Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Psychiatrist Makes House Calls

Late last night I picked up Dr. Paul Tournier's slim volume, The Seasons of Life. I was in the library arranging books when I came across it and, remembering a bit of the little book's excellent advice from previous readings, I took a 45-minute break and read it through. Having experienced a 60th birthday this past summer proves I have sufficient evidence about the changing seasons in life to which one must physically and spiritually adapt. But Dr. Tournier gave me wonderful encouragement again last night about adapting well -- and about appreciating God's rich purposes in setting things up that way in the first place.

Paul Tournier was a Swiss psychiatrist whose books are deeply Christian and I have been recommending him to audiences for as many years as I've read him myself. (Let's see; that would be about 40 years now.) I urge readers to take their time with Tournier and carefully consider the value of his stories, his kind-hearted counsel, and his common-sense insights into the complexity of the human person.

Paul Tournier is a wise man and a caring one. And his books (usually quite small but packed with great stuff) are often like talking to an old-fashioned country doctor. That is, he's a fellow who is not easily alarmed or shocked by your problems. He can keep secrets. His concerns with your getting well (and being whole) take priority over anything else. And finally, he is a physician who is genuinely committed to biblical truth as the foundation for life and health -- as well as for suffering and death.

Be aware that you may not always agree with Tournier's theological ideas (I don't) and he is a modern psychiatrist who is quite familiar with Freud, Jung and the rest. He openly utilizes their contributions to the study of the human person. But the Cornerstone of Tournier's understanding and healing arts always remains the Lord Jesus Christ. And I find that refreshing and fine.

The Seasons of Life provided me last night with a nice, encouraging visit with a man who was my first Christian physician, one who I will continue to consult (through his many wonderful books) until I meet him personally in heaven. I think you might also find him useful in the maintenance of your spiritual health. So, give Dr. Paul Tournier a try. And remember, as he did with me last night, he even makes house calls!