About tonyroberts

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

NEWS RELEASE: A new book by Tony Roberts

After 5+ years riding Delight in Disorder, I'm now writing a new book with a working title: "Mental Health Ministry: Cultivating Compassion for those with Mental Illness" What do you think? After a few twists and turns, it is taking shape nicely. It is part-memoir, part-essay. I tell the story of my life in ministry and those who have ministered to me. As I put it in the Introduction:   This book is about mental health ministry. It’s not a “how-to” book. I can not tell you what will work in your ministry setting. Instead of answering the question, “How do we do mental health ministry?” I want to challenge you to ask, “Why are we not doing it?” Statistics are essential, but unless they are enfleshed with stories, they won’t lead to change. Evidence-based programs may produce proposals for getting grants, but if faith communities are going to carry [...]

NEWS RELEASE: A new book by Tony Roberts2019-09-29T17:34:41-05:00

Grace, Delight, and Foolishness: Devotions & Responses

In addition to writing for this blog, I write for such publications as Upper Room, These Days, and Stand Firm. Writing these devotionals is an exercise of faith for me and a way to connect with others hungry for the Word. This month I was fortunate to have a series of devotions ("Our Unbelief; God's Faithfulness") published in the Aug/Sept/Oct issue of these days. They hit home for several persons -- from a psychologist in Tempe, Arizona, to a retired minister in Bradenton, Florida, and many others. Perhaps the most gratifying response came in the mail - letters from a homeless person with a Ph. D. in political science who had schizophrenia and had been living on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee until an hospitable congregation took him under their wings, found him housing, welcomed him into Bible Study and encourage him to become an advocate for the homeless. I [...]

Grace, Delight, and Foolishness: Devotions & Responses2019-09-22T17:12:09-05:00

Sacred Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.(Psalm 116:7) I write this from a loft in Somerset, New Jersey. I’m here playing Uber driver, concierge, and social director while my wife does some consulting work. Much of my day will be my own to do with as I choose. I’m already making lists of how many activities I can fit into a 24-hour day, leaving a little room to cram in sleep. One of the marks of bipolar disorder is a sense of restlessness. Often, I struggle a great deal with this. I pace. I sit. Then I stand up almost at once. I toss and turn in bed. There seems to be no rest for my weary soul. But the Psalmist here assures us that we can lay claim to a promised rest. It is our possession as we grow in our relationship [...]

Sacred Rest2019-09-18T22:35:52-05:00

I am ; even me.

I’m writing this on September 11, 2019. World Suicide Prevention Day. About an hour ago I read the tragic news about Pastor & Mental Health Advocate Jarrid Wilson, who died two days ago by suicide. Here is how Christianity Today described Wilson — His wife, Julianne Wilson posted a photo tribute of her husband on Instagram. The photo slideshow shows him fishing “in his happy place.” She described her husband as “loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious.”... “Tragically, Jarred took his own life,” [          ] Eaton said. ”Over the years, I have found that people speak out about what they struggle with the most.”   I did not know Jarrid Wilson, but I know his story well. His story is the story of far too many persons who try so hard to care for others yet are unable to receive care for themselves; not so much out of stubborn [...]

I am ; even me.2019-09-11T12:07:27-05:00

When Bipolar Mixed States Threaten Your Relationships

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?     Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;     if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,     if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me,     your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me     and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;     the night will shine like the day,     for darkness is as light to you.  (Psalm 139)   Time will pass; this mood will pass; and I will, eventually, be myself again. But then, at some unknown time, the electrifying carnival will come back into my mind. ― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness {this is an adaptation [...]

When Bipolar Mixed States Threaten Your Relationships2019-09-07T21:24:05-05:00

Helping in a Hurricane

Originally published on September 3, 2017 about Hurricane Harvey, just as relevant two years later with Dorian.   Lately the news has been full of stories about Hurricane Harvey and its disastrous impact. Relief efforts are extensive -- from government agencies, charitable organizations, private foundations, church groups, and individuals. People are eager to help in such horrifically harsh times, yet many are leery as they hear about instances where resources have been misused, rather than get to folks who need it. It is true our generosity can be abused. When such major needs arise, we give compulsively and, at times, compulsory. We often don't take the time to see that our gifts support the efforts that will meet the true needs of the most people. Misplaced trust can particularly happen for those of us with serious mental illness. Many want to help, as we have been helped in our lives. [...]

Helping in a Hurricane2019-09-04T21:02:41-05:00

Work Worthy of Eating: A Labor Day Reflection

For we hear there are some among you who are idle. They are not busy but busybodies. (2 Thessalonians 3:11) Some time ago, due to health reasons, I was encouraged to resign from my paid career. While I have worked at various tasks -- writing a spiritual memoir, founding a support group, creating a podcast -- nothing quite replaced working for a paycheck. 2 Thessalonians has caused me to consider the nature of what I do with my life and wonder if I can say I earn a living. If not, do I deserve a seat at the Lord's table? First, a little context about first century Thessalonica. Many Christians believed that Christ’s return was imminent. So why work? Some carried this even further to become armchair quarterbacks -- busybodies, as Paul puts it. Not only did they not work, they also criticized the work of others. As one of [...]

Work Worthy of Eating: A Labor Day Reflection2019-09-01T21:55:07-05:00

Balance

When I am most imbalanced, I have take many dangerous and foolish risks. Like driving 90 mph on the Interstate while reading a book and writing a review. Like dodging traffic as I walked through city streets recording what I considered brilliant thoughts. Like stuffing dozens of candy corn into my mouth until I couldn't swallow or breathe. Why would I do these things? When I am manic, I reply, "Why not?" When I am manic, I take on special powers; I can topple towers, read minds, and save souls. I have a direct line to God. I am God's special child. God has ordained me to create peace, provide help for the helpless, hope for those in despair. When I am manic, I am on top of the world. Better yet, I am the top of the world. But what goes up, must come down. And often the higher I [...]

Balance2019-08-29T21:32:16-05:00

Wave After Wave

O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.  (Psalm 88:1)   I'm finding it difficult to breathe right now. My chest constricts. My heart aches. My gut churns. Tears are welling up inside me. I'm near collapse. What is happening? I am under attack both within and beyond. Wave after wave of enemies envelop me. Overwhelm me. Cut me off from the Breath of life. I believe; I also have doubts. Not about God, but about myself. Why would God pay attention to me? What if God wants to teach me a lesson by losing? I'm clenching my fist to a thread of hope as the waves crash around me. I see no raft, no rescue ship -- only the mist at sea. Where is this coming from? I have a marvelous life... A wonderful wife. A loyal dog. A loving family. Faithful friends. [...]

Wave After Wave2019-08-25T22:31:34-05:00

To a muse, myself.

Originally published September 10, 2018....   My senior year of college, I set out to write a book. To accomplish this, I had to get a muse. All great writers have muses. I made a list of qualities my muse had to have: 1)   She had to be beautiful. 2)  She had to be smart. 3)  She had to be passionate. I looked across campus and my eyes lit on a Botticelli Beauty with flowing blonde hair. Monique. She was reading The Stranger by Albert Camus, jotting down notes in her black leather journal. I later discovered this was filled with incisive quotes she uncovered to satisfy her thirst for inspired truth. Beautiful. Check. Smart. Check. I introduced myself and we soon became friends. We shared a common disdain for pop culture. We were disgusted by the same people, hated the same things. One might think we were a [...]

To a muse, myself.2019-08-22T16:16:50-05:00