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The Psychological Aspects of Glossolalia In Contemporary Society

NOTE: This is an Abridged Version of My Doctoral Dissertation

The Psychological Aspects

Of

Glossolalia

In Contemporary Society

By  Lee W. Outlaw III

An academic paper submitted to the

Hamilton University

In partial fulfillment of requirements

for the degree of

PhD  in Christian Counseling


Written under the direction of the

Office of the Faculty Advisers

 

Ocala, Florida

February 8, 1999

The Psychological Aspects

Of

Glossolalia

In Contemporary Society

Since it’s very beginning, Christianity has been plagued with controversy.  There were the disciples of Jesus who always argued over when the kingdom of God would take place. Controversy also arose among the first century believers over whether or not Jesus had actually risen from the dead; such an instance was the case of doubting Thomas.

As Christianity grew and developed into the institution and the force it has come to be, the issues became more controversial and quite difficult to explain. Probably the most controversial of all issues to plague Christianity, is the issue of the Holy Spirit and His gifts; primarily the gift of speaking in tongues.

The speaking in tongues controversy  (as it is known among Christians) is far-reaching and widespread.  From the seminary classroom to the individual in the pew, there are nearly as many differing views as there are churches and denominations.

In general, most contemporary Christian believers are willing to accept without issue the presence of the Holy Spirit as the comforter Jesus had promised to send, following His ascension into Heaven.

The controversy arises over the way in which the Holy Spirit comes upon (or into) an individual. With such diverse opinion on this subject, the emphasis here will endeavor to look at the most commonly held views that are effecting the church today.

One commonly held view is that a person cannot be a Christian unless he speaks tongues; otherwise known as the charismatic experience or second blessing and more correctly known in theological circles as glossolalia

Another view states, the gift of tongues is simply a God given ability which allows a person to learn and communicate freely in a foreign language.  Still others make claim that the ability to speak in the unknown tongue or glossolalia (an unintelligible ecstatic utterance) is proof that a supernatural ability is indwelled within a person made possible by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

As such, the doctrine of or concerning tongues has become one of the greatest of all Christian Doctrinal controversies.  For most Christian believers and theologians alike, only the arguments surrounding the Virgin Birth and Deity of Christ would be considered a greater controversy.

The main reason for such a controversy, stems from the mention of ability by the apostles and first century Christians to speak and understand in an unusual manner as mentioned in Acts 2:3.

Up until the late 1960’s glossolalia, tongues, the charismatic movement, etc., seemed restricted to the neo-Protestant groups known as Pentecostals and Pentecostalism. This particular group was started by a former Methodist minister named Charles Parham, who began his venture with the establishment of a Bible school in Topeka, Kansas.  Because of the restriction to such a small body of individuals (at the time), most other denominations simply ignored Parham and continued with their own hermeneutical interpretations and explanations as to what happened at Pentecost. Recently however, this charismatic movement has spread to virtually every Christian denomination, both Protestant and Catholic alike.

In some cases it has even moved outside of the realm of Christianity altogether. It should be noted at this point that glossolalia is not peculiar to Christianity alone.  Other religions and cult groups note similar occurrences. Such instances are found in Egyptian and Assyrian records. [1]

Because glossolalia is not restricted to Christianity, its primary aspects will be discussed with emphasis on those that tend to be in the psychological realm.

First, some background on the word itself. Glossolalia comes from two Greek words: glossa (glossa) and lhlin (lalein), Glossa means tongue and lalein means to speak.  Lalein being an infinitive and glossa being a noun, the literal meaning is “ to speak  tongues”.1

Glossolalia is a gift of the Holy Spirit as previously stated.  It is for all practical purposes, credited to Christianity.  In describing this gift  (or as some would say- “phenomenon”)2,   there is a considerable amount of difficulty in trying to appear positive.

For example, some scholars define glossolalia as:  “… a striking phenomenon of primitive  Christianity.  It consisted in articulate, unintelligible speech issuing from Christians who in a state of ecstasy, believed themselves to be possessed by the spirit.”1

Others not primarily interested in the Christian aspect of glossolalia define it, as does George Barton Cutten, “a personal disintegration in which the verbo-motive centers of the subject are obedient to subconscious impulses.”1 There are still others who say that glossolalia whether Christian or not is strictly a psychological condition. This condition is usually ascribed to hysteria, ecstasy or catalepsy; the individual or individuals involved being highly susceptible to suggestion.2

Here is where the underlying problem for this discussion is involved.  If glossolalia is to be seen as a simple psychological condition, then what happened at Pentecost?  What happened in the other New Testament accounts such as Ceaserea, Ephesus, and Corinth?  Why is the charismatic movement so popular today when psychology (even Christian Psychology) is so well known and accepted in all well educated and informed areas of twenty-first century society?

To answer this, it is necessary to see exactly what happened at Pentecost.

There are many explanations, but the four most popular are as follows:

1)              For the purpose of evangelization a miracle of language is said in a number of foreign languages. Many of the early church fathers held this view, as do many contemporary theologians.

2)              The multitude, all of which spoke either Greek or Aramaic, and many of them both, would understand (particularly those who knew the various dialects), what Peter and the others were saying.

3)              It has been suggested that the speech of the apostles was filled with foreign phrases and idioms, heard over the years, which, under the intense emotion and excitement, began to pour fourth.

4)              The final view is that because of the close spiritual rapport, the thoughts and feelings of the speakers were transferred to the hearers and there was general understanding of what was said. 1

Now all of these views might appear at first to be somewhat reasonable.  But when other accounts of glossolalia are mentioned, such as Corinth2, the meaning is clear, that what was experienced, was an ecstatic unintelligible form of speech.

It is certain; however, that the first reference to tongues being spoken of at the day of Pentecost was foreign languages; for this, there is no mistake.  But the references in Acts 10:46; 19:6 are to the unknown tongue.1

Since the condition mentioned both in Acts and Corinthians is glossolalia and this is ascribed as psychological by many contemporary scholars; it is necessary to look at that which plays whatever part it might, in this type of conditioning.

It should first be noted that those who experience the tongues phenomenon, have the experience in a variety of ways. Some experience it only in private, others only in public and some, in both private and public.  Almost all have a deep need for personal security and emotional expression.

Those whose experience is restricted in private would have a need for emotional expression, while those having the experience only in public, have an apparent need for personal security.3

It seems obvious that speaking in tongues serves as a definite emotional outlet.

Studies concerning glossolalia show that those involved in the charismatic movements are usually very troubled people.  They have more anxiety and personal instability than do most non-charismatics.1

Some aspects of glossolalia have similarities to other psychological experiences.  Such experiences are trance states and sleep walking.  These experiences are considered similar because they are called automatisms, which some also consider glossolalia.

Automatisms are automatic movements of voluntary muscles dissociated from conscious control.  Automatisms (as viewed by most professionals involved in such studies as this), are seen as a means providing escape for deep-seated conflicts within an individual. Thus, some people bothered by problems on the job, may repress them, only to have them surface in the form of sleepwalking or sitting in their favorite chair staring at the wall or simply staring into nothingness.  Others religiously motivated, may find the same release (although unintentional) through glossolalia.

It is therefore asserted by most ministerial and psychological groups, that glossolalia, whether Holy Spirit produced or not, is a form of escape valve for problems and difficulties in life.

There are however, other psychological aspects concerning glossolalia, which involve more of the religious idea.

One of the most popular ideas is that glossolalia is actually a means of escape for deep rooted religious desires and repressed feelings.  It is asserted that certain persons having been neglected spiritually may seek glossolalia as their first means of religious expression.

This expression can be compared somewhat to that of an infant attempting to say its first words.  At first the child has difficulty with vowels and consonants so it expresses unintelligible utterances.  Gradually speech is improved and developed where full expression can be made.

There is further evidence by some scholars, that the chemical imbalance in the body that takes place from long periods of fasting (which many charismatics practice as well) is very similar to that produced by certain drugs such as LSD.  These studies have even noted that addicts of LSD and other hallucinogenics have expressed with ease and similar proficiency this same verbal ecstatic utterance we call glossolalia.1 For Christians, this should be a “red flag” of sorts.  It should give reason enough for those who would seek the truth, to challenge the contemporary Pentecostal doctrine.

Of all the study done by psychologist in the field of glossolalia or ecstatic utterance experience, probably the most difficult to explain is the fluency of the language produced from the addict.  There is little if any difference between that which is produced by the addict or Charismatic Christian.  Again, an apparent heavenly warning to those who would seek a “mystical” side of Christianity to think and know rather than become dependant on an emotional surge for spiritual confirmation.

In the speaking in tongues experience, a genuine glossolaliast can go on for hours in a very fluid manner producing sounds such as, “aish  nay  gum nay  tayo”.1 It appears that the one involved in the speaking never has to reach for words.  They are always there.  For most psychologists, glossolalia is not completely under the conscious control of the individual speaking in the unknown tongue.

Because glossolalia is considered by most psychologists to be produced by the subconscience, it is worthy to note the various aspects of glossolalia as a “Vocal Phenomenon”.2

First of all, most that speak in tongues believe that what they are saying is a real language.  There is however, no consistent understanding of the meaning by either speaker or hearer.  It is however, apparently patterned after real language because of its flowing sounds and sometimes familiarity to lost or less used languages.  It does have value to the speaker, although (and more than often) it is meaningless.  The value to the speaker is at best an emotional release similar to the expansive rambling of profanity used by an extremely angry person prone to similar chronic outburst.

Glossolalia is also considered by many scholars to be a non-human language.  If this is the case, then there is no possible way to evaluate such a practice on human terms alone.  Unfortunately, upon this single scientific diagnostic, the Pentecostals have attempted to develop and rationalize what they consider as the “true spirituality” of an entire biblical doctrine known as everything from the “second blessing” or “the language of angels” to  “the language of prayer.”

Most linguist state that glossolalia is not a natural language and nothing is found today that can be compared with it except for speech impediments, gibberish made by children and particularly infants and the physically and mentally retarded and the mentally ill.1

In general, glossolalia can be discussed forever and still have questions raised concerning its validity.

There are those who see it as a genuine gift of God not capable of being explained by mere mortal men.

Others see it as a very strange and extreme psychological condition ranging from a simple neurotic and pathological state to a full blown psychosis which enables the participant with a false sense of power and confidence to the point of producing advanced anger, violence, and associated acts of passion.

Of course, many will still want to argue the validity of what they consider the only genuine evidence of a real and living Holy Spirit.

Jesus, however, said that He was leaving “the comforter” with us; one who would give us peace in difficult moments.  Those who seek to speak in the so-called unknown tongue seem to be anything but comforted.

As such, there is more factual knowledge concerning the reasons for glossolalia being psychologically conditioned than not.

It is therefore the conclusion of this writer, based on both the research stated herein and over fifteen years of counseling of those who either seek to or have practiced glossolalia, that there is one single, underlying theme among those who speak in tongues; a lack of touch with reality and a pseudo–faith, based more on a sense of the mystical than on genuine spirituality.

An individual whose faith is genuine and sincere does not need the magical qualities desired by those who would speak in an unknown tongue, nor is there any need to withdraw from society to communicate with God in an ecstatic utterance.

God does not need any outward, verbal expression from us.  The Bible says he knew us before we were conceived1 and has spoken to us in many ways and many times. 2

Because of its use elsewhere in the world besides Christianity and the apparent problems it caused in the first century church, there can be no other conclusion apart from glossolalia and its subsequent charismatic movement being strictly a psychological condition.

The charismatic churches have positioned both their worship practices and associated doctrines for the specific purpose of conditioning their followers to hysterical heights of induced euphoria leaving the side effects of fear and lowered self-esteem.  As such, it is no accident that in the decades following the first moon landing, Watergate, Viet Nam and “free love” which left the general populous empty, skeptical, afraid and searching for love, that the charismatic church became the success that it has become.

A mind conditioned in hysteria will produce hysterical results.  In short, the hysterical mindset was already in place.  The charismatic church simply capitalized on that hysteria with further hysterical conditioning which it produced based on doctrine that was controversial to the most knowledgeable of theologians.

The end result upon contemporary society has been the transforming of the church from a source of truly Spiritual led teaching and preaching for life application, into one of mysticism and emotional release.

For the charismatic church or denomination whose doctrine has been spiritual gift centered with an emphasis on tongues, the results have certainly been amazing if not alarming.

The statistics have certainly spoken for themselves.  The seventies and eighties were definitive years of growth among the Pentecostals, Church of God and Assemblies of God, to mention but a few.  In fact, at one point in the late eighties, the Assemblies of God were the fastest growing denomination among evangelical Christians in the world.  For some, there is still the desire to hold on to that point.

Hysteria (induced or otherwise), however, will only last so long.  Just like the last person left in a movie theatre after “FIRE” has been yelled realizes there isn’t even any smoke and sits back down to enjoy the balance of the movie, so has the charismatic Christian begun to see the reality of his spiritual self.  He now wants more.  Mysticism and emotion will no longer hold his attention because he needs to know how to live as a Christian in the real world.

It is unfortunate that the church has always found the need to accentuate the negative as opposed to the positive as a means to reach people.

It is also unfortunate that the very use of conditioning and behavioral modification used unwittingly by the charismatics to intimidate and control their followers is condemned and belittled when used by those of us who are properly trained and educated in the field of psychology and counseling.

There has always been a close relationship between the spiritual and psychological side of man and the bible would have to be included as one of the greatest behavioral modification manuals and tools known to man.

To use a small portion of scripture to formulate a major doctrinal belief is irresponsible and demonstrates a lack of genuine concern for the individual believer.

The use of glossolalia as practiced by contemporary charismatic groups demonstrates a less than genuine concern for the individual and projects a spiritual environment of exclusivity;  i.e., if  a person does not speak  in the unknown tongue (as practiced today) they are often excluded from the local fellowship.

Ironically, this is the very thing Jesus came to change.

The church must be inclusive and not exclusive.

It is time the church focused on a known language rather than one that is ecstatic or unknown.

It is time to focus on the language of Jesus . . . LOVE!

©Copyright 2012 by Dr. Lee Outlaw, Lee W. Outlaw III and Drtruthman. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used for re-distribution, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Lee Outlaw, Lee W. Outlaw III and Drtruthman with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All rights reserved. Any violation or infringement of this copyright notice will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Bibliography

Agrimson, J. Elmo, ed., Gifts of the Spirit And The Body Of Christ. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1974.

Bach, Marcus,  The Inner Ecstasy.  New York & Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1969.

Bixler, R. Russell, ed.,  The Spirit Is A Movin’.  Carol Stream:  Creation House, 1974.

Brown, Bill: Rimmer, C. Brandon,  The Unpredictable Wind.  New York, Nashville & Camden:  Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1972.

Brunk  (II),  George R., ed.,  Encounter With The Holy Spirit.  Scotsdale:  Herald Press, 1972.

Christenson, Laurence,  Speaking In Tongues.  Minneapolis:  Bethany Fellowship, Publishers, 1968.

Cutten, George Barton.  Speaking With Tongues:  Historically And Psychologically Considered.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1927.

Dalton, Robert Chandler,  Tongues Like As Of Fire.  Springfield: The Gospel Publishing House, 1945.

Gardiner, George E.,  The Corinthian Catastrophe.  Grand Rapids:  Kregel Publications, 1974.

Hamblin, Robert L.  The Spirit-Filled Trauma.  Nashville:  Broadman Press,  1974.

Hamilton,  Michael P.,  ed.,  The Charismatic Movement.  Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966.

Jones, James W.,  Filled With New Wine.  New York, Evanston, San Francisco, & London:  Harper & Row, Publishers,  1974.

Kildahl, John P.,  The Psychology Of Speaking In Tongues. New York:  Harper & Row,  Publishers,  1972.

Mills,  Watson E., Speaking In Tongues:  Let’s Talk About It.  Waco:  Word Books,  1973.

Morton, T. Kelsey,  Tongue Speaking:  An Experiment In Spiritual Experience.  New York:  Doubleday & Co., 1961.

Pittenger, Norman.  The Holy Spirit.  Philadelphia.  Philadelphia:  Pilgrim Press,  1974.

Sherrill, John L.,  They Speak With Other Tongues.  Old Tappon:  Fleming H. Revell Company,  1965.

Stagg, Frank; Hinsen, E. Glenn: Oates, Wayne E.,  Glossolalia: Tongue Speaking In Biblical, Historical And Psychological Perspective.  New York & Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 1967.

The Interpreter’s Dictionary Of The Bible, 1963 ed., s.v.  “Tongues, Gift Of”.

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The Bible, 1975  ed., s.v.  “Tongues, Gift Of”.

Unger, Merrill F., The Baptism And Gifts Of The Holy Spirit.  Chicago:  Moody Press,  1974.


[1] The Interpreter’s Dictionary Of The Bible, 1963 ed., s.v.  “Tongues, Gift Of.”

2 George Barton Curtten, Speaking With Tongues: Historically And Psychologically Considered  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927), p. 160.

1 George Barton Curtten, Speaking With Tongues: Historically And Psychologically Considered  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927), p. 160.

2 Morton T. Keley,  Tongue Speaking:  An Experiment In Spiritual Experiences  (New York:  Doubleday & Co., 1961), p. 192

1 The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The Bible, 1975 ed., s.v.  “Tongues, Gift Of “.

2 The Bible,  I Corinthians 12:1-14:40

3James N. Lapsley and John H, Simpson,  “Speaking in Tongues; Token of Group Acceptance and Divine Approval, “ Pastoral Psychology”, May 1964 issue, p. 52.

1 John P. Kildahl, The Psychology Of Speaking In Tongues  (New York:  Harper & Row, Publishers, 1972, ),  pp. 29-30

1 John P. Kildahl, “Psychological Observations” in Michael P. Hamilton’s, The Charismatic Movement, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), pp. 124-142.

1 John P. Kildahl, The Psychology Of Speaking In Tongues  (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1972), p. 35.

2 William J. Samarin,  “Glossolalia As A Vocal Phenomenon” in, Watson E. Mills, Speaking In Tongues: Let’s Talk About It (Waco: Word Books, 1973), p. 128.

1 William J. Samarin,  “Glossolalia As A Vocal Phenomenon” in, Watson E. Mills, Speaking In Tongues: Let’s Talk About It (Waco: Word Books, 1973), p. 128.

1 The Bible,  Jeremiah 1:4

2 The Bible,  Hebrews 1:1

***********************************

NOTE: The Fifth inf the The Five Fires of Life- “Temptation”

will be published NEXT Week.

Procrastination – A Survivor’s Guide

4th in the Five Fires of Life series

Video – 10 Tips to Fight Procrastination

Are you a Procrastinator?

Do you put off till tomorrow or the next day or the next day or the next what you should’ve done today?

Doctors and Psychologist tell us that two of the leading causes of both physical and mental destruction are the partners of procrastination and anxiety.

A survival guide for anxiety has already been discussed but the irony is procrastination ultimately leads to anxiety.

The frustration of knowing that one has unfinished business in his life leads to “high anxiety”; not just another anxious moment but clinical anxiety requiring anything from medication to hospitalization for control of the anxiety.

Putting off what needs to be done now is unhealthy physically, mentally and spiritually.

Failure to see a doctor when you’re sick can only worsen your condition, failure to see a counselor when  you’re emotionally troubled just  complicates your ability to stabilize your emotions and your failure to pray, seek Christian fellowship and study the Bible regularly depletes your  spiritual power and ability.

Procrastination is one the most dangerous and disastrous fires of life.

The writer of the book of Hebrews (either the Apostle Paul or his friend Priscilla) is very concerned with the well being of the child of God and besides the central issue of faith which Hebrews is primarily about the writer seems to be concerned with the issue of “procrastination”.

Hebrews 3:13, says “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

In general, the writer is interested in Christians not being procrastinators and insistent that procrastination is sin.

The Bible is very aware that human beings are plagued by the problem of procrastination and it is not just procrastination itself but results of procrastination which are of great concern.

Although many, there are four specific problems procrastination causes:

  1. Procrastination PETRIFIES – that is, it hardens your heart.  As we continually postpone what we should have done, it becomes easier and easier to put off more and more until we develop calluses of contrite upon our heart.  This often makes us unloving, less compassionate, and full of misery, malice and bad memories.
  2. Procrastination POISONS – it slowly but surely kills individuals, homes, marriages and even churches. Just like someone who has ingested a lethal dose of a slow killing poison, PROCRASTINATION can so convince a person that continually putting off is so normal that  before the full effects are felt, “baam” your life is destroyed.
  3. Procrastination PENETRATES – the lives of others; friends, family and even people we might not even know. If your employer is depending on you to do something today and it doesn’t get done, your procrastination penetrates your employer’s business.  Your failure to help your child with their home work can penetrate their life and possibly cause them a bad grade in school. Your failure to pay your power bill penetrates your entire family and results in misery for you and your family.
  4. Procrastination PARALYZES – When things need to be done today but get put off until tomorrow lives become stagnant and many times go nowhere.

It’s much like needing a new car battery. You keep trying to charge it over and again until one day you find the battery will no longer take a charge and your car won’t start, you’re stuck standing still and going nowhere.

The Bible gives a 4-Fold approach to getting rid of Procrastination:

 

  1. Don’t procrastinate getting rid of PROCRASTINATION. Don’t doubt God. Hebrews 3:12 states, “12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
  2. Begin IMMEDIATELY – Turn idleness into encouragement. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
  3. Live your life with CONFIDENCE………confidence in Christ. 14 “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end”. Hebrews 3:14
  4. Proceed Immediately (in God’s will) so as NOT to change and NOT to rebel. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”  Hebrews 3:15

The fact is that most people procrastinate.

The great paradox of procrastination is that most people procrastinate getting rid of procrastination.

Begin a new today by making a commitment to rid yourself of procrastination, attempt to finish those unfinished things in your life, develop a strong confidence about your life and be quick to encourage and help others eliminate procrastination in their lives as well.

©Copyright 2012 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

By Popular Demand

I have been very excited by so many readers of this blog as well as FaceBook, Twitter and Google plus as well as private email who have had positive comments about this series which I preached back in the 1980’s and later revised in the mid 1990’s.

There have been two complaints however, which I would like to address and hopefully have begun to solve.

The first is that I have not finished posting the final two articles in the series on “Procrastination” and “Temptation” and many have asked  if and when I was going to post the articles.

The answer to this question is YES, the final two articles will be posted. Along with the holidays and taking on  new writing responsibilities (for one, the new Brownsville, Texas Political writer/reporter for The Examiner.com), I have simply gotten behind with post.

The final two articles should be posted by the end of the week of January 20th, 2012 and if you are a subscriber or follow me on FaceBook, Twitter, or Google plus you will be automatically notified.

The second complaint was that the three previous articles on Anxiety/Fear, Anger and Jealousy had become difficult to find for reference due to my utilization of WordPress during the holidays as a distribution point for my Examiner.com articles.

I believe I have now solved that problem by dedicating an entire page entitled, “The Five Fires of Life”  with it’s very own tab next to the “About Dr Lee Outlaw” tab. Just click the tab or you can sample the first three by clicking the  link or photo above. The entire series will be duplicated in the order they are posted as well as the original post.

Again, I am delighted that this blog has become the ministry site I had prayed it would become in offering genuine, professional yet Christian answers to many of the struggles and difficulties we all face in life.

Many thanks to all of you who read, click the star ratings, LIKE and other social network buttons and a special thanks to those who comment and send emails.

By the way to those of you who have suggested I write a series on the Seven Deadly Sins, it is already in the works and it too will have a special page.

Thank you for reading.

©Copyright 2012 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

Another sad teen shooting

Another sad teen shooting – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

Please  ↑CLICK ABOVE↑  for

My latest Brownsville Christianity Article from The Examiner

My report and commentary on the sad killing of Jaime Gonzalez

2012 Top 10 Resolutions

 

 

 

2012 Top 10 Resolutions – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

 

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My latest article from The Examiner on

A light hearted look at 2012 resolutions as a Brownsville, Texas Christianity Examiner

2012 – Does the end begin

2012 – Does the end begin – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

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My latest article from The Examiner on

The potential of 2012 being the end time.

The Christmas testimony – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com

Wise men testify

The Christmas testimony – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

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The Christmas testimony My latest Christmas article from The examiner.com on being a Christian testimony.

The gift of Christmas love – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com

The gift of Christmas love – Brownsville Christianity | Examiner.com.

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for my latest Christmas article from The examiner.com

A interesting article on Christmas love, the background on the manger, stable, animals and shepherd and

why God possibly did what he did.

The unexpected gift

The unexpected gift.     CLICK LEFT TO VIEW ARTICLE

My latest article on The examiner.com about why “unexpected gifts” are the very best kind..

Jealousy: A Survival Guide

The second of  five articles on “The Five Fires of Life”

Anger-Jealousy-Fear-Procrastination-Temptation

In the second of the series on the Five Fires of Life, we look at one of the most serious of life’s “sunburn sensitive” issues, jealousy; a.k.a. “the green eyed monster”.

Although normally associated with love and romance between men and women, jealousy expands far beyond romance.

Loosely defined, jealousy is resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.

Jealousy can also be mental and emotional uneasiness from suspicion or the fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness,etc. as in love, romance or aims.

The difficulty with jealousy is that it can set off a host of other “sunburn sensitive”  (i.e. so sensitive you can’t even touch it) areas of life such as anger and temptation in general.

As a result, it is an absolute for sound spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being to learn how to recognize when jealousy occurs and then to avoid and even eliminate it completely from our lives.

This is one are where Christian and secular/traditional psychology disagree. Mainstream psychology says in general that everyone gets jealous to an extent; there is no way to avoid it, you cannot eliminate and at best, you can only hope to control it.

Christian psychology agrees that everyone gets jealous on occasion, however, there is a Biblical basis for avoiding and even eliminating jealousy if we follow God’s word.

In order to overcome jealousy, it’s essential  to understand that biblical basis on how jealousy occurs and how to avoid or eliminate it from our lives.

Cain kills Abel out of JEALOUSY

One of the  greatest overall depictions of jealousy in the Bible actually occurs not between lovers but between two family members; the story of the the two brothers Cain and Abel.

From this story in Genesis we find a basic understanding of jealousy.

There are five Biblical Guidelines for understanding, avoiding and eliminating JEALOUSY.

Jealousy occurs when:

  1. There is DISAPPOINTMENT (Genesis 4:5)

            God was disappointed in Cain and Cain was disappointed in

            God’s displeasure.

            Disappointment only occurs when man keeps his eyes on man and material

            gain.

      2.   An UN-GODLY ATTITUDE is present  (Genesis 4:3; 5-7)

            An attitude not conducive to God or the things of God must be eliminated.

            Cain did things his way and not God’s way.

      3.   Man fails to see God as who and what GOD really is (Genesis 4:3; 10-14)

            God is omnipotent, omni-scient and omnipresent.

            Man MUST be totally dependent on God; to do otherwise diminishes the power and

            effectiveness of God.

            Cain thought he could fool God and lie to God. Man can do neither.

      4.   Man fails to see Himself as who and what He really is. (Genesis 4:5-7)

            Man is nothing more than DUST and man will return to dust.

            Somehow Cain failed to see the power of God and the limitation of himself as a man

            resulting in God banishing him from the garden of Eden.

      5.   Man is UNFAITHFUL to God (Genesis 4:3;4-6)

            Man disobeys God directly, gives to God with the WRONG attitude and then tries to

            avoid and lie to God.

            Cain did and we so often do this today. We disobey God directly and then try to make

            amends through penitence rather than repentance. Doing rather than actually

            turning from and changing completely.

Jealousy The Green Eyed Monster

So the bottom line is, if we constantly look to, completely obey and depend solely on God, we will be less app to resent others or be mentally and emotionally uneasy from suspicion or the fear of rivalry. We will more easily recognize and then avoid or even eliminate the old “green eyed monster” of jealousy from our lives and have one less “sunburn sensitive” area of life to be concerned about.

The apostle Paul instructed his young protege Timothy in this matter by saying, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2Timothy 1:7.

©copyright 2011  Lee Outlaw III, PhD

Anger: A Survival Guide

The next five articles will deal with “The Five Fires of Life”

Anger-Jealousy-Fear-Procrastination-Temptation

Like any disaster of life, the ability to survive is closely associated with the knowledge of both how and when the event occurs. Make no mistake; Anger can become a major disaster of life.

The knowledge of how, gives one the advantage of possible prevention of the event and the knowledge of when, allows time to prepare or even avoid the disaster.

The following information can be extremely beneficial in learning how and when ANGER occurs increasing greatly your chances for survival or even avoidance of anger.

The basic Biblical basis on how to deal with anger is found in Ephesians 4:26 where the Apostle Paul tells us “In your anger do not sin”.

A Biblical Imperative

Like jealousy (which we will cover in our next article) ANGER in and of itself is NOT Sin. In Fact, Jealousy will lead to Anger and most jealous people become angry.

There are Biblical accounts of God getting ANGRY as well as Jesus (as a man) becoming angry; God cannot sin and Jesus although completely man was completely God and He did NOT sin although He did get angry.  Again, ANGER is not sin. (Mtt.21:11 -13)

God however, can control ANGER. He knows when and how to release it.

Anger is a Godly emotion and as such, human beings need God’s guidance to help them control their anger.

ANGER always results in human judgment and can lead people to sin (and often does); even for believers.

How and When ANGER Occurs:

        1. When there has been human conflict. (Matthew 5:23-24)

            Anger is easily triggered when two people are in disagreement without any resolution.

        2. When matters of conflict are not settled quickly. (Matthew 5:25)

             Anger sets in and rash decisions and judgments are made.

        3. When there is separation from God. (Eph. 4:18)

            A deliberate separation from God and His people can change one’s attitude leading to anger.

        4. When hearts are “hardened”. (Eph.4:18) (A “mean spirit”; lack of compassion)

            Continual separation from God will reduce or eliminate one’s Godly passion and lead to a “mean

            Spirit” and the ultimate anger.

        5. When sensuality rules. (Eph. 4:19)

             Once the heart is hardened, sensitivity to God’s will is lost; anger sets in and overtakes the actual

             will of God. What we often assume is the will of God is not.  We are blinded by our own anger.

             Generally speaking, anger can cause Christians to think for years they have been following God’s

             will when in reality they have only been following the status quo.

Below is a 5-fold approach on:

How to Prevent and Control Anger and Avoid Sin

1. Constantly renew your attitude. (Eph.4:22-24) Don’t think you have all of the answers all of the time. You don’t.

2. Seek the truth and BE truthful. (Eph. 4:25) Nothing seems to fuel anger like untruth. Be truthful with yourself as well.  If you surround yourself with angry people, the anger will ultimately infect you. You might ultimately have to eliminate friends or even family from your life.  You might even have to change jobs or a career. God’s will is that you be happy and live life to the fullest. You cannot live happily or at peace with anger all around you.

3. Don‘t allow anger to “brew”.  Give it a time limit. NEVER continue your anger overnight.

   (Eph. 4:26-27) Anger is indeed like wine, the longer it brews, the more potent it gets.

4. Don‘t enter into senseless or degrading conversation (Eph. 4:29) Anger often results from what first appears as “innocent conversation”. Be careful who you talk, listen to and believe. Avoid like the plague those who would give you advice so freely and think they are looking out for your own good.  Chances are they are living vicariously through your life.

5. Settle ALL conflictual matters quickly! (Mtt.5:24—25) Don’t let conflict persist and those, whom you know who breed on conflict must be confronted, asked to cease their conflictual nature and attitude and if they don’t, cut them out of your life as fast as you would turn a light switch off.

We should remember that anger can actually be a good thing.  It motivates us many times to stand up for important aspects of our life such as family, friends, God and country.

Jesus tells us in Matthews’s gospel that ANGER is OK in general when:

1. People are taken advantage of in the name of God. (Mtt.21:11-13) and

2. Necessary expectations are not met. (Mtt.21:18-19)

The bottom line is seek God and He will guide your emotions and move you away from the danger of yourself.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best, 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.”

Are internet friends genuine?

Nothing separates genuine friendships Graphic: Susan Joyner-Stumpf

Friends or not?

To be sure, the topic of friendship has been discussed with some detail in recent years due to the popularity of social networking.

Recently on one of the more prominent social networking sights, the topic seems to have gained new life and as such, it seems appropriate to once again visit this entire topic.

One important fact of life as any counselor, sociologist or psychologist will tell you is, people have a need for personal interaction and friendships.

The need for friendship starts almost from birth with children interacting with others in nurseries and day care and especially when they start school for the first time or begin a new school year. When one child goes up to the other for the first time and begins exchanging names, comparing clothes and even facial features the attempt at friendship begins.

Somewhere along the way however, people can lose sight of their need for friends and friendship, they become isolated and draw into themselves.

The need for human interaction is as necessary as breathing. We need one another.

Large corporations and Churches have learned long ago that principle well enough to introduce the concept of “small groups”. These are groups small enough that allow and attract people specifically for making better human interaction.

Businesses do this for think tank purposes and most evangelical churches in America now have some form of ‘small group’ concept in their church ministry for better personal interaction.

The Bible refers to friends in abundance. King Solomon tells us in the book of Proverbs that a ‘friend loves at all times’, this is probably the most popular verse on friendship in the Bible. Real friendships are able to look past their disagreements and focus on the positives of life.

There is also other references to friendship in the Bible such as David and Jonathon, Ruth and Boaz, Elijah and Eli, Priscilla, Aquila and the Apostle Paul and many more.

And of course, the greatest friend of all is Jesus. The Bible reminds us that Jesus called us His friends.

One reason social networking has become so popular is because people want friends. Christians have even gotten ‘Christian specific’ with our own social networking alternatives of which their are now several because we all need friends.

The whole concept of “internet friends” or “social networking friends” being real and genuine has become a matter of discussion and controversy within the psychology and counseling community particular.

In question is, “Can someone you might have never seen (other than a profile photo) become a real and genuine friend?” Most mental health professionals trend towards the negative on this and say unless you’ve met the person prior to social networking they probably are no more than an acquaintance at best and possibly a stalker or inquisitive hacker waiting to strike and take advantage.

There is an old saying which pastors and mental health workers have known for years, “FAMILIARITY breeds both conflict and contempt.” With regard to “Social networking friends”, be very careful in how much you share with each other about each other; especially in public forums. Many people have been destroyed on social networks with the best of intentions. So as Jesus says, “Love one another…” but indeed, be cautious because evil is always lurking.

That said, many of us remember making “pen pals” in school. We communicated via traditional postal mail writing back and forth with other “unknown” people from usually another country and we might not even have a picture. We felt like we had genuine friends even though we might never actually meet them.

For many, having a “pen pal” was their first real inter-personal relationship and it was a good thing as is “social networking” of today.

Psychology teaches us that human inter-action or ‘friendship’ is important and recent articles in psychology periodicals emphasize such.

One of the easiest ways to make real flesh and blood friends is to step back from the computer. Go to a gym, get involved with a softball team or bowling league or attend a local church where you can probably do it all . Get involved in one of the many small groups or attend local church services or social events.

Most friendships are good including those that social networking has brought about. Most of us can be thankful of all of the new friends from across the globe we have been able to make because of computers and social networking.

Personally, this writer has met a few people through “social networking” who have and will remain genuine and lifelong friends. These are some of the finest people ever encountered and definitely genuine friends.

But nothing is better than the firm grasp of a hand, a warm hug or even a ‘butterfly’ kiss on the cheek and hearing those wonderful words, ‘I’m so glad you are my friend’. This writer looks with anticipation when this is an experience shared with several new found “social network friends”.

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