White Days Like This…

There is something about waking this morning to a white world outside that put in me the desire to do something special.  You know how some experiences can be linked to a song you were listening to at the time, or even to a fragrance which, years later, may randomly seize you and take you back again?  Well, I wanted something to link this snow-day with…a fun new item, a place visited…
 
Unfortunately, much of my day has been spent preparing for the Why Know banquet this evening.  Preparations included decorating the banquet hall at the Trade Center and lunch with Stephen Arterburn.  Interesting fellow, amiable and very pleasant.  During lunch, he several times made a point of stating that people need to be reached with more than the Word: he used phrases like, “You could teach them the Ten Commandments, or you could give them something practical,” and “If you’re working with a poor boy, you could make him memorise Scripture or you could teach him how money works and how to manage it.”  I understand the need for practical skills; still, I couldn’t help but wonder if God’s Word was being belittled and refused its full power and authority, according to Stephen’s thinking.  Are not all problems, at core, spiritual issues?  And what has the authority and ability to change and heal, if not the Word of God?  Teach the poor boy money skills, yes–but as he learns these, make him a disciple worthy of his Lord and show him all that Jesus said about money and the love of it.  Otherwise, you will mend his poverty with greed.

But I am a simple man.  The group at lunch was speaking of counseling; when I think of counseling, I think of Jesus’ words that He (our Wonderful Counselor) would send us a Comforter in the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth, convicts the world regarding sin, and reminds us of all that Jesus commanded us.  The Spirit counsels us all through the Word, either directly or through members of the Body.  And so a man’s role in counseling another would seem to be, also, to remind them of all that Jesus commanded–the whole counsel of God!  Anything less would seem to rest on my own wisdom–and how little I understand the other person’s fullest need, how poorly I would estimate the measure of brokenness to which they must be brought! 

I even wondered, as they spoke about young people and the supposed harshness or coldness of pointing them straight to the Word, if these counselors really know the benefit of wounding, injuring the one being counseled to the purpose of healing.  It is not a bad hting to be broken, yet their words made it sound like that was the thing to be avoided above all things.  They use their pragmatic wisdom in applying principles–but to be honest, I would rather trust the Word to know where someone needs to be broken-hearted; to divide them, joint and marrow; and to provide the soul-surgery which I could never give.  Is this too simple?  I cannot believe so…

Well, time to go get dressy for the evening’s occasion. 

6 thoughts on “White Days Like This…

  1. so I was just getting ready to start packing the car, and I thought, wow, I wish I had someone to help me, and then I remembered the last time I moved and wanted to say two things. One, thank you, it is always a help when someone else is there, and two, yeah, I have learned a lot since then. I actually packed some stuff in boxes this time, an interesting concept. 🙂
    and you know, right above the comment box where it says groovy daddio not working?/groovy daddio help? yeah, I think groovy daddio help would be a great title for a song. It would be a bluesish funky kinda thing…I may have to write it in honor of you, mr. ritterbush. I’ll send you the finished copy. promise.  

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  2. I’ve thought about this post a lot, and today, brought me back here again, and, well, I still can’t put my question to words, so I am not going to try. maybe someday I will come back and ask, for I have thoughts about what you shared here, but…not today.
    I tried. I erased. the end.

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  3. Hi David,I’ve wanted to respond to this post for some time though I was not sure what I wanted to say. You are right, of course, to challenge any thoughts that belittle the authority of our God’s Word, but I feel the need to challenge your own belittlement of the “pragmatic wisdom” of human counsel. I know you have many hesitations and doubts about my profession; I have my own, as well. But where we cannot be soul-surgeons, I do believe that God chooses and delights in using His creatures to teach, guide, and support each other–to point the way back to how life is supposed to be lived and to provide practical means of moving that direction. It is true they will never get there save God’s grace and moving them in which His Word surely is central, but to me, it seems an expression of love to provide something that will ease a person’s distress and show him how to better live. I do not know enough about the conversations you had to really speak directly to them, so I think I will say no more and hope that this said at least in part what I was hoping to say. =)I hope you are well!

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