On Mental Illness, Leadership and Christian Theology
At the heart of the Christian faith we find this declaration:Christ is risen from the dead!He is risen indeed; He's alive today!So some of us believe.Why then, one wonders, does mental illness, and even suicide, afflict Christianfamilies?According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five of us suffersmild forms of mental distress. One in ten will suffer a major crisis in theirlifetime. One in a hundred will suffer from schizophrenia.Just as cancer was once a taboo subject, not discussed and certainly not admittedto, schizophrenia, psychosis and major depression have until recently beenunworthy of serious public attention, even in our churches. In spite of theprevalence of mental illness in the general population, somehow it has not beengiven the necessary attention. We talk more about distant terrorist acts andthreats of economic disaster. Yet we are finally starting to address this epidemic.It is, however, but a window on the much deeper crisis: our spiritual health, orlack thereof. Some of us, even some of our leaders, exhibit questionablesymptoms and appear somewhat disconnected from God, His people and theworld. We function in our own virtual worlds, even using our own unintelligiblelanguage.Scripture says, "
Clap your hands all you peoples, Shout to the Lord, allthe earth, with loud songs of joy
", yet from childhood we're taught to bequiet in church. We're called to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to oneanother, yet few churches really allow this to take place. Everything is 'pre-scripted' and the Holy Spirit is made redundant. We're expected to be able to talk about our faith to our neighbours, however
most of the time ordinary believers are not even allowed to address the regular assemblies of God to share what the Lord is doing in their own lives!
Are our leaders acting as servants of the Living God? Or are they exhibiting aform of spiritual schizophrenia, hearing the Voice of God and seeing visions, butthen doing things contrary to their own words and beliefs?Here in Canada, as in other places, there has been a tendency among someofficials in the more liberal Christian churches to foster unrest and legally pushtoward denominational division, out of desire to preserve faulty church systemsfor political purposes. This is both unbiblical and anti-Christian. Anglican Churchleaders have brought legal arguments against godly ministers and theircongregations before the secular courts. This has happened despite the clearinjunction against such action found in Holy Scripture. In the U.S.