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New Ageisms and Missed Opportunities? 10 November 2005

Posted by Dr Moose in Uncategorized.

(Category: faith)

Some readers may remember my post some time back about the quandary I faced about a charity psychic fair in a local school. Well, I have finally decided to write to the Governors to express my concern – and unless the media get hold of it (and my lips are sealed at this point) that is all you will hear about it in detail. (Not that I expect that it will make a difference, but it may.)

Nevertheless as part of my research and preparation I have come across a list of practices that one euphemistically named “Alternative Therapy” provider counted as being categories for membership of their grouping. (I shan’t give the URL!) The list itself is quite informative:

Acupunture, Alexander Technique, Archetype Therapy, Aromatherapy, Astrological Counselling, Aura Soma, Aurora Magnetic Crystal Sound Healing, Chakra Balancing, Colonic Irrigation, Counselling, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Crystal Healing, Ear Candle Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Energy Balance Massage, Entity Removal, Feng Shui, Flower Remedies, Freewill Therapy, Hand Analysis, Harmonic Sounds, Crystal and Magnet Therapy, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hypnosis, Indian Head Massage, Iridology, Life Coaching, Magnified Healing, Massage, Mediation & Conflict Resolution, Meditation, Meridian Cleansing, Metaphysics, Naturopathy, Nutrition, Osteopathy, Past Life Therapy, Psychic Counselling, Rebirthing, Reflexology, Reiki, Shamanic Healing, Shiatsu, Spirit Rescue, Spiritual Healing, T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Yoga.

Beyond the question of actually trying to work out what some of these are, and see behind euphenisms (such as “Astrological Counselling” for what most would refer to Horoscopes, etc etc) there are a number of categories that any suitably gifted and trained Christian could, as I understand it, actually qualify as a “Alternative Therapy” Practioner: Counselling (and it’s psychic-named equivalent, referring instead to the actions of the Holy Spirit), Entity Removal (which may or may not be Exorcism by any other name), Life Coaching, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, Meditation and Spiritual Healing.

It returns to an earlier question: why are people willing to look elsewhere than the Christian faith, and what are we going to do about it? I know Steve Hollingsworth of the Church Army and John Drane are both active in this field, but what about the rest of us (even if many Dioceses have one Diocesan Exorcist, and often standing instructions to refer cases to them).

After all it was Counselling (in the widest sense), and possibly even “Life Coaching” that started me off on the search for vocation. Surely many of the “shorter” list are exactly the things we should be about. Am I? Not enough, I fear.

As an added twist all these Practioners generally expect payment for services rendered, which reminds me once again about the fundamentally opposite position of things offered out of love and service. I’ve wondered before whether I shoud advertise my “services” in a different manner, “Community Faith Consultant” or “Listening Ear”.

And don’t get me started on the whole issue of charitable involvement and visibility of Christians….

Incidentally this is my 100th post, apparently!



1. Kathryn - 10 November 2005

I don’t know if the Group for Evangelism tour is coming anywhere near you, but Hopeful Amphibian and I went to an excellent training day on “Equipping the Church in a Spiritual Age” which was looking at connections with people attracted to this sort of spirituality.
I thought of you at the time, and am sure it would be worth getting to if you can…Just seen it’s at Elephant and Castle on Monday, which is prob as close as it’s getting this time.
I’m hoping to get my thoughts together into a coherent post soon, but this is a mad mad week..

2. Andii - 23 November 2005

I offered life coaching as part of my chaplaincy in my last post [I’ve got a certificate] and it had a reasonable uptake. In many ways what I did with people was pastoral counselling and spiritual direction, it’s just that the label “life coaching” helped people appropriate and feel okay about accessing what I was offering …

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