About tonyroberts

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.

Mental Health Ministry with a Faithful Friend

Something HUGE is happening for me this weekend and the only thing better than its magnitude is that my good friend will share it with me. This Saturday from 10:15 - 11 am I will be participating in a Zoom dialogue with my partner in mental health ministry, Eric Riddle. Eric and I first met in 2014, when an article about me and my first book came out in the local newspaper. Eric and I share similar diagnoses and also had experienced a measure of healing from both prayer and pills, worship and psychotherapy, Bible studies and support groups. We met weekly for nine months with no agenda but to walk around Eric's neighborhood, talk about what was in our hearts, and listen for God's guidance. Over that period we conceived of a faith-based mental health support group called Faithful Friends that has touched the lives of dozens of men [...]

Mental Health Ministry with a Faithful Friend2020-08-13T16:20:42-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight Launches

If you've ever ridden a roller coaster, you know the anticipatory thrill mixed with dread fear as you come to the top of the tracks, just before you descend at full speed, plunging downward, downward, downward, until just before you hit the group, the car comes to a rest and you do it again. It's been a long time since I've ridden on a roller coaster, at least in a theme park. I ride an emotional one each day. Sometimes each hour. As I approach the September 1 public release of my book, I'm feeling the thrill of being at the top of the roller coaster. Now is the time to check my belt to see that it is secure. Today I went over my schedule with my wife, mapped out a projected course, and have been recruiting partners to share the load. While I want my book release to [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Launches2020-08-09T20:35:19-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day

Things are speeding up as I progress toward the publication of When Despair Meets Delight. This week I have: Messaged prospective buyers about advance orders. Conducted an interview with a local reporter for an feature article. Met with a librarian about an upcoming virtual book launch. Spoke with a Christian radio station about appearing on one of their programs. Scheduled appearances on two Facebook live podcasts. All this while attending to my dying father and coordinating his funeral service. Am I manic? Perhaps. Should I slow down? Maybe. What happens if/when I crash? I don't know. One thing I'm sure of is I'm not manufacturing my mania. I am getting plenty of sleep. I'm taking my prescribed medication on time. I have a relatively good rhythm of work and rest. There are certainly improvements I could make in such areas as diet and exercise, but I'm doing my best. I'm [...]

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day2020-08-07T15:28:38-04:00

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever

My dad died this week. A decade ago he was given a few months to live and he thumbed his nose at the medical establishment and lived life to its fullest, until he was ready to die on his own terms. He died with confident faith that this life is not all there is. He found strength for each day because of his hope that tomorrow would be better.  Dad didn't get to see my latest book in print, but I did read it to him. He knew I had acknowledged the huge part he and his wife Connie played in making it possible. The look of pride and gratification in his eyes is one I'll carry with me to my dying day.  My book went through  many transformations, the latest of which came after Dad's diagnosis in March. This excerpt comes from that...   From When Despair Meets Delight, [...]

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever2020-08-02T20:16:25-04:00

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London. There have been periods in my life when I have written thousands of words each day. I've filled up journal after journal, written poems and devotional essays, letters, blog posts, whatever form I could find to express myself. These creative bursts feel so good. I mean SO good. They provide me a natural high where I feel euphoric. As Dad would say, "I don't feel any pain anywhere. Not in my hair. Not in my fingernails. Nowhere." It is quite beautiful and, while not always, I think the writing produced during these periods is likewise delightful. Then there are other times. Times when words are missing. Sentences are partial. For every paragraph that appears on the screen, I backspace over two. Tonight is one of those times. I don't want to write. But I've [...]

Seeking Inspiration, Breathing, and Tearing Up: The Labor Process of When Despair Meets Delight2020-07-27T20:49:55-04:00

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission

I have been more active on social media than ever before as I promote my book. While I worry of becoming grandiose by focusing on my own story, I am delighted at the friendships I am forming around the world with people who share the same passions about reaching out to those impacted by brain illnesses with the compassion of Christ and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. One friend I've recently made is Rosette. Rosette is from Uganda and is part of a faith community which takes seriously the call of Christ to engage in healing ministry. She shared a story of a woman with severe schizophrenia who had been left to flounder in isolation. Members of the church visited her, prayed with her, advocated for her to get and take the medication she needed. Now, while not cured, she functions fully in the life of the community. She [...]

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission2020-07-23T03:13:53-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press

The time is at hand. After five years of gestation, and over a year of hard labor (with a week of major complications), I have been assured that When Despair Meets Delight will go to the printers today. From there, it should take two weeks to prepare a review copy. When I am satisfied that all looks good, I will bring boxes of books home. Then comes the delightfully arduous task of mailing out advance orders -- now over 100. On September 3, the print and e-book will be released on Amazon and the audio version on Audible. This has been an incredibly busy week. I contracted with a man from Uganda to design memes for social media. I hired a sound engineer to create a commercial for iHeart radio. I have been reaching out to podcasters, blog authors, pastors, and others to get the message out. I am both [...]

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press2020-07-19T07:06:48-04:00

The Spiritual Delight of Writing, Being Read, and Receiving Responses

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though. ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. I delight in writing. I delight even more when people read what I write. And I delight the most when people respond to what I've written. When I was in pastoral ministry, there were many things I enjoyed about my work. The process of preparing a sermon was exhilarating. Delivering it was another story. It made me nauseous. It wasn't so much that I had stage fright, but that I was terrified that my presence would get in the way of God's Presence and my words would not communicate God's Word. I much preferred follow-up conversations on [...]

The Spiritual Delight of Writing, Being Read, and Receiving Responses2020-07-15T21:36:44-04:00

Mental Illness: Explanation or Excuse

This is not something I want to write. It's something I feel compelled to write. First, an explanation. Mental illness is a serious problem, both for those of us who have it and for our loved ones impacted by it. It is a also a major societal issue. How we care for those who are most vulnerable is a reflection of who we are and what we believe. If we let "the least of these" fall through the cracks, we will be judged by our consciences and by our faith convictions. God does not look lightly at those abusing His children. Mental illness is a medical condition stemming from faulty brain chemistry which current medical science can treat, but not cure. My own bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental illness (SMI). SMIs are disabling conditions that are chronic. You can't just take a pill and make them go [...]

Mental Illness: Explanation or Excuse2020-07-12T21:52:35-04:00

Self-Pity or Emotional Honesty?

"Mitch, I don't allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, a few tears, and that's all." I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few minutes, then on with the day. And if Morrie could do it, with such a horrible disease . . . ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie. Self-pity, in measured doses, is a natural expression of grief and sadness. It is part of being human. God would expect no less from us. It can even be beneficial. As we get in touch with our personal emotions, we can be more empathetic towards others. But, there is a time and a place for self-pity. If it spills over too broadly, our relationships can become terribly imbalanced. This is particularly [...]

Self-Pity or Emotional Honesty?2020-07-08T22:17:53-04:00
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