Bob Greaves writes and broadcasts as “The Unconventional Pastor” and I found his blog in 2010.
Around 1980 Bob was reconsidering fundamentalism but at that time had not replaced it with anything else. He was influenced by ‘On Becoming a Person’ by Carl Rogers (whose writings had quite a significant impact for me around 1997).
Bob had given himself over so much to being a person who identified himself with Christ and wondered what it meant to be ‘me’ – a person – the emerging person – with beliefs that were foreign to a fundamentalist. He realised that he and others were under-developed. He was part of a group reaching out to those with obsessive behaviours – the need for love rather than sin management – seeing the human body as a dirty filthy thing was extremely counter-productive – creating many of the problems they were struggling with.
For people of faith – a lot of simplistic black and white thinking – so much certainty – no comfort with conundrums – compulsive praying – crusades – the need to quote scripture and other ritualistic type behaviours – a lot of magical thinking – a duality that they were in denial of – going to hell but everything was going to be OK – pessimistic and hopeful that it will all work out – all while remaining passive and not doing anything about anything – a recipe for disaster! Bob and others were still struggling with the same problems they were struggling with a decade previously – no progress – much baggage but a denial that they had it – smiling – Jesus has made my life wonderful – so happy . . .
Some of the additional material that comes out of the broadcast:
Bob had a degree with a focus on accounting and computer programming. The account books run by Christian businesses were in a terrible condition – no proper concepts of business such as cash flow – no business plans – when they had problems they prayed about it instead of learning about business. The one exception who felt that he was not very good as a Christian business man – he prayed about his decisions but didn’t really get any answers – and made his decisions on the science of the day and what he learned in college and marketing – and felt inferior to better Christian businesses. But these businesses were not accepting recommendations partly because they were praying about it – maybe thoughts that Satan was against them – ideas that were outside their comfort zone – they were not making appropriate progress – was that irresponsible?
Overly religious people become a pain in the neck to some who are not – a ‘relationship’ with Jesus that gets in the way of normal life? – some uncompromising judgmental attitudes. Bob was making these observations but he was no different – things had been a barrier to his own personal development. He was also dealing with a lot of damage in others that he had hoped his faith might have cured.
Bob had a problem in understanding human emotion – a degree in human development – a secular setting – anthropology, psychology, sociology, politics and other humanities – as each looks at human problems in a different way – with their own strengths and weaknesses. He had a particular interest in the study of human emotion (in addition to school work) – so much research going on but always the tendency to specialise – where was the comprehensive general overview? Bob developed a clear understanding of his own emotions but it took him a long time to figure it out – something he says he would have understood years earlier if it hadn’t been for his own obsessive faith, how he imagined Jesus to be, and his damaged background (that his faith hadn’t taken care of).