Holy Suffering?

There is a long-running theme in Christianity that suffering – whether mental or physical – is in some way good for us. In a way, we identify more closely with Jesus (the Suffering Servant) when we too suffer, and some people suggest there is a transformative power to our suffering. Martin Luther wrote on the […]

My Song is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown, my Saviour’s love to me, love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be. O who am I, that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh, and die? He came from his blest throne, salvation to bestow; but men made strange, and none the longed-for Christ would […]

When Our Heads are Bow’d with Woe

WHEN our heads are bow’d with woe, When our bitter tears o’erflow, When we mourn the lost, the dear, Gracious Son of Mary, hear! Thou, our throbbing flesh hast worn; Thou, our mortal griefs hast borne; Thou hast shed the human tear; Gracious Son of Mary, hear! When the sullen death-bell tolls For our own […]

“You Have a Spiritual Problem”

There is a great deal of rather ignorant talk from some Christians about mental illness. I think everyone has at least heard of, if not actually experienced, Christians who believe that mental ill-health is a spiritual problem rather than a medical one. Such people believe that a Christian must be in emotional good health, and […]

Visions and Psychosis

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) Disclaimer: I have not experienced psychosis, or indeed heavenly visions. Please feel free to ignore what I write as the […]

Rest and Our Souls

Resting, both with sleep and with relaxing while awake, is important for our mental health. Mental ill-health can make us wide-awake when we desperately wish not to be, may be triggered by overwork and a lack of rest, and may lead us to be constantly exhausted. Rest also has a spiritual purpose, rest for our […]

Christians and Suicide

If you are feeling suicidal, please consider calling or emailing The Samaritans… I have been suicidal many times. I have seriously attempted suicide several times. My bipolar disorder (which, in me is characterised by deep depression) has led me close to the brink of death by my own hand. I have to say that when […]

Son, I Beseech You, Don’t Sleep Anymore

This is one of my favourite prayer-poems, by Michel Quoist in his book “Prayers of Life” “I shall be in agony till the end of time,” God says. I shall be crucified till the end of time. My sons the Christians don’t seem to realize it. I am scourged, buffeted, stretched out, crucified; I die […]

Believing for Comfort?

I have occasionally been told by others that I only believe in God because of my illness, that I have in effect chosen to believe in order to give myself comfort and a sense of purpose, to make sense of why I have a mental illness and not because God actually exists. I came across a […]

Nox et Tenebrae et Nubila

Ye clouds and darkness, hosts of night, That bred confusion and affright, Begone! O’erhead the dawn shines clear, The light breaks in and Christ is here. Earth’s gloom flees broken and dispersed, By the sun’s piercing shafts coerced: The day-star’s eyes rain influence bright, And colours glimmer back to sight. Thee, Christ, alone we know; […]