Ray McKinnis

Ray McKinnis

Ray McKinnis is a counselor with special interest in 'spirituality beyond religion' and veterans 'beyond PTSD'.  He is now on staff with New Hope Clinical Services, LLC. nhclinicalservices.com

  • ‘Tis the Season

    Dec 30, 2010
    Days in December seem to have a lot more energy that most other times of the year. Reflections on the effects of that energy on each of us and on our relationships with others gives me an opportunity to further ‘unpack’ some of the meaning I give to the word ‘order’ when I use it to define religion.
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  • Religion As "The Beyond" and "Order" For Counselors: Scattered Observations

    Dec 21, 2010
    In my last blog I proposed the following definition for ‘religion’: “Anything human can be considered religious if it helps to create, maintain or restore order to a group of people, a community, by referring to something beyond that community.” This definition came to me as I was teaching ‘World Religions’. I was never really clear what distinguished a religion from just culture or other social institutions—especially in Africa, South America and Asia. Religion seemed to be whatever Huston Smith included in his book on world religions. But this idea presented itself from sociology, especially from Talcott Parson’s work.
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  • Does This Definition Of Religion Work For You As A Counselor?

    Dec 13, 2010
    [I realize that this blog is longer than any self-respecting blog should be and I ask for your indulgence. I feel that these ideas need to be presented together. I want to be as clear as I can so that you can better understand where I am coming from and your critique can be as penetrating as possible. Thanks.] I was born in central Kansas—homesteading and wheat farming country. Church (religion) was the central social experience for those living less than 1 family per square mile. It was the place where people gathered together for any excuse—pot luck dinners, dancing on Saturday night, sewing, comparing rain gauges and wheat yields, learning about the recent news about babies and who was sick and trips people had gone on and just enjoying being in the presence of other human beings. As such it enriched the lives of everyone and helped them survive a difficult style of life. Whether their beliefs were comparable to the corn god (see my first blog) or something else made no real difference. The social dynamics help them thrive just as the fish fertilized the corn of the Indians.
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  • Measure Spirituality? Are You Kidding?

    Dec 07, 2010
    If you read my last blog talking about the confusion around calling something spiritual without defining spiritual but you have read reports of studies assessing spirituality in such publications as Counseling and Values or even Counseling Today, you may respond, “But there are many instruments designed to assess a client’s spirituality or religiousness. In fact such an assessment is required by the agency for which I work. If you are correct, then what are we assessing?”
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  • Which Is The ‘Spiritual’ Note On The Piano?

    Nov 29, 2010
    In my last blog, I discussed the confusion I feel when I read the words that counselors use when they write about and research ‘spirituality’—words like god or prayer or beliefs—without really defining these. This blog develops that line of thinking further by considering the very word, ‘spiritual’: what counts as being spiritual? What does calling something 'spiritual' add to the discussion? Which is the spiritual note on the piano or what is a spiritual melody? Which is the spiritual feeling or what makes an action spiritual? Another way of looking this same issue is to ask “How does calling a melody or feeling or action ‘spiritual’ add anything?” Chanting "We beg to differ" at a basketball game when the students disagree with the refs' call or reciting 'Nam myo rengo key' in a Buddhist service or chanting 'Kill him! Kill him' at an execution--what makes one spiritual and another not? What are we talking about?
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