TGP Volume 11
(July/August/September 2011)

Allergic Reaction to the Atlanta Braves

Part of what we understand about allergies is that they are a (chemical or psychological) reaction to a substance (perhaps also an experience) that did not serve us well. The reason may not include the substance itself (i.e., it might not itself be poisonous), but lie solely within ourselves – that is, within our own inability (for whatever reason) to cope with it.

Or, the reason may indeed include the substance or experience. This comes to mind while noting today that the Atlanta Braves lost their large lead in the standings for the wild-card spot in the playoffs by losing most of their games in the final weeks of the season. I suspect they will lose the interest of many fair-weather fans (“win or I’m outta here/I don’t need the pain” fans) like myself. I lost interest several years ago because they broke my heart one time too many, and I had a reaction. Can I be won back as a fan? There’s a slight chance maybe. But only if they reestablish themselves as winners.

This might explain, or at least somewhat illustrate, the far more serious breakup in home and church relationships - that it is an allergic reaction of sorts.

It also might somewhat explain/illustrate my calling as a pastoral counselor to support husbands, parents, and ministers for making choices that reestablish them in health so that they can win again the favor of those they serve.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11I29

Guidance Through the Wilderness: An Appropriate Provision of Ministry

While we are deeply troubled about harmful elements in the world, the call to exclude them is not the all-consuming, not even the lead, focus for our counseling. Instead, we are passionate to hold up our need to include God’s provisions into our lives, beginning with Christ, which meet our diet and relationship (biological and psychological) needs.

Having said that, and without reversing ourselves on our exclude/include commitment, some of the support we give is to help identify choices which, although they may not be the purest, will serve to guide our counselees away from the most harmful of elements. This because we know that hurting persons seeking freedom, do not typically march into the Promised Land directly out of Egypt (although they should, and we definitely call them to it). So we appropriately provide support for their journey through the wilderness.

To illustrate, I am very alarmed at the fare offered by the entertainment (also food) industry and call those we serve from it. But I have the choice 1) to isolate (damn to judgment) all who do not charge out of bondage to freedom in a heroic moment (although this has been the experience of many who have received Christ), or 2) to gently care for their sick souls/broken bodies like a nurse, supporting them for making choices that represent a new direction, slight as it may be.

So instead of holding on to my expectation for hurting counselees to turn away in a moment from the worst of food and entertainment choices to the purest, I will support, even recommend choices (junk food, I call it) that are not redemptive to my taste and need, but neither are they poisonous.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11I15

Look and Live

Absolutely the support God provides, the same as provided by grace ministries, is not without condition or expectation (in the sense of requirement).

And we thought it was bestowed on us gratuitously, without obligation or consideration of any behavior or disposition!

But it is the expectation of receiving, either to trek across city streets or countryside roads (as the prodigal son did) to the Father who waits, or, more simply, to open the door.

Or it may be just to look up.

To illustrate, I have a “hi” or “howdy” for everyone, including strangers who I pass in the hallway, on the street, or on the running trail. If they need a “hello,” I’ve got one to give. But they must at least glance my way.

Jesus said to the crowd (John 3:14 paraphrased), “In the same way Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the desert and called the dying to look upon it with the promise they would be healed (Numbers 21:8), so also look to me and you will be saved.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11I14

More Powerful than the Evil of 9/11: God’s Provisions of Grace for Our Protection

9/11 is more than history; it is the present.

Terrorism has roots in the same adversity that came against Eve in the Garden of Eden, and has been the daily experience of every person on earth since.

More than a historical event, it’s the threat of an ever-present evil - the same evil Jesus instructed us to pray for deliverance from.

It reaches back past an act of terrorism against the United States of America to an act of terrorism against mankind in the Garden of Eden.

But we are protected from Satan's adversity as we are proactive daily to include God’s provisions into our lives. This is the meaning of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:

“Give us this day the support we need for our healing so that we are not drawn away to foolish choices, and so that we are delivered from the evil one.” – Matthew 7:11-13 (GracePoint paraphrase)

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11I11

Schedule: The Enemy of Broken Health and Indispensable Support for Good Outcomes

I am confident to say, based on my understanding and experience of God’s redemptive plan for our healing, that no person in the history of mankind (including myself or anyone I have ever known) ever possessed health (not the absence of sickness, but the presence of enduring energy) whose life was not structured – that is, who did not live by schedule rather than spontaneously by impulse.

That's because, there are certain adverse predispositions of our human nature which impulsive choices tend to feed and encourage, and it is only by taking time daily to include God’s provisions for our health and happiness that these adversities to good outcomes are put to death.

“This kind goes not out but by prayer (of faith/obedience to receive God’s provisions) and fasting (strict denial of carnal impulses which interrupt our schedule)." - Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11H22

Support for Science: An Atheist’s Unintentional Affirmation of Truth

Having a lot to say doesn’t make us smart or right. Sometimes the dumbest person says the most. I thought of that recently when I heard a professor (paraphrasing a famous quote, I think) say, “Religion has had its chance and failed, now give science a try.” He thought to challenge Christian belief, but actually made the case for the grace message. Religion (the notion of a God who imposes rule on earth and in Heaven and demands compliance with promise of blessings and threat of judgment) is the contradiction of Truth. Actually, God is Science and governs the world according to the laws of sowing and reaping (cause and effect), which good science understands and supports.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11H19

Considering the Call to Play, Performance, and Preparation

Not many of us get out of bed in the morning for work with the same excitement and energy as we would for a vacation or visit to the mountains or beach.

But we get up, and do so early enough to allow sufficient time for dress, breakfast, and the drive to work - even though we are not enthusiastic about it. That’s because, we do not consider ourselves to have a choice. It’s either get up and go to work, or risk losing our employment. Also, going to work is a performance of duty to which God calls us.

But God also calls us to preparation. Every counseling issue I deal with is the result of attempting to fulfill performance responsibilities without having sufficient strength to enable it - which always results in injury, the same as attempting to lift a weight or run a distance greater than the strength we have to support it.

So, when the alarm sounds in the morning, we get up, with the same consideration and wisdom an athlete or student gives to preparation, not only early enough to prepare the body, but even earlier in order to have sufficient time to prepare the soul.

“For what will a man profit if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” – Matthew 16:26

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” - 3 John 1:2

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 11H18

©GracePoint, AGRC. All Rights Reserved