Untangling Redemption

Kelly Flanagan is a psychotherapist who blogs.  I think that is brave of him.  Most mental health professionals keeps a decidedly low profile online.  Boundaries, you know.

Flanagan not only blogs -- he puts it right out there.

[I have been sick as a dog this week, and will share him with you, instead of churning out my own stuff.  Thanks, Kelly, for doing the heavy lifting.]

Flanagan's blog is called Untangled, and his theme is redemption: Tell a redemptive story with your life.  Now.

Immediately, he is asking for trouble in this bizarre world where meanness has become the measure of ones Christianity, and all those Christian words are distorted to stand for the opposite of what they intend.

In this Orwellian world, (where entitlement means something to which you are not entitled) Redemption means that you have paid whatever price somebody else has decided you ought to pay in mental gymnastics and conformity to their way of life.

Flanagan has something else in mind.  Yes, he calls it therapy, not theology.  But for those with ears to hear, it hearkens back to the Psalms, the teachings of Jesus, the love of God.  He writes about vulnerability, the messiness of life, failure, shame, and passing through it all to grace, worth, in a word -- redemption.  Go read some Psalms.


I put it this way -- Redemption is what happens after.

Jesus gave us the template -- this is me, not Flanagan.  First you suffer, sin, humiliate, are humiliated, fall on your face, fail.  Whatever.  You know the drill.  Then you rest in sorrow and fatigue.  And then you get up.  The meaning of the story, yours, mine, whatever story, is found not in the disaster, not in Good Friday, but in what happens next.  Out of the ashes, life.

Usually Flanagan illustrates these ideas with stories of his own messy efforts to raise children.  Last week he reflected on a youtube, a girl left holding the ashes.  And waiting.  Waiting.  Something will happen next.  Follow the link for the rest of the story.

She will find her redemption.  You will, too.


  1. Willa, I've been following your blog for some time now and I always appreciate your approach to difficult subjects. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. I don't think most mental health providers know what to think about what I'm doing, so I appreciate the encouragement! :) I hope you are feeling better. Blessings, Kelly

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