Sunday, November 18, 2007

Caveat emptor

Ann Landers and other advice mavens often recommend taking problems to clergy. It is assumed that those situations which are beyond human help can be resolved by those who are overtly in God's service. The good news is -- clergy work cheap, usually for nothing. The bad news is -- they are undereducated for dealing with mental health issues. Those without the aptitude for swift and effective on-the-job learning will be less competent counsellors than the average cleaning lady or bar tender.

Clergy have an agenda of helping people. To almost all of them, that means changing people rather than supporting them in the rhythms of their own process and letting the change evolve at its own pace. Far from being therapeutic, re-modelling people is a destructive use of personal influence to control. If it succeeds, the victim will be resentful and fearful of relapse; if it fails, the victim will be resentful and guilty for failing to perform as expected.

Teachers love students who make them feel like good teachers. Clergy love parishioners who make them feel like good representatives of the Celestial Head Office. If you know how to play the game correctly, you can manipulate them into almost anything. Those who refuse to play the game will end up in ourter darkness, weeping and gnashing their teeth

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