Therapeutic Vs. Theocentric

As we continue to navigate what we want Good Shepherd to do and be and how we want it to feel, the following distinction keeps roaming around in my head:

Are our experiences therapeutic or theocentric?

Now those are big sounding words but they actually communicate relatively simple truths.

We live in a culture that is therapy-focused. We often redefine sin as sickness. Thus, the solution is therapy or healing as opposed to repentance and renewal. Broken people want to be put back together — often in recovery groups or individual counseling. Many times, our environments at Good Shepherd have that kind of vibe. I believe that’s both a strength and a weakness.

The theocentric concept is the other side of that coin. The word literally means “God-centered.” (Theo is Greek for “God,” while centric means “centered.”) From this perspective, the focus of any church gathering is to honor & praise & meditate on God — his character, his power, his attributes. Our Calvinist friends are brilliant in crafting environments that begin and end with God-centered reflections.

So what’s the solution?

Perhaps I’m asking the wrong question in all this. I have an idea that when you have a theocentric focus then therapy happens naturally. In other words, when you dwell on who God is, healing happens in the deepest part of the human heart.

So: therapeutic or theocentric? Answer: yes.