I responded with “I’m speechless.” But of course I am not!
As I have thought about this post, I am trying to understand her point. I have many close friends who admire this woman and listen to her regularly. I know she has a huge following, but something inside me is revolted. And I will tell you why. And yes, I know some of you will probably want to challenge me. So here it goes!!!
First, I am a United Methodist clergy person and this goes against our understanding of how God operates in the world. We value reason as a gift given by God to help us interpret our lives. I do value Scripture immensely; however, it is always looked at through the lens of tradition, experience and reason. God gave us this capacity and we need to use it. It is part of who we are as United Methodists. So it is a faith issue.
Second, as I journey toward a master’s in counseling, I have a real problem with the connection between how our brains are wired to equating this with a “battlefield”. I did begin to watch her video on this book she has written and well let’s just say, I did not make it all the way through. I think what bothers me is she sees these mind-producing states, such as fear, worry, depression, reasoning and negative discouraging thoughts to be the work of the “devil”. Let me be clear, I do believe in evil. I believe we choose to make really bad choices and decisions. Yet to put these under the auspices of “faith” and that our mind is something of a battlefield in which the powers of good and evil play out borders on craziness. And here is why I say this.
I believe God and science are on the same team. The brain has been an area of massive research in the last several years and all these mind-producing states are part of the make-up of the brain. Fear is part of our fight, flight or freeze response. Worry lies in the the limbic system, specifically the amygdala. Fear resides in the brain stem; worry in the limbic system. Depression involves all three regions of the brain (the brain stem, limbic system, and the prefrontal cortex). It is in the prefrontal cortex where reason develops. As a person is growing, experiences shape the brain, Its ability to form pathways which are healthy involve building healthy attachments and relationships from the bottom up. To identify these “states of being” as produced by Satan just does not fly with the way the brain develops. And from the perspective of a person who believes all of these can at times be seen as a gift, well I just don’t agree.
And finally, as a parent, I have had lots of moments where I have said “why are they doing these things?” But never do I equate it with the work of the devil. Why, because God gave each of us a brain with the magnificient capacity to renew itself and to learn and grow. Teen are implusive….they are supposed to be. Teens are emotional….they are supposed to be. Teens push us to our limits…they are supposed to because their brain is growing. In fact, they are experiencing the second fastest neural growth outside of the first three years.
So, yes, it hit a button. I am not doubting her faith or the serenity in which she teaches and preaches. I just don’t agree with it.