Andrew J. Bauman is an author and licensed mental health counselor, holding a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. He is currently working on his Doctorate from Northeastern University.
From the perspective of a “fellow stumbler” and a Christian therapist, Andrew shares healing insights in his new book, Stumbling toward Wholeness: How the Love of God Changes Us. The book offers practical help for those who want to see change—and to heal from heartache and pain—in his or her life, but hasn’t yet been able to achieve it.
Andrew and his wife, Christy, run Collective Hope Counseling in Seattle, Washington.
The Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a plot twist that blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
It’s wild how God has used my tragedies to guide my calling to engage men who are trapped in the darkness of their sexual addictions and deepest shames. I’m also called to father the fatherless. That’s my own story—I was addicted to pornography for thirteen years and grew up without a father in my life. And when I became an adult, God called me back to the places of my deepest fears and insecurities. But it wasn’t a cruel cosmic joke. No, it was a gift—a gift from God to help me make peace with my darkness and shame . . . my shadow. If I face my crucifixion, I can fully experience my resurrection.
Please tell us about Stumbling toward Wholeness: How the Love of God Changes Us (NavPress, September 2018).
We each desire to overcome our issues, to be made whole and healed of our shame, anger, self-righteousness, envy, and betrayal. Though the details of our stories may differ, we share the story of the prodigal son in common. But we don’t just find ourselves in the prodigal; we also find ourselves in his bitter, judgmental brother. And if we’re brave enough, we can find ourselves living and loving in the way of the father.
What led you to write it?
As a therapist, I saw many clients who were stuck in cycles of shame and self-contempt, quick to name their failures and sins. Just like the prodigal, they truly believed they didn’t deserve to be welcomed home. This same story plays out in each of us. And the elder brothers within my clients would not welcome their prodigal sons to redemption. What does it mean that the story of Luke 15:11 is my own story and the story of us all?
It’s why I wrote this book—as an attempt to continue healing my most-wounded places and as a gift for all who want to enter their own healing process. I’m trying to hear the voice of the Father speaking to parts of me that still represent the runaway, shameful, contemptuous prodigal, as well as to parts that harbor my judgmental, entitled elder brother. God’s grace covers it all.
A few fun questions . . .
When the words aren’t flowing—or if you want to celebrate when they are—what is your favorite comfort food, and why?
Many times, you’ll find me writing while eating an amazing piece of sushi. I know it might sound strange, but it’s my happy place. All the better when it’s followed by a stunning chocolate dessert.
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
Luke 15:11-32—the story of the prodigal son, elder brother, and father—have been instrumental in shaping my spiritual life the past four years.
In the story that is your life, are you the tall, dark stranger; the romantic lead; the mythical warrior; the mad scientist; or the child in an adult’s body?
The mythical warrior. Every day in my work as a therapist, I feel I’m fighting for hearts and minds to resist the voice of evil and integrate the voice of God.
Thank you, Andrew! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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