• Voices of Healing

    Posted on August 23rd, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Voices of Healing: African American Women of Faith

    Part I: Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope

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    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this stirring book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

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    African American Sisters of the Spirit

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    African American sisters of the spirit like Elizabeth Keckley, who ministered to the grieving Mrs. Lincoln, and Octavia Albert, who ministered to the soul-wounds of ex-enslaved African Americans, vividly demonstrate how to move beyond suffering to healing hope. Their courageous, hope-based spiritual care is a small sampler, an appetizer, if you will, of a great breadth of wisdom for soul care and spiritual direction contained in the history of women in the African American Church.

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    While space allows just this sampler, history is filled with powerful and empowering examples of African American feminine sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding.[i] Though some have tried to silence their voices, their speaking of Godテ「竄ャ邃「s truth in love with hope can still be heard by those with ears to hear and hearts to learn.

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    Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope

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    Picture the scene. Itテ「竄ャ邃「s Civil War America. Women have no right to vote. Across the South, blacks have no rights whatsoever. President Lincoln is assassinated. His widow, Mary Lincoln, is devastated. To whom does she turn?

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    To a black woman. To Elizabeth Keckley.

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    In the story of her life Behind the Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House, Elizabeth (1818-1907) explains, テ「竄ャナ. . . I have been intimately associated with that lady [Mrs. Lincoln] in the most eventful periods of her life. I have been her confidante . . . I have written with the utmost frankness in regard to herテ「竄ャ窶拮ave exposed her faults as well as given her credit for honest motives.テ「竄ャツ[ii]

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    Given the inauspicious beginnings of Elizabethテ「竄ャ邃「s life story, her spiritual friendship with Mary Lincoln is staggering. テ「竄ャナ溺y life has been an eventful one. I was born a slaveテ「竄ャ窶掫as the child of slave parentsテ「竄ャ窶掖herefore I came upon the earth free in God-like thought, but fettered in action.テ「竄ャツ[iii]

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    How did a black woman of that cultural era become confidante to the slain Presidentテ「竄ャ邃「s wife? Elizabeth expresses her understanding with Christian humility. テ「竄ャナ敵od rules the universe. I was a feeble instrument in His hands. . .テ「竄ャツ[iv]

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    The Rest of the Story

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    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part two . . .

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    [i]Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

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    [ii]Keckley, Behind the Scenes, xiv, xv.

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    [iii]Ibid., 17.

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    [iv]Ibid., xii.

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    Elizabeth Keckley: A Voice of Hope http://bit.ly/FSNIt

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  • Why Male Biblical Counselors Need the Perspective of Female Biblical Counselors

    Posted on June 16th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    Why Some Biblical Counseling Is Only Half Biblical!

    Part Seven: Why Male Biblical Counselors

    Need the Perspective of Female Biblical Counselors

    By Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC

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    *Note: If youテ「竄ャ邃「re disappointed that Iテ「竄ャ邃「m saying that some biblical counseling is only half biblical, then please read my comments at the end of my first post in this series: http://tinyurl.com/n8k799.

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    My Premise

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    Some modern biblical counseling considers the seriousness of sinテ「竄ャ窶sinning, but spends much less time equipping people to minister to the gravity of grinding afflictionテ「竄ャ窶suffering. When we provide counseling for sin, but fail to provide counseling and counselor training for suffering, then such biblical counseling is only half biblical.

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    How We Lost Our Way

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    Yesterdayテ「竄ャ邃「s post (http://tinyurl.com/m945pr) explained that the failure to integrate the African American comprehensive perspective of suffering and sin is one reason why White Evangelical biblical counselors lost their way.

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    Today we add another example of intercultural dearth: the failure to focus on the contribution of Christian women soul care-givers and spiritual directors.

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    This dearth is why RPM Ministries is so passionate about Christ-centered, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed biblical counseling. When our counseling is predominantly taught by one segment of one cultural group (in this case, White males like myself), we lose the comprehensive perspective.

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    In the new book released later this summer, Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith (http://tinyurl.com/ql8fqc), Susan Ellis and I share life-changing and ministry-altering narratives from 52 Christian women in Church history. Consistently they unite biblical ministry for suffering and sin.

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    Following Christian Womenテ「竄ャ邃「s Historical Compass

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    The biblical counseling approach of women in Church history is holistic, comprehensive. They practice sustaining and healing soul care for suffering and reconciling and guiding spiritual direction for sin. As Susan and I show in our Introduction:

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    Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of Wesleyan pioneers John and Charles, exemplifies in one breath these four interrelated callings. テ「竄ャナWe are to be instructed, because we are ignorant [guiding]; and healed, because we are sick [healing]; and disciplined, because so apt to wander and go astray [reconciling]; and succored and supported, because we are so often tempted [sustaining].テ「竄ャツ[i] Susanna Wesley and uncountable Christian women like her followed a spiritual compass. Instead of N-S-E-W, their soul care and spiritual direction compass points read S-H-R-G: Sustaining, Healing, Reconciling, and Guiding. Throughout Sacred Friendships, they will gift us with their wisdomテ「竄ャ窶掫isdom for ministry today to Godテ「竄ャ邃「s glory forever.

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    Donテ「竄ャ邃「t for a moment imagine that Christian women only focused on the テ「竄ャナ鍍ouchy-feelyテ「竄ャツ area of suffering. Read Sacred Friendships and you will see that they out-confront the best male biblical counselor! Itテ「竄ャ邃「s not that women provide the テ「竄ャナ都ofter sideテ「竄ャツ of biblical counseling. Itテ「竄ャ邃「s that women offer the comprehensive, non-compartmentalized テ「竄ャナboth sidesテ「竄ャツ of biblical counseling.

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    Conclusion

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    Because we White Evangelical male biblical counselors pulled the pendulum back from a focus on self and because we did so with too little awareness of and connection with our sisters in Christ, we compartmentalized sin and suffering and minimized the development of biblical counseling approaches that produced comprehensive sacred friendships.

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    Where Do We Go From Here?

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    In my next post, weテ「竄ャ邃「ll explore additional reasons why some biblical counseling compartmentalized sin and suffering and focused too little on equipping Godテ「竄ャ邃「s people to be a hospital for the hurting.

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    [i]Clark, Memoirs of the Wesley Family, 398.