Soft Approaches for Hard Topics: Creating Ministries About Mental Health

July 12, 201912:00 pm12:50 pm
This is both a dispositional as well as a practical enterprise. (1) The majority of people still struggle to discuss mental health, trauma, or substance abuse. So much stigma, true, but also so much guilt and pain. This discussion will start from a place of pastoral care for people willing to dive into the ideas of these ministries. I have a caveat about this idea of “ministries.” I really don’t advocate another committee doing another task of social justice. I advocate for ways to fold this kind of strengthening into all aspects of the church as part and parcel of our proclamation and religious education. I will also linger on boundary making, showing the difference between the practice of pastoral care to others that is non-clinical and safe for average lay people. It’s not about trying to equip folks to talk somebody off a ledge; it’s about doing a lot of things well to avoid people climbing up there. (2) I’m writing a book, Pentecost Rising: Practical Ministry in the Nation of Mental Health Crises. The book will be finished by July but already I have chapters of small ideas and big ideas for congregations discerning faithfulness and change. (3) If you are a person living with mental illness/ trauma/ substance or if you are a person who loves people with any combo of those three, the devil is in the endurance. Relapsing and remitting is exhausting, spiritually exhausting. Fundamentally rooted in the supply of G_d, we can sustain the hard times and live into better times. That’s my Jesusification central to the Legion enterprise. (4) I don’t have a laptop but if I can work that out, I would show proxy ministries of how to use emoticons, legos, and PaperDolls as tools, props, and proxies for teaching. A goofy lego makes the idea of talking to teenagers about sexual assault a lot less icky and terrifying.
12:00 am Our Brother Legion