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Click to enlarge. Product Description The overall objective of this course is to build an comprehensive shepherding strategy for a church, which is rooted in the traditional pastoral care paradigm, drawn from the Scriptures, especially from Paul's early letters, rather than the secular psychological care paradigm of contemporary culture. Specifically, this means that each person studying the course would: Develop an understanding of the biblical model of pastoral care practiced in the early churches as a basis for formulating a philosophy of pastoral care which is consistent with New Testament guidelines for living in community and treating problems in our own lives and in our churches.

Design a contemporary and comprehensive pastoral care strategy consistent with the biblical guidelines set forth in the Scriptures for the life of the church and the individual's growth in the Spirit. Buy in bulk and save. Related Products. But what an extraordinary pastoral challenge it is to form and sustain a people who have not let their desire to be compassionate in the face of their neighbours' suffering turn them into killers. I think all I have just said about the importance of pastoral care is true, but I still do not understand how or why there needed to be something called "pastoral care" as well as "pastoral theology" that is distinguished from just plain old "theology.

This has resulted, I fear, in much of the work done in the name of "pastoral care" and "pastoral theology" being conceived and justified in a manner that God became an afterthought. Coakley calls attention to the extraordinary influence of Anton Boisen, who founded the Clinical Pastoral Education CPE movement, whose method of "living documents" she describes as potentially providing a profound learning experience.

Yet she also describes the theology that informs that method as "derisory anti-intellectual shavings from the table of university theological discourse. Of course, pastoral care has always been characteristic of how Christians have understood their responsibility for one another. But that care has taken diverse forms throughout Christian history. Though I am not happy "pastoral care" is distinguished from what the church does when she baptises and communes, I do not mean to deny that Christians have rightly cared, supported and sustained one another when they have been beset with illness, betrayals, poverty and the general slings and arrows that are inevitable given the fact we are fleshly beings.

That Christians have so cared for one another, moreover, has a history worth a brief reminder. Although the care Christians give one another is not limited to those that are designated as priests and ministers, it is nonetheless the case that those charged with priestly functions often find they have the responsibility to provide care for those who suffer.

Evans's A History of Pastoral Care , make clear. But those histories also help us see that what has been meant by pastoral care has differed across time.

Renewing the Vision

For example, Clebsch and Jackle identify at least eight different epochs of Christian pastoral care, each with its own emphases. In the first era of Christian existence, pastoral care was understood to be the sustaining of souls through the vicissitudes of life. The church under persecution meant the pastoral task became the reconciling of troubled persons to God and the church. The political and social establishment of the church meant the goal of pastoral care was then understood as the guidance necessary to have the laity behave according to the norms of what was now assumed to be constitutive of a Christian culture.

This pastoral project was supplemented later around a sacramental system designed to heal all maladies. Yet I think their attempt to remind us that pastoral care, itself a relatively recent description, reflects different understandings of what it means to be wounded is important.

Any attempt to understand the work done in the name of pastoral care will often draw on what it means to be wounded in this particular time and place. Accordingly, any attempt to develop a theological account of pastoral care will require some presuppositions drawn from the cultures in which the church finds itself. Clebsch and Jackle identify four basic functions that they believe constitute the pastoral ministry of the church. They are healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling.

Of course, what each of these practices entailed would differ from one time and place to another, but Clebsch and Jackle maintain that some form of each of them has always been present in the church. For example, they observe that in the early Middle Ages catechetical training for the moral life was dependent on the classification of sins with appropriate penalties enumerated in the penitential manuals. That the manuals are now thought of as "ethics" is but an indication that the distinction between pastoral care and moral formation could not be imagined.

I call attention to this historical account of pastoral care by Clebsch and Jackle to help us understand why the recent developments in pastoral care and pastoral theology are so significant.

All About Mary

They observe that at the heart of pastoral care is an understanding of what it means to be a being that can be hurt, as well as how we should respond to being hurt. What it means to be hurt, to be a vulnerable human being, is a correlate of an understanding of human personhood they argue has assumed a particular character in this time called "modern. Pastoral care now means helping people become self-fulfilled when it is not clear what that might mean.

That transformation of what is meant by pastoral care, Clebsch and Jackle suggest, is obvious given the different reasons people now go to seek help from the pastor. They observe not that long ago people went to their pastor because they felt bad, but today people seek therapy not because they feel bad but because they do not feel good.

Clebsch and Jackle point out that there simply is no place in the structure of the modern congregation where a serious discussion of the state of one's soul can be examined. That absence reflects the presumption that what we do with our lives is our own business. Some form of counselling now becomes the paradigm of pastoral care.

The character of such counselling is not easily identified because there are numerous psychological theories that inform those doing the counselling. Richard Niebuhr observed in his The Purpose of the Church and Its Ministry , a book well worth revisiting, the modern conception of human nature that has shaped the church's pastoral care has underwritten a naturalistic anthropology and, as a result, the religious character of our lives has been lost.

Larger Work

Each, in their own way, is an expression of a culture of emotivism which is based on the presumption that, insofar as our lives makes sense, they do so only by the imposition of our arbitrary wilfulness. Such wilfulness is required because it is assumed that our lives have no end other than what we can create and impose by the sheer force of our arbitrary desires. As a consequence, it becomes impossible to avoid the reality that all our interactions are manipulative.

In such a context, the task of the therapist, as MacIntyre puts it, is to "transform neurotic symptoms into directed energy, maladjusted individuals into well-adjusted ones. To be a moral agent in such a culture entails that we can never be fully present in our actions because if we are to be free we must always be able to stand back from our actions, as if someone other than ourselves did what was done. Such a perspective is the only way to avoid being determined by particularistic narratives that would constrain our choices.

The therapist cannot avoid reflecting these conditions because the therapist cannot assume a narrative that can help us make sense of the moral incoherence of our lives. Thus MacIntyre's claim, in Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity , that any challenge to these modern habits of thought faces the difficulty of only being able to think about our lives in terms that exclude those concepts needed for any radical critique.

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What MacIntyre helps us see is how the eclectic character of the various psychological theories that so often inform pastoral care reflects liberal political theory and practice. That many people in advanced industrial societies suffer from a sense that they are alone because no one — including themselves — understand who they are is expected result of living in a time when freedom is assumed to be found in having a unimpeded choice.

Adrian Pabst observes that such a view of life is the outworking of the basic logic of capitalist economy which destroys human attachment to, and affections for, relationships and institutions by embedding them in impersonal exchanges. As a result, people are abstracted from concrete human relations because the economy treats everyone as a commodity with a market price. The result is seldom noted because the ideologies that are commensurate with capitalism are grounded in abstractions from any embodiments that constitute our humanity.

nn.threadsol.com/169901-the-best-mobile.php Thus my oft-made claim that modernity names the time when people came to believe they should have no story determining their lives except the story they chose when they had no story. In America, that story we assume is the story called freedom. That story produces people who think they have been wounded by being born.

To so understand the human condition reflects the double-bind insight that what we thought we did in freedom turns out to be but another name for being fated by what can only appear retrospectively as our arbitrary choices. That story grounds our presumption we have been mistreated, that we have been victimised, because we discover we cannot acknowledge we have been determined by the story we thought was our choice.

I take it to be one of the fundamental convictions of Christians that we have been given a way to live that frees us from this kind of endemic narcissism that would otherwise possess our lives. That counselling is now central for how pastoral care is understood I think is a response to this general unease about our lives. In the process, those seeking therapy might also be able to acknowledge who they hurt along the way, as well as who has hurt them.

The language of reconciliation can cover a multitude of sins.


I am aware that the training in the psychological disciplines that shape pastoral care may be more substantive than this characterisation, but the general worry to avoid being judgmental makes it difficult to articulate a normative commitment other than avoiding being judgmental.

It is not surprising that the theology that shaped the development of pastoral theology was primarily various forms of Protestant liberalism. Liberal theology comes in many shapes and sizes but, in general, to use Barth's characterisation, liberal theology was the attempt to talk about God by talking about humanity in a very loud voice.

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Tillich's "method" had the advantage of employing psychotherapeutic insights as well as other social sciences to illumine the human condition. But that "advantage" is also the problem if you think, as I do, that such a method risks isolating those who are in need of pastoral care from the church. Simply because such therapist are ordained does not mean their work is "pastoral.

Lessons from 50 Years of Pastoral Ministry - Geoff Thomas Interview

Perhaps even more troubling is Stephen Pattison's suggestion that the psychological perspective threatens to subordinate the "historical concern of the church for morality and the goals and purpose of human life. I think it no accident that the rise of pastoral care and pastoral theology was matched in ethics with the development of situations ethics. Joseph Fletcher's "love is the only norm" seemed to express the fundamental judgment associated with pastoral responses to difficult human relations, particularly having to do with marriage. The account of the development of pastoral care I have just given does not do justice to the complexity of much of the work done under the headings of "pastoral care" and "pastoral theology.

We are not without resources for such an endeavour. It also engages the minds and hearts of pastoral ministers. The course looks at two important but different theologians.