Paul's Passing Thoughts

Fred, Perseverance, and Family

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 11, 2018

ppt-jpeg4I was there; I saw it for myself. I was very involved in the biblical counseling movement when its revival peaked in the 90’s. I contend that this was the only true Protestant revival that has ever taken place and was the result of being partially correct. The movement, though confused, focused enough on intelligent application of Scripture to bring about powerful results. If you then wonder what kind of revival could take place if all confusion about sanctification were removed, you are asking the right question.

But here is what I saw for myself; it was commonly accepted in the movement that church was anemic in regard to Christian living. Nobody knew why, though it was blamed on Psychology and a medical model of sin, but these only filled the void created by church.

Here is the reason: Protestantism has ALWAYS been about keeping yourself saved and “living by the gospel” (viz, living by salvation). That’s black and white orthodoxy. Discipleship and sanctification and Christian living was, and always has been defined as a maintaining of salvation until “final justification.” That, again, is black and white Protestant orthodoxy. This, and this alone, is why the church has always been in a sanctification crisis.  This alone is why the church has no answers for life’s deepest questions. This is why we hear prominent evangelicals openly claiming that “I am not here to fix anyone because we are not fixable.”

Of course not; if we are fixable, we no longer need salvation, and if we no longer need salvation, what do we need church for? Edification? What edification? Protestant scholars openly admitted that 500 years plus of Protestant brilliance yielded inept sanctification which has always been defined as progressive justification by orthodoxy.

Obviously, if the goal is to “persevere” in your faith, living a blessed life is on the back burner. Obviously, if “reward” is salvation, and not a blessed life, biblical living according to wisdom is not even on the stove.

Furthermore, in addition to stated orthodoxy, Protestantism’s historical Gnostic roots rejects practical commonsense as earthy, lowly, pragmatism, “legalism,” and “moralism.” Actually, commonsense and sanctification are closely related. God created the world according to certain ruling orders, and whatever works well, works well because that’s how the world works. Jesus used several practical examples that pertain to how the world works as a teaching tool. Protestantism’s penchant for rejecting practical common sense and reason is rooted in its Gnosticism.

So, what does the Bible mean when it speaks of “perseverance”? An example from life will aid us in understanding. Once again, I will use my experience as a nurse aide to make the point, but the principle also applies to almost every challenge of life as well and most other occupations.

Here is the principle: when you seek to overcome challenges and rectify them with life rather than eliminating the challenge,  it builds character and patience. This is what the Bible states, and it is true according to life experience. This takes problem solving, improvisation, and reason. Therefore, in most cases, the challenge is not gone from your life, but is no longer a challenge.

Most nursing facilities deliberately push the envelope with nurse aides. I can’t tell you how many times I have been put in situations that seemed impossible, yet I accepted the challenge and sought out new methods that would enable me to overcome the challenge. I work with several excellent aides, and this is how they became excellent in every case. Overcoming challenges builds character and patience.

A word on patience. It is ALWAYS a choice. When your patience is being challenged, emotions, though valid and right, are what will cause you to “loose” patience. No one looses patience; you always have it, it is your choice to use it or not use it. However, applying patience in ongoing challenges makes you better at implementing patience.

Residents will challenge your patience like nothing else. Enter a fellow we will call “Fred.” Fred, like many residents since the de-institutionalization of mental health, will have behavioral issues. Many like residents will be bounced around from facility to facility because they are very difficult. Aides and nurses do not “persevere” or “endure” in regard to Fred. They get rid of the challenge.

Well, it looks like we may be rid of Fred, but I have some regret because Fred has taught me something about perseverance. As I was being interviewed by the other facility, I explained that on a 1-10 scale as far as difficulty,  Fred was about a 6 or 7. Later, while reviewing the interview with a social worker at our facility, the social worker stated, “I bet in the beginning he was a 9 or a 10.” That’s when the lightbulb went on.

The Bible also talks about perseverance increasing knowledge and vice versa, and in this case, increased knowledge of Fred decreased the degree of difficulty and also increased my patience in dealing with him; this is how it works.

I will conclude with a word about family versus institution. Love is practical, but is also a force that cannot be explained at times. Towards the end of the shift, Fred was completely off-the-hook. I, being a 6 or 7, was relatively unphased by the behavior while a new nurse became totally alarmed being new to Fredism. However, a family member showed up and started tending to Fred’s demands. Later upon leaving he said, “Ok dad, you have…(enter long list of quirky “needs”), and I love you.”

This struck me; while we as an institution are in the process of shipping Fred out, his family will always be there for him because he is “dad,” he is family. Yes, my perseverance with Fred while caring for him has endeared me to him, and there is actually a part of me that is sorry to see him leave, but family adds a mysterious devotion to the mix.

In God’s true family meeting together as a true family apart from institutionalism, the same is true. The practical is conjoined with the power of love and the Holy Spirit. It is one body and love versus the law and institutional authority.

The latter will often demand endurance from staff as long as possible because residents equal money, but true family is only indebted to love.


3 Responses

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  1. John said, on January 11, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    A wonderful piece yet again, Paul. Love, love, love . . . what the hell are we/anyone without real Godly/family love? Worldly love irks me like Oprah Winfrey does; she’s a woman that I could not stand from the first time I saw her (towards the end of the Eighties?). Even as a non-believer, she even then struck me as phony, self-centered, and full of fake love. I cannot stand her no matter what is underneath my seat.

    Winfrey is as fake as a Chinese Rubik’s Cube (one color only). Racist? Nah; saw it myself. The Rubik’s Cube, and it was yellow, and I struggled to get it right. She is your antithesis.

    You have the right job, Paul, believe me.


  2. republican mother said, on January 11, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    You are on a roll lately! The way I explain the problem of church to people is that it is the psychology of the collective vs. the individual. For instance, God loves and saves us how? Individually. As a parent, I also love my children individually and recognize how uniquely gifted each one of them is. ex. I don’t make the mathematically declined feel like she’s a failure if she doesn’t become an engineer. I also don’t do group punishments. But this is how institutions have to deal with the wide swath of humanity that passes through its gates.

    The institutional Christian typically only thinks in categories and cannot reason, adapt and adjust to the complicated world we are forced to inhabit. That would require work one might argue, but I find that just following the Golden Rule simplifies life greatly. I think of the individual I’m dealing with and ask myself, how would I want to be treated? The universal answer to that: like an individual!


    • John said, on January 11, 2018 at 5:43 PM

      RM, you and Paul are both on a roll. Let’s rock, then.

      If God had wanted a human race (which came third in arm-wrestling) of blue-eyed blond zombies who looked, acted, felt, reacted, and thought the same, and go to the loo at the same time (male, female, and those who are not sure where to go because someone has confused them), guess what? He would have made us all the same. We would have rolled off that assembly line like pink little cupcakes with those hundreds-and-thousands (funfetti) as our hair.

      Blessings. Have a swell weekend.


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