioning and trying to understand certain things are wrong, but when it becomes an obsession and weakens prayer life and faith, then it can become an issue.  These doubts can turn a desolation.

Job’s faith is one of obedience, patience and discernment.  It understands the inner workings of God in this fallen world and the pain of loss.  It is a faith that is unshakable, but even Job asked why.  It is important if one has a good relationship with God to be able to ask why.  While God is the most terrifying and powerful Deity, He has told us, He is also a Father in love with His children to the point of giving everything up.  With that knowledge, we know we can ask why.  We know we can become upset.  We know we can cry out.

St Augustine tells one to believe so that one may understand.  This may seem backwards, but it opens one to God with meekness and honesty.  It puts confidence in God and believes that all will be answered.   St Augustine Himself could never comprehend the mystery of the Trinity but never allowed intellectual hubris to prevent his faith from failing.

The faith of Job is what is needed in a fallen world.  St Thomas was given a rare gift, but was admonished-and still while the apostles had faith, they had already seen.  Through that sight, their allegiance to Christ demanded far more.  Job’s faith is a more perfect faith.  A faith not based on sight but belief.   No belief will ever make total sense.  No belief will ever be empirically proven or disproven.   No belief will be placed over other beliefs in this world.

Faith, however, in Christ, will be rewarded for those who offer to conform their will to God.   That is the power of faith, to quiet the intellect, to accept without proof and proceed in hope.  As Peter sunk when he took his eyes off Jesus, we must keep our eyes on God, so that we do not sink in the ocean of the temporal world.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Recommended Readings

St Teresa of Avila and the Interior Castle.

Explore the Faith–Article on Interior Castle Click here

St Ignatius Loyola on Discernment.   His 14 Rules for Discernment.  Click here

Christian Today.  “If God is good, why is the world evil?” by John Lemmon

 

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Counseling Styles of Christ

Christian Counseling has many approaches and styles to help individuals.  One way is to look to Scripture and find the styles Jesus used to talk to others.  Jesus used multiple approaches when talking and discussing issues with individuals.

Christ entering into dialogue with others through a variety of styles. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

The article, “How Might Jesus Do Counseling?” by Josh Squires looks into Scripture to find different styles Christ used to counsel and speak to others.  He states,

“The four elements of this framework are commendation, comfort, conviction, and challenge. Before I explain each below, first let me give a caveat: this is not a formula for counseling. Though I will present these components in an order — the order that occurs in my own counseling most frequently — there’s no strict progression. Each conversation may have a different combination of these four elements — or may, in fact, focus on only one or two of the four. These four elements are not so much a pattern or a formula as a multifaceted perspective by which to view the counseling task.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking for a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Marriage Counseling

Marriage is difficult for many couples but when things get difficult it is important for couples to remember their vow.  So many look to let go instead of trying to fix something.  Marriage counseling can be beneficial for many couples.  Christian couples should take advantage of pastoral and Christian counseling for married couples as well.

When is it time for marriage counseling? Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

The article, “7 Reasons to Seek Marriage Counseling” by Donna White takes a closer look when a couple should consider marriage counseling.  She states,

“When couples become more like roommates than a married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling. This does not mean if the couple isn’t doing everything together they are in trouble. If there is a lack of communication, conversation and intimacy or any other elements the couple feels are important and they feel they just “co-exist,” this may be an indication that a skilled clinician can help sort out what is missing and how to get it back.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Divorce and Marriage Ministry

Marriage is the foundation stone of society.  Through the social contract, couples come together and bring forth future generations within the bounds of society.  Strong family units produce strong individuals in the society who can benefit society with their unique talents.

God elevated this union beyond the natural order to a supernatural contract and oath to each other.  He sanctified it in the Garden of Eden and elevated it through the words of Christ that the union can never be broken unless fear of adultery.  Scripture proclaims, a man shall leave his mother and take on another and both will become one and in the epistles, Paul teaches that the love between husband and wife is like that of Christ and the Church.

Christian marriage is a spiritual vow that transcends the natural contract of marriage.

 

With such strong words from Christ, scripture, and Paul, the foundations for Christian marriage were laid.  Within Catholic and Orthodox circles, it was a sacrament, while in Protestant circles it was in the very least a sacred obligation.   Society has attempted to weaken this natural and supernatural building rock of society.  Divorce, same sex marriage, and polygamy all look to weaken the institution and society itself.  The attempt to separate the supernatural element instilled by God to a merely natural contract is on display.

With the readiness of divorce, infidelity plays no small penalty for the secular mind.  Divorce rips apart family units and leaves many children left without strong guidance to help create a better society.  The attack on the family has already begun and continues to rage.

In the midst of such chaos, the Christian Counselor is left with many divorced Christians and individuals seeking solace and wholeness.  Not only do these individuals suffer from the initial loss of a spouse, but they also suffer from a variety of secondary losses, including children, pets, possessions, income and new integration into new life styles.

Divorce sometimes is a reality to the Christian, albeit an unwanted one.  Many Christians may feel marked and ashamed with such titles within their own community and family structure.  They may feel as if they failed in some way.  Other Christians may remarry and feel as if black sheep for taking upon another spouse.  In Catholic and Orthodox churches, remarriage without annulment is forbidden.   This leads to a whole new type of ministry.  Hence, the divorced and those who decide to remarry within Christianity represent a large group of the displaced within the faith.  While in Protestantism, remarriage is permissible for due reason of adultery, it still creates issues with blended homes and still the over all loss of the original marriage.

Within Catholicism and Orthodoxy, the words of Christ echo strongly that no-one may ever remarry.  The exception clause within Matthew is not regarded as a license to remarry.  Only in Matthew is it mentioned and it never again is mentioned in the Epistles.  Many biblical scholars look at the interpretation, translation and the fact it was targeted to only the Jewish community to mean something different.  This leaves the Catholic and Orthodox church with many remarried couples that can become a pastoral concern.

Christian Counselors need to understand their plight.  Pope Francis recently wrote at length the pastoral concerns of these “black sheep”.   While many may marry as if they are dating, there are some who have unjustly been dealt.  Pope Francis pointed this out in his encyclical on the “Joy of Love” where he looks at the emergency pastoral issue within the Catholic Church.  He asked some very critical questions regarding the fate of these couples.  While remaining faithful to Christ’s words, he still pondered about those who remarry due to abuse, or those who were left with nothing after a spouse totally rejected them.  He also looked at the annulments that were not properly administered due to finance or local corruption within the tribunal.

Francis pointed out that many couples who remarried have moved on to a second relationship and now have grandchildren from this union.  They have remained faithful, albeit, outside the grace of the sacrament.   Pastorally, how does one deal with such families?  Each situation requires careful and deliberate reflection between confessor and couple with the highest regards for the Eucharist.

It is important to note for those not familiar with Catholic doctrine that an annulment is based on theology that centers around a vow.  A vow is a free choice with knowledge and understanding of the commitment.  When a vow is exchanged between a man and woman it is seen as binding when conditions certain conditions are met.  If certain conditions or secrets or distress are later discovered, then a marriage can be seen as never existing.  One example includes being forced to marry someone and not possessing complete autonomy in the decision.  Another example is a secret regarding the individual.  Maybe the individual was cheating before the vow and had no intention of remaining faithful.  Maybe the person lied about being baptized.  Maybe the person hid a past life of murder, abuse and other criminal activity.  Maybe the person lied about ability to have children or desire to have children.  The primary point is the issue is an “a priori” problem that was unknown before the vow.   Fortunately, many more annulments are issued more than once before within the Church.  Investigations can discover these things.

However, after the fact offenses or failures of a spouse do not fall under the guise of an annulment.   Infidelity that is not planned or a simple mistake does not invalidate a vow.  This does not mean one cannot civilly divorce, but within the interpretation of the Gospels, one cannot remarry afterwards, or they would as Christ points out, find themselves in adultery.  Many divorce for simpler reasons such as family or finance.  The generation of divorce is a replacement generation not a fix it generation.

Within Protestant theology, one may remarry over grave reasons, but this has even led to individuals thinking if they commit a grave offense, then they can become freed from a contract.  Many Protestant circles even with their exception clause have become more liberal in permitting divorce within their congregations.

These issues have led to more divorce within Christianity and has created a large pastoral issue for both Catholic and Protestant circles.  While the world mirrors a secular version of marriage, it is up to Christian communities to commit to the values of Christ regarding marriage.  It is up to Christian communities to promote the permanence of the Christian vow.

Prayer is essential for any couple. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

Prior to marriage, Christian Counselors, pastors and family can help young couples discover the importance of marriage and the serious nature of the vow.  Pre-Cana is also an excellent way to learn about family issues from other couples, as well as teach young couples the unglamorous aspects of marriage.  Learning to prayer together and attend liturgy and service together is an important step in engagement.  The young couple needs to investigate and learn about each other.  They need to realize that marriage is also a spiritual vocation that is not about just this world, but helping each other to reach the next world.  It is a joint vocational marriage to hold each accountable to Christ.

Prayer and God must remain in the family for it to succeed.  The modern war on the family has attempted to strip Christ from marriage.  It important then that Christians re-introduce Christ to marriage and share the beauty of Christian marriage to the world.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

Christian Counseling Certification Video on Christianity and Aliens

The odds of other alien life in an infinite universe should be very high.  Sentient life while less common, should still be well represented.  Scientists and theorists have calculated mathematical probabilities of life and all points to it, but why has humanity yet to experience an encounter?   Has it already happened but is forgotten?  Is it a secret?  Or, is it simply a filtering effect where the probabilities of life becoming sentient did not work out on other worlds like on Earth?  Yet, still, is it merely too large of a universe for sentient civilizations to ever meet?

Theologically, Christianity is open to the notion of other life because one cannot limit God in His grand plan, but how would other life fit into the narrative of humanity?  The video below looks at some theological questions that could arise.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

 

Please also review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Discipleship

Discipleship is a key element in Christianity.  Jesus calls all to take up their cross and follow Him.  Originally Jesus chose the 12 and the other close followers.  All were considered disciples but only the 12 were consider apostles with a special mission to guide the Church.  Yet each had a unique discipleship and calling, whether of the 12 or merely a close follower.   As Christians today, we also have a unique discipleship and calling.  We are called to bear witness but to also utilize our special talents given to us by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel and build the Mystical Body of Christ.

Jesus calls us to make new disciples and followers. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

The article, “How Did Jesus ‘Make Disciples’?” by David Mathis looks closer at the process of discipleship then and today.  He states,

“Jesus, the Master, had called them to follow him, and for more than three years, in setting after setting, in private homes and in the midst of great crowds, walking long journeys between towns and enjoying unhurried meals — one conversation at a time, one day at a time — Jesus had discipled them. Christ himself showed them the Christian life, inside and out, in public teaching and private prayer. Now they too were to make disciples.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.