Mike, I agree with you that we begin with what the God of the client looks like, and I am ever mindful that my God is frail at best, “For now we know in part.” I remember Dr. George Buttrick telling us “You can’t cinch God.” It is important, however, to move the patient away from a destructive view of God and toward the God fully revealed in the face of Jesus.
I was fortunate to have been raised in loving congregations with an educated clergy in each of the churches we attended. I was with my parents in Methodist churches until I was 12. When I was 12, we joined Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Florence, SC. Bill Cusack was pastor of the church. He later went into Chaplaincy work in a TB Sanatorium. I then moved in with relatives in Lake City, SC, and was a member of First Baptist Church. Dr. Robert E. Cuttino, a Yale Divinity School graduate was pastor. Bob was a mentor for me and led me to go to SBTS. He would not let the church ordain me until I obtained my M.Div. Degree. In short, my mentors believed that a pastor should have a firm grip on God as revealed in both the OT and NT.