Part 4 of an ongoing study of Dr. Bob Kellemen’s counseling resource: Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.
Chapter four begins a journey in which Dr. Kellemen introduces the reader to “the Creator of the Soul”. The journey takes us to the core of our thinking when we counsel. It challenges our most foundational thought processes. Too often the counselor (biblical counselors included…myself included) become “solution-focused” counselors rather than large story counselors. What does Dr. K mean by that? “All secular models of counseling reduce life to a set of principles and procedures designed to help counselees manage life better without God. All truly Christian models of counseling expand life to God’s eternal perspective, assisting counselees to realize they cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“. (p.59)
Kellemen proposes, and I agree, that Trinitarian theology presents the solution to our disjointed and deteriorating relationships. It does this by modeling the proper relationships for us. In order for us to totally grasp this, we must move in our counseling, not just to creation and the created purpose, but to what existed before creation. The Trinitarian relationship is what existed before creation existed. To quote Dr. Bob, “…If we are going to learn spiritual friendship, then let’s look to the ultimate Spiritual Friend and the eternal Spiritual Friendship: the Trinity. The relationship within the Trinity models how we ought to relate. Father, Son and Holy Spirit demonstrate how love lives.”
Before God created…He related.
It begins to make sense then that as we use His word, our “relational manual”, and understand His communication to us on how relationships should exist – that we will then experience: “…engagement, enjoyment, playfulness, faith, hope, and love”. It would naturally follow that we would become “radically other-centered, totally unselfish” – just as He is. We should begin to ask in the midst of every circumstance, relationship and situation: “Where is God in all this?”
Kellemen ends each chapter with “Ministry Implications”, which I thoroughly enjoy because it puts feet to thought. Here are his implications from chapter 4:
- Expand life – Don’t settle for solution-focused counseling; be relationship-focused and character-driven, emphasizing internal and eternal issues
- Enter People – Cast off detailed “professionalism” and wade into people’s lives
- Enjoy People – Lovingly approach your fellow “image bearers” and take delight in them
- Emphasize God – Where is God is all this? Where do you see His sovereign hand? How is He conforming you into the image of His Son through what you are experiencing?