PASTORAL PROBLEM II

This interview is from the files of Pastor P., transcribed at the climax of his unusual career in counseling.

P. How do you see your problem, Herbert?

H. Well, to put all the cards on the table, pastor, I guess you’re the problem.

P. I see. That’s an interesting way to put it. Did your father frown on cards?

H. Yes, he did, but …

P. So to express a feeling of hostility toward me, you choose an expression that would offend your father. This transference of the father-image to the pastor is a common cause of negative affect toward the clergy. Do you have siblings? H. What?… Oh. Sure. My brother Ray runs the Plaza Food Center where I’m a butcher. But what I came about.…

P. You became a butcher after your brother was a successful store manager? How do you feel about your work?

H. Oh, I don’t know. I like it in a way. Sometimes I think I should change to another job. But, pastor …

P. In other words, you enjoy cutting meat, but you also feel vaguely guilty about your job. Perhaps I can help you to recognize the character of these repressed feelings which lead to this ambivalent attitude. Resentment aroused by failure in sibling rivalry can find outlet in symbolic action. For example, you are no doubt unaware of that envelope in your hands which you have been creasing so vigorously.

H. Yes, pastor … I mean, no. Here!

P. Ah … a request for my resignation from the board of deacons, together with a number of rationalizations for this attitude. Did you observe a feeling of satisfaction when this action passed?

H. Some of the men were hugging each other.

P. Yes. Group therapy is decidedly necessary. Thank you, Herbert. When do you wish to call again?

EUTYCHUS

FORCE OF APOCRYPHA

It is regrettable that Lewis Sasse in his explanation ...

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