Monday, January 31, 2011

I am not my hair.

I watched a clip of a conversation on the View about black women and their hair. They hit on a lot of the typical questions about the how’s and why’s of Black women hairstyles but the one I was currently interested in was the concept of role models and hair styles. They hit on the fact that if we as black women had more black role models we would wear our hair in more authentically black hair styles (like an afro or something). I think this is a wrong belief due to a popular societal mental evaluation.

In class we are reading Larry Crabb’s book Effective Biblical Counseling and in it Crabb talks about mental evaluations and how they can cause wrong beliefs. Crabb says that whether we realize it or not we all mentally evaluate external events. That means we have an inner dialogue about the things we externally experience.

I think that the whole concept of black women needing to wear more authentically black hair styles is a wrong belief due to a popular societal mental evaluation. I believe that the societal mental evaluation of a black woman that is not wearing her hair in authentically black hair style has lower self-concept then one who does. This mental evaluation then leads to the wrong belief that we need more black role models. My question to them is why can’t my role model be white or any other race I choose? Personally, I have chosen to do my hair in rock star/ skater styles because of my favorite rock stars the Barlow Girls and SuperChicks. I picked my favorites based on their stand for purity and Christianity not because of their race. I feel that telling me that I am wrong for not picking a black woman that stands for the same things is racism. Racism - a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement.

Marriage one man, one woman?

In class we talked about the concept of how do we define a person. As part of our discussion Dr. Corsini showed us a clip from an interview done with the Hensel conjoined twins. The clip made me very interested in the Hensel twins, so after class I googled them to learn more about them. While reading up on them I read a article that said that they possibly could be engaged.
The article on their possible engagement made me think deeper about what we talked about in class about what is a person. In class we decided that a person is a being that has both a material (like a body) and an immaterial (like a soul) part to them. So therefore we would tend to classify the Hensel twins as two people. But I wonder how that works with all of our Christian beliefs.

I wonder because it is a popular Christian belief that marriage is to be between only one man and one woman, but how can that work with the Hensel twins? The way I see it they only have two options at marriage:

1. The two of them marriage the same guy, but that would go against the whole one man and one woman thing.


2. Each twin marry a different guy, but since from the waist down they are one they would both commit adultery while consummating their separate marriages. Also that would be only if they by chance got married at the same time. If not when one of them got married and went to consummate it, the other would be having premarital sex.

So, we said in class the Hensel twins are two people. Are they two in marriage?

Stem Cells; The Smallest Persons

Stem cells are commonly referred to through-out the field of science today but not many people fully understand what they do or how they are acquired. In the article "Stem Cells and Personhood," a few of these clarifications are made. Stem cells make up a person’s entire body and have the capacity to replicate, and become any other type of cell. This is why they are of so much interest to researchers. If there is an unhealthy part of the body, stem cells can be used to repair it. These cells can be attained from either embryonic or adult stem cells. The key area of interest to pro-life groups is embryonic stem cells. These are obtained from aborted fetal tissue, human clones, or leftovers from in-vitro fertilization. Whereas adult stem cells are obtained from cells that already exist within your body.
The issue of using embryonic stem cells is based around the question of whether or not embryos are persons or if this personhood characterizes the embryo once its growth has accelerated to a certain point. Most pro-life groups agree with the notion that human life takes place at the point of conception, and that this life reflects the divine creation of God. Therefore, to hinder or take this life at the beginning of its growth span is to commit murder. This concept becomes more vivid when one takes into account that cloned human embryos, which are grown purely for the purpose of stem cell research, are allowed to grow until they are between 7-15 days old at which point they are literally cut open down the middle so that their stem cells can be harvested. Furthermore, abortion clinics often sell the body parts of aborted babies to medical research facilities for a lucrative profit. One would like to assume that most people would agree that this is wrong, however, it is the numerous worldviews that our society holds that keep so many people from agreeing with that very statement.
The horrendous acts that accompany the process of embryonic stem cell research by far outweigh the benefits that medical science has gained from it. This is especially true considering the fact that not a single disease has been cured through embryonic stem cell research while 72 different diseases have been cured through adult stem cell research. These include a vast number of cancers, blood disorders, and auto-immune deficiencies. When taking into account the number of lives that have been lost to embryonic stem cell research, one would hope that as a nation we would put a stop to it. Incidentally, incoming funds from private investors has diminishing significantly over time. Sadly, this is not due to the sanctity that our society places on human life but rather because of what little success embryonic stem cell research has had in the way of medical advances. One can only hope that in the future, as the only God-breathed creation that is made in God’s image, we will place greater sanctity on human life, acknowledging the personhood of any human life form no matter how young it may be.

How Not to Help People Change

I recently completed reading a book entitled How to Help People Change: The Four-Step Biblical Process by Dr. Jay Adams, the father of Nouthetic Counseling. In this book, he lays out the foundation for what he believes to be biblical counseling and the four steps that biblical counseling is built upon: teaching, conviction, correction, and disciplined training in righteousness.

While this theory that he lays out is quite interesting, there are a few particular aspect that I find to be…well…wrong. Adams tells his readers that we must avoid the temptation to adopt the rationalistic systems of men (Ellis) and others that will appear on the scene. Why is Ellis’ A-B-C Theory so wrong? That is a good question.

If Adams’ theory is correct, why is it not acceptable to examine it in a rational way? If something is correct, it not remain intact under the examination? He never explains himself. Perhaps that if it is thoroughly examined in a rational way, the idea the Scripture is all that is required when counseling will be proved not to work. That instead of change, the end result of nouthetic counseling could be that you are left with clients who still have self-esteem issues, still are grieving over their lost wife or husband, and cannot see any way out. However, now they know Scripture.

Adams’ call for his readers to step away from rationality is a bit misdirected. Instead, why not move towards rationality and incorporate Scripture when it is applicable rather than attempting to get something out of the Word of God that is not really there; in this instance, a counseling textbook.

Honestly, I wholeheartedly believe that Jay Adams has the best of intentions. He loves God and wants nothing more than to see God’s people restored. However, his view of the Bible containing all you need to counsel is simply just too naive to have any kind of practical application.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Multiracial Students

There are more young multiracial students who are beginning to fade the color lines of their skin and be more open to having a sense of identity as everyone else. This article describes students at the University of Maryland who wishes to not be described by their race anymore, but rather as a person. Many people ask multiracial persons the question, "What are you?" and many students reply, "A person." Discrimination and prejudice are still common today, but if people would realize that everybody is a person and look beyond the color, then there would be less hatred in the world.
In class we are talking about people and how to help those who are hurting to the best of our ability. Some counselors can be called mechanics, coaches, survival guides or optometrists. Whatever position a counselor describes him/herself, they must be prepared to help those who are biracial or multiracial and to see where that person is coming from. A lot of problems will be avoided in the counseling setting if counselors put their own beliefs and values aside and really develop a relationship with their client, regardless of where they come from or what color they are.
I think this article reminds us that we should look more into the person's being to describe who they are and not about outward appearances. This article supports the fact that we are all people and that color does not define who we are. Our idenity should not be made on the basis of our skin or background. It is time to create all people the same and put differences aside.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Survival Guide

What do you think when you hear the word, Survival Guide? Google it and numerous sites appear regarding how to survive a disaster. Ninth on this list is a website predicting the biggest disaster yet to come-the end of the world. They say it will occur on December 12, 2012. There will be massive flooding and devastating earthquakes like no one has ever seen before. Supposedly, this is due to an ancient planet called Nibiru that is headed directly at the Earth. Their solution is to stock pile food and water, move inland and build a safe shelter.

Jesus Christ is the true Survival Guide. He helps every Christian endure in the midst of their perilous life situations (Psalms 23). He gladly bears our burdens and delights with our requests (Psalms 38:19). Likewise, all Christians have been commanded to bear others' burdens (Galatians 6:2, NASB).

As for my calling as a Christian counselor, I think that God is daily allowing me to go through various trials so that I can better assist my future clients. Since He is the same yesterday, today and forever, He knows exactly who will cross my path. In essence, I will become their Survival Guide.

He's a person. She's a person. Wouldn't you like to be a person, too?

In our last class meeting we attempted to define what is meant by the term “personhood”. This article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal discusses why the definition of personhood matters a great deal to a great number of people. Within the last few years there has developed what can only be described as a “Personhood Movement” in which those opposed to the denial of basic human rights afforded to all persons by the U.S. Constitution are attempting to adjust the legal parameters of personhood so that certain parties who are not currently protected will be. The article reports that thirty states are presently seeking to get personhood initiatives onto ballots so that voters can decide who (and what) qualifies as a person and should therefore be protected by their God-given “inalienable rights”. In this particular case, the judge denied the initiative citing vague language, and stated that voters would not really understand what they were voting for nor would they comprehend the true magnitude of what the initiative calls for.

The determination of what is meant by "personhood" affects a diverse number of activities in this country. The one that is most hotly debated is abortion; for the simple fact that if the courts were to determine that personhood begins at conception, then Roe v. Wade would be overturned and abortion as well as some methods of birth control would become illegal. If legal personhood were to encompass, as it should, human physical disability and/or mental deficiency, then children born with physical and mental handicaps as well as elderly who are dependent upon others for care would also be granted greater protection.

I think what I find most ironic about the great personhood debate is that under current law actual human life (e.g., fetuses, infants with deformities, even the homeless in some cases) is not regarded as sacrosanct and worthy of protection, while other entities such as corporations and in the near future, apes and dolphins, are somehow deserving of such protection…a true reflection of the need for a re-prioritization of American, no human, values. Further, I am 100% in support of a woman’s right to choose: and by that I mean, barring the tragic instances of rape or incest, a woman has the right to choose not to engage in behaviors that will result in pregnancy in the first place. Planned Parenthood and some "pro-choice" supporters would have us all believe that women are victims of pregnancy…that somehow fetuses prey upon unsuspecting women in epidemic proportions. Unless the natural laws of reproduction have changed since my husband and I had our son two years ago I feel confident that this is, in fact, not the case. Regardless, I think it is evident that no matter how Americans have felt, or have claimed to have felt about “the least of us” in times past, hearts are changing and voices of advocacy for personhood are being heard.

More than just a Basketball coach

I read on article today about a coach who made a huge impact on the boys who he had coached over the year. He was more then just a coach. He is and has been motivating his team to be the best they can be on and off the court. He has helped many of these inner-city kids make something of themselves (many graduated top of there class in good colleges, some are doctors, some are lawyer, etc.). This coach dedicated himself to the lives of these kids who were never given a chance. He wasn't just an ordinary basketball coach; he was a life coach for many of these boys!

I think this is a truly an awesome story. It makes me tear up a little hearing about this! The impact that this coach has on these boys has really made a difference in there lives. Rather then blowing this kids off like I am sure a lot of people have in the past, this coach gave them a chance and look what most of them have done because this coach didn't give up on them! So that leaves me with one question I have for you all who, like me, are striving to become good counselors: What if we gave everyone a chance like this coach does? what sort of impact will we have on the world?

Mother Kills Her Two Children

On Thursday, January 27th in Tampa, FL this woman, Julie Schenecker killed her two children. She first shot her 13-year old son in the car. Later, she returned home and shot her 16-year old daughter in the head while she was doing homework. Julie had bought the gun the week before and was planning on shooting her children. She also planned on shooting herself afterward, but she did not follow through with it. When the police found her, she showed little remorse for her actions.
Reading this story breaks my heart. Her children were good students and well-liked by their peers. Her husband was overseas serving in the military. As a future counselor, I try to imagine how I would respond to Julie's problems in life BEFORE this incident occurred. What did she really need? What or could have helped her before she reached this breaking point? Did she have a mental illness that needed to be assessed? Did she just need some encouragement in life in order for her to work through these struggles? Did she need someone to stick beside her and not give up on her, despite her negative thoughts or feelings? Maybe she just needed to be able to get a different perspective in life, to be hopeful that it would get better.
I do not agree with the decision that Julie made to take innocent lives. I do not know her or the situation well enough to state any definite diagnosis. I honestly am not sure how comfortable I would have been with helping her before this incident occurred. However, this story gives me even more motivation to be proactive in helping others. We never know when people are on their breaking points or what exactly that breaking point may be. As much as I just want to hide from these problems at times, I know that it is not my place. As a Christian, I must be willing to engage hurting people in a sinful world, not run from them. I must also acquire more knowledge and skills while trusting God to lead me to the best way of showing His love to others.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Battle of the Sexes

In addition to this class I am also in Human Development this semester. The second chapter in our textbook talks about Genetics, Prenatal Development and Birth. As I was reading about infertility problems and different medical techniques that can be used in aiding fertilization, I came across a section entitled "Ethical Issues". The section discussed some issues regarding surrogate mothers, in vitro fertilization, and sex selection techniques. The following questioned appeared: Is it ethical to terminate the life of an embryo based on it's sex? The question intrigued me so I did some research and found a 60 Minutes Segment on The Fertility Institutes website. Now this whole blog assignment is meant to encourage us to take a stand point and to have an opinion, as opposed to remaining wishy-washy "i don't want to offend anyone" Christians. And I don't want to give the impression that I've got it all figured out. However I do want to say that this whole issue about selecting the sex of an embryo really bothers me, but not for the reason you may think. I'm willing to bet that many people who watched this video were enraged at the inhumanity of favoring one sex over another while they completely missed the fact that they are giving this embryo value based on its sex, while not even recognizing its value based on the fact that it is a human life! If this video were simply about in vitro fertilization I'm not convinced that many people would be very passionate about the embryos that were discarded, but because they are now discarding embryos due to the sex...whoa hold the bus, this is immoral, this is unethical, this is just plain sexist! Excuse my sarcasm, but seriously, since when does the sex of an embryo make it more valuable than what it unborn child.