Blessed Are The Crazy

Published in November 2014 issue of South Church newsletter, The Voice:

In Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family and Church, Rev. Sarah Griffith Lund writes:

“God wants for us to be not a sorority with a Jesus mascot but a Beloved Community, where people come together for justice, peace, and redemptive love.”

“Faith is not an anti-depressant. It cannot be swallowed in order to rewire our brains for happiness. Rather, faith allows us to accept the coexistence of God and suffering. We do not have to choose between two realities, because, if we did, God would have to go. There is no way we could deny the existence of suffering. I believe God exists in this messed-up world, and, in the moments of greatest pain, God is there to wipe away our tears. After all, we aren’t the only ones crying. God is crying too.”

“Mental illness cannot be wished or prayed away. The stigma and shame about mental illness only increases its destructive power. Hiding in our closets, we are swallowed up in its shadows. It is my confession that by exposing mental illness to the healing light of God, through testimony, through carrying one another’s burdens, through therapeutic circles of care, we can find hope and strength. It is my hope that church can be a community of truth tellers, decreasing stigma as we create safe, welcoming spaces for people with mental illness. It is my testimony that the God of love is with us, even when there’s crazy in the blood. It is my gospel truth that blessed, not cursed, are the crazy for we will be called children of God.”

Griffith Lund, “takes the lid off mental illness” by sharing “her father’s battle with bipolar disorder, (her) helpless sense of déjà vu as her brother struggles with his own mental illness, and (her experience) serving as spiritual advisor for her cousin, a mentally ill man executed for murder.” Rev. Griffith Lund’s book has important lessons for South Church as we work to be a reconciled and reconciling congregation for all people.

When I talk about reconciliation (as I do constantly), I most often talk about reconciliation across race and class. Yet mental illness divides us terribly one from another, but we rarely speak of it. The fear, shame and stigma that people feel in response to mental illness enforces a silence that makes reconciliation impossible. Griffith Lund breaks that silence with her powerful testimony and models a way that we can all “carry one another’s burdens” and “become a community of truth tellers.”

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Published in: on March 9, 2015 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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