An Idea to put some things together

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This all started with an idea. My academic training is in the areas of Psychology and Theology.  I have always had a side interest in science, especially physics. In my graduate Counseling Theory class, we had to do a paper discussing the standard theories and fleshing out our own approach. I was able to meld together my ideas from Psychology and Counseling with Theology that I had at the time through the paper. But it felt…lacking.

I came across the first nugget of this idea sometime after someone mentioned the phrase, “People are like water.  You can only hold them for a short time, and they are gone.  You cannot grasp them, or hold on to them.”  In some of my exposure to science shows/documentaries and science fiction shows, I came across the phrase “fluid dynamics”.  So, I thought, “Can I integrate this into Psychology and Theology?”  This is part of my effort.

I started with Google and Wikipedia. I know by research standards, that is pretty lame. I had to start somewhere, though. By doing a basic Google search, you can find a Wikipedia article that says fluid dynamics (or fluid mechanics) is the study of fluids and fluids in motion.  Thermodynamics, aerodynamics, astrophysics, and meteorology draw from this field.  Fluid mechanics is a subfield of continuum mechanics, which is a subfield of mechanics (or…physics).  I decided to study the larger field on my own of continuum mechanics for integration into psychology and theology.

Continuum mechanics is the study of matter in liquid and solid states. One aspect is how matter is affected in a system.  Engineering draws from this field in looking at the structural integrity of a building or material.  How would a stack of bricks be affected if one brick in the middle was removed?  How would the stack react to stress applied in a certain area?

Psychology application

There is a theory in psychology called family systems theory.  This theory would pair well with continuum mechanics in the way it looks at things.  Continuum mechanics takes a “Macro-” perspective of things, a look at the larger or big picture.  So in an example of both continuum mechanics and family systems theory, how would stress (force applied to a structure/traumatic situation for a family) affect the brick (or person) in the whole stack (or family)?  

Theology Application

If you are looking at systems and families, the thing that seems to play in here is a theology of the family.  Paul often speaks of how the family should operate.  Genesis 1-5 also describes family dynamics.  One of the constant interplays between parents and children is reflected in how the parents “hold on to” the children.  In a healthy system, the parents hold on to the children with a “tight or firm grip” when the children are newborns.  This grip is loosened over time as the parents gradually let go of the children as they grow.  If parents try to hang on the whole time, the children become like water and slip away before the parents realize it. 

In theology circles, the term “exegesis” is tossed around for sermon preparation.  If exegesis is done properly to draw out the meaning of the text to apply to today, the sermon takes on new depth.  If we were to exegete a family story, and draw out the meaning of an event in its context, we could help them through today with greater depth.

This can also be applied to group situations. Oddly enough in the world of terms, I took a course in my graduate work called “Group Dynamics“. These groups can be of any size. Churches, classes, and gatherings of multiple versions can be analyzed.

For example, ministry context, this idea can also be applied to understand the greater dynamics in a church.  When a big event happens to a church (loss of a key member/departure of a pastor), how does this affect the whole of the church?  There is anecdotal evidence to suggest (in a pastor’s departure) that a good rule of  thumb for a church to expect is this:

        “When a pastor leaves a church, if the pastor was there 7 to 10 years or more, the church should expect to be without a pastor one month for every year. (7-10 years = 7-10 months/20 years = 20 months)”

In other words, the church needs enough time to adjust to a new normal so they can move forward.  Time seems to be a big element in healing and adjustment.  The same is possibly true in traumatic events, too. The propulsion of the event begins to wane over time. This can also be applied to the grieving process after the death of a loved one. It would be interesting to study this in context. I believe a mistake we do make in our cultures is to say that, “time heals all wounds”. While that is true, the response tends to reflect an “ignore it and it will go away” attitude. This attitude and response needs to be re-evaluated.

There is a school of psychology called “Flow psychology” that seems to connect to all this rambling somehow.  There are other fields I can also draw from to apply to this. So, there is plenty of material to work with.

Premise or Plan

I intend to use this blog work towards a niche field of Life Coaching. I don’t have all the necessary licensing, but I do have training in the necessary fields. So, you can take what I share with a grain of salt and tinker with it yourself. Especially the science stuff, because I am still learning on that end.

The fluid dynamics language is in all of our expressions of life, though (storms, stress, pressure). My plan here is to offer devotions periodically. I will also offer case studies and my point of view with this format (What I am learning, The Case study, Applications from my fields {Theology, Psychology, and Science}). Hopefully, you will gain something out of this. I look forward to learning and sharing.

Take Care.

Steven

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