Hope For Troubled Minds?

We saw a production of "The Diary of Anne Frank." It portrays two Jewish families and a dentist hiding in a Secret Annex to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany. If you haven't read the book, for God's sake, do so. In it young Anne (13 years old when her family moved to the Annex) details life in hiding with the ever present fear that they will be discovered and deported to a work camp. Or worse. Yet, Anne's diary is not at all a woeful depiction of man's humanity to man. It is a testimony to hope in the midst of terror. She particularly finds hope in writing --   “Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent [...]

Hope For Troubled Minds?2020-02-16T20:50:43-05:00

New Year’s Commitment: Walking in the Light of Christ

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;     dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord,     and he will give you the desires of your heart.   “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” ― G.K. Chesterton.   Today marks the beginning of a new year. Time to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. I have many goals this year. I want to get in shape physically. I want to be loving to my wife and family. I want to be diligent in pursuing my vocation as a writer and a [...]

New Year’s Commitment: Walking in the Light of Christ2020-01-01T19:42:14-05:00

Writing From Despair to Delight

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. ~ Neil Gaiman. This has been a good week of writing days. I was coming into the homestretch of my book and I just kept striding until it was finished. Now I have a completed draft which I've sent to beta readers for recommendations and to Moody Publishers for consideration. The book was conceived near the end of 2013, as I was going to press with Delight in Disorder. It has taken six years to brew, and just about six weeks to write. Edna St. Vincent Millay was once asked how much time in her day she spent writing and she said at least 24 hours. A writer is never not writing, even when she is away from keyboard and screen. But it feels exceptionally good on days when I [...]

Writing From Despair to Delight2019-12-29T19:15:08-05:00

Portrait of a Writer as a Young Boy – my writing life, the first 15 years.

I have been a writer for almost 50 years now. My first essays lacked originality but made up for it in word count. I will not trade baseball cards in class... I will not trade baseball cards in class... I will not... 500 sentences. 4000 words. Long-hand. I’ve learned many lessons in writing through the years and they started right there in 3rd grade. You must suffer for your art. Ask my sister and she’ll tell you l’ve shortened this to a life motto, “You must suffer.” It was in 5th grade that I learned how delightful it was to write about my favorite subject. Me.  The Autobiography of Tony E Roberts was part mythic, part statistic recounting of my early athletic prowess. I remember it best for the cover - an huge orange baboon in the lotus position. In his book On Writing Stephen King says, If you don’t have [...]

Portrait of a Writer as a Young Boy – my writing life, the first 15 years.2019-12-18T19:03:31-05:00

Mental Health Ministry: The Mission Field in Your Backyard

by Catherine Boyle, Director of Mental Health Ministry, Key Ministry. (see bio below) A few weeks ago, I came across some old notes I saved from April 2015 for a still-unwritten book. In those notes was a website link to Key Ministry. For six months leading up to those April notes, I had been sensing God calling me back to ministry, specifically ministry to and with people with some form of mental illness. At the time, I was working in a secular corporate job, earning money to prepare for our kids’ college years. But before that, for more than a decade when my kids were young, I wrote and spoke about my experience with eating disorder and how God’s love helped me heal. I even worked as a full-time volunteer for three and a half years for a ministry startup, a transitional home for women working to overcome their own [...]

Mental Health Ministry: The Mission Field in Your Backyard2019-12-01T19:20:03-05:00

From Despair to Delight: Inspiration

In his seminal book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King tells this story -- A friend came to visit James Joyce one day and found the great man sprawled across his writing desk in a posture of utter despair. "James, what’s wrong?" the friend asked. "Is it the work?" Joyce indicated assent without even raising his head to look at his friend. Of course it was the work; isn’t it always? "How many words did you get today?" the friend pursued. Joyce (still in despair, still sprawled facedown on his desk): "Seven." "Seven? But James… that’s good, at least for you." "Yes," Joyce said, finally looking up. "I suppose it is… but I don’t know what order they go in!"   In March of 2014, I published Delight in Disorder, a devotional memoir about my life as a pastor with bipolar disorder. It was nearly 5 years [...]

From Despair to Delight: Inspiration2019-10-13T20:20:51-04:00

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 Reflection2019-09-01T21:55:07-04:00

My Angel of Mercy

It's been a busy week. We are at the National Correctional Education Association (CEA) conference. I have come along to support my wife Susan, who is President. While she attends to many various and sundry presidential matters, I am staffing her display table, selling her book Kicked to the Curb, encouraging people to subscribe to her blog, and sharing information about her business Nexus Point Consulting. Often, a week of being around people would do me in. While I flock to the spotlight, I can be consumed by the energy of crowds. When I took the Myers-Briggs I scored off-the-scale Introvert. I have learned to endure public duties, but they clearly drain me. As I write this alone in our room, listening to the white soul sounds of Slaid Cleves, Susan is still going strong at a reception honoring teachers of the year. It may take me a week or [...]

My Angel of Mercy2019-07-29T20:22:58-04:00

Readers Write: Testimonies to Delight in Disorder

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119:50) "Easy reading is damn hard writing." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne. Someone once said, "I don't enjoy writing. I enjoy having written." My experience is far from this. I delight in writing. Many times in my life it has been the sole thing to keep me sane. As I write, the voices within and around me are orchestrated through my fingers, inspired by the Spirit, and guided by the Scriptures. My writing is by no means God's Word. It is one saintly sinner's attempt to say something that gives glory to God and uplifts God's people. I've been struggling to write this week. Daily devotions. Encouraging emails. Blog posts. Nothing is coming to me and it is terribly frustrating. Often when I have struggled in the past, I draw from current experience. What have I found joyful? What [...]

Readers Write: Testimonies to Delight in Disorder2019-03-03T20:09:31-05:00

Meet Rev. Tony Roberts, Faith & Mental Health Advocate

On January 7, 2019, I was introduced to the staff at St. Peter's Lutheran (Columbus, IN) as their new Faith & Mental Health Advocate. This position is both an extension of what I do with Delight in Disorder ministries, and a big step forward for St. Peter's. I believe God will bless us both and others as we work together. Why is such a position needed? In spite of perceived improvements in the mental health care system, we still have a long way to go. St. Peter's already has a staff of quality, trained counselors responding with Christian care to the needs of many with emotional, relational, and behavioral issues. Pastors, principals, teachers, a social worker, support staff, and volunteers work hard to better understand those impacted by a mental illness. My role will not be to replace any of them, but to enhance what they are already doing with insights [...]

Meet Rev. Tony Roberts, Faith & Mental Health Advocate2019-01-09T20:47:33-05:00