Dr. T. James Kimble DCC, LCPC

Child and Family Counseling

1116 Dixie Highway

Radcliff, KY 40160

For More Information Contact: 270-307-0111

“With God’s Help, One Seed of Pain Can Grow A Garden Full of Purpose”

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Writer Henry David Thoreau said, “The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.”

We live in a wounded world. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves adding insult to injury shrouded in the justice of our causes. Allowing ourselves to become caught up in the affairs of this life, we’re capable of decimating others just because they’re different.

We judge ourselves based on our intentions and we judge others based on their actions. This pitfall permits treating others in the most contemptuous manner possible. As if one person, capable of becoming so other than another person, somehow stops being a person all together.

This “us” versus “them” maladaptive thinking is a far cry from the truth and has been used to justify the most heinous mistreatment and alienation of people who we think are different than we are.

Think it’s not possible for this kind of savagery to sabotage our civilized world? Think again, because this brutal mindset is alive and well in places that deserve better than our modernized versions of vigilante mob justice.

You would think Sundays would be free from these injurious injustices, but oftentimes it actually epitomizes them. Thank God there are exceptions to every rule and places can be found, in the body of Christ, where people postpone judgment for understanding; knowing it’s not their right to judge the actions of others based on their good intentions.

But we all know exceptions prove the rule exists. Statistics show around 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month and 1,300 were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause. And as much as 80 percent of pastors’ children report they no longer attend church because of the impact it had on their parents.

And what about families who might have a child with autism or an intellectual disability? How and where do they fit in on Sunday?

And what about segregation on Sunday? Schools in America might no longer be segregated, but churches are. In fact, Sunday during church you will find segregation alive and well testifying to the truth of how we really feel by who we fellowship with or without.

For regular church attenders, take a look around you this Sunday and notice whose not there.

If you so choose, you can justify your good intentions by accusing my actions of just being excuses for writing candidly to you about what’s really going on.

Unfortunately, these are not excuses. They are real reasons.

Sunday is rapidly becoming Done-day for a growing majority of Ameri­cans. One report states 80 percent of Americans are finding more fulfilling things to do on the weekends.

For those who care, I don’t believe this is an instance of what’s happening as much as it’s an instance of what’s not happening. By in large, we no longer act like the body of Christ as much as comptrollers of church buildings.

Healthy competition is the American way and ambition can help you build more than castles in the sand on these shores. Before you continue judging my actions with your good intentions, let me share a bit of truth with you empowering us all to handle the fruit that’s suppose to bloom on Sundays differently and with more delicate care.

The church is a body, not a building. It is community to be engaged, not a competition for attendance.

The church was a community of believers who gathered with one another to engage in communion and to celebrate what Christ had done for them. It wasn’t about property and buildings, it was about loving people and becoming believers.

This was a community movement bigger than any building.

The household of God and the church was preserved by the delicate handling of the blooms of its fruit. Believers in Christ, abolishing all barriers, became the family of faith.

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, “Life Together” said, “Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”

So how does judging my actions based on your intentions proliferate justice as it relates to expanding Life Together and building genuine Christian community beyond church building borders?

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.

Criticism is sometimes a friend, sometimes a foe or, maybe after the curtains are drawn, it’s both.

Either way, have you noticed most critics are content to watch the show and sit idly by criticizing mistakes and flaws from the comfort of their chair without any risk or involvement in the glorious mess required in making your message and movement more meaningful beyond the curtain call?

Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong men stumble, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings.”

People don’t talk like that anymore, but maybe we should.

People like their chairs very much. Much more than they like the prospect of change or getting too involved.

From the comfort of their chairs, people feel safe and tend toward criticizing. The reality is their chairs are a false sense of security, a smoke-and-mirrors illusion providing them with the perfect camouflage enabling them to avoid involved action.

What if people today are more insecure than they ever have been. Then a comfortable spectator chair, in the audience, without any responsibility or part to play in the production seems like a safe place. The chair and all the criticisms spewing from its occupants are a grand cover up. It’s the ultimate camouflage for the insecure soul.

Take heart if you’re an adventurous soul who’s not afraid to go against society. There’s a reason your efforts and errors draw so much criticism from the content chair warmers. You actually might succeed and that terrifies them.

Your efforts leading to a new or better way to live, to move and to exist together means their business as usual just got smashed.

The closer you get to some sort of innovative breakthrough, the more they amp up the criticism from the safety of their seats. Thus, criticism from the chairs, especially those seats occupied by people whose vocations or industry are directly affected by your success, always are going to grow in volume and intensity the closer you get to creating a better way of doing business.

So, I’ve come to think about some criticisms this way: It’s a measuring yardstick confirming how close you are to emptying a lot of chairs.

If you actually think about it, you begin to understand the truth of the matter. To the degree you actually succeed, you make them look bad. And if you create a new standard, raising the bar changing the expectations, then they might be expected to change, learn and required to perform according to a new or higher standard.

For some people, their current chairs are so comfortable they would rather die than give up their seats. For others, even if they don’t change seats, watching you do what you actually were created to do convicts them. It reminds them of what their supposed to be doing instead of criticizing you from a chair they never were intended to be seated in in the first place.

Your courage to dare greatly and willingness to fail in the process convicts them to change chairs.

Don’t despair. Some chair warmers are beyond changing and their camouflage needs to be exposed allowing the world to see them for the actual insecure critics they are. Mold breakers always make mold growers mad. So live your passion and make waves, making the world a better place to live for everyone.

Remember this, chair-warming critics actually are your friends because the intensity and degree of their criticism allow you to measure exactly how close you are to realizing more meaningful molds of operation that expand and make life better for everyone.

Finally, consider this: “Amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.” Which ship would you rather be a chair warmer on?

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.

Church, we have a problem. We’re in a place where we achieve successful re-entry into society, reclaiming our place as salt and light of the earth, or risk being incinerated by the atmosphere of our culture and ultimately seen as obsolete and irrelevant. Most people I speak with minimize the issues downplaying their severity.

It’s like someone’s given them a sleeping pill and they’re half awake.

Other generations have undergone similar cultural re-entries and navigated very volatile experiences.

During World War II. Dietrich Bonhoeffer headed an illegal seminary for the Confessing Church, a congregation of believers who refused to sign an oath of allegiance to Hitler and the Nazi Party, and ultimately would be martyred for his faith.

Concerning the condition of the culture and the church of his time, he said, “And yet the cultured cannot go along wholly with the Confessing Church in an honest way because of their spiritual traditions. In their isolation, their doubts, their external temporizing and their internal loss of foundation, they are the sacrifice of Cultural-Protestantism.”

And today, not much has changed.

“Cultural-Protestantism” cannot go along with the truth, honestly, because of their spiritual traditions.

What’s the result of this re-entry meltdown pervasively reshaping the foundations of modern church experience? A mass exodus from the traditional church.

Think the case for modern “Cultural Protestantism” is being overstated?

Then consider these facts:

• A majority of 20-somethings — 61 percent of today’s young adults — had been churchgoers at one point during their teen years, but they now are spiritually disengaged, according to researcher George Barna.

• Another survey from Answers in Genesis of 1,000 20- to 29-year-olds found 95 percent attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years and 55 percent attended church regularly during high school. But of the 1,000 surveyed, only 11 percent still were going to church during their early college years.

The two-thirds problem was confirmed by Barna and USA Today, which found 70 to 75 percent of Christian youth leave the church after high school.

From the inside looking out, having the privilege to talk with young people in crisis, I have some findings of my own.

Young people don’t feel safe asking questions that challenge the status quo. If you cast doubts about certain fundamental doctrines or denominational traditions, you could be ostracized. Questions don’t feel safe and having doubts doesn’t seem allowed.

The 20-somethings I talk with say some pastors seem overly dogmatic and controlling. Some issues of faith always will be cut and dried, but what about the gray areas where pastors and leadership pressure you to conform?

These are such things as healthy boundaries and diversity, but telling parishioners how to think and believe about non-essentials of the faith, run their financial affairs, or where and how long to be away on vacation seems to be an overreach.

Research for the book “Unchristian” found 87 percent of Americans label Christians as judgmental.

Many have left the church because of others acting as judge and jury over trivial matters. Often, attempts to judge end up being misjudgments at best and alienate others from the faith all because they’re not just like you.

The more insecure people are, the more they fear others who are different. That fear, and not faith, drives them to convert others into proselytes who look and act just like them.

People who have passed through my office have expressed a deep desire to feel included and not lectured. If there are inner circles in churches where favoritism is shown to certain families or groups, people began to feel alienated and disenfranchised from the community of faith.

Insiders often don’t see these established inner groups, but visitors pick up on them very easily.

According to Barna, only 44 percent of people who attend church every week say they experience God at church.

People want a relevant community of believers to share meaningful relationships. They don’t want to feel like a pawn on a church chessboard that’s manipulated around to be a sacrifice for “Cultural-Protestantism.”

Church, we have a problem.

Absenteeism is growing on Sundays in America because people don’t want pontification. Rather, they want to personally participate in the process of re-entry, avoiding being incinerated to death by the same worn platitudes.

People want participatory experiences contributing to meaningful relationships, where they share in the process of being salt and light in ways that reshape themselves and transforms “Cultural-Protestantism” into a community of faith experiences far more meaningful than any one-way, Sunday-morning conversation ever could be.

Let us be the saints or we will become the aints. Let us be the confessing church or let us perish.

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.

Someone said, “The beaten path is the safest, but the traffic’s terrible.”

The reality is everyone needs to get out of traffic, take a break and explore roads less traveled. The truth is you plan breaks that take you off the beaten path or breaks will plan you off the beaten path.

The breaks you plan are far better than breaks planned for you and usually don’t include hospital visits.

There’s a rest from everything and getting caught in the traffic jams of life only causes more chaos and accidents to occur. People need the path, even if it’s beaten, but they also need the road less traveled.

Rest is the reason to take the road less traveled.

Many Americans don’t do rest very well. If you disagree, visit any hospital and begin to ask patients why they’re there. Then fact check the number of Americans hospitalized annually compared to other underdeveloped nations.

What will you discover? The most advanced nation in the world, with unlimited resources, has the most hospitalized population on earth.

Americans spend more money on health care than any country in the world. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states 75 percent of those dollars are spent on patients addressing chronic conditions. In fact, almost 50 percent of American adults had a chronic condition in 2005.

Additionally, a report from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says, “In some U.S. counties, life expectancies are on par with countries in North Africa and Southeast Asia.”

Welcome to the beaten path where traffic is terrible and you’re a lot less safe thanks to hypertension. Some places off the beaten path actually safer are than your high stakes, stress laden, easy street USA.

Why are third world populations not as sick as America? Rest is a big reason.

As a 19-year-old, I took a trip to Uruguay in South America to help build a church. We finished our part in about a week. The building paint hadn’t dried and they already were moving in and using their new church.

But I distinctly remember something else about this trip abroad — even though it’s been 30 years. These people knew how to rest. Everyday at noon they take a siesta that lasts about three hours. They take naps, drink matte and spend time just resting.

As a teenage American trying to help them finish the job, I was very frustrated when the locals would all take a three-hour break while we feverishly kept working. Now as a 48-year-old student of people, I realize how important the lesson I learned from my Uruguayan friends really was.

Rest is so important it’s part of their daily life. The road less traveled tells a powerful story to all who are listening, “resting is living and all who learn to live well have mastered the art of resting well.”

I can almost hear the rebuttals now. We’re not in Uruguay and taking three-hour siestas everyday is entirely impractical in our world.

That’s probably true, but the point is we purposely could make concerted efforts, to find intentional ways, to integrate block times for designated rest; throughout each day.

Things breakdown because they’re not taken proper care of and because they’re mistreated and neglected. I have seen people meticulously care for their cars while they work themselves into the ground.

If you don’t rest and take breaks you eventually will breakdown.

My wife and I owned a business in Texas and we had a diesel powerstroke truck. We had an opportunity to help a charity drive sending shoes to Rwanda. We took a two-week trip pulling trailers loaded with shoes up and down the eastern seaboard.

Needless to say, after two weeks, we were exhausted as we had been running none stop. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a red light started blinking and the truck went into a limp mode and we could only drive 15 mph. The truck was resting weather we liked it or not. The mechanic explained the feature on the truck prevents drivers from causing additional and costly internal damages to the vehicle.

Wow, imagine that. A truck designed to know when to rest to prevent itself from becoming more damaged and broken.

What if we allowed ourselves permission to enter daily times of rest. La siestas for the stressed out, overworked, hyper-indulged, American soul.

Almost like trucks designed to protect themselves from permanent damages, we might need fewer hospital stays treating hypertension and stress if we practiced entering the daily rest our souls were made for by design.

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.

What if we’re all imperfect people, living in an imperfect world, inundated with programs and products promising to take us to places of perfection; while the entire illusion hides timeless processes possessing the necessary power and meaning to actually transform lives?

If we really are imperfect, why bother showing up? Why does the outcome matter?

Because little by little, inch by inch, side by side, we come to understand the power of embracing the process, forming partnerships and microcosm communities; where shared convictions act as catalyst for meaningful experiences, exemplary achievements, and unified team efforts producing an unbreakable camaraderie that’s contagious.

Maybe the closest thing to perfect is when one person unites with another person, giving birth to shared experiences, adding meaning and value to the lives of everyone who embrace the process.

This is a far cry from products claiming to have power to change lives, make us look more beautiful, run faster or jump higher.

Women don’t spend countless dollars on products and clothes just to accumulate them because they’re on sale. They really desire to feel beautiful and for others to notice they’re beautiful as well.

Men don’t spend exorbitant amounts on shoes because they’re in love with shoes as a product, but because they’re attempting to fashion an identity others will respect. But we all know beauty and fashion trends change, makeup and shoes wear out and go out of style.

And your individual high school record, that’s your proud product, eventually will be broken and soon forgotten as it’s replaced by someone else with a more productive outcome.

This is a far cry from programs that are outcome- and agenda-driven. Often, these programs just leave people in a state of mental fog, thinking, “What am I supposed to do now?” Programs tend to be information-driven and outcome-focused. People become disillusioned if they feel they’re being put into a box.

People are imperfect and we spend millions of dollars creating imperfect programs, disseminating imperfect information that doesn’t really live up to the hype of being able to change our imperfect lives.

To be human is to be imperfect, just as to be living is to be dying and the greatest good is still found in coming together for the sake of discovering shared meaning capable of changing all our lives.

If perfect practice doesn’t really make perfect performances, then why come together at all? What if there’s simply more to life than performances that eventually will fade away?

The greatest teams of all time know the secret that typically alludes most other teams and program efforts. Namely, it’s not about me.

The greatest teams, amazing coaches and the most gifted and talented players and overachievers in any arena will tell you life really is all about being together, sharing accomplishments and experiencing living in communities providing opportunities for excellence and meaningfulness as a way of life.

If you ask them, “What’s important around here?” they unanimously will answer the team. If you persist about what that means and how it relates to records and championships, they will tell you it’s about the sense of family and community the team provides, not the accomplishments.

This kind of community creates safe places for our imperfections to be processed, fostering atmospheres of accountability that are as natural as breathing air.

There really is no such thing as perfection. It’s like finding and buying a mine full of fool’s gold or quicksilver. The quest really is a fool’s errand.

Together, in the context of caring community cells, we discover shared counsel for the healing of our souls and guidance to meaningfully navigate the complexities of our lives.

Hunter, a young man mentioned in “The Calling Journey” — a book about leadership by Tony Stoltzfus — wasn’t discouraged by the ups and downs of life that involved a botched internship, he and his fiancee losing their jobs just after becoming engaged or being employed by a billionaire who cursed him out every day for six months.

Even though he was a tragic optimist, his ability to navigate his circumstances was unusual and would have challenged men twice his age. When questioned about his ability to stand tall and be seemingly unfazed by his life situation, he quickly responded, “I have always had great mentors. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live without them.”

It’s written, “In a multitude of counsel, there is wisdom.”

When we embrace the process of sharing our lives, in the side-by-side counsel of caring communities, meaningful relationships and experiences emerge. These catapult us beyond mediocre living, to a place of exceptionally uncommon influence and uncommon results, changing our lives and transforming our world.

Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at tj@yourbestlifenowcounseling.com.