In Treatment is a show on HBO. It is presently in its second season. I have not seen any of the first season and I simply happened upon the beginning of season two. Out of pure curiosity I watched one episode. As soon as it began I was intrigued.
Why? Each episode basically takes place in one room. Each episode involves people talking to each other. That's it. No special effects. No laugh track. No crazy sitcom scenarios. Often just two people sitting and talking. The show is completely character and dialogue driven. There is nothing else like it on television.
It feels real. Now, it is not a show for children. It is real and so at times the language is "real." The acting is superior. Gabriel Byrne plays a psychologist and each episode he either is treating a patient or he himself is talking with someone else. The same 5 characters reappear in a rotation.
Though the show has received abundant critical acclaim and I give it a big "thumbs up" it is not for everyone. It is somewhat slow and plodding (perhaps that is why I like it!). It is not necessarily "exciting." It is not always uplifting as sometimes episodes end and the patient's messy life is not all neatly cleaned up and fixed up (imagine that!). But it is a great show and if you can I recommend you check it out!
The other thing that intrigues me about it is how in our day and age psychologists and therapists have become the priests of our day. They are the ones who hear people's confessions. They are the ones that people turn to for guidance. People still have guilt. People still have to confess. People still are seeking absolution. I find myself watching how the psychologist answers and deals with some of the issues that are raised by the various patients and then ask myself "What would I have said? How would I have dealt with that?" It is interesting to consider. In most cases I would have had nothing to say or answer because I am not a therapist nor desire to be one. My tools are Confession and Absolution and at times guidance from a biblical perspective. However, as a pastor, I shy away from trying to be a counsellor when it takes me out of what I am trained to do. It is interesting to see where he goes with it.
However, a psychologist cannot and will not truly offer what is needed. A psychologist cannot offer Confession and Absolution. In most of the cases so far it seems the psychologist is merely affirming what the patient has done. A psychologist can be helpful I have no doubt. However, if one is seeking forgiveness - seek the Lord where He is to be found - in His Word and Sacraments in His Church.
The congregation which I serve, being full of kind and considerate folk, have for the last couple years granted me the Sunday following Easter "off." I find that during the week after Holy Week I am rather tired both physically and mentally. Perhaps the good members noticed over the years and so they thought they would give me a break! We visited a neighbouring parish (40 minutes away where my brother just happens to be the pastor).
It was a blessing to sit in the pew and hear the Word this past Sunday. I sat with my family. My daughter, Naomi sat close beside me. I held her hand as we listened to the sermon. She hummed the hymns as I sang. My son commented that he thought the choir's piece was "nice." It was so beautiful to see my two older children - Noah (6) and Naomi (nearly 5) stand at the invocation and make the sign of the cross - as I watched them do so I recalled the days that I had the privilege to baptize them myself. It was so powerful to see their little lips confess the Christian Faith in the words of the Apostle's Creed and then pray the Lord's Prayer during the Service. As a pastor who is not often in the pew with my family it was wonderful. I know my wife has had her church going experience changed radically since we have had children. She has had to struggle with, 1, then two, and now three young children by herself in the pew over the years. Our youngest is still a bit of a handful (Abigail 2 1/2) - but our two oldest children have begun to sit through Divine Service and be largely well behaved. My wife has trained them well. It was a true blessing to see them and sit beside them in God's House yesterday morning.
No, not the biblical prophet. Though, he is prophetic in some ways. I have been following the travesty of the "Human Rights" Commissions and Tribunals for several years now and I have grown more and more concerned but have felt ultimately helpless after I contatced the Provincial Tribunal here to get more information and then the Provincial Justice Minister and was basically told - get a lawyer. However, when Ezra Levant (ezralevant.com) was brought up on charges for publishing the "Danish cartoons" in his magazine (the Western Standard) he stood up to them. Below is his "interrogation." It was a YouTube hit. His book I mentioned earlier expands upon his experiences and some of his further research (he is a lawyer by trade). I am so thankful Ezra Levant fought back. Because of him and some others (mainly bloggers) the menace of these groups have been exposed and it sounds like the poiticians might even do something about them. Below are some of the YouTube clips.
It it not simply Orwellian to watch those clips? There are more on YouTube of the interrogation.
Are you Canadian? Then you must read Ezra Levant's new book Shakedown. I just finished reading it. It is a look at the "Human Rights" Commissions and Tribunals in Canada. These groups which were orignially set up to prevent racial discrimination have become a meance to human rights. Again, if you are Canadian you MUST read this book.
If you are not Canadian and want to see what "Liberalism" run amock can lead to - read this book. Free speech can so easily be taken away.
Our new Synod President (Bishop), The Reverend Robert Bugbee, has a message on YouTube for this Easter. A great message. I'm not sure I am a huge fan of the format - but his message is well done. Check it out!
My favourite writer in Maclean's - must read! This is from the last edition Maclean's. The latest edition has another great article by Steyn - but read this one and hopefully Maclean's will make the latest article available as well!
Recently on Pastor Wil Weedon’s blog (weedon.blogspot.com) he posted a quotation that I think is very helpful. I am not sure if I have run across it before – but I am glad I had opportunity to read it again.
"If the Lutheran Church has a future, it will be as the Lutheran Church. It will not be as imitation Baptists, Presbyterians, or anything else. If people are to become, remain, and rejoice in being Lutheran, it is because they understand the distinctively Lutheran way of being Christian. Being Lutheran is an evangelical catholic and catholic evangelical way of being in unity with the entire Church of Christ. The present state of American Lutheranism is not just "not satisfactory." It is a sickness unto death. The alternative is not beating the drums to revive flagging spirits, nor is it to move evangelism a few notches up on the bureaucratic agenda. The alternative is renewal -- theological, pastoral, sacramental, catechetical. The alternative is to be something that others might have some reason to join." Richard John Neuhaus, 1986 (quoted in Forum Letter March 09)
So I just sit down in my study at the church this morning, warm cup of coffee in my hand, and I am just getting the wheels turning on the sermon for Palm Sunday (with some other stuff bubbling in the background of my brain for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter) and the phone rings. I answer. There is that dreaded delay. Oh, I know what is coming now... likely a blast of a ship's horn and a voice telling me I have won a cruise or someone giving me a dire warning that the insurance on my "vehicle" has run out and I better make haste to call this number to renew. Nope. Not this time... this time a very pleasant woman asks if she can talk to someone senior in management or someone senior in the company. I pause for a split second and then without thinking it just came out of my mouth: "Nope." She chuckles slightly and says back to me "Nope?" I say "Nope." She chuckles again and says, "OK, bye." I say "Bye."
That is the way all telemarketing calls should go I think.
During the Matins service this morning we prayed the following Collect from The Treasury of Daily Prayer:
"Lord Jesus Christ, You released many from their bondage to sin, death, and the devil as the healer of the nations. But when it came time to release You, the crowd chose a murderer instead. Through our co-crucifixion with You in the waters of our Baptism, may we continually be released from our sins as we confess You to be our everlasting King; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forerver. Amen."
I found the prayer startling. It sounded odd to say "co-crucifixion." But I have been thinking about it since and if we take what St. Paul writes in Romans 6 seriously (and how else would one take it?) then it makes perfect sense.
Romans 6 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.