Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XXVII: The Trying to Make Sense of Nonsense Edition

In case you haven't already noticed, I am proud to call myself an ambassador of Christ.  I love Jesus.  Being a Christian infiltrates every fiber of my being.

Still, there are times where I am so deeply embarrassed by my family of faith.  I hate to be counted among the fools thinking they are wise by trying to make sense out of the complex with their “biblical” nonsense.

This is one of those times.

It was brought to my attention by my valued colleague, Dr Steve Grcevich, who wrote a blog post in response to this faith-oriented bit of foolishness.  He was far more diplomatic and clinical than I.

This week's winner, Mental illness and spiritual evil by Shane Raynor, definitely made my blood pressure rise.  Perhaps, my ire was in large part stoked by Raynor's pure conjecture, which serves only to alienate those facing mental health issues. 

 Are you SERIOUS?!

“The Exorcism” — Limbourg Brothers, ca 1412-16
In his article, Raynor proposes the notion that the rocketing rate of mental illness could be more due to spiritual evil than actual neurochemistry.  He quotes and lauds the Catholic church for becoming more proactive in performing exorcisms, which in my mind, would be a GREAT way to give a suffering individual PTSD and further alienate them from the family of faith.  Overall, he poses no great insights or solutions, but only further pokes the box in damaging ways.

I think Dr Grcevich states his point aptly when he says, "We know that far too many people have been wounded by the church from accusation during episodes of mental illness, and we have a difficult time encouraging those who have been wounded to give church another try."

Several leaders in the Church, such as Rick and Kay Warren, Ed Stetzer, and The Mental Health Grace Alliance are starting to pave the way in the area of mental health.  Even so, we are only just beginning to break open this area in need of deep compassion.  We still have a LONG way to go.

I wonder if the increase might instead be due to the Church's failure to show compassion and remember verses like this: 
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”   
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  (John 9:1-3, NIV)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  (Colossians 3:12-13, MSG)

“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother. (Matthew 7:1-5, TLB)

As the Church grows in its understanding and inclusion of those with mental health issues, let Bible verses like these be your guide rather than foolish conjecture based on limited understanding.

~ Barb Ditttrich


  1. Barb...Thanks for calling attention to this. What really steams me is that there are lots of credible people in the Christian community who can speak credibly into these issues but for whatever reason people who propagate all types of misinformation seem to be able to access platforms of influence. I have an idea to address this...more to come.