- CRITTER TALK
Many preachers are poorly qualified for the job of a “life coach.” Bible school, or whatever its equivalent may be, is hardly a solid platform from which to preach morality, ethics and coping skills. In fact, in my opinion, one could hardly start from a more unsound base. There’s often no good knowledge of psychology, medicine, or counseling required to be a preacher.
The typical church service has an “the answers everyone needs are right here” perspective. This is a rigid, flawed approach, because it’s a one – way dialogue which ignores people’s individuality. When people have personal problems, a counselor must first listen and ask questions before suggesting possible solutions. That never happens in church.
There’s no worthwhile advice a “man of God” can offer people that can’t be better given by a good humanitarian. In fact the advice given by preachers is often profoundly wrong. Too often they suggest prayer, or to read the bible, or to suppress worldly aspirations, or to take a long-term view, or to just hope. They may quote Jesus.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you will get it.” (John 15:7, NJB.)
“Happy you who weep now; you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21, NJB.)
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” (Matt. 5:12, NJB.) This isn’t helpful advice, it’s oppression! They tell people to focus on the promise of eternal salvation, a pot of gold at the end of life’s rainbow, granted only to those special people who have faith. It’s easy to make promises you’re never obliged to make good.
I think many preachers are hypocrites. The vaunted love said to be a Christian characteristic often isn’t found when people are in real trouble. True love is always more that just words, and too often preachers find it easier to tell a punter they’ll be prayed for than do something concrete. Some preachers even advise avoidance of help from the secular world, which derails the pursuit of pragmatic answers. They’re worried about outsiders treading on their turf. This should NEVER happen. Sitting in a church or asking for help from a preacher are usually surefire ways to not find real solutions to personal problems.
Preachers often portray themselves as warm, caring people, and some of them are. Yet I think that beneath the facade most church leaders hope people behave like sheep. Sheep are subservient, easily scared, don’t ask questions, don’t think for themselves and are easily fleeced. Churchmen profit most from wooing crowds. The percent return is much higher than from counseling individuals.
They get people groveling at the mute Jesus’ feet. Yet Jesus is just a priest’s sock puppet, so they’re really bowing down to him, or the institution he represents. The master’s cold eyes stare down from the crucifix. The flock fails to figure out there’s no point pretending he’s their pal. A real friend talks, but Jesus hasn’t uttered a word for nearly two thousand years. He can’t tell them to stop being so servile, because he’s dead.