Justice. Mercy. Faith.
Through The Christian Citizen, we seek to shape a mind among American Baptists and others on matters of public concern by providing a forum for diverse voices living and working at the intersection of faith and politics, discipleship and citizenship.
Inspired by a question I heard a young student ask years ago at an N.T. Wright lecture, a conversation between Wright’s eschatology and Kierkegaard’s teleology, framed in ethical terms, tears apart and rebuilds how I would typically approach Advent gospel readings.
This season of Advent, look for the miracle of the lit bush, the revelation of God in your midst. It might not happen in a bright field, as it did for R.S. Thomas, though it could.
Faith and Mental Health
In the debate about gun violence, let’s stop scapegoating mental illness and do the hard work of coming together to improve gun safety and public health.
Many of us who have survived the past couple of years have come away with significant pandemic-related “brain fog.” Forgetfulness, confusion, agitation, fear, anxiety. You might have encountered a spike in any or all of these and more. The question marks continue to appear as COVID-19 cases come and go in different parts of the world. If you do not seem to be your old, pre-pandemic self, you’re not alone.
Understanding family systems theory helps us to self-differentiate and remember that we are important and valued for who we are as people, as children of God. While we have different skills and gifts for ministry, the burden should not be solely on our clergy or on one group of leaders.
Churches can be a vital force for their community’s mental health by gathering community, lifting up others in prayer, and creating safe spaces where access to community support is not predicated on falsely claiming that everything is fine.
Mental Health Awareness Month, a good time to start or expand a mental health ministry in your church and community
Speaking and preaching about mental illness with directness and compassion will only take a congregation so far. Real and sustained progress requires a change in cultures that demand people hide a part of who they are.
Perhaps, beginning this month, we can reexamine just how it is that we might play a role that could contribute to the rising incidence of suicide among veterinary professionals, and give them our best attention and efforts when we take our pets into see them. Our veterinarians are usually giving us their best, and reciprocation is a good start to helping them, ourselves, and our animal relatives live in an abundant way.
The Black church struggles with the stigma of mental illness. Due to past and present experiences with institutionalized racism in America, Black church leadership and their members have been apprehensive to collaborate with mental health agencies. However, the Black church is positioned to be a pivotal partner in supporting mental wellness in the African American community.
When liturgy and worship become the work of the people, space for the sacred stories of those living with mental health conditions begin to have space in the collective experience. Isolation can break down and connection can be formed as people begin to understand the deep humanity of their neighbor in the pew. Remember that worship is a collective act, and the collective is only truly inclusive when all can participate in a meaningful way in the act of worship.
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At The Christian Citizen, we’re passionate about justice, mercy, and faith. We produce award-winning content that is provocative, timely, and relevant. What started more than 25 years ago as a print publication is now a digital-first publication that maintains a commitment to print. More recently, we’ve added a weekly e-newsletter, podcast, and a growing presence on social media. Now, for the first time, we’re adding a member support program—Christian Citizen Ambassadors!
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