Come Ly on Jesus’ Couch, Or The Emo Gospel

Have you ever sat through a sermon that seemed more like a reading from a self-help book than a proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Have you ever wondered how in the heck God’s lovely bride turned all wishy-washy new-age and lost her shimmer?

Do you ever stare at disbelief that so many people who turn Jesus into a therapist with a multiple psychology degrees?

I’ve noticed this trend recently – and I’m not going to denounce it. I hope you saw right through my intro because it seemed uncharacteristically snarky and condescending and thought “this can’t be Charlie, he’s not this much of a jerk.” I hope.

I’m sure that somewhere in the blogosphere you can read all sorts of rantings about churches not simply preaching the cold-hard truth Bible but instead turning the gospel into emotional mush.

Maybe it’s my work in a therapeutic field – but I see every day how our culture encourages people to have poor emotional health – and when I see Jesus I see a Savior who pulls people out of the mud. Often its their own mud they initially, albeit blindly, plopped themselves into. I think when I first began experiencing church services sounding like group therapy sessions I was skeptical, but now I see why we need this.

But not only does Jesus walk, he heals and he sets free. We sing about loosing the chains of our sins, but this is not exhaustive of all the chains we are often locked in. And I think Jesus is in the business of entering into darkness along with people so that they can find the light again.

He doesn’t just set people from the technicolors issue – like sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. The problem with hundreds of dramatic conversion stories is the lie that healing comes at a snap of a finger. Especially when it comes to our deep scars and baggage, healing is slow, like a tree grows from a seed.

Didn’t Jesus mention seeds once or twice?


Have you noticed the emo trend? Where does it go wrong and what does it get oh so right? Has God healed any of your emotional trauma?


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5 Responses to Come Ly on Jesus’ Couch, Or The Emo Gospel

  1. David says:

    Thought provoking – so here is the data dump.

    – Healing can be at the snap of a finger. It can also take time. I came out of alcoholism one day a time, and it’s been 30 years now. I was instantly delivered from cigarettes at a healing service in April of 1994. I just didn’t want one anymore – it had been a 20-year-2-pack-a-day-habit.

    – Emotional healing is has happened along the same lines. Some of it I have worked through with pastors and counselors in the regular old way – sitting and talking.

    I once had a terrible boss and he would belittle me and talk behind my back. I went to a new church that I had never been to, and a couple of guys I met that morning asked me if I wanted prayer. They prayed that the word curses spoken over me would be broken. All I can say is wow! Instant freedom from something that I wasn’t even thinking about that day, which; had been very damaging. The same sort of thing happened at another service with a guy who had never met me. He spoke about a very specific pain that I had carried for 13 years. Instantly it was gone. Both times, my closet friends noticed the difference in me. A third time a man spoke that I would never suffer depression again, and since that day in 1991, I never have.

    – The Gospel; the good news is not one of intellectual belief, but one of power. That is why folks see Christianity as just one more religion. If the had a relationship with Jesus, and knew the power therein; it would be simple.

    Many people came to Jesus for healing and on some occasions he healed them ALL. The miracle seekers, well those he turned away. The Kingdom of God is not about parlor tricks, but about eternal salvation with a loving God who has all power. In this kingdom which is accessed by faith (not belief), there is a supernatural realm that allows our spirit to co-mingle with His. This is the NEW man that Paul talked about. Instead of having thoughts from our own mind (flesh) we hear his voice in our spirit.

    This relationship and power parts of the Gospel are the ones that usually get watered down; not the idea of repentance of forgiveness.

    • you definitely get the power part. I’d love to get to know this side more. The power and life was sucked out of the church I grew up in (at least for me, I imagine for some it was there).

      Great stories David – I hope I didn’t shortchange your experiences in my post.

      David have you written at all about the separation between faith and belief? I’m sure the difference is quite obvious to you, but for someone like me who thought salvation came through intellectual belief I need a little more understanding.

      • David says:

        @Charlie – the Christian life without God’s power is like unbaked chocolate chip cookies – the dough is good, but it is not what it is intended to be. 🙂

        – My point in the stories was that God works both ways. Both means of healing or recovery are God, but only allowing him to work in one or the other is God-in-a-box.

        – Just for you, look for a Fire & Grace blog next week on that subject! The other one is going to be entitled something like When God Seems Distant.

  2. David – just to be a jerk I must say I prefer uncooked cookie dough to the finished product.

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