What to Pray When Prayer Isn’t Called For

It has been almost forty years now that I have been in some form of ministry. During this time, I have asked thousands of people if I might pray for them. People of all ages, various social and ethnic backgrounds, political perspectives, sexual identities. Believers and non-believers. Christians of all stripes as well as people of other faiths and those who claim no faith at all. In four decades I can count on one hand the number of persons who were not grateful for my prayers or offer to pray. And many, many times, bringing the subject up has opened the door to spiritual intimacy that is tremendously nourishing. In my Hope for Troubled Minds Facebook community, I have been messaging members for prayer requests. I then write their responses in a notebook and look them over at various times through the week. Their prayers are unique, but they also [...]

What to Pray When Prayer Isn’t Called For2020-05-03T20:08:25-04:00

What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?

This week I posted a meme that has been going around in various places. It goes like this: “Being popular on Facebook is like eating at the cool table in the cafeteria at a mental hospital.” I posted it because I identified with the humor. Two of my goals in life have been to be popular on Facebook and sit at the cool table when I’m in the mental hospital. One of the things that keeps me relatively sane is my ability to laugh at myself and I find particular pleasure in making people laugh with me. Certainly, I have a serious mental illness; that's a part of who I am. Not taking myself too seriously diminishes the power of my disordered ego. Thus, more often than not, the things I find funny are self-deprecating jabs. But self-deprecating humor may be misused in non-intimate settings such as social media. In [...]

What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?2019-10-09T16:54:11-04:00

The End of the World (as they knew it)

There was a knock at the door and suddenly the lights went out. “It’s the end of the world!” said Maura, devotee of Jeanne Dixon. “We need to pray.” said Peter. At 16, Peter had found his way into a youth group. “First we need to confess,” said Father, a lapsed Catholic. “I’ll go get my cell phone." said Thomas,  I just downloaded  “The Virtual Vatican." Thomas had doubts, but he wasn't taking any chances. “Let’s just answer the damn door and check the breakers!”  said Sonya. Last year Sonya had come out as an atheist.  Two years ago, she came out as a lesbian.  The year before that, as Bipolar. Sonya answered the door.  Nobody was there.  She checked the breakers.  None of the fuses were blown. “I tell you, it’s the end the world!" “Let us pray.” “Father, forgive us, for we have sinned.” “Where’s my damn cell [...]

The End of the World (as they knew it)2018-10-07T20:23:09-04:00

10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist

     O grant us help against the foe    for human help is worthless.  (Psalm 108:12) I have Christian friends who advise me to steer clear of psychiatrists who do not share my faith.  I believe though,  "God, can use even atheists to promote healing should God choose to do so.  I've had some excellent psychiatrists and some real stinkers.  During one period where it seemed I was getting one bad psychiatrist after another, I wrote a list of 10 ways to tell it might be time to leave your psychiatrist and I'd like to offer these to you, free of charge... It's time to leave your psychiatrist when s/he says...      1)   Enough about your mother, let's talk about mine.      2)   Sure, the blue meds are working, but the pink pills are so much cuter.      3)    In my professional opinion, you're crazier than a loon.      4)     [...]

10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist2018-09-06T16:45:53-04:00

Ironic Iconoclasm: Healthy, Holy Humor

Some time ago, I was asked this question: In two words or less, how would you describe your sense of humor? The first two words that came to my mind were - "Ironic Iconoclasm". Then I wondered, "What does that mean?" This post is my effort to answer that question. First, irony comes in various forms.  I like how this on-line dictionary defines one aspect of irony - a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony. I've learned this form of irony not so much from the classic Greek philosopher Socrates as from my self-proclaimed Kentuckian father Veston.  When Dad wants to catch someone off-guard with a thought provoking question, he begins with - Now, I only have a sixth-grade education, so you'll have to help me understand this... Dad is actually [...]

Ironic Iconoclasm: Healthy, Holy Humor2018-09-03T20:55:08-04:00