Overwhelmed by love says professor
“I was overwhelmed with a great feeling of being loved, accepted and affirmed,” Professor Brian Thorne, formerly Director of Counselling at UEA, told an audience at Norwich’s SPCK café in February 2006.
Brian was describing the beginning of his journey into being a counselling therapist.
Explaining his experience as a nine-year-old child, Brian told of how he encountered God through a Good Friday procession of witness in Bristol, after which he felt that he was: “embraced by a feeling of divine love and would never be abandoned.”
Drawing on his own autobiography Love’s Embrace he said: “If that were true of me it must be true of everyone.”
Brian was speaking after a three-course dinner to a group of about 50 people about Accepting Yourself at SPCK’s Forget-me-not Café at St Michael’s at Plea in Norwich. He reminded his audience that sadly, such affirmation and assurance was often not the experience of many attending church, nor is it a predominant feature of our culture.
“For many, the church is the ultimate killjoy with its apparent emphasis of ‘thou shalt nots’ and with a culture in society of ‘targets, tests, standards, and aims’ people grow up with a feeling of failure, of being not valued and even of worthlessness,” he said.
“How different was the example of Jesus who gave value to all sorts of people no matter what their status or standing!”
As a professional therapist, Canon Thorne explained how he meets so many people who do not feel good about themselves. One of the great joys in therapy is to see the transformation in people as they discover their own value and worth.
“Love your neighbour as yourself means that you have got to begin with loving yourself, and that is not selfishness,” he said.
“It is discovering your true worth and so seeing the worth of others and reaching out to them too. It is seeing ourselves through the eyes of God and seeing others that way too. We are children of God, having the divine nature within us and participating in that nature.”
Steve Foyster, manager of the SPCK, said that it was an enjoyable evening and a particularly thought-provoking event in a wonderful atmosphere.
Story by John Breeze
Pictured above is Prof Thorne speaking at SPCK.