Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Christian Response to Mental Illness

I recently discussed the issue of mental illness among Christians with a friend who almost lost someone to suicide last week. Thinking about the topic led me to do a little research, and in the process I came across an old blog post by Ann Voskamp titled "What Christians Need to Know about Mental Health." Voskamp begins:

Dear Church,
Cancer can be deadly and so can depression.
So can the dark and the shame and the crush of a thousand skeletons, a thousand millstones, a thousand internal infernos.

Her words are heart-wrenching, lovely, and true. She continues, weaving her own story into a cry for Christ's heart in us towards the wounded. 

We won’t give you some cliche – but something to cling to — and that will mean our hands.
We won’t give you some platitudes — but someplace for your pain — and that will mean our time.
We won’t give you some excuses — but we’ll be some example — and that will mean bending down and washing your wounds. Wounds that we don’t understand, wounds that keep festering, that don’t heal, that down right stink — wounds that can never make us turn away.
Because we are the Body of the Wounded Healer and we are the people who believe the impossible — that wounds can be openings to the beauty in us.

If we love like Jesus does, how can we have any other response?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Come and Make All Things New

I find my hand too quickly reaches to change the station when Christian music comes on the radio.

It's not that I don't like music that focuses on its Creator. I do. I may even say that it is the most true sort of music, as it expresses the most True of realities.

It's just that most Christian music isn't really about God. Sure, God is a character in the song, but the protagonist is almost always the omnipresent me. Or, if God is central, it's his relationship to me that is most praised.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Donald Miller Rarely Goes to Church, and I Can Relate

Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, made a lot of people mad on Monday when he wrote that he doesn't go to traditional church services very often. He explained that he connects to God better though work than through song.

Some people were outraged. Others were politely disconcerted.

Miller responded with another post, clarifying his view (and doubtlessly making even more people mad).

It's going to take me awhile to process Miller's posts fully, and then even longer to develop my opinion. Still, I'm thankful he brought up this important (yet sadly polarizing) topic.

I have realized in recent years that I was incredibly blessed to spend about half my childhood as an un-churched Christian.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Book Review: ‘True Love Dates’ by Debra Fileta

I first came across the work of Debra Fileta while reading RELEVANT. I soon found and subscribed to her blog, as her thoughts on healthy relationships are generally spot-on. Here in the Marry Well Lodge, we’ve frequently discussed Fileta’s articles — most recently, her thoughts on Mistakes to Avoid in 2014. When I received an email offer of a complementary copy of her book — True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life — I was thrilled.

I approached the book with fairly high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed. In the introduction, Fileta lays out a map for where her book will take you.

If you’ve picked up this book, it’s likely that you’re searching for true love. Your desire for marriage may be strong, even feel like a preoccupation that you can’t seem to shake. You might be sick and tired of being single and alone, watching your friends get knocked off, one by one, into the world of love while you feel more and more isolated. Maybe you found someone you thought was “the one,” only to have your heart broken and your hopes shattered, alone once again. In a world that seems to cater to couples and families, sitting at a table for one is the last place you want to be.
But the ironic thing about finding true love is that it must start at a table for one.

And in that statement lies perhaps the greatest strength of Fileta’s book. While many Christian dating books focus on honoring God and the other person, Fileta takes time to focus on the importance of introspection and personal growth. Only after you have learned to to be a whole person can you relate properly to other people and to God Himself.

Visit Marry Well to read more and enter to win a free copy of True Love Dates.