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"Faith In The Fog" is a trending topic over at Twitter. Even if you're not on Twitter, I believe you can still check it out. If interested, though, click here

 

If you are familiar with the phrase with "too blessed to be stressed," or if you've been told to "choose joy" from another church member, or pastor, or some other leader of your former church knowing that you struggle with a mental illness, this conversation might just be for you. 

 

Lots of Christians and ex-Christians are voicing their opinions on how damaging and ineffective it is for churches to give out mental health advice. We know that it's not enough to just refer to a bible verse, or pray about it. The church shouldn't even meddle into this when it's clear that they handle it so poorly.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Please share your personal experiences, if you want. 

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I have some OCD tendencies (nothing diagnosed) and the Orthodox Church certainly exacerbated my anxiety levels. Like in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox have to confess before a priest every week in order to receive Communion. Confession must include "bad or blasphemous" thoughts. Well, it was a nightmare because I became constantly paranoid over my thoughts. Of course it's hard to consciously avoid thinking something, so something blasphemous like "I hate God" would inevitably flash through my mind and I'd have to confess it ASAP. I later learned this is called "scrupulosity"- church was literally making me mentally ill. Now that I've left, I feel free and healthy again, and the symptoms have disappeared.

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I've seen non charismatic fundies puzzling over the concept of  Christian having a mental health problem.  In their cosy little world, "any man in Christ is a new creature".  As they see Christ having control over the "conquered soul" (as I've heard it put) they cannot comprehend how the mind of a believer can be anything other than hail and healthy.  Though quite how they square that line of reasoning with their admitted continued existence of "sinful thoughts" and even of bodily illness is beyond me - seems by those measures also Christ does a pretty poor job of transforming the life or finding a perfect hiding place for the (presumably) perfect holy spirit.

 

Bottom line, however, is that mental illness makes some Christians very uneasy.  It is almost a challenge to their faith - a declaration that Christ does not make everything right with the personality, and, by extension, with the spirit of the believer.  Hence the idea that mental illness is a failure of faith rather than a clinical issue.  The possession element is just a further attempt at explanation for the (to them) inexplicable - though I assume (if they are to be logical within their own belief structure) that the idea of a "true believer" who is possessed is even more unacceptable than one who is mentally ill.  It may not apply in reality, but my interpretation of the theology on this would preclude possession of believers; hence, conversion then becomes a replacement for mental health therapy.

 

I pity the mentally ill who fall into the hands of such people.

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