A Church With No Walls

This has been a particularly good week to be part of a faith family that cares and shares. Last weekend, my prayer partner contacted me about how I was coming along in a terribly difficult family conflict. We prayed for each other as brothers in Christ. This week, an elder followed up to ask if I needed any financial assistance. I told him I was holding up so far, but that the offer was a huge show of support. Yesterday, my pastor and his family showed up at an author fair I was featured in. Their smiles made my whole day. Today, a man came up to me to tell me how much he appreciated my article in the local newspaper. Yes, it has been a particularly good week to be a receiving and contributing member of my faith family. A healthy, holy church includes all God's children both by [...]

A Church With No Walls 2018-07-22T20:29:43+00:00

Fresh Hope for Mental Health Interview

A few weeks back, I received an unexpected message from Pastor Brad Hoefs from Fresh Hope for Mental Health. Fresh Hope is a mental health ministry that reaches out with an uplifting Gospel message for those who are often cast down. Their mission is to "empower individuals to live a full and rich faith-filled life in spite of a mental health diagnosis." Toward this end, they have developed curriculum for support groups around the country, they are producing webinars on such topics as "What I Wish My Pastor Knew About Mental Health," and distribute a podcast that is one of the best of its kind. Pastor Brad reached out to me to be a guest on this podcast. Below is the link to the program and the show notes:   In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Pastor Tony Roberts. Pastor Tony Roberts was born and [...]

Fresh Hope for Mental Health Interview 2018-04-26T01:42:55+00:00

From Ministry through Madness to Mission

In March of 2014, I published my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. Having served in pastoral ministry and gone mad, it’s now my mission to bridge the gap between faith communities and the mental health world. The vocation I envisioned when I went to seminary hit a large pothole, needed a major adjustment, even an overhaul. But the journey did not end. It had been 25 years since I first became a pastor. I felt passionate about faith, was eager to lead the flock, and saw visions of big things ahead. My church was in a countryside village. The people were kind and generous. They encouraged me for my preaching skills even though I read from a manuscript. They were patient with my counseling even though I was still, “wet behind the ears.” They were particularly enthused about my growing family and expressed hope for evangelism by [...]

From Ministry through Madness to Mission 2018-02-22T03:07:20+00:00

Top 10 Delight in Disorder Posts in 2017

I've been wondering how I might mark the end of an incredible year here at Delight in Disorder. Would I chronicle my own year in mental health, from my confinement on a psychiatric observation unit of the hospital -- "Examining Medicine; Observing Faith", to my liberation as I channel my illness in creative ways -- "The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness."? Would I revisit good posts that went largely unnoticed, like "Discovering Delight in Disorder,";"Cracked Pots" ; and, "A Close Encounter with a Crazed Commentator." Maybe I would feature one of the many reader responses I've gotten in 2017 -- like: Yesterday was my birthday and still, I was a bit depressed. Some does come from my past childhood abuse, not that it was all bad, but my father has not spoken to me since my diagnosis in 2002 and my mom passed in 2003, but she understood before her [...]

Top 10 Delight in Disorder Posts in 2017 2017-12-28T22:21:29+00:00

How/Can we prevent suicide? {Note: Trigger Warning}

“When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. ‘This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. ‘If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown.” ― Kay Redfield Jamison, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide "When I came to my senses in the hospital bed after my suicide attempt, I had to face the reality that I had tried to abandon God. At the same time, I discovered that God had not abandoned me."  --Tony Roberts, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. I have walked closely with suicide, both in my pastoral and personal lives. I have seen it in the bandaged wrists of a teenage girl. I [...]

How/Can we prevent suicide? {Note: Trigger Warning} 2017-12-11T14:09:23+00:00

I am ; even me.

;     ;     ; I have been asked to speak about Suicide Prevention at a local library this Saturday. Whenever I am invited to speak on the subject, if at all possible, I accept. Largely because of I am a survivor. God has raised me from death and given me a mission to share my testimony with others. Here's how I share it in my book, Delight in Disorder: ;     ;     ; But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14) ;     ;     ; I learned growing up the importance of being in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I was taught to maintain this relationship with daily prayer and Bible reading, weekly worship, [...]

I am ; even me. 2017-12-06T17:03:45+00:00

What’s Next? Revealing Voices

I've been almost maniacally exuberant about a project that is a natural extension of our Delight in Disorder mission. I want to share it with you. But first, a story... In January of 2013, I had fallen into a deep depression. It wasn't the first time, but it was the first time it happened when I was living alone.  I had moved from Rochester, NY to Indianapolis, IN. Out of loneliness, I became involved in a toxic relationship. Within a few months, I broke it off. Now, I was alone in the dead of winter in a sterile apartment. I was miserable. My sister sensed it and encouraged me to move in with my family. I felt relieved. On the one hand, I thought it was pathetic for a 48-year old man to move back home. On the other hand, living alone was doing me in. So the other [...]

What’s Next? Revealing Voices 2017-11-10T11:31:58+00:00

Responding to Suicide

This post was originally published August 11, 2014.    Robin Williams is dead, apparently of suicide after a lengthy battle with depression. My heart is heavy. What a terrible tragedy. How could a man who seemed so full of exuberant life somehow lack the will to live? I respect the family’s desire to keep details of his death private. There will likely be a feeding frenzy in the press — speculation over his mental state, drug use, relationships with others, every jot and tittle to try to explain the unexplainable — some people (and it can be anyone) simply lose the desire to see another day. Whenever I encounter suicide in the news or in the lives of people I know, my mind flashes back to one Saturday night in March of 2008. I was feeling flu-like symptoms and had called to get someone to preach for me. I went [...]

Responding to Suicide 2017-08-04T10:27:34+00:00

A Beautiful, Brilliant, Unquiet Mind

         When I first received my bipolar diagnosis, the picture painted for me of my future was rather bleak.  The staff at the psychiatric hospital explained that I would likely not be able to continue in ministry.  I would go on disability, have repeated hospitalizations and the chances of remaining in my marriage were slim to none.           My psychiatrist, however, offered a ray of hope.  He recommended a memoir that had just been published by one of the most world-renowned expert on bipolar disorder - Kay Redfield Jamison.  In Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Jamison beautifully describes her own life-long struggle and brilliantly depicts the love-hate relationship many folks with Bipolar have with their illness.  She defines what she prefers to call "Manic-depression" ...a disease that both kills and gives life.  Fire, by its nature, both creates and destroys.  "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower," [...]

A Beautiful, Brilliant, Unquiet Mind 2017-06-12T17:29:05+00:00

Budding Faithful Friendships with Mental Illness: Eric Riddle

Our guest today is Eric Riddle. Eric and I first met in March, 2014, a week before the release of my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. We went on to form a faithful friendship that, well, I’ll let Eric tell you about it.. (My words are in italics.) Thanks for joining us, Eric. We’re here to talk about faith and mental illness, two subjects I know you are passionate about. First tell me how you came to faith. I was raised in the church. As many who grow up in the church, I was following in my parent's tradition. I became more serious about my faith after my daughter was born. Going on a "Walk to Emmaus" retreat was a turning point in getting much more serious. I’ve heard those can be very transformational. Yes. The retreat was for men only and about 40 guys representing many [...]

Budding Faithful Friendships with Mental Illness: Eric Riddle 2017-05-30T15:00:51+00:00