Did James Holmes, described by a high school classmate as “really nice and sweet,” decide one day to become a mass murderer?
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The language of creation replaces, and transcends, the language of loss, just as it does in life. The pastoral care-giver's question is not, “What have you lost? But “What’s it like?” and “What’s happening?”
When faith communities show non-judgmental love to members affected by mental illness, parishioners feel safe to acknowledge their needs and overcome their fears of rejection. A faith community can establish that reputation with persons who have a mental illness and their families in a variety of ways.
“In a typical congregation of 200 adults, 50 will experience depression at some point, and at least 30 are currently taking antidepressants.” (Dan Blazer, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, in Christianity Today, March 2009). What could that mean for your church's preaching, programming, pastoral care, and congregational care?
Robin Williams was first a comedian who happened to be suffering from mental health issues. He was not trying to mask his mental illness any more than I was trying to mask my mental health illness with preaching.
I hope that reading this will help people to better understand what schizophrenia is and how it affects those who suffer from it.
One question that came in challenged the judge’s ability to do his job because of his illnesses. This challenge is based on the assumption that mental illnesses affect an individual’s intelligence and judgment.