My new book is officially out: Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. I’m excited to see this project come to fruition; this has been a long and heartfelt process for me and has involved so many conversations with others about their experiences. It feels great to see all these stories get out there and begin to do whatever work God has for them.
In honor of the book’s launch, I’m hosting a blog party, right here, right now–and you’re my guest! I would love to read your comments on why you think the church needs a book like this. Maybe you have a personal story to share, an informed opinion, or a prayer as the book goes out into the world.
Ultimately, this book is not about me, or even about my mother’s schizophrenia. It’s not about the church or the people who walk through the doors of local church buildings. It’s about God, his love for all of us despite our deep flaws and diseases, and the calling he has for all of us to love him and love others.
I hope Troubled Minds will inspire the church–that includes everyone who follows Jesus–to better understand mental illness, to see our neighbors differently, and to embrace the idea that loving people affected by mental illness is part of our core mission in this life.
Here’s a short excerpt from the book, a snapshot of why I wrote it:
So why does all this matter? If counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists are well-equipped to treat people with mental illness and to help them manage and even heal, why is people’s experience in the church so important?
Because God cares deeply about the sick and marginalized. He judged the people of Israel harshly because “They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans.” (Is 10:2). Who is more needy than people suffering from disorders that distort their perceptions of reality itself?’
Because Jesus came “to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come” (Lk 4:18-19). He sent out his apostles with instructions to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” (Mt 10:8).
Because Jesus said, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Mt 5:3). Who is more aware of their daily need for God than the depressed, anxiety ridden, befuddled, lonely, and emotionally unstable among us? God sees these people, loves them, calls them to him, and calls us to love them.
Because the church is the first place many people go when they need help of all kinds, including help with symptoms of mental illness.
Because the church represents God and is equipped by the Holy Spirit to pour out Jesus’ love on this world. And when someone is rejected, ignored, or marginalized by the church–representatives of God–they feel rejected by God.
And because the church is a powerful instrument against darkness in the hands of a God who loves the light. The church can and does make a difference.
Everyone who adds a comment will be entered to win a free copy of the book, so please invite others to add their perspectives as well.
Thanks for joining my launch party! And thank you for praying with me that Troubled Minds will inspire Christ followers to spread a little more light in the world.
© 2013 Amy Simpson.