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.
Those who wish to teach children a faith that calls for civil rights, liberation and justice would do well to look through their children’s Bibles and Sunday school curriculum with a critical eye, asking “How are the Bible’s stories being used and what stories are included? Are we passing on a faith of justice and social action, or a faith of passivity and submission to a sometimes-unjust status quo?” Such questions might lead teachers and parents to adapt curricula, change how Bible stories are used with children, and include more Bible stories that call children, and call us all, to become actively faithful and just Christian citizens.
Though Baptists in every age can benefit from Rauschenbusch’s theology of the kingdom, I believe his thought concerning the church contains the most fruitful paths for contemporary Baptists. The church is still afflicted by an individualism that has made us vulnerable to the acids of consumerism that would leave us unable to discern our prophetic ministry in the world.