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The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy is a theologically based covenant community, dedicated to "recovery of the soul" and promoting competency in the clinical pastoral field.

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June 22, 2004

A Response To Raymond Lawrence’s General Secretary’s Report To The CPSP Community by Nick Ristad

I fully recognise there are other many faiths in clinical pastoral training and chaplaincy. I speak from my own faith heritage which is Christian.

The Prejudices of and in Standards

I read Raymond Lawrence’s report on the web. I’m computer illiterate and have learning disabilities which make the computer even more difficult for me. I’m a “misfit” in the “reading-writing value system”. People are prejudiced about these disabilities--intolerant, elitist and disparaging. It’s like saying you can’t use the phone--which is getting harder to use. These cut me out of common standards for communicating These disabilities make me sensitive to these prejudices and critical of these common standards for status in life.

I say this because the reading-writing value system and “computer communications” are common standards for status in the Certification and Accreditation process. They are assumptions these committees demand which they may not recognize--like assuming every one can use the phone. I can’t spell without a spell check and a wife who “interprets” and sends commutereez for me. I don’t know how to get it going. I don’t know when I misspell. How one feels about this affects their acceptance of my communication and “status”. These prejudices can cause a committee to reject those who don’t (can’t) fit these “Common Standards”. “Common” implies a status of respect and acceptance--that there’s an “uncommon” not accepted, respected or deserving of status. Committees need to be aware of these prejudices. They affect peoples lives if they’re arrogantly rejected for how--not what they say.

The second big issue in these committees, which Raymond touches, is: Few committees–I’ve been on lots of review committees in the California Departments of Corrections, Mental Health, CPE and the church–talk about the responsibilities of being a committee and committee member. How individuals and committees use, assume, withhold and express power with, for, or against others; and the different ways we do this. In my experience not taking explicit personal and collective responsibility for power--how we use and deny it in ourselves and others--causes all the trouble.

Members and Committees can express negative, controlling, arbitrary, withholding and authoritarian power--even when they say they won’t --don’t. The threat and fear of having personal or committee authority and prejudices challenged, shown up or not lived up to can be threatening. Meeting the expectations for interpreting the authority of standards and of peers are also great paranoid drivers in individual and committees actions. All of these may have nothing to do with the person appearing before the committee.

The best committees continually examine their ethos of power. They try to use it to affirm, support and encourage a person to understand their own strengths and weakness and act on these feeling responsible for affirming or denying their own requests. This ideal is not always accomplished. But this does not abrogate the responsibility and accountability of the committee to do it. For a committee not to understand this is unethical and malpractice! This is often what we get - but it’s hidden behind the “faults” and “failures” of the person appearing before the committee. This common ethos of committees is demonic. How do we guard against it?

The most insecure committees or member needs their prejudices, fears, ignorance, arrogance, jealousies, envies, greeds or egos assuaged or they covertly or aggressively disrupt or threaten people to force conformity! The paranoid controlling ethos starts. How do we guard against this--expose and guard ourselves and committees against our insecurities--without causing more paranoia?

This is what happened in the forming of ACPE. We let smart aggressive small minded insecure supervisors--threatened by smart, creative idiosyncratic supervisors, the Department of Education, seminary and medical communities--gain control of standards. They then enforced their paranoid “orthodoxies” on us to assuage their own insecurities and need for power and status in CPE..

As in Orwell’s “The Animal Farm” the Pigs gobbled up power to control with Standards--ACPE s myth of “Competence” and “Education”--Competent Clinical Pastoral Education!--Not training became the ethos. This clever ruse cast doubt on our identity to make us feel “incompetent”!. They used “incompetence” and training as ways to make us feel insecure and afraid for our identity as supervisors in the academic and medical worlds. They then said we “needed” their “Competence” and “Education” to make us competent. Their logic asserted they were “Competent” to judge our incompetence in training and make us competent educators. This subtle and aggressive disparagement of our supervisor identity and ethos for Clinical Training “made” us feel dependent on them and insecure in our selves and future “causing” us to conform.

We thus accepted their assertion that we needed standards of Competence in education like the Educational and Medical communities in order to be Competent Professional Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors recognized by the Department of Education in the academic and medical worlds. They threatened we were “nobodies”--would be shown up as “nobodies”--if we didn’t conform to this Competence in Education! This “caused” us to believe they were “The Parent” able to judge and tell us our identity and what clinical training must be – Competent Professional Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors in Education and Medicine.

Some of us challenged we did not want or need these standards or title. They betrayed our Ministry and Call in Christ! These were the standards we were called to live up to and help others have. We should not be coopted by other professions standards for ministry and clinical training! They said this was incompetent. CPE would be eliminated if we didn’t conform. We asked: Who were they to “tell us who we are and must be”? They answered: Clinical Pastoral Education needs competent education, clinical training is incompetent in this world. Your response shows your incompetent. We need competence to get recognition and status to get interns and money to be viable. Your incompetence only causes trouble and “Must” be eliminated.

Their effective insertions of and assertions for “Competence” and “Education” into the debate on clinical training captured the agenda of this debate. These effectively eliminated clinical training as a valid option in “everyone’s” ethos and myth for the future of Clinical Pastoral Education and Ministry! This debate was “won” by the cooption by these words not by the examination of our Call in Christ to Service and Ministry!

My experience says they were--there are faithless people afraid for their own pastoral identity, power and status in the world. They seek status and power to defend themselves against the anxieties of their professional insecurities! They lose their Call--ministry of profession of Faith and faithing in God’s Creative Chaos of risking Love with and for others - by aligning themselves with the standards of “Competence” of other professions. They then defend and enforce these standards as “orthodoxy” on others to make themselves feel “secure” and “Competent” in the world! (The church often calls this Evangelism--survival!) Faith is a risky insecure ethos. One can get crucified!

The First Standard!

When I was on the first council of CPSP forming standards I strongly recommended--several times:

“Our First Standard should be--All standards must be written on the front side of four 8’X11’ pages, in normal type, with one inch margins.”

Our laughter at this showed how strong our “orthodox” security for standards was; and how strong our prejudices for power in standards were!

I hoped this First Standard would bind and limit our standards! Force us to confront our paranoia’s, megalomanias and legalisms for security and power so we would have to be cogent and faithing - not controlling. This First Standard is rejected.

Dare we again challenge our needs for our orthodoxy and prejudices in standards? Or is being creative “misfits” in Faith--as a substitute for our security and status in the reading-writing value system--too “crucifying” for us – “Future of CPSP”?

So now we “need” to write more standards and legalisms to address our paranoia’s and megalomanias to be Competent---compensate for our lack of faith in our self and others--to address our needs for “orthodox” security, power and status in CPSP. Our profession and Call to Faith in faithing with each other is not enough! Shunned “because we are getting too big to know and trust each another”! “We Must Do This!” to keep the power of our professional competency, status and identity “pure”, “secure” and “orthodox” and not be seen--or taken over by “misfits” and fools! So we start over again supporting our fears and paranoia of Faith and faithing and not know or trust our selves and others even more! We are the children of ACPE and ACPE all over again!

CPSP Creation Myths

I’m intrigued with how we are relating and building our Creation Myths for CPSP.

Raymond’s creation myth of: “We could cut corners administratively in those days and still have confidence in our decisions, the same way the old Council For Clinical Training certified the late revered Len Cedarleaf by phone. The committee members knew him already.” This is not the myth Cedarleaf told us in the Pacific Region. But Raymond’s myth is “TRUE”! We all tell different myths of others and ourselves to bolster the authority and security of our selves and CPE!. (I interned with, lived and supervised Len for twenty-five years in the Pacific Region . He was and was not “revered” – my “authority” myth.)

Cedarleaf: “I was sitting under a tree with Russell Dicks, Seward Hiltner –who was an ass--and several others. Dicks asked if I was a supervisor. I said , Yes. I could never be a supervisor in ACPE with all the bullshit they ask!” - What is CPSP now about to ask?!

Creation Myths in the Pacific Region of The Council for Clinical Training:

“Peership and Egalitarianism are endemic in clinical training”. “Anyone who can’t be a supervisor after four quarters doesn’t get IT”--- insight, intuition and analytical awareness of self and others feelings with courage to risk exposing these in relationships. Knowing you need personal psycho-therapy and therapeutic relationships. “Some certified themselves as supervisors by declaring peership and getting interns.” “The intensity of first quarter training demands interns go to another supervisor for advanced training to break transference with supervisor and sit.” “One needs to have had two supervisors before applying to be a supervisor.” “Supervisors must not hold on to interns. One must know when and to whom to refer interns” “Supervisors take no more than seven interns or one supervisor in training.” “Money is communal. All supervisor fees and conferences are paid even if they don’t train interns.” “Clinical Training supervisors must not be coopted by seminary or church authority for compliance to train students.”

“There must be an annual Mid-summer Conference for supervisors and interns to model peership, egalitarianism, authority and training problems between supervisors and with interns.” Supervisors challenged each other and each other’s training. They exposed how interns--as “children” of their supervisor exposed and acted out their supervisor’s issues and problems. Supervisors needed to “pull the covers off” our supervisor temerity of authority, security and identity so we and interns could be peers and help each other feel our dependencies as we were or needed to have “The Parent”; confront our authority issues, feel we were interns learning together; feel courage to use our clinical training skills with and for each other and feel how we took--or avoided--responsibility to be servants in Christ with and for each other. Role reversals, change and ministry were encouraged to emerge. This was disturbing and miraculous clinical training. Not what we expected as “SUPER”-visors or “interns”! Supervisors felt this was the prayer group process of Christian community that caused transformation and “rebirth”. We trained ourselves and interns to feel and have this courage and risk acting this out in ministry.

These myths freighted and were rejected by ACPE as it formed the myth of Competence and Education. The power, control and status of “The Parent” to Judge, Teach and Tell supervisors, interns and CPE programs who they were and must to be. (ACPE said I was incompetent for giving interns too much authority and treated them as peers.) CPSP are children of ACPE. How are we acting out it’s myth?

We are building our own myths for identity, power, authority. status and security for supervisors and interns in CPSP. We are attempting to engender an astute CPSP myth of tolerance, acceptance, peership, egalitarianism and creativity to Faith in being faithing “misfits” able to challenge authority and be conscious of our own and others needs for the myth to have or be “The Parent”!

Holding up and talking about our past and present “Patriarchs” can bind or free us from our identity, power, authority, status, security and dependency myths of “The Parent” .Knowing one another helps create courage for a collegial egalitarian peership myth. But it’s our personal risks of Faith and faithing with each other and interns--how we act and don’t act out faithing with and for each other that engenders and builds our transformation myth of New Life together! Believing in and talking about CPSP’s Covenant is helpful--but living by Faith and faithing in acting out this Covenant as peers is quite another risk!

Herman “Ike” Eichorn--who trained with, took Boisen’s place, then had to live, work and have him in his CPT groups and minister to him for years as Boisen lived his idiosyncratic crazy life in a patients room in the hospital--has different myths about Boisen than I’ve heard in ACPE and CPSP. They are not glorifying or demeaning. They are human and disturbing stories--not what some need and make up as their “Boisen myth” for their authority, security, status and identity in CPE.

Ike laughed at the passing of “Pappy’s Cane” as the symbol of authority and identity in ACPE. He said: “Boisen was never called ‘pappy’ or used a cane!”

Ike was asked to do Boisen’s funeral. He responded: ”All I can do is piss on his grave.”--meant negatively and positively--and didn’t go. Ike doesn’t need recognition or authority in Boisen for his identity and authority in CPE.

Ike’s myth challenges us to free our selves from Boisen, and “Patriarch” myths for authority, security, status, power and identity in “The Parent-Hero” myths of CPE. His myth challenges us to take responsibility for authority of our own standards and identity – risk faithing to leave Ur--be our own name-hero to find God!

The Pacific Region had a myth about the formation of ACPE. We were suspicious of the power, authority and control of the “Pigs” who formed ACPE. They were “paranoid, controlling kingdom-builders”: Johns Balinisky and Smith, Armen Jajorian, Chuck Hall, Al Anderson, Fritz Norstad, Obert Kempson Jap Keith, Wayne Oats, Bob Leslie, Seward Hiltner, Tom Klink, Howard Clinebell, Bill Ogilvy. They were afraid of freedom--robbers and destroyers of egalitarian, collegial peership of all, for all and in all--including interns and parishioners. They were territorial elitist, megalomaniacs set on an “Evil Ethos” of status and power. Clinical Training had no status. Clinical Pastoral Education was Status! Interns were nobodies to gain recognition and status in the academic and medical worlds! Being a chaplain-pastor-supervisor was a nobody--a janitor-servant in lowly ministry. They had “Higher” aspirations of “Competence in Education” and for the Title--Professional Clinical Pastoral Educator in the seminaries, hospitals and church!

We felt chaplain-pastor-supervisor servant in Christ was our Call – standard for identity and ministry, first to our parishioners then interns. Being a supervisor was being a “docent” in Christ!

Our titles, ministry and service as a docent was abhorrent in the formation myth of ACPE. It still is! Their status of “Competent Professional Clinical Pastoral Educator” was their “Call”! Servants in professing the Gospel was for “nobodies”. And expressed this way toward colleagues in parish ministry and church – and CPSP!

We in CPSP are children of these myths of SUPER-visor and servant. We are in tension about these. Dare we leave Ur!?

The Pacific Region voted unanimously for the Competence and Education of The Parent myth of ACPE--in our fears, anxieties and insecurities of not having “power” and “status” in the church, academic and medical worlds. We were afraid of being left out, being nobodies--dying if we left Ur to find our own name and God.

To our “credit” we talked and argued about this. But the hospital chaplains and professors of pastoral cares “Competence as The Parent” cowed us. They “knew” we in marginalized ministries were Kooks! They insisted theirs was a “necessary and honorable” myth needed for our survival. We engendered their fears, threats, insecurities and greeds as they covertly and aggressively denied our egalitarian collegial pastoral servant myth. They assuaged our anxieties with promises of “security”, “power” and Money! as Competent Professional Clinical Pastoral Educators with status in the “real” world! (Status is competition and aggression toward others to get and stay at the top of the “peer” amide. Insecurity!)

We were Faithless!!! We betrayed our Call to ministry, clinical training and our profession of Faith--for their mass of pottage! “We laid down with dogs and got their fleas” of arrogance, elitism, autocracy, legalisms and Money!” “Competence”!

I told Cedarleaf in the 70’s: “We in prison, juvenile, mental hospitals – ‘marginalized ministries’--were going to be run out of ACPE by their Competence, status and power. Their certification and accreditation price was too high! We were not able nor wanted to fit into these standards.” We were “misfits”. We and ACPE discovered this as they enforced their Competence on us in their necessary-dishonorable ways to gain their power and status in the “real” world.

Even thought we voted unanimously for their “power”, “authority”, “security” and “status” of “Competence” and Money we experienced how dishonorable, insecure and thus incompetent these were. We were not truly converted to their “orthodoxy” of “Competence”! We could not stand the biting, itching and scratching of their “fleas”!

A few of us left ACPE to train on our own before CPSP formed. ACPE was threatened. They slandered and “bad mouthed” us to seminaries and students. They didn’t want to train people for Christ’s Ministry they wanted to control all CPE. I was appalled by their arrogant selfish betrayal of ministry--their apostasy of Christianity!

CPSP is a chance for rebirth of the Pacific Regions “clinical training myth” of egalitarian peership and collegial power and authority as servants together in ministry. No supervisor, intern, chaplain, inmate, Jews or Greeks, male or female etc.--human beings in God’s Creative Chaos of risking Love for and with each other for New Life in Christ--our Covenant – where none of us are Competent or in Control!.

But this old myth causes great anxiety, insecurities and paranoia--which Raynond rightly says we need to guard against. But the anxiety, insecurity and paranoia starts again! Who determines Who has the authority and power and How to be Competent to guard against Pigs who threaten to gobble up and determine the authority of the standards for our Covenant!? Me – you, the chapter, Council, Certification, Accreditation, Department of Education? Do you feel my Paranoia? Do you feel your own? Dare we feel and share our anxieties, insecurities and paranoia together as egalitarian peers in Christ and Faith in faithing in God’s Creative Chaos of risking Love for New life together--And support, encourage and love each other into hope and transformation in “God’s Peace that passes all understanding” beyond our control and competence in CPSP?

Paranoia always grows needing more standards for security, power, competence and money to control “enemies” – and thus offers more “promises” of security from money, palaces, degrees and recognition from the world! Few dare say: “Stop! This is Faithless to our Call of sacrificial service in Christ!”--which we all know is foolish low-brow ministry for janitor servant nobodies!

ACPE can’t acknowledge: their “Competent Education”, promises of The Parent myth have compromised and coopted ministry, interns and CPE. That this myth continually costs more money and standards; eliminated and disabled CPE in prisons, jails and “streets”; and made ACPE a white middle class medical ghetto! – (We in CPSP are children of this. How are we acting it out ?)

Myths are binding and freeing! They are formed and used as our faithing, fears, failures and paranoia from our anxieties, insecurities and love allow us to trust, free or fear ourselves and God.

If CPSP wants standards for certification and accreditation from the Department of Education my myth of how we acted out our fears, failures and insecurities in ACPE will become true again! I will again be gone as are most “marginalized ministries” in CPE! No one wants to look at the reasons for or warnings of this! This is worse than not having women and minorities in CPE! Our Silenced sin of “Competence” that discriminates against marginalized ministries!


Tavistock does not understand or take responsible for primeval silence.

It’s no surprise from what I’ve said that Tavistock is not a good role model for CPSP. It’s not a myth of sacrificial servant and egalitarian collegial peership in ministry. It’s a myth of power and authority over.

Tavistock’s “silent leader commentator” is “The Curer” not free to risk being equally responsible for the insecurity, health and craziness of the community. Its silent withholding creates a false anxiety it hides behind to cause the projections of others that it then pretends to ”cure”. It doesn’t intend to have Faith in faithing as a collegial peer servant in the dependency and anxiety of the Creative Chaos of God’s risking Love for New Life together in community. Its “cure” is in withholding this risk. It’s a secular religion: not Prayer Group Process of risking love in community that’s out of control.

Tavistock’s silence is safe - easy to hide behind. Prayer Group Process of Faith in faithing in Gods Creative Chaos of risking Love for and with others is not safe. This is a freeing egalitarian creative chaos of love beyond our control--where all are at risk of being exposed as sinners and saints together as servants Called to Love. This causes the anxiety of freedom, creativity and faithing. This is our Call--Profession.

Tavistock imitates and avoids Prayer Group Process by exchanging our crazy control of love for their crazy control for “cure”. Giving up our anxiety of Faith in faithing in risking love for new life to projecting “authority” for “security” for new life on what their silent commentator offers.

Tavistock’s mythology is: Authority and Power to “Cure” the crazyness and insecurities in our community. This is cheep grace--not Faith in faithing in the Creative Chaos of God’s risking Love for New Life beyond our control.

The False Destructive Myth of Unity--Standards

Raymond says--“We must be just and tolerant, managing our own anxieties….” I want to Faith faithing in this myth for our transformation in CPSP! But our sin for power to control our anxieties, fears and insecurities always erupts. Our paranoia becomes the driver to justify authority for standards, “orthodoxy”; and unity--or death to those “misfits” who don’t “conform” to our reading-writing-computer value systems and become “enemies” to justify our fears, insecurity and need for control.

It is thus very important that we know our Christian myth of a homogeneous orthodoxy for a secure and United Church is a: dysfunctional, destructive and malevolent myth!!!

From the beginning the disciples were fractured misfits arguing among themselves over status, power, orthodoxy, control, Jesus, The Father, Holy Spirit and Faith – Standards for Orthodoxy! James, Peter and Paul had different Faiths and sects claiming orthodox authority as “The Church”.

The first three hundred years of our Christian history and to this day are filled with our dysfunctional family schisms and heresies! We are the children of family fights, thuggery, lying, excommunications, banishments and killing of each other and then others to force “orthodoxy”, “security” and “unity” on our selves and the world!
Schisms, fights and heresy are the True myth. Not the orthodox theology and “homogeneous unity” we keep wishfully propagating from our Church Patriarchs as our authority, power, security and status for identity --to “force” conformity on the ‘misfits” who threaten our myth of “unity”.

If we dared accept this dysfunctional myth as the true myth of orthodoxy for our authority of Christian identity we would have a chance for tolerance in managing our anxieties for New Life--through Forgiveness, Freedom and Transformation from the paranoia and evil witnessed in our family fights over standards, orthodoxy and unity.

I thus have no faith in standards for orthodox unity in CPSP. Only Faith and faithing in God’s Creative Chaos of risking Love with and for each other in our Covenant. Dare we risk our anxiety and paranoia with and for each other for this transformation. Or will we--like the Pacific Region--resist Faith and faithing for new life by giving up our anxiety for the “security” and “authority” of the Pigs of Competence--and be bitten by their fleas?

The Impossibility of Faith in Faithing!

It’s impossible to Faith faithing in the Creative Chaos of God’s risking Love for New Life! The anxiety and paranoia in this is beyond our competence and control --in our land of Ur!

We want cheap grace: security, power and status in standards, accreditation, certification, Department of Education and Tavistock to control and being us “peace”--- in Ur!

Faith in faithing in God’s Creative Chaos of risking Love for New Life takes Courage and Patience for our self and engendering these in each other--Our CPSP Covenant!

God’s “peace that passes all understanding”, competence and control is our Profession! Faith in faithing in this is our Call!--“All” we have! Dare we have it? Know it can’t be found in Ur?! – Only in OZ!

R.N.Ristad, Jr., CPSP Diplomate,
San Quentin Chapter
Protestant Chaplain
Napa State Hospital
Napa, CA 94558

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:59 AM

June 17, 2004


In a recent e-mail sent to attendees of the Leadership Conference being held in Washington, DC at the end of June incorrect dates were inserted into the memo.

As previously announced on the PR, the meeting will be Friday, June 25th and Ssaturday, June 26th, not the 17th-18th as incorrectly stated in the e-mail memo. -Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 3:43 PM