Comments: Time to Change

Thank you for this post, Stephen, and the reminder that Jesus very much included people with crises of identity, knew them deep, and reached them with his love.

Not only that, but as well as being recipient, people who struggle with mental ill health also have huge amounts to offer too.

I appreciated your thoughts and I will sign the petition.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 9:39am GMT

Psalm 139 is one of my favourite psalms to be used at the time of a death. Mental illness is often a paradigm of 'social death' for the sufferer. The assurance that we cannot escape the tender care of a loving God needs to be fleshed out in our own treatment of the sufferer. Thank you for this!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 9:44am GMT

I agree with Ron, and +Stephen, that Psalm 139 is a powerful comment on the human condition, and it is not surprising that it is much loved by so many. But my appreciation of it has always been tempered by working once with a young woman whose son had duchenne muscular dystrophy, and died in his early teens. This condition is caused by a genetic abnormality in the mother. She could never bear to recite the words, "It was you that created my inward parts, and pieced me together in my mother's womb". 20 years later, I still think of her, and her little boy, whenever I say the psalm.
Thankyou +Stephen for a wonderful piece.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 7:34pm GMT

Thanks to Stephen. Psalm 139 is one I read regularly.

Posted by Pam at Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 8:34pm GMT

Psalm 139 is a great gift left to me by a dying friend and priest who saw my mental anguish and suffering caused by social rejection.

Posted by clairejxx at Monday, 20 January 2014 at 6:34am GMT

I have suffered depression and anxiety for 40 years now. In my younger rather fundamentalist days those verses terrified me. I believed and had been told by my church that my mental illness was as a result of sin and disobedience to God. All attempts to repent and obey fought no relief and I desired to be as far away from god as possible. The light was painful. Relief only came with darkness of evening

Posted by Mary at Monday, 20 January 2014 at 9:41pm GMT

Of those who live with mental illness the most discriminated against are those with Schizophrenia. Time and again I notice this diagnosis is omitted from mental health articles, as if it might scare the horses. The only way we can challenge stigma, is if we talk about it. Hey! most people have not even heard of my diagnosis 'schizoaffective disorder'.

Posted by gina at Tuesday, 21 January 2014 at 4:22pm GMT

Well said, Stephen. I am signing, and am writing a piece for our churches concerning the mentally ill among us.

Posted by Pierre Whalon at Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 1:39pm GMT

Thanks for this, Bishop Stephen. At our church we started a drop in group as a response to the campaign. Our group were pleased to read your post and we are thinking of turning some of the bible verses that you have pointed out into a display or resources somehow.

Posted by Anna Martin at Friday, 31 January 2014 at 10:18am GMT
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