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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Running Scared (Again)

Things are humming along for my CCEF classes; I just haven't found the time to post about it.

Since I last posted about my progress (and my procrastination), I've completed reading 2 books and almost completed 2 papers!

The books:

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest


Where Is the Mango Princess: A Journey Back from Brain Injury.

Running Scared is one of the best books I've read in the last year. Dr. Welch shines a biblical light on anxiety, fear, stress, and worry. He uses the biblical theme of "Kingdom allegiances" as the key to understanding the worst parts of fear.

Like the other Welch books I've read for this class, Depression & Addictions, he does a masterful job of showing how these problems are present for all of us and how the Bible understands and addresses them. It's very winsome, descriptive, and experientially rich.

Unlike the other two books, however, Dr. Welch considers himself an expert on this one from the inside. He calls himself a "fear specialist." Not clinically--experientially. So he writes as a fellow sufferer (criminal?) to fellow sufferers (partners in crime?).

Admission: I am a fear specialist, as well.

Even though I've just finished reading it for the second time this year, I recognize my need to read it again and apply the scripturally rich counsel it offers to my fearful tendencies (It is about 30 chapters, that easily could make daily doses for a month). Heather has agreed to read it with me next time--both to understand me better and to hold me accountable for further growth.

Here is a video (from Vinegar Hill Productions for a sermon series by Joshua Harris on the Psalms) that, I think, captures the feel of the problems in the book:

Where Is the Mango Princess? is a totally different book. It is a memoir of sorts, by a humor writer about her husband's slow recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

This is for the part of my class that deals with the interplay between psychiatry and biblical counseling. We are exploring the body/soul relationship with a focus on the brain.

The book is painful to read because of the trauma of the injury both to the individual and his family--they will never be the same.

It's also very funny (though unfortunately crude enough at times that I cannot recommend that anyone read it) and hard to put down. It was also sad, because none of the people in the book are Christ-followers. Reading about their lives (and their intepretations of their lives) would have been sad even if there wasn't a closed-head injury that was taking them through the valley of the shadow of death.

My forthcoming paper on the book will focus on the pastoral/theological issues that arise from ministering to a TBI patient.

Soon, I'll post some excerpts from the papers I'm working on.