Game-Changers

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When I was younger, I had a lot of answers. Now I’m older, and I have a lot of questions. The few things I feel like I know, I know with more confidence than before. Here are things I know from experiences I have had that have radically changed my view of God over the years — my real game-changers.

Most people who get diagnosed with terminal cancer are almost certainly going to die.

No matter how much you pray.

If you’re not aware of this on some level, I’m so, so sorry to bear the bad news. But it’s critical that you know this.

There will be exceptions, of course, and I’ll pray as hard as anyone, but if your theology depends on God healing some particular person, this is probably going to get harder.

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Temporary blog changes

My church has given me all of the month of April off, and the goal will be to get as much of my book, Living Truthfully, written as possible. Consequently, I will not be seen much around Facebook, and I will probably not post many new articles for that month. Instead, the blog will rotate through my older posts, randomly choosing one of them every day and republishing it back on the front page. I hope this will be a way for you to get acquainted with a lot of content on the blog that you have not come across.

I will post updates on my Facebook writing page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/thefallencleric/167943434339, and on my Twitter account @thefallencleric.

Things I’m For

My Ideal World

things I'm for - lincoln determine a thing shall be done

I’m for equality, for justice for all, for caring about other people above asserting our own rights, for defending what’s good for most people rather than for 1% of us, for an end to bigotry, for kindness, for compassion, for courage, for an absolute commitment to, and unwillingness to shirk from, intelligence, for the idea that formal education by no means makes our ideas better than anyone else’s but it’s a good start, for all of us banding together to give no quarter to anyone who hates or fears people different from them, or who in any way believes other people to be less worthy of love and compassion than themselves.

I’m for the truth, however it presents itself, whether or not it agrees with my politics. I’m for being willing to change our minds. If you’re not interested in and open to the truth over your own political ideology, there are other pastors/writers who can deal well with you, but you’re not in my wheelhouse.

I’m for caring about the things Jesus cared about more than the things Ronald Reagan cared about, and for understanding the difference.

I’m for a world where everyone knows that another person living the way they want to live doesn’t in any way keep anyone else from living how they want to.

I’m for people pursuing God out of curiosity, courage, love, or interest, but not out of fear. I’m for a world where the only theology we care about is the theology that springs from compassion and loving others, so theological statements and doctrines are only useful when they help us to do that. I’m for a church and a world where love is the law, and it’s enough.

I’m for an end to violence of every single possible imaginable kind — emotional, spiritual, psychological, physical, social, verbal, economic, and I’m for searching myself to see where I might be perpetrating some of this violence unconsciously, and then doing what I have to do to address it.

I’m for a world where no one, ever again, says, “I love you, but…”

I’m for not towing the party line, whether that means me not towing it for the church when the church is wrong, cops not towing it for cops, teachers not towing it for teachers, whites not towing it for whites, gays not towing it for gays, blacks not towing it for blacks, for everybody being willing to learn to identify and root out the sickness in our own houses. I’m for seeing problems, naming them, and working to fix them.

I’m for religion that opens up questions and mystery, rather than making us certain and self-satisfied.

I’m for reading both the Bible and the Constitution openly, not in letter but in spirit, trying to discern what general point was intended and how that applies to us today, for wrestling with old documents and using them as guides, not as templates.

I’m for people taking personal responsibility, so saying things like “I am responsible for the world being the shitty place it often is,” and “I’m responsible for traces of racism, greed, and lack of empathy in my own heart.”

I’m for all people being considered worthy of basic love, respect, and humanness, even including bigots, as long as they don’t spew their bile onto other people.

I’m for the idea that America, in fact the world, isn’t a good place until it’s good for all of us.

Most of all, I’m for taking another step — today — to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Why the Race Dialogue in America is Going Nowhere Fast

and What to Do About It

dialogue -- two men arguing

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Foreword: This piece speaks of “black America” and “white America.” Someone has recently read the piece and observed that though these two groups are far from monolithic, I write here as though each group has a single point of view. Though I recognize this, and obviously I cannot even speak for all white people, let alone all black people, I can surely elucidate what I think is a big part of the problem among white people. I certainly cannot, and have no right, to claim to capture “black experience,” but as a therapist and pastor, I am trying to latch onto some human universals that transcend race and I hope I will be allowed to do that, despite the inability of language to capture the experience of all people.

America’s Race “Dialogue” Like an Argument Between Spouses

Think of our racial back-and-forth in this country like a discussion between spouses. I realize it’s more complicated because it’s a national dialogue and there are so many competing interests involved, but still, at the core of it, here’s the dialogue.

Wife: I need to talk to you about a serious problem. [mention of said problem]

Husband: But I only do that because [reason for doing what she sees as a problem, filled with all kinds of excuses, and a few valid points that she should probably listen to]

Wife: You’re not hearing me.

Husband: I heard you fine. You’re not hearing me! You said you’re upset about this thing, and I’m telling you why I do that thing that upsets you.

Wife: I heard you, and I feel like you’re saying it’s MY fault.

Husband: Then you didn’t hear me. I’m not saying it’s your fault, I’m just telling you why I do that thing I do. If you’d stop doing that thing that makes me do the other thing, I’d stop doing that thing and there would be no problem.

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About Me

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Bio

My name is David Flowers. I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Christy, since 1988, and we have three daughters. I have been in the ministry since 1994, serving since 2002 in a church I planted. I also teach part-time in Spring Arbor University’s Master of Arts program in Counseling and run a small private counseling practice.

 Ministry

I served in youth ministry for eight years before planting a church (denominationally, Free Methodist). My practical experiences in ministry are the soil for my observations about church, church life, God, and all things theological, though I always keep theology light and accessible.

Education, Training, Memberships

I have a B.S. in Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of Michigan-Flint, and an MA in Counseling from Oakland University. I am an ordained minister in the Free Methodist Church of North America and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Michigan. I am certified to use the Prepare/Enrich premarital and couple counseling programs and have nearly fifteen years of experience using them successfully.

I am a member of the Michigan Counseling Association and the Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Counseling.

I am a clinical supervisor for post-graduate counselors. I received my supervision training at The Mentoring Institute in 2015.

Teaching

I currently teach almost exclusively in the M.A. in Counseling program, preparing aspiring counselors for careers in the field. Classes I teach include:

  • Theories of Counseling
  • Techniques of Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Psychopathology
  • Aspects of Grief and Loss
  • Mental Illness and Families (for Master of Family Studies program)
  • Practicum
  • Internship

Getting Therapy

I do not offer therapy online or through email, and my posts and communications via all media should not be construed as therapy. If you would like information about my private practice, it is available here.

Ways to Connect

BLOG: http://davidkflowers.com
FACEBOOK: http://davidkflowers.com/facebook
TWITTER: http://davidkflowers.com/twitter
GOOGLE+: http://davidkflowers.com/gplus
EMAIL: dave at davidkflowers dot com

Samples of my Work

These posts will familiarize you with the stuff I write and think about.

God
My Confession
I Believe
The Theology of What Not to Wear
Jesus on Poverty (kind of)
Be the Change, prt. 1
Where I Prove a Spiritual World is Possible (my finest work, in my opinion)

Miscellany
For Sandi
How Suicide Almost Took My Daughter, prt. 1