The danger within the professor’s office


No, I’m not talking about the danger of dying from a collapsing pile of clutter. Consider this quote:

The desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.

I read this quote from John le Carré in Larry Michael’s Spurgeon on Leadership(p. 29; Kregel, 2003) and thought it applied nicely to counselors and professors as well as to pastors. We need to be out there interacting in the real world if we want to be effective in our teaching, pastoring, and counseling. While the desk provides some distance that may help objectivity, sitting too long leads to arrogance, listening to our own kind, and the loss of realism.

4 Comments

Filed under Great Quotes, teaching counseling

4 responses to “The danger within the professor’s office

  1. Scott Knapp, MS

    This might also be entitled “The danger within the (long out of touch, ain’t counseled in years but still advocates theories that are decades out of date) Executive Director’s office.”

  2. Lynn

    Phil,

    I’m one lurker who has been reading your blog entries every so often (perhaps more often now than before). I’m not sure if this is the right forum for me to raise the following questions, but I’ll do it anyway (I’ll leave it to your reply (if any) at your discretion):

    Briefly, the last 2 years has seen a hurricane sweep past my life. I relocated to my home country after studying overseas for 4 years. Was looking forward to spend good quality time with my dad (my closest friend/ally & my anchor). Before I could unpack my bags, I landed in hospital – severe relapse of an illness. And a week later, my dad suddenly turned ill and was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. It felt so surreal – like a nightmare. As my dad began his chemo-treatment, I was told by my doctors I may have cancer too and an operation to remove an organ was inevitable. As it turned out, I didn’t have cancer, just a very sick organ which needed to be removed from my body. Time passed quickly and my dad’s condition deteriorating quickly over his last 12 months. It was traumatic watching him suffer and die slowly (he passed away 4 months ago). It was all too much for me and depression stepped into my life and pretty much took over every aspect of it.

    I’ve been on antidepressants/sleeping pills for more about 18months now. I’ve also been seeing a counsellor (who isn’t a believer) for about 10months now. I’m still severely depressed.

    Now, here’s the question: How/where do I begin to try and make sense out of what has been happening to me? Where do I place God in all this? Does the bible offer any answer? Will seeing a “christian counsellor” help? – although I find it easy to relate to my current counsellor.

    Lynn

  3. Lynn,

    I’m so sorry for the weight of sorrow and suffering you have been experiencing. When our world is turned upside down, it is easy, even normal, to experience confusion and grief. I have found that losses like what you describe take a good 2 years to recover from even when there is no depression. The waves of grief come out of the blue but they do lessen over time.

    Does the bible offer any help? How will you make sense out it? If by sense you mean that it will all make sense, then I think the answer is no, it probably won’t. If you will find perfect peace out of tragedy, also no. I do think Psalm 23 is a good place to start. We find comfort on the dark path, we find some cool water and a feast when our enemies surround us. The world is broken and dying due to sin. God provides the ultimate redemption in heaven and help along the way. But, he does not take us out of the misery. I do think we’d find the misery unbearable without his merciful hand in holding back suffering.

    Would a christian counselor help? Hopefully. But you may also find great help from a mature Christian person who would grieve with you, walk with you, and sit with you without giving you superficial responses to your pain.

    May the Lord provide you that person.

  4. Lynn

    Thanks, Phil, for your honest reply.

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