On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

This is one of those topics I’m working my way through right now. Maybe a year from now, my opinion will flip on it. But here is where I am now.

I was first made aware of this post from John Piper’s “Desiring God” web site via someone posting to SCCL Facebook group.

Here it is:

(Link):  How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God by John Piper

Excerpts:

  • I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this Biblical commandment?” Yes.
  • …Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?
  • ….Orange juice was “created to be received with thanksgiving by those whobelieve the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended—namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a truth heart of faith.
  • But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice is “sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Yes, it’s an entire post explaining why and how Christians may drink Orange Juice to the glory of God.

This is a part of Christianity that I am glad to leave behind. In my faith crisis of the last few years, there have been some advantages to ceasing turning to the Bible as an authority in decision-making in life in every area.

Continue reading “On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible”

The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans

The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans

I think conservative writer Ann Coulter’s editorial about Christians who shuffle off to assist ebola patients in Africa – which got her all sorts of vitriol by both left and right wingers, Christians and Non Christians – has been proven right.

I first wrote about that in another post or two:

(Link): Ann Coulter’s Article Hits Home — Literally, by S. Harris – And: further thoughts on U.S. Christian Priorities and Reverse Racism

(Link): Strawman Argument: “You’re Creating a False Dichotomy” – No, I’m Not (Re: Coulter editorial and U.S. Christians aiding foreigners)

After American, caucasian movie actor Robin Williams died from suicide a few days ago, on the one hand, there was, yes, a lot of sympathy and sadness expressed for him and his family online in the days that followed, as it should be.

But there were also some very insulting, unsympathetic views published, and at that, based on William’s skin color or his mental health problems, not only by guys like Bill McNorris and Christian Matt Walsh, but by atheist writer P Z Myers.

As far as I can tell, the Bible does not adhere to the concept of “privilege” as believed by liberals. The American progressives harping on “privilege” causes them to refuse to show care and concern for the groups they believe to be in power.

Jesus Christ taught that people’s sins comes from their hearts (from within), not from their environment, and he did not endorse the view that because you or your group has been systematically mistreated or oppressed at the hands of another group, that this excuses your sin, or makes it acceptable for you to hate your oppressor, or for you to refuse to show compassion to that group.

In Jesus’ day, ancient Israel was ruled first and foremost by the ancient Romans, and on a lesser level, by the religious ruling class (the priests and Pharisees).

A lot of American liberals will say it’s impossible for an American woman to be considered sexist, or for female dislike of men to be considered sexist, because men in American society hold all the power. They will say that because whites held all the power in the USA, that one cannot consider a black person’s prejudices against whites a form of racism.

Then we also get into the identity politics and hate crime laws, where liberals believe that someone should receive a harsher, or specific charge of hate, for, say, mugging someone in a certain group that they consider unprivileged.

For example, a crime that is motivated by hatred of skin color, where a white guy punches a black guy in the face, is supposed to be worse than, say, a white guy punching another white guy. A guy murdering someone who happens to be homosexual is supposed to be a hate crime, but the same act is not considered a hate crime if a homosexual or heterosexual murders a heterosexual guy.

I have never understood these positions, because, for one reason of a few, it doesn’t square with the Bible.

Jesus never once taught the Jews of his day that it’s okay for them to hate the Romans, nor did he excuse their dislike of the Romans, on the premise that the Romans held all the “privilege” or “power.”

Continue reading “The Marginalization of the Average Joe and Practice of Selective Compassion by Christian and Secular Americans”

How Laypersons Can Minister to Depressed / Suicidal People

How Laypersons Can Minister to Depressed / Suicidal People

This is a follow up to my previous post,

(Link): A Response to Blogger Matt Walsh Regarding Depression

Some of the advice I give here in regards to depressed or suicidal people can also be applied to other situations, not just depressed or suicidal friends.

Parts of this advice can be applicable to family or friends you have who are in mourning, friends who have a physical illness, or ones who are worried because they just got laid off from their job and don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent, or friends who were divorced a month ago after 15 years of marriage and they are heartbroken.

Regardless of the reason of their sorrow, worry, or fear, a lot of this advice can help them as well.

In his post about the suicide of actor Robin Williams, Christian blogger Matt Walsh focused on what one should SAY to a depressed or suicidal person.

Walsh also seems to think making arguments – based on logic – can pull a depressed person back from going through with suicide.

Cold, hard facts and logic, appeals to reason and rationality aren’t going to make much of an impact in discouraging someone from taking his or her own life. (I explain why in a little more detail in the last post.)

The area of emphasis is wrong.

One should not be stewing or pondering over what to SAY to a depressed, suicidal person (or someone who is in mourning) – for ultimately, there’s not much one can say to someone in that much pain – the key is what one DOES for a depressed or suicidal person.

You need to think in terms of what you can DO for a hurting person, not in terms of what you should SAY.

Continue reading “How Laypersons Can Minister to Depressed / Suicidal People”

A Response to Blogger Matt Walsh Regarding Depression and Suicide

A Response to Blogger Matt Walsh Regarding Depression

Before I address Matt Walsh’s post about depression specifically:

For anyone who wants to read a compassionate, balanced view about mental health problems, including depression, by a Christian author, please read a copy of the book,

Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?: Helping (Not Hurting) Those with Emotional Difficulties – by Dwight L. Carlson.

Carlson is a Christian doctor who explains how much, if at all, personal sin, choice, or biology play in issues such as depression.

An excerpt from the book’s page on Amazon reads,

  • It’s no sin to hurt. Thousands of Christians suffer real emotional pain– such as depression, anxiety, obsessiveness.

Many other Christians, including prominent leaders, believe emotional problems are the result of sin or bad choices. These attitudes often only add to the suffering of those who hurt.

In this book Dwight Carlson marshals recent scientific evidence that demonstrates many emotional problems are just as physical or biological as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

While he never discounts personal responsibility, Carlson shows from both the Bible and up-to-date medicine why it really is no sin to hurt.

Understandably and compellingly, Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded? brings profound help for those who hurt and those who counsel. For those who suffer, here is a powerful liberation from guilt. For those who care for the suffering, here is vivid proof that those in emotional pain deserve compassion, not condemnation.

MATT WALSH, ROBIN WILLIAMS, AND SUICIDE/DEPRESSION

In the day or two after it was announced that movie actor Robin Williams died by suicide, Christian blogger Matt Walsh wrote a blog post about it called “Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice” (url: themattwalshblog.com). A copy of Walsh’s first post appears (Link): here on Barbwire (the link will open in a new window).

The very title of the post suggests, or assumes, that Williams was wholly in his right mind, capable of making rational decisions, and was therefore totally responsible for his own death, that he could have easily avoided his death (if only he had “chosen” joy and/or read a Bible more, etc), and, by extension, deserves no compassion.

Walsh would probably counter, “But I never specficially said he didn’t deserve compassion, or that he should just read his Bible more!”

Well, no, you didn’t say that exactly, but the wording of your blog post heading alone certainly implies it. The rambling in the post itself, which was intended to bolster the claims implied in the title, further suggests these views as well.

Walsh got so much negative feedback from that post, he wrote a follow-up post to it the other day.

I don’t know at this point if I intend on writing a full-scale rebuttal to Walsh’s post here – or, if I do, I may do it in the days or weeks ahead. I’m undecided.

I found Walsh’s commentary so revolting, I can’t bring myself to go back and re-read the piece again. Once was enough. I’ll try to re-visit the pages to grab some quotes, if I can.

I skimmed the Part 2 earlier today. Part 2 is entitled, “Depression isn’t a choice but suicide is: my detailed response to the critics”

The attitude of Walsh’s primary post was very victim-blaming, in spite of his protestations to the contrary.

Walsh evidently feels post # 1 was very loving and supportive of Robin Williams or anyone who deals with depression.

Perhaps Walsh is merely a very poor writer and failed to accurately convey his views in the first place, so that they came out as insensitive as they did, and now he’s upset so many people have taken his post the “wrong way.”

That has happened to me a time or two online – I fail to clearly explain my position on a sensitive issue, and folks take it the wrong way, and assume I’m a heartless jerk. (On the other hand, people are sometimes guilty of reading things into posts I’ve written that I never said or felt.)

If I am not mistaken, Walsh implied in part 1, and admitted in part 2 (again, I cannot bring myself at this time to re-read both to double check this) that he has had depression in the past, or some sort of problem.

Okay, I shall wade into the post again to find the exact quote. Here is what Walsh said in part 2 about his own experiences:

    I actually found myself getting emotional as I wrote it. I’m not suicidal but I have demons of my own, so I submitted that post to the public, praying others would find the same solace in the promise of hope and the power of free will.

From part 1, Walsh says,

    And before I’m accused of being someone who “doesn’t understand,” let me assure you that I have struggled with this my entire life.

I want to pause here to say I find that wording odd, from the quote from part 2. Walsh says he hopes people can find hope in “the power of free will.”

Christians usually feed depressed people the cliché’ that they can be freed of depression in “Jesus alone.”

Just as believing in Jesus alone cannot free a person from depression, neither can celebrating “free will,” or a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps and solider on” mentality.

I’d say often, a lot of people with clinical depression operate under one or both those paradigms for years to start with anyway, along with psychiatric visits or medications, until they realize none of it is working, they get mentally exhausted and want to stop fighting to live.

It is exhausting to live another day when all you want to do is stay in bed all day long with the sheets over your head, or take your own life.

That is, people with depression already have tried to “choose joy” and so on; they don’t need a Matt Walsh telling them to give that a go.

Having severe depression is not an automatic death sentence. There can be a way out, but it might vary from one person to the next.

But the vast majority of people I’ve seen who have made it through depression and lived to tell about it usually do not credit their survival with pure choice (ie, choosing to be joyful), Bible reading, attending church, or Jesus alone.

As a matter of fact, many of these recovering folks will tell you that one thing that made their journey MORE difficult was receiving well intentioned, yet hurtful advice, such as the very things Walsh was writing about and which is common among Christians: believe more in Jesus, attend church, choose to be joyful, etc.

Continue reading “A Response to Blogger Matt Walsh Regarding Depression and Suicide”

Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)

Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles (links)
——————————————
The book Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness by Melanie Notkin is available for sale on Barnes and Noble, and other sites.

From a page about the book:

    More American women are childless than ever before—nearly half those of childbearing age don’t have children.

While our society often assumes these women are “childfree by choice,” that’s not always true.

In reality, many of them expected to marry and have children, but it simply hasn’t happened. Wrongly judged as picky or career-obsessed, they make up the “Otherhood,” a growing demographic that has gone without definition or visibility until now.

—————————————-
Disclaimer: I am not anti-motherhood, nor necessarily against people taking their mothers out to brunch on Mother’s Day.

I am, however, against the onslaught of syrupy Mother’s Day hoopla on and before the day, and the church services that honor mothers because:

  • Some people (women included) were abused by their mothers and so find the holiday awkward or painful,
  • some people had or have mothers who are/were cruel or overly-critical,
  • some people’s mothers are dead and they miss them terribly,
  • some women desire to be a mother but cannot because they are infertile, their spouse is infertile, or they are single and cannot find “Mr. Right” (and don’t believe in getting pregnant outside of marriage, or don’t feel they could support a baby alone)
  • some women choose to be child free, but feel excluded or shamed by church and secular staggering emphasis on motherhood on the holiday

Some Christians have turned motherhood (as well as fatherhood and marriage) into idols, which they should repent of.
—————————-
This post discusses “Otherhood” (women who delay motherhood for years, or who are infertile, or ones who were open to having children but who’ve not met “Mr Right,” and for whatever reason, do not want to have a child while single, but would prefer to be married before having kids)

OTHERHOOD

(Link): The Otherhood: Single women face ‘circumstantial infertility’

Excerpt

    Melanie Notkin wanted love, marriage, and then the proverbial baby carriage — in that order.

By the time she reached her early forties, the entrepreneur and author was still single and appreciated the likelihood that, despite wanting desperately to be a mother, she might never give birth to a child on her own.

Like many women her age, Notkin, 44, a Montreal native, expected to reap all the social, economic, and political equality that her mother’s generation didn’t have. At the same time, in addition to her education and her career, she anticipated a traditional family track.

In her new book, released today, “Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness,” Notkin uncovers the personal stories of women like her, who are part of a growing demographic trend and suffer what she calls “circumstantial infertility.”

Often, people presume that when a woman like Notkin is childless, it’s probably by choice. But many of the childless women in their thirties and forties simply want to do it the “old fashioned way,” she says, and find the right relationship before making a lifetime commitment to have kids.

Continue reading “Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)”

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

✹ What follows is actually the heart of my “No Man’s Land” view. This is what prompted me to write it: ✹

✹ TAKING THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF WHAT YOU USED TO BELIEVE BUT NOW HATE – DUE TO EMOTIONAL REASONS OR A KNEE JERK RESPONSE OR FROM SPITE – IS JUST AS WRONG AND MISTAKEN ✹

As to the forums and blogs by ex Christians, liberal Christians, self identifying post-evangelicals, or those still Christian who expose spiritual abuse…

I notice a number of the regular visitors to these sites – the ones who left an abusive or legalistic church or denomination – simply now operate in the reverse in their thinking, which is, IMO, just as bad or wrong as the thinking they are leaving.

There are different types of ex-Christians one must take into consideration when discussing this topic, so I shall present some sketches of them first.

IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists)

For example, there are ex IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists).

IFB preachers and churches are ridiculously legalistic. They make up rules that are not in the Bible, or twist or exaggerate the rules already there to the point those rules then become unbiblical.

IFBs are the contemporary, American versions of the Bible’s Pharisees: nit picky, anal retentive, legalists who make up man-made rules but insist they are “biblical” and thus binding on all believers.

IFBs concoct man-made traditions they expect all IFB members to adhere to, just like the Roman Catholic hierarchy does towards Roman Catholic members.

For example, IFB churches are legalistic about secular entertainment and clothing and physical appearance.

IFB churches teach their congregations that women should not wear pants but only skirts. And the skirts should be only so many inches above or below the knee.

According to IFBs, men should not have hair that touches the back shirt collar – not a mullet to be found in IFB, which may be a good thing. Secular music and television is sinful and should always be avoided.

IFBs have other legalistic rules for just about every aspect of life.

IFBs are vehemently anti-Roman Catholicism as well as anti-Calvinism.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected”

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)

This will be a series of posts where my thoughts wander in and out and all over, and it rambles, but there is a point or two behind it.

Since I’ve been in a faith crisis the last couple of years, somewhere between being an agnostic and a Christian, I have noticed I don’t fit in anywhere. I reside in No Man’s Land.

(Even before then, when I was a total, committed Christian, and politically, I was, and am, right wing, I still didn’t fit in at most blogs and forums, including political ones, and including ones for right wingers!

I tend to be one of those personalities who annoys or angers everyone, even those on “my side” of an issue, except a small number of people, who are either on my side of a topic or not, who “get me” or who appreciate where I’m coming from – again, this is true for even the ones who disagree with me on whatever topic we are discussing.)

I am in this really weird place now, where I am critical of some aspects of conservative Christianity, and see where conservative Christians get some doctrines and other things wrong, but, too, I am not fully on board with militant atheism (I find the New Atheists to be arrogant, vile, hateful and rude), and I don’t even care for lukewarm atheism.

Nor am I in the camp of anything and all things liberal Christianity, except where I think they get the occasional point correct (such as their rejection of gender complementarianism).

Since drifting away from the Christian faith more the last few years, I more often began frequenting forums or blogs for and by atheists, ones by liberal Christians, ones by ex Christians, or by Christians who were abused by a former church who remain Christian but who dropped out of Church, or who now are on a crusade to expose abuse by preachers or the absurdity and harm of current evangelical gimmicks.

THE MILITANT ATHEISTS

A clarification: when I say I have been visiting atheist forums and blogs more often, I am very picky about which ones I regularly visit.

I do not like the frothing- at- the- mouth, extremely bitter, biased- against- Christians- type atheistic communities.

The bitter atheist groups sound like a bunch of irrational, hate-filled loons who reject Christianity for emotional reasons, but who lie to others and themselves and say, “Oh no, it’s purely intellectual.”

But their unrelenting, insane amount of hatred at any and all things God and Christian, is just a total turn-off to me, so I try to avoid such sites.

These angry, always-ranting atheists are really nothing more than Fundamentalist Atheists or Taliban Atheists. They are just as dogmatic about their atheism as Muslims are in their Wasabi Islam or Baptists are in their Neo Fundamentalism.

Really, those types of atheists are just as bad as the religious groups they claim they hate, but they don’t seem to spot that they are. It’s ironic – and it’s hard to stomach the day in, day out anger and hatred, so I try to avoid their sites.

HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS VS NON HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS

Also, you have to be honest with yourself, which I do not find militant atheists to be, by and large: not every single Christian is a hypocrite, jerk, idiot, dullard, or complete jackhole.

I say this as someone who is very fed up with Christianity and Christian persons myself these days.

But your average militant atheist will never admit that some Christians are in fact okay and not being hypocrites.

I have known and met a few Christians who were sincerely trying to live the Christian faith out, such as my mother, who is now deceased, and her mother before her (my grandmother).

I’ve met a few honest, sincere Christians online who do help people and show compassion to the wounded.

So it’s not fair to completely dismiss the entirety of Christians and their faith or treat them all like jerks because some are liars, mean, or abusive.

Which is not easy for me personally, because at the same time, I do keep noticing that a lot of self-professing believers do NOT live out what the Bible says.

Many self professing Christians today, for example, do not protect victims, such as young church members who have been sexually molested by preachers.

Nor do many church goers today hold accountable preachers who bilk their church goers out of millions to buy big mansions and jets.

These idiots, these lemmings, actually defend their greedy pastors online, which I’ve written about here: (Link): Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why.

Then you have a conservative or evangelical culture, which claims to care deeply that people preserve sex until marriage, but if you actually find yourself 40 years of age and still single – and therefore still a virgin, such as myself – these same churches and Christians do not offer you any support.

You either go ignored, or preachers and talking heads of such groups “run down” and insult celibacy as well as older, celibate adults. Churches treat single (and especially celibate) adults as though they are flawed, lepers, weirdos, or losers.

Churches wrongly counsel abused wives to return to their spouses – this is particularly true, again, of churches or Christian groups who buy into “biblical womanhood” (aka “gender complementariansm”) or “patriarchy.”

Churches and average Christians also remain ignorant or callous about matters pertaining to mental health issues, from P.T.S.D. to depression and anxiety attacks.

Some Christians wrongly and insensitively teach that “real Christians” can never get depression or other mental health maladies.

Or, some Christians believe and teach that prayer, faith, service to the poor, or Bible reading alone can cure one of mental illness.

Still other Christians (or the same type) will shame and guilt suffering Christians for using anti-depressant medications, or for seeing secular or Christian psychiatrists and therapists (see this link for more, “Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness”).

Yet other Christians are incompetent at, or unwilling, to provide more ordinary, “every day,” run- of- the- mill comfort to other Christians who are hurting, such as a Christian who is stressed out over a job loss, someone who is in mourning for a deceased loved one, etc.

Christians are dropping the ball in numerous ways.

And this failure, this huge failure, causes life long Christians like me to look long and hard at the faith and wonder if it’s true at all.

It causes even someone such as myself to ask if the faith is true, because

  • it doesn’t appear to be working,
  • it doesn’t make a difference in people’s life who profess it,
  • most who claim to follow Christ don’t actually do what he taught,
  • and some Christians refuse to hold Christians caught in bald faced sin accountable but excuse them for the sin,

~ and it makes you wonder “what is the point, then.”

I find this discrepancy between confessed belief and actual practice shocking, because I myself sincerely tried living out the faith since childhood.

Also, my Christian mother was a role model for me, and she genuinely, consistently lived out and by biblical teachings, including getting up off her ass and actually HELPING people (giving them money if they were in a bind, cleaning their homes for them when they were sick, listening to them cry and rant about their problems for hours without judging them or interrupting them, etc).

I am not seeing most other Christians do any of this. They say they believe in those things but then they do not do them.

BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR SPIRITUALLY ABUSED OR THOSE HURT BY CHURCHES

Before I actually get into this topic (which I discuss more in Posts 2 and 3), here is some background leading up to it.

As far as the sites I have visited by liberal Christians, ex Christians, atheists, as well as sites by Christians for the spiritually abused:

By and large, these have been wonderful, supportive sites and groups to visit (the ones run by Christians for hurting Christians).

I have noticed, though, that there are problems even within these types of communities, and I don’t entirely fit in at them, either.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)”

Being Single During Christmas (by J. Acuff)

Being Single During Christmas (by J. Acuff)

(Link): Being Single During Christmas (by J. Acuff)

(The follow up post:
(Link): The 39 worst things folks said to people who are single during the holidays.)

Excerpts:

    … So instead of simply remixing an old post, I decided to create a holiday-focused scorecard. Think of it like a seasonal ale they put nutmeg in during January. It only comes around this time of year. Without further ado, I give you:

    Being single during Christmas at church:

    5. You good friends hold secret “couples holiday dinners” they don’t invite you to because they don’t want you to feel awkward. = + 3 points

    Wreath
    Wreath

    6. They wince when the world’s worst commercials, Jared’s jewelry, come on TV and some horrible actress gets engaged right in front of you. = +4 points

    8. They try desperately to find the silver lining and say things like, “It must be nice not to have to shop for anyone. My husband is so hard to get gifts for!” = +2 points

    10. They feel slightly guilty for watching romantic Christmas movies in your presence, like “Love Actually.” = +3 points

    11. Someone tells you, “Being single doesn’t have to mean being alone.” = +2 points

    12. Your friends have stopped saying “When you get married” because they’re not sure you’ve got it in you. = +1 point

    21. People spend an exorbitant amount of time telling you marriage success stories, e.g. “The instant my friend Jill stopped looking for a boyfriend this incredible guy came along and swept her off her feet.” = + 1 point

    22. You’re divorced and someone gives you the incredibly encouraging advice, “God will bring you someone who will overlook your past.” = + 2 points

    24. Someone makes a horrible joke about how this Christmas, you got the “gift of celibacy.” = +10 points

    25. Married friends feel compelled to over tell you how difficult marriage is so that you don’t feel like it’s a winter wonderland of constant awesomeness. = +3 points

    32. People try to romanticize the tremendous amounts of free time you must have during the holidays without a family to bother you. = +3 points

Some select reader comments:

    Sydney says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 3:46 PM

    As the oldest grandchild and neice on both sides of my family I have recently been given the guilt trip from my grandparents: “We might not have many more Cristmases left, we need some grandchildren!”

    Selina says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:12 PM

    Yup, I started to hear similar comments in the last couple years (and I’m only 24!). Like from my grandfather “Do you have a boyfriend yet? You need to get married before I die.” As if boyfriends magically appear out of force of sheer will.

    Katie says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 3:48 PM

    “It’s so courageous of you to decorate your apartment for the holidays and send out Christmas cards, as if you had a family”.

    Yep. From a family member.

    I don’t know how many ‘points’ is equal to spending Christmas afternoon in my bedroom crying. Alone, of course. Maybe +20?

    Carly says
    DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 10:17 AM

    So true! My grandfather gives all my (married) siblings/cousins money (triple digits) for Christmas. Being single, I get $0. Its not so much about the money, but not being considered as “equally deserving of a gift.”

    Sara says
    DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 1:01 PM

    Me too, Carly! Me too! The exact same thing happens to me.

    Sandy says
    DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 3:43 PM

    Same here!! I always think, I have bills too and nobody to help me pay them! Am I not worthy of a check at Christmas just because I didn’t provide a son-in-law and grandchildren??

    Claire says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:28 PM

    [In response to someone who says she hates #21 on the list, 21 reads,

    21. People spend an exorbitant amount of time telling you marriage success stories, e.g. “The instant my friend Jill stopped looking for a boyfriend this incredible guy came along and swept her off her feet.” = + 1 point]

    As if God is dangling a gift in front of you and will only give it to you when you stop reaching for it or wanting it! So screwy, but I can’t tell you how many people have thrown this at me in my 35 years of singleness.

    Kelsey says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:53 PM

    I cannot stand #21 or any spin-offs that deal with, “Well, when you focus fully on God, he’ll be right beside you!”

    It implies that all married people are somehow on a separate spiritual playing field than singles. Like they are the first-string players that know how to focus on Jesus better or something—AND FOR THAT, THEY GET A REWARD!

    But not you single people. Go read your ESV study bible and pray a little more. Better luck next season!

    jill says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:20 PM

    I’m sick of people saying I should get more involved in church and that I will meet him there. I already go to church and have been for a looong time. No dice. Sitting between my parents each Sunday doesn’t really help either, huh?

    Krista says
    DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 12:15 AM

    I attend a church and live in a town that has very few single Christian men. My church has none. And I am one of two single ladies myself. Getting more involved will not do anything.

    Selina says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:22 PM

    That is fantastic, haha! Yeah, it’s a very good point. A lot of people make comments that imply you’re single because you somehow aren’t putting God first in your life, no matter what you’re actually doing.

    DM says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:10 PM

    ST.WIPS: Stupid Things Well-Intentioned People Say.

    “It’ll happen when…” (and then fill in the blank with any sort of random statement like “when you’re least expecting it…” blah blah blah)
    “God is your husband!”
    “Maybe you should…” (and then fill in the blank with any sort of random advice that is usually a little bit mean. I usually want to respond, “Maybe you should kiss my grits.”
    “Have you prayed about it?” Oh! Now there’s a brilliant idea that I’ve never considered!

    Jon–How many points does one get for being single, alone, and OVERSEAS at Christmas? About 100?

    Monahmartha says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 9:51 PM

    Blechk! Im 35, and married now but wow, did i hate that “youre not putting urself in the right situations…” Its bs im sorry. I was told for many years my husband would come to my church one day. And the non-church people i knew were telling me i needed to go to club to find a man. Otherwise i was dooomed.

    Well every1 was wrong. I just kept living my life and future hubby came to my WORK PLACE. LOL so there!

    And i vowed when i got married i will not become “one of them”. And im didnt. Godmhelp me if i ever do…

    Holly says
    DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 12:58 PM

    I tell the Church ladies that there is no one single my age at church, so I’m gonna start going to the bars to find a husband.

    That shuts them up quick.

    Amy says
    DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 3:20 PM

    I once told a girl at my Bible study that I’d been keeping my hair long because a) I’ve been enjoying doing fun updos with it and b) I read that guys prefer longer hair (which is true) . . . but I’d also considered doing a cute pixie cut. I’m just afraid that if I did everyone would think I was a butch lesbian, so if I get to 35 and I’m still not married I might go ahead and give the pixie a shot, since by then I expect most people will think I’m a butch lesbian anyway . . . LOL. (It’s been thought before, even when I’ve had long hair . . . I’m sorry to say).

    Selina says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:17 PM

    Yup, some of these are accurate already. Like the lady at church who always asks me if I have a boyfriend yet because she has to know as soon as it happens. I have a few friends who like to tell me how lucky I am to be single and how guys are so much more trouble than they’re worth. Yeah, so nice to be told that from the person who has been married or in a relationship for years to the girl who has never had a bf. They all mean well, but there comes a point when every single piece of “advice” or “encouragement” someone gives you about your love life becomes kind of insulting and aggravating. I despise those cliched comments from people.

    [In reply to a married about what marrieds can say to singles]
    Andrea says
    DECEMBER 16, 2013 AT 12:52 AM

    Everything else about my life? Because part of what makes it so frustrating/hurtful, is those questions are essentially implying, “it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done or accomplished. Your life isn’t truly valid until you’re in a relationship/married/have kids. Didn’t you know you are defined by your marital status?”

    I have a job I’ve worked hard for and really enjoy (and I work with some really fascinating stuff, which I might tell you about if you showed interest in knowing something beyond my 30-second job summary).
    I have a master’s degree.
    I’ve traveled all over the world.
    I have friends and family all over the country/world.
    I’ve been remodeling my house over the last 3 years.
    I’m in a book club and love to read.
    I enjoy working in my yard/garden.
    I love to bake and cook.
    I love going to the theater and trying new restaurants.
    And yes, I have two cats. And they entertain me to no end.

    But yet somehow, there are people who can’t think of anything to ask me about or comment on except my relationship status?!

    So, what would encourage me and make me feel appreciated? Showing interest in what my life IS (everything listed above), rather than what it might be lacking (a significant other). Celebrating/congratulating me on what I’ve accomplished (job, education, house reno, etc.), rather than focusing on what I haven’t (a husband). Recognizing that I and my life are legitimate and acceptable right now and as is – just as acceptable and legitimate as they would be with a spouse, not just as “it’s nice to see you’re using your time well until you meet someone.”.

    Hope that helps!

    Becky says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 5:28 PM

    Yes! I also stopped telling stories to my parents that involves and single guy within 20 years of me. They completely tone-out what I’m saying and become fixed on that guy. “So you just said Jake, who is Jake, how old is he? Are you interested, is he cute?” And they remember him and check-in on how “jake and I ” are doing for months.

    Selina says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM

    Ooo, wait, can we add watching all the Christmas engagement posts starting to pop up on facebook with the nauseatingly sappy captions??? Seriously.

    Sharon says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM

    Being a widow, I get a lot of “at least…” statements, such as “at least you had the time together that you did. “.
    True, but it doesn’t make it any less lonely. These are often preceded by “Wow, the holidays much be so hard for you, being by yourself and all.”
    Thanks for pointing that out, I hadn’t noticed.
    Which is immediately followed by the suggestion that I sign up to volunteer at all 11 services over four days.
    Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I don’t have a life.

    Kaitlyn says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:25 PM

    This cracked me up, especially after the question I got yesterday: “Have you tried Christian Mingle yet?”

    Rachel says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 6:40 PM

    Ah yes. My old friend. I saw an advert for said company online the other day (thanks, targeted FB advertising) with the terrible, theologically worrying and mildly threatening slogan “Worried about going to heaven alone? Maybe not.” As Charlie Brown says, good grief.

    Should definitely be added to the points system.

    Peggy says
    DECEMBER 14, 2013 AT 4:29 PM

    I’m divorced and in my thirties. At this point, I hear comments about how God will “restore the years the locusts have eaten.”

    Little do they know that I’m on a wild adventure and I see no locusts in my history.

    I was just starting to write a blog post about Christmas as a single woman! I will have to link to this post.

    Continue reading “Being Single During Christmas (by J. Acuff)”

My Secret Grief. Over 35, Single and Childless by Melanie Notkin

My Secret Grief. Over 35, Single and Childless by Melanie Notkin

This author goes on quite a bit about motherhood, but this editorial could equally apply to women who desire marriage but are still single past the age of 35.

Like her, I get very offended by the negative assumptions people make over adult singlehood. The assumptions by people, but especially Christians, that if you are still single (and / or childless) once you’re in your 40s, it must be because you are too flawed to attract a spouse, or you must be career-obsessed, or whatever.

A lot of women, such as myself, stop going to church (and even stop being Christians) because never married, childless adults are not made to feel welcome. Most churches cater to married couples who have children.

(Link): My Secret Grief. Over 35, Single and Childless by Melanie Notkin

    … The grief hit me in my mid-thirties without warning.

    By all appearances, my life was fantastic, or pretty close.

    … The sadness I’d feel around my period was deeper than hormonal. I was mourning the loss of one more chance at the family life I always dreamed of.

    And I grieved alone.

    Grief over not being able to have children is acceptable for couples going through biological infertility.

    Grief over childlessness for a single woman in her thirties and forties is not as accepted. Instead, it’s assumed we just don’t understand that our fertility has a limited lifespan and we are simply being reckless with chance.

    We’re labeled “career women” as if we graduated college, burned our bras and got jobs to exhibit some sort of feminist muscle.

    Or, it’s assumed we’re not ‘trying hard enough,’ or we’re ‘being too picky.’ The latest trend is to assume we don’t really want children because we haven’t frozen our eggs, adopted or had a biological baby as a single woman.

    This type of grief, grief that is not accepted or that is silent, is referred to as disenfranchised grief. It’s the grief you don’t feel allowed to mourn, because your loss isn’t clear or understood. You didn’t lose a sibling or a spouse or a parent. But losses that others don’t recognize can be as powerful as the kind that is socially acceptable.

    Continue reading “My Secret Grief. Over 35, Single and Childless by Melanie Notkin”

Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

Widower to Advice Columnist Talks about Being Stereotyped by Married Couples or Ignored by Other Marrieds Since His Wife has Died

This guy, whose letter I am copying below, was married for twenty years, and his wife died. He wrote a letter to advice columnist “Ask Amy” describing how horribly he was treated after his wife died.

Note that he mentions that married couples viewed him in his new single-again status as “a threat.”

This seems to happen to single women more often, however, as though all unmarried women skulk about, waiting to attack married men and get them into bed.

A lot of Christian material on dating and marriage advises married men to stay away from un-married women (when married women frequently have affairs with married men, yet the church never issues warnings about a married woman being left alone with married men, and sometimes, it is the married man who is the instigator of affairs with both singles and marrieds).

Like the man who wrote this letter to Ask Amy, after my own family member died, I experienced a lack of concern and care from other people, even from other Christians, and even though I pointedly asked for help and support.

Rather than hold my hand as I wept, I was subjected to unsolicited advice, judgment, and criticism! Everyone else avoided me.

Nobody – not even self professing Christians who I knew attended church weekly, including some extended family of mine – wanted to take phone calls and let me discus my emotional pain over the loss.

The others tried to get me off the phone as fast as possible, or dish out critical comments, chiding me for feeling sad over the loss.

Christians should step up to the plate and comfort the one who is grieving, but they DO NOT.

Christians are lazy and selfish. They’d rather dole out quick platitudes than sit and do the actual hard work of helping someone who is in grief, which involves listening to the mourner weep about the loss for two, or more, hours a month.

I related to this guy’s letter on more than one front.

Letter from man who is now single after his wife of 20 years died:

Dear Amy:

    Over two years ago my wife of 20 years (and my companion of thirty) died of ALS, one of the worst ways to go. Death is not a Hollywood movie, and people are not at their best, but I was there for my wife all the way to the end. She died in my arms. But it was what came after that shocked me.

My immediate, misguided reaction was to ask to be left alone to grieve. That was a big mistake, which I corrected as I found an empty house, and world, overwhelming. What surprised me was who stepped up and who didn’t. Many of our friends just disappeared — some despite pleasant words at the memorial service or promises on sympathy cards.

Now, having connected with my veterans — those who have lost spouses — I think that I may know some of the reasons why. I hope you will share this with your readers.

It boils down to more than busy lives, because those who reached out to me were often the busiest.

A widower or widow represents to another couple the absolute certainty that they or their spouse will be in the same boat one day. You are an unwelcome reminder — a mortician at a birthday party. Also, couples are sometimes threatened by a person who is suddenly single. This is so insulting.

Some people just don’t know what to do. And for them, I have some advice: Life for the surviving spouse is a matter of getting through first the minutes, then the hours, then the days, then the weeks, the months and finally the years.

We don’t necessarily need deep talk. We need an empathetic offer of company, a meal, film, a walk. A diversion from grief is what we need, quite literally, to make it to another day. Just offer a respite, a diversion from pain, even for a little while. That’s all you need to do — and that’s plenty.

And if you really offer it and follow through, you will never be forgotten.

— Widowed in Bethesda

Yep. People are lazy, selfish jackholes.

I also experienced the situation of people making promises to help, only later to blow me off when I phoned them up for help/ comfort. I learned the hard way that you cannot count on people, not even at your lowest point. And I did not feel God during any of that. I got through it all ALONE.

Dec 30, 2013

DEAR AMY:

    I would like to thank “Widowed in Bethesda” for his honest and heartbreaking account of what it is really like when a spouse or partner dies. People who have been in your life for a very long time have a way of disappearing. In my experience, the busiest people were the ones who also made time for me.

Like Widowed, initially I wanted to be alone. I wasn’t able to tell people what I needed. The most comfort I received was from people who worked to maintain the friendship, even though my life had changed dramatically.

— Been There

—————————
Related posts this blog

(Link): When You’re Married and Lonely by J. Slattery

(Link):  A social psychologist reveals why so many marriages are falling apart and how to fix it (and a history of American marriage)

(Link): Grieving for My Sex Life After My Husband Died by A. Radosh

(Link): Why I, Christian Pundit, Post Anonymously (why I don’t post under my real name)

(Link): You Will Be Ignored After Your Spouse Dies (advice columnist)

(Link): Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Live alone? You’re not alone (from CBS news)

(Link): Focus on the Family advice columnist perpetuates stereotypes about single women

(Link): Study: People today living alone more than ever before

Married Preacher Who Had Extra Marital Affair, Divorce Commits Suicide / Grieving Preacher Whose Wife Died Commits Suicide

Married Preacher Who Had Extra Marital Affair, Divorce Commits Suicide / Grieving Preacher Whose Wife Died Commits Suicide

Many Evangelical, Neo Reformed, Fundamentalist and conservative Christians of other stripes adhere to several fairy tale views, a few of which are:

1. That marriage (and parenthood) automatically (or over several years of marriage) makes a person completely sanctified, holy, pure, godly, self-less, and virtually immune from sexual sin;
2. that “real” Christians will never, ever suffer from depression or other mental health maladies or commit suicide

3. that Christians should not marry non-Christians (based on the “be not yoked” passage, but with some kind of assumption that a Christian man will make a superior spouse because he will not abuse or cheat on his spouse, etc)

Here we have below news stories of not just Christians, but married Christian men who worked as preachers who killed themselves. One of them, a preacher of a mega church, also had an extra marital affair. I believe both men were fathers.

Still, many Christians keep lecturing the rest of us that staying single (though some of us are not single by choice but by circumstance) is sinful, and that if only we would marry and become a parent, that being married and having a baby would make us holy, better, more responsible, and so on. I think continued examples like the following disprove this sort of thinking.

(Link): Church ‘Devastated’ Over Suicide of Pastor Ed Montgomery, Who Shot Himself While Grieving Wife’s Death, Says Apostle Ron Wilson

    BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER
    December 6, 2013|5:30 pm

    Apostle Ron Wilson, founder and lead pastor of the Full Gospel Christian Assemblies International church in Hazel Crest, Ill., says his church has been “devastated” by the news that one of their pastors died after he shot himself in the head while grieving over his wife, who died suddenly last December.

(Link): Grieving Pastor Commits Suicide: Mom and Son Watch

(Link): Pastor son of Obama’s spiritual advisor ‘commits suicide’ after admitting affair and having domestic violence order against him

    – Death of father-of-three Isaac Hunter, 36, announced by his church
    – Resigned last year from Florida megachurch he founded over affair
    – Wife granted restraining order after she told judge she ‘feared for her and their children’s lives’
    – His father, Joel Hunter, has been advisor to Obama since 2008 election

    Father-of-three Isaac Hunter, 36, had been battling problems since resigning from a Florida megachurch he founded after admitting to an affair with a staff member last year.

    A judge also granted his wife a domestic-violence petition after claiming his erratic behavior and alcohol abuse had left her ‘fearing for my life and the lives of our three children.’

    According to court documents, Hunter had written an undated suicide note saying: ‘I have become what I never wished to be, a burden on those I love the most’.

(Link): Son of Obama spiritual adviser dead of self-inflicted gunshot

Excerpt:

    Hunter, a co-founder of the non-denominational mega-congregation Summit Church in Orlando, quit as lead pastor in November 2012 after admitting he had an affair with a church secretary, and filed for divorce from his wife Rhonda this past October.

    His wife had previously filed a domestic-violence petition against him and accused him of having drug and alcohol problems, the Sentinel said.

    They had been married since 1999 and have three children.

(Link): Summit megachurch founder Isaac Hunter found dead in apparent suicide

    By Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel
    7:00 p.m. EST, December 10, 2013

    Isaac Hunter, the troubled son of Northland Church Pastor Joel Hunter, has committed suicide, according to an email sent to members of his former church on Tuesday.

    Isaac Hunter, 36, resigned on Nov. 26, 2012, from the megachurch he founded after he admitted to other Summit pastors that he had engaged in an affair with a staff member. His wife of 13 years, Rhonda Hunter, subsequently filed a domestic-violence petition against Hunter, describing him as unstable, erratic and suicidal.

Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness

So 50% of Christians are very ignorant. (See link below.)

I used to have anxiety attacks and depression, and prayer, faith, and Bible reading didn’t do squat for me. (Neither did seeing shrinks and taking medication, but I am not opposed to people seeing mental health professionals or taking meds.)

Most preachers, most churches, are very ignorant about mental health problems and stigmatize anyone who has one.

Bible reading alone (or prayer or church attendance) can no more cure someone of depression than it can near sightedness, a hang nail, a sore tooth, or a broken arm.

Before I list the links to the survey which reveals half of the Christians polled are idiots about mental health problems, check this out:

Related:
(Link): Baylor Study Finds Church Congregations Blind to Mental Illness

    The study shows that while families with a member who has mental illness have less involvement in faith practices, they would like their congregation to provide assistance with those issues.

    However, the rest of the church community seemed to overlook their need entirely.

    In fact, the study found that while help from the church with depression and mental illness was the second priority of families with mental illness, it ranked 42nd on the list of requests from families that did not have a family member with mental illness.

    … “Families with mental illness stand to benefit from their involvement within a congregation, but our findings suggest that faith communities fail to adequately engage these families because they lack awareness of the issues and understanding of the important ways that they can help,” said study co-author Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work.

    “Mental illness is not only prevalent in church communities, but is accompanied by significant distress that often goes unnoticed. Partnerships between mental health providers and congregations may help to raise awareness in the church community and simultaneously offer assistance to struggling families.”

(Link): Evangelicals largely believe prayer can cure mental illness, survey finds

(Link): Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness

    Nearly 50 percent of American Christians believe that prayer and Bible study alone can cure mental illness, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.

    Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, credited this response to Christians’ faith in God.

    “I applaud those out there who really believe in the power of God,” Clinton told Moody Radio show host Chris Fabry on Thursday. “It’s an encouraging time. People continually look for out for God spiritually for hope, for help.”

    Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they would feel welcome in church if mentally ill, though 54 percent of all Americans said that the church needs to do more to prevent suicide.

    One of the first steps the church must take is to avoid stigmatizing Christians taking medication for their mental illnesses, said Clinton.

    “So often we trivialize one another’s pain, especially emotional disorders. Somehow we think this is a weakness or a horrible sign,” said Clinton. “Don’t get me wrong, I understand both sides of the river, I debate both sides. I know there are people taking medication who probably don’t need to be on it, and I also know there are people who are not taking it who probably need to be on it because of biology.”

    Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said that Christians must better relate treating mental illness to physical illnesses.

    “They forget that the key part of mental illness is the word ‘illness’,” he said in a Lifeway blog reporting on the survey. “In a typical evangelical church, half the people believe mental illness can be solved by prayer and Bible study alone.”

    Several prominant Christian leaders have recently begun to talk more frankly about mental illness following the suicide of their children.

—————
Related posts this blog:

(Link): The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog

(Link): Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

(Link): Charles Stanley Kind of Blows it on Suicide Sermon

The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog

The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog

I imagine I don’t get many regular visitors to this blog, but for anyone who visits regularly, I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record. I do tend to repeat myself. This will be another one of those occasions, I’m afraid.

I used to have depression. I was diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist at a young age. I was not freed of it until a year or so ago.

Yes, Christians get depression.

“Being saved,” and being a devout, daily- Bible- reading- Christian who loves Jesus, does not keep a person immune from psychological or mental problems any more than it does physical issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, poor eye sight, or in-grown toe nails.

Despite the fact I accepted Christ as my Savior before I turned ten years of age and took the faith seriously, read my Bible, prayed to the Lord for a healing, etc and so forth, I still had depression.

I was listening to this Pirate Radio (aka “Fighting for the Faith”) radio show by Chris Rosebrough today (by the way, I happen to like the guy, though I do not always agree with him about everything):

(Link): Joel Osteen: Be Positive or Be Quiet

Before Chris R. discusses the Osteen sermon, he quotes from some guy’s blog over at the Gospel Coalition ((Link): There Are Only Two Kinds Of Sermons).

The guy Chris R. quotes, Collins, talks about how there are only two kinds of sermons: ones about the Gospel, ones about self-help.

Chris R. agrees with guest blogger, Collins, that it’s the Gospel that delivers people from depression, not sermons such as “a ten series sermon on how to cope with depression.”

Here’s a quote from the Collins blog that Chris R. agrees with:

When you get to church to find out that the preacher is in the third of a 10-sermon series on “10 steps to cure depression” get up and run out of there as fast as your depressed legs can take you.

It’s self-help, not the gospel.

Chalk it up to a well meaning preacher who hasn’t yet realized that our real hope is in God, in the sufficiency of his work on the cross and in the salvation that is not found in get-better sermons.

(— end quote —)

While I agree that sermons alone can’t or won’t heal someone of depression, NEITHER WILL THE GOSPEL, contra Chris R and Collins.

I wrote a similar post to this one several months ago, so I will direct you there – preacher Bayless Conley made similar claims about depression, and I wrote about that here:

(Link): Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

“The Gospel” doesn’t heal depression any more than it does asthma, diabetes, headaches, cancer, or broken arms.

Continue reading “The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog”

Christian 2013 Women Conference

Christian 2013 Women Conference

Before I talk about the woman’s conference:

I found a really good PDF about Christian singleness I wanted to share. I bookmarked it a few weeks ago but can’t find it. I’d like to post it to this blog if I can find it again. So one of these days, I will post that if I can find it.

Anyhoo. This caught my eye:
(Link): Over 5,000 Attend Women of Faith Conference in Washington, DC

I skimmed the page over.

I was pleasantly surprised that this “Women of Faith” conference did NOT cover the usual crock, barfy, topics one would expect at a conservative gathering for evangelical / Christian women such as…

-POSSIBLE TOPICS ONE WOULD EXPECT TO SEE AT A CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN-

1. How to bake nutritious, tasty, flavorful, healthful casseroles for your husband; recipes galore available at the meeting!

2. How to sew cute, home-made pinafores for your daughters!

3. How to perform sexually for your husband, even on days you’re tired or sick and would rather tell him to go jump off a cliff

4. How to submit joyfully and gracefully unto your man

5. How to make cheapy, crafty junky stuff with glue guns, pine cones, glitter, construction paper and pipe cleaners to use as table center pieces!

6. Learn that you have inner beauty thanks to your place in Jesus Christ but we will contradict this teaching during the conference to put on “Diet and Beauty” seminars, where you will learn to apply mascara and lip stick and that you need to Stay Pretty for your husband because ‘Men Are Visually Oriented’!

7. Learn how to vacuum and wash the dishes by hand at the same time!

8. Tips to make your grocery budget go further!
====================================
Instead, the host of the event discussed trusting God even if you have fear in your life, as well as her personal battle with clinical depression.

By the way: I hate the words “tasty” and “flavorful” and “healthful.”

But I would not be shocked if a Christian woman’s conference covered the points I listed above. I’ve seen similar points being advertised at Christian conferences for teen girls and for adult women, including by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches and by Bill Gothard groups.

Here is a quote from the article (“Over 5,000 Attend Women of Faith Conference in Washington, DC”):

    “I [conference host Sheila Walsh] went from hosting the 700 club for five years to ending up in a psychiatric ward. There’s so much stigma within the church about mental illness but I wear my testimony on my sleeve,” said Walsh. “You see, there is beauty in transparency. We have learned how to wear masks but we shouldn’t be afraid to be seen for who we really are.”

    She called on women to get rid of their fear of going through storms while affirming that they do not have to maneuver through life – God can do it for them. Walsh illustrated her point by bringing an inflatable boat on stage while making the point that several types of women exist that refuse or doubt that their circumstances can be handled by Christ.

–VAGUE CHRISTIAN ADVICE OR SERMONS —

Not that what she said is all wrong or bad, but I don’t grasp this:

“God can do it for them”

I often hear Christians say “hand your fears (or depression or whatever) over to God.” What does that mean? It’s so vague.

During the years I had depression and panic attacks, I repeatedly went to God in prayer about it. I asked for healing.

I told God on several occasions, “I hand my depression to you,” and that NEVER made the depression or panic attacks go away.

So how does one “hand their problems” over to God? I want to see concrete steps here, not vague recommendations.

Christians and Non Christians Attacking Rick Warren in His Time of Grief

Christians and Non Christians Attacking Rick Warren in His Time of Grief – along with militant Non-Christian, homosexual lunatics. (This is my second attempt at posting this. WordPress would not publish it yesterday)

(This post may contain strong language, so if you’re one of those delicate little flower Christians who doesn’t care for cuss words or crude terms, please click away now. If not, read ahead at your own risk, don’t complain to me about the language. Thanks.)

I’ve (Link): written before about Christians who vilify and attack people, including Rick Warren.

I’ve read Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” book and didn’t see anything objectionable in it, nothing unbiblical. He essentially spends the book telling people their meaning is to be found in Christ alone, not in money, career, marriage, or fame.

I have read that some Christians have been hurt by Warren’s “church driven” strategy, which is, if I understand it properly, to make drastic changes to a church and unceremoniously kick out any members, even “long timers,” who disagree with the new approach. If this is true, I’m sure this approach has created hurt Christians, and I’m sorry for that.

However, as this reporter discusses in the page I’ve linked to, after the suicide of Rick Warren’s 20-something son this past week, Warren has been getting harassed over it and receiving hateful comments on the internet not only from Non-Christians, but also from professing Christians.

Link: Christian Leaders Appalled at Hurtful Responses to Rick Warren’s Family Tragedy

Before I discuss the hate mail he’s been getting from Christians: according to a different news source I saw yesterday, most of the Non-Christians sending Warren hate mail in the aftermath of his son’s passing are perturbed because Warren does not support homosexual marriage (I think Warren supported Prop 8 in California, and that is their grudge against the man?).

Continue reading “Christians and Non Christians Attacking Rick Warren in His Time of Grief”

Christians SUCK at Helping People Who Have Mental Health Issues

Christians SUCK at helping people who have mental health problems. (Ask me how I know.)

(Link): Death of Rick Warren’s Son a Call to Address Mental Illness, Samuel Rodriguez Says

Excerpts:

By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor
April 7, 2013|9:02 am
The tragedy of the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren taking his own life after a lifelong struggle with mental illness calls for a commitment by Christians to help create space for and minister to those with mental illnesses, says the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“Yet, this tragedy facilitates an opportunity if not an obligation for the Christian community to address mental illness,” said Rodriguez on the day Warren, an internationally known Christian leader at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., made the announcement about his son.

Mental illness exists in and outside of the church community, said Rodriguez. “Christians struggle with depression and even suicidal thoughts. It does not make you less of a Christian. Just like heart disease or cancer does not dilute our Christianity, neither does mental illness.”

…Suffering from mental illness is not a sin, the Hispanic leader underlined, and added, “Yet, not addressing it, may very well be.”

Good luck with getting Christians to address mental health problems and showing sympathy to those who suffer from it, pal.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when under the age of 15 and dealt with it for years. Went to psychiatrists, took anti-depressants, read the Bible, prayed for a healing, and absolutely nothing worked. I used to have panic attacks too, and had an anxiety disorder – I still have a bit of a problem with anxiety, actually.

I was finally set free a year or two ago from the depression, but that’s another story.

In my journey through depression, I can tell you that Christians who do not have depression do not understand it at all, and most are insensitive, unsupportive bastards about it.

There are any number of false, stupid, hurtful, infuriating stereotypes and myths Christians spread and believe about depression and other mental health problems, such as-

1. “Genuine” Christians cannot, or will never, have mental health problems;

2. Seeking mental health professional help, whether Chrisitan or secular, is wrong;

3. Taking medication for mental health issues, or for anxiety attacks, is wrong;

4. If you just pray to God and have faith, God will heal you of your panic attacks, depression, etc;

5. It’s all in your head and a matter of mere will power: you can will yourself out of depression and “choose” to be happy (or have enough faith in God and the panic attacks will clear up);

6. If you serve other people more (e.g., volunteer at soup kitchens), you will be so preoccupied with other people or be so uplifted by serving, that you won’t have time to think about being depressed, or volunteering will just automatically clear the depression up;

7. Read the Bible and pray, and that will cure depression and panic attacks;

8. Your depression must be due to personal sin or a character defect

There are so many stereotypes Christians hold about mental health problems, I may have forgotten to mention a few.

What I can tell you is that all of those reasons and stereotypes are utter bullshit.

Secular therapy and pills never helped me, but if you are someone who has a mental health disorder, don’t hesitate to give that a try.

Don’t let any Christian pastor, school of theological thought, or any discernment blogs and sites talk you out of using mental health professionals or convince you that you are to blame somehow for having a mental health disorder.
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Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

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I’m sure Bayless Conley, a pastor who has a weekly TV show, means well. (I’ve written about him once before at this blog).

However, in today’s show, Conley was essentially making it sound as though if one wants to conquer clinical depression, one can do it by force of will, by thinking happy, sunny thoughts, and by having enough faith.

I’m not sure how much of a WoFer – Word of Faith (Wealth and Health / Prosperity Gospel) preacher this Conley guy is, if at all, but I am aware that many other WoFers have warped ideas about faith, healing, and human suffering.
Continue reading “Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith”