Mental Health

Abuse in the church—it has to end.

Read Time: 3 min.

One time, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis. I know…ridiculous. What wasn’t ridiculous was the message I wrote to him: that before he goes off to save the climate and solve the refugee crisis and bring peace to the Middle East, he first needs to take care of priority number one—addressing sexual abuse in his church. The Catholic Church has gotten the bad rap of being the sole proprietor of sexual a...

How to Speak About Abuse

Read Time: 4 min.

I was 16 before I told my parents I had been abused. I was actually at a church gathering that night and I told my youth pastor. She encouraged me to tell my parents. When I got home that night, I sat in my car in the driveway and cried. I was so scared. I was so nervous. I was so ashamed. My mom yelled at me because I was about an hour later than I normally was (this was before cell phones, mind ...

Sexual Harassment, Culture, and Healing

Read Time: 2 min.

Matt Lauer. Charlie Rose. Representative John Conyers. Garrison Keillor (!) One by one, our cultural icons seem to be falling to a wave of allegations (and carefully sourced stories) of sexual harassment brought by women who, in some cases, seem to have kept their secrets for decades. Whether it’s the force of the #MeToo movement, a reaction to the election of a President who is himself accused of...

Abuse

Read Time: 4 min.

You’re in a relationship, but the person you love never wants to see friends, visit family, or have them over. He or she complains if you’re on the phone with them, and asks where you’ve been if you’re more than five minutes late home from work. After a while, you realize it’s been months since you’ve seen or talked to anybody. You’re isolated and lonely. And things aren’t great at home, either… Y...

Divorce

Read Time: 6 min.

Divorce is a painful subject. That’s why I think I’d better say where I’m coming from up front—my parents were divorced, and someone I love dearly is on the verge of divorce as I write. I’m married, but there were times when I feared we were going to wind up in the courts as well. So there’s that. What do Christians think about divorce? As you know, there’s a huge spectrum of views and practices, ...

Somewhere Between Coffee and Crazy

Read Time: 4 min.

Sometimes I think I’m crazy. Right now I’m sitting in a coffee shop, with my earbuds and my latte, and I feel quite normal. Today I had the day off work. I slept in, I scrambled eggs, I stopped by a friend’s house, and now I’m here—drinking my latte and feeling normal. But some days, I think I’m crazy. Some days I do things that are so crazy I don’t want to tell you about them. Because I’m embarra...

Thanks, Lexapro!

Read Time: 3 min.

If I had a list of all of the things my anxiety caused me to avoid over the course of my life, I’d be the owner of one incredibly long list. It’d probably be more of a scroll, really. I’m talking about enough paper to wallpaper a house, or wrap a million Christmas presents. Enough paper to craft a flock of paper mache birds large enough to block out the sun. Enough paper to make a fleet of paper a...

Mental Health

Read Time: 6 min.

What do Christians think about mental illness? There are a lot of stereotypes out there, unfortunately. You can find people, Christian or not, who have TERRIBLE ideas like these: Mental illness is not real. Anybody who claims to have it just needs to try harder (take more vitamins, put on a happy face, get out of the house—fill in the obnoxious advice of your choice); Mental illness is the same th...

Pornography

Read Time: 5 min.

Have you ever come across pornography on the internet when you weren’t looking for it? You’re not alone. Even 70+% of teenagers encounter porn online by accident. The internet’s anonymity and accessibility has led to a flood of pornographic production and consumption in our society. In 2001, it’s estimated that there were 70,000 porn websites; by 2005, there were 4.2 million. More pornographic vid...

Forgiveness is for ordinary people.

Read Time: 2 min.

Them. And us. That’s how we sometimes think about forgiveness, isn’t it? Jesus looked down from the cross and forgave his tormentors.  Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin.  A father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre offered forgiveness to the families of the killer within hours of the killings.  Mothers have been known to pardon the men who shot their sons. As a writer, I co...

Dear Suicidal Me

Read Time: 2 min.

Dear Suicidal Me, Hi there. Remember me? I’m the one you worked so hard to maintain, the one you always wanted to be. All those hours at the gym, the yoga, the Psalms, the positive self talk when everything seemed wrong . . . But it failed. Because now you’re you. You look in the mirror and wish you could see a glimpse of me too. But you fail. You just see you. All those hours at counseling, the f...

Suicide’s impact is broad. And our understanding is narrow.

Read Time: 4 min.

From the moment she walked into my classroom, I saw a little bit too much of myself in her. She was an introverted junior transfer, struggling to find a place for herself in a new school, in a new state. Over the course of the first semester, I got to know her through her writing and she frequented my classroom after school. While I have several former students who I remain close to, I normally tr...

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