Catching Up…

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215 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Welcome back Michael. You were never far from the thoughts and concerns of your readers. 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean!

  3. Dude says:

    Michael
    Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, Dude…it was good to get away from it all for a bit.

  5. Morning Michael. Welcome back. Missed you. Have thought of you often, hoping all was/is well in your world.

    “Granite Bible”. Eloquent! In the words of the film documentary, “Lord, save us from Your followers”.

    I’ll read the link on JD Hall later….. I’m still mad at him. 🙂

    God bless you my friend.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, Paige…blessings on you as well, my friend!

  7. covered says:

    Welcome back Michael and thanks for today’s thoughts, not to be confused with Things I think 🙂 The repentance piece from the WW is awesome! How can we not embrace the power of repentance and accountability? No doubt it took an army of blogs to make JD realize the damage that he caused but it is just encouraging to see and hear him repent. I immediately thought that God can use him and there is ministry that can be salvaged for JD Hall as long as God continues to get the glory.

    If we look at JD Hall vs. MD, I would say that MD had the same opportunities to come clean and him fighting all the way out the door will be his demise.

    Bob G, if you are still trolling here, please learn from this. You have an awesome opportunity to make things right and glorify God. As we learned from MD and many others, the window of opportunity has limits.

  8. “None of this matters unless the members of Mars Hill church find another place to worship.”

    Strongly disagree…it matters greatly what Acts 29 and the publisher did. Hopefully it will wake Driscoll up and hopefully he’ll make some sincere changes.

  9. Babylon's Dread says:

    Glad you are back Michael,

    Your absence was a void. You have become a presence in our lives and a voice that we miss when gone.

    The Caner lad’s suicide hit me hard then Robin Williams which has been astonishing. I am not sure when I have seen a nation mourn a celebrity with this level of focus. It is hard for us to turn the page and everyone feels it. The boomer generation grew up with his comedy and then sat amazed at his depth and capacity for drama.

    We want to turn the clock back, we want to stop him. We want to talk to him and give him real hope. We want to make the pain abate the way he made made us forget our own. We want to quote the lines from his movies. We want the image that we have in our mind to vanish. We want better endings to the stories.

    Suicide stories are unbearable just now. I fear how humans are emboldened to wrong choices when others inspire them.

    “And the last enemy that shall be destroyed… “

  10. Bob says:

    Well said!

    Thank you!

  11. Babylon's Dread says:

    Acts 29 shocked me. Someone gets it. Someone who is close and inside has the strength to say no and make it stick. I was and am in shock that they stood up. Money and sex usually get rapid response. Power offenses seldom get addressed.

  12. Michael says:

    Alex,

    I’ve said it before and I’ll continuer saying it…in the final analysis the only people that can remove a rogue pastor are the ones who are paying his salary.
    Others can affirm their need and responsibility to do so…but in the end, it’s the pews that cast the final vote.

  13. Michael says:

    BD,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    Before I left, our church was mourning the loss of someone who died by suicide.
    It’s an unspeakable tragedy.
    When we must speak, the words must be chosen as carefully as if lives were at stake…because they are.

  14. Michael says:

    Covered,

    Hall responded biblically and in a timely fashion…all we should do now is forgive him and yes…use his godly example as a template for others.
    I might use it myself…

  15. Michael, “removal” is not necessarily the goal…Driscoll repenting is. I think what Acts 29 did is remarkable and maybe, just maybe it will get Driscoll’s attention.

    These guys are usually highly delusional and think everything is the devil attacking them…but maybe their own Tribe saying, “hey, you’re very wrong” will get his attention. If he sincerely repented, he’d probably make a great pastor.

  16. …but, I’ll leave it at that. Glad you had a break and good luck to you Michael. I sincerely wish the best for you.

  17. Michael says:

    Alex,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    We can all pray that what you propose will happen…but I’m pretty cynical in my old age. 🙂

  18. papiaslogia says:

    Michael – nice to have you back!

    “None of this matters unless the members of Mars Hill church find another place to worship.”

    ‘Strongly disagree…it matters greatly what Acts 29 and the publisher did. Hopefully it will wake Driscoll up and hopefully he’ll make some sincere changes.’

    I agree with Michael, the only thing that may motivate MH people to leave or call for MD to change may be these actions taken by Acts29 and Lifeway, not by outsiders to the group, but people who they call friends. Every time someone from within the group questions MD, that’s a good thing. The mindset that

    I would think that MD is feeling a little pressure these days. Or he’s in total denial, framing this an attack of the enemy.

  19. Michael says:

    Thanks, papaiaslogia.
    From where I sit it looks like Driscoll is going to stonewall and wait out the storm.

  20. papiaslogia says:

    And with JD Hall…. wow on repentance. That’s how you do it!

    SGM, MD, (some) CC, take note…..

  21. erunner says:

    Good to see you again Michael! I’m still sad about Robin Williams. Especially when I see pictures of him where he wasn’t being comedic. Makes me wish I was his friend and could have reached out…

    I’m happy to see pastor Hall repent and hope it stands the test of time.

    In a world that is so beset with evil I’ll take any victory there is that is shared. I suspect tons of those victories will be unreported as they will be the result of believers living out their lives right where God has placed them.

  22. Michael says:

    Thank you erunner…and your last paragraph is gold.

  23. Pastor Brian David Laurie says:

    @19
    Agreed. A pastor who stonewalls only repents when he is finally tossed out.

  24. Rob says:

    BD said: “Power offenses seldom get addressed.”

    Wow, that is one of the most truthful things I’ve ever read!

  25. Xenia says:

    I think there is a real danger in romanticizing* a celebrity suicide. Just last night there was an incident here in my small town where the police had to intervene with a man who was threatening suicide while referencing Robin Williams.

    *By romanticizing I mean discussing it 24/7 on the news programs and speaking of the act as if it somehow freed him, which it did not.

  26. IF JD would have stuck with the last half of his statement, and left out the first half, it would have been better. Too much splaining. At least he intends to take a different path now.

  27. EricL says:

    Feels good to get “my” Phoenix Preacher back. Hope you had a great weekend, Michael.

    Robin Williams death is a sad reminder that wealth and fame look better from outside, with your nose pressed against the glass out of curiosity or envy. From inside, you realize that the wealth and fame is no cure-all or guarantee to health or happiness. Sad.

  28. Jean says:

    “Robin Williams death is a sad reminder that wealth and fame look better from outside, with your nose pressed against the glass out of curiosity or envy. From inside, you realize that the wealth and fame is no cure-all or guarantee to health or happiness.”

  29. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That is a good point…and one of the few places I agreed with Walsh.

  30. Michael says:

    EricL…thank you.

  31. papiaslogia says:

    Suicide is never the answer, but to someone who’s mind is contemplating it, it begins as one answer to the difficulties of life, and unless it can be dealt with, it becomes the ONLY answer. It begins to make sense. When contemplating it, your thought patterns take on a “people will be better without me around” mindset – and that’s not a call for attention – you can begin to justify that process.

    That’s when its scary – when it begins to make sense. Seek help immediately.

    At that point, you HAVE to decide not to do it TODAY. Put it off until tomorrow – see how you feel then. Make space between what “makes sense” today versus what will make sense tomorrow.

    And if tomorrow you feel the same – seek help again.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    To Xenia’s point – I specifically heard one person on the radio part of a 3-person panel (celebrating with clips and memories of his work), draw the conclusion that wrestling with sobriety again as a newcomer, after 20+ years of success, was just too hard and “he decided to check-out”

    I think he actually has a point, since there was clearly an interplay between his depression and his addiction, but what exactly that was nobody other than someone very close to him could ever share accurately (and the autopsy will answer some questions here too)….but it was the manner in which the statement was made. As if suicide is a legit alternative rather than struggling with sobriety and relapse

    Considering how many addicts there are in this country, in various stages of recovery (or not) it is a horrible message to send.

  33. Jean says:

    I pulled the trigger prematurely on my #28 (maybe too much coffee this morning).

    “Robin Williams death is a sad reminder that wealth and fame look better from outside, with your nose pressed against the glass out of curiosity or envy. From inside, you realize that the wealth and fame is no cure-all or guarantee to health or happiness.”

    This is so true. I found in myself for years, I sometimes see it in my children, and I see it generally in society, that much of the problem stems from people looking for happiness in all the wrong places. It begins with a “me” orientation to life and then all sorts of distortions develop in our understanding of beauty, love, happiness, joy and relationships. Life can become a never ending (and never satisfying) quest for feeling good (and our culture actually promotes and facilitates such a quest).

    As hard as life can be for Christians, I cannot imagine how difficult life would be without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christ really is the solid ground on which we stand. If a Christian asked me what the key to happiness is and I had to answer in one sentence, I would answer: “You have to lose your life to find it.”

    Here I am not minimizing the effects of, or counseling those suffering from, mental illness. As Michael stated earlier, that is a medical condition which can prevent the one afflicted from grasping what I’m saying. I have tremendous respect and admiration for those struggling with mental illness and for those who minister to those afflicted.

  34. I don’t advocate suicide at all, but I know of people who have “thought it through” and just decided they did not want to live any longer – just tired.

  35. Steve Wright says:

    As hard as life can be for Christians, I cannot imagine how difficult life would be without a relationship with Jesus Christ
    ——————————————–
    All the more true as to sobriety. Unimaginable…

  36. papiaslogia says:

    MLD – that’s my point: when someone “thinks it through” and it makes sense – seek help immediately.

    People who haven’t thought about it don’t see how anyone could do it. People who have contemplated it…..understand a little bit.

  37. I lost a friend a year ago when he lost his lifelong battle with depression.

    At first we were all shocked and angry. He left behind wonderful children, a recovery supportive church he helped found, and a community of recovering addicts who struggle with the dark question, “If HIM, then why not me?”

    His darkness obscured the well lit faces and drowned out the hundreds of encouraging voices of all of us.

    He knew and loved Jesus.
    He grew exhausted.

    We still mourn today.

    …and we treat each other as the fragile souls we know we are

  38. Xenia says:

    I was listening to a “History of San Francisco” podcast recently and the topic was Golden Gate Bridge suicides. A few people have survived the plunge and to a person, they reported that the moment they jumped, they regretted it.

  39. I was raised Jewish – I think Jews have a healthy, but different view in this area.
    My family? They are jumpers. I have had a step brother, a cousin and 2 uncles leap from bridges and an aunt who leaped from the 8th floor of a posh Beverly Hills hotel.

    Not the choice for me – but I always looked at it as them controlling their exit.

  40. Rob Murphy says:

    I grieve for those who are left in the crater of the suicide. In speaking with the children who are left behind, I have heard one theme over and over. The kids (from ages 10-20 is the age group I’ve shared with most) have always said something like this:
    “Everyone says it wasn’t my fault. I wish there was something I did wrong, and that people would tell me what it was, something I could have done differently. Because now there’s nothing I could ever be or do that would ever make my Dad/Mom want to stay.”

    Grief counseling that I’ve been through has always emphasized ‘don’t say “they’re in a better place”. Suicide is the death that seems to get a pass on that, and I think it is to the detriment of the loved ones left behind.
    When faced with the ‘what if’s” and “why?” of suicide, I can only think of Jesus’ words to Peter “You follow me”. Drawing and being drawn closer to Jesus is the only thing that has brought or brings any solace in my section of the crater.

    I really like what BD said: Suicide stories are unbearable just now. I fear how humans are emboldened to wrong choices when others inspire them.

  41. Michael says:

    Rob,

    Well said…thank you.

  42. Michael says:

    One more thing, as Walsh is now playing the victim.
    There is a huge difference between bi-polar disorder (which Robin Williams suffered from) and depression.
    Bi-polar is much more difficult to treat, especially if it is accompanied with other disorders.
    All mental illness is difficult at best…we make it worse when we pontificate on things outside of our knowledge and training.

  43. Cousin of Eutychus says:

    About 25 years ago I went through what might best be described as a “dark night of the soul”. Helplessness, shame at my own sense of helplessness to get ‘better’, pride, despair–utterly overwhelming. In the early months (lasted about 2 years with some intensity), two things sustained me. One was a passage from the gospels, where Jesus says that He did not come for the healthy, but for the sick. As I read that passage, I thought, I am sick–and He loves me! The other came as I told my wife in a conversation that I didn
    t think I could go on like this for months or years. A sense came over me, almost as though God had spoken audibly, that I did not have to make it for a long season–I only had to make it until I went to sleep that evening. So every morning thereafter I would speak to myself–just make it until bedtime. And by God’s grace, I did.

    I had a lot of encouragement from those around me, especially family, and indispensible professional help. I have great empathy for those who struggle in this area–and no condemnation or judgment for those who lose this battle. I trust in the grace and goodness of God, that far surpasses my imagination as to its vastness and quality, to care for those who take their lives, and those who love them.

  44. It is more important for many in Christianity to be right than repentant.
    This doesn’t just mean big mega church pastors.

  45. Michael says:

    Cousin of Eutychus,

    Thank you…

  46. sarahkwolfe says:

    Thought I would just pipe in for a second and mention Ann Voskamp’s article, which I thought was rather a beautiful response. Her mother dealt with mental illness when Ann was growing up, so she understands the mental illness issue first hand…and she gets depression.

    I remember when I decided I was going end things. Rather glad I changed my mind all those years ago. Praying for Williams’ family, and for all those who are brought into a rather harsh spotlight by all the attention of his actions…those who were teetering on a decision and now are wondering. May God stay there actions and give them hope in these moments.

    Here’s Ann’s article (if it has been posted elsewhere I apologize)…

    http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/08/what-the-church-christians-need-to-know-about-suicide-mental-health/

  47. I am with Walsh.
    I saw zero offense in his article.
    He has been treated shabbily and usually things have been read into what he wrote that aren’t even there.
    His article today was explanatory of the first and heartfelt.
    Those who dismiss him out of hand, or for offense’s sake, should be ashamed.

  48. Michael says:

    Sarah,
    Thank you for sticking with us…I can’t imagine life without you.
    I wouldn’t be who I am without years of of your grace.
    I linked to Voskamp in the body of the article, but it’s well worth featuring again.

  49. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I didn’t dismiss him out of hand…I read it multiple times.
    I carefully edited what I wrote here…because I was as angry as many, but chose not to throw out his worthwhile points while disagreeing vigorously with the other damaging things he wrote.
    He didn’t interact with the best of the criticism made of him at all, in my opinion.
    This isn’t something abstract for me…I live with it every day.
    I would gladly give my life if someone I love could see a glimmer of joy.

  50. Xenia says:

    Like Derek, I am inclined to agree with Walsh’s article.

  51. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I pray that neither one of you ever have to know personally why I don’t.

  52. Xenia says:

    Michael, you are presuming to know more about me than you actually do.

  53. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    If so, then please forgive me.
    I need to respect the privacy of my loved ones, so I will say little more.

  54. Xenia says:

    Michael, same here. Sorry for the little dust up.

  55. Jim says:

    Walsh is in the deep end of the pool here. He should have kept his mouth shut and stayed with the other kids.

  56. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    No problem…this is difficult territory for us all.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    I do not see anywhere that he was diagnosed as bipolar, and do see him specifically in one interview saying he has not been.

    In case anyone has not read his words when he decided to drink again after 20 years of sobriety. Here they are. Last night Dennis Miller took phone calls from people and it is amazing how many addicts phoned in to relate to this very moment in Williams’ life.

    ‘One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice — I call it the “lower power’ — goes, “Hey. Just a taste. Just one.” I drank it, and there was that brief moment of “Oh, I’m okay!” But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.’

    He described feelings of loneliness and fear that pushed him back towards alcohol at that time. ‘I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It was that thing of working so much, and going f***, maybe that will help. And it was the worst thing in the world.’ In 2006, his family held an intervention to force him to get help for his addictions. He checked into a Hazeldon center in Oregon and admitted he was an alcoholic.His rep said at the time, ‘After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family.’
    ——————————
    He relapsed in 2003 (after 20+ years sober), and from 2006 until as recently as a couple months ago (when he again checked into rehab) he fought and often lost in new bids to get sober.

    I am very hopeful that one positive that can come out of this tragedy is a renewed focus on helping the mentally ill and depressed – but just as much a renewed focus on the interconnection with serious drug and alcohol addiction and the lifetime battle they bring to any of us who know that battle. One day at a time was the counsel of Jesus…and it is life or death for millions of people out there. Including far too many I know personally, some of whom I have done their funerals.

  58. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Question for you Michael,

    You don’t think there is a spiritual component to depression?

    Most times someone doesn’t go from point A to Z in regards to depression, it’s over time. There were rumors of severe drug use with Robin and I am convinced that pro longed drug use can bring on severe depression. Really any addiction can bring on depression whether it’s gambling, drinking, materialism, sex, being a lover of yourself etc. Notice that all those things are spoken against in the Bible. Maybe that “God” guy knows what he is talking about after all. God wants to protect us that’s why his word is full of warnings about being overcome by Sin. It can happen to any of us but all the more to stay steadfast in our faith and deny ourselves.

  59. “There are some things that unless you experience them yourself or live with someone who does, you shouldn’t comment on…you should simply offer all the love and empathy that Christ provides.”
    ____________________________________
    Micheal presumes to know more about Walsh than he actually does also.
    If he had read his article today, maybe he would realize that.
    But, I guess it is easier for all the Christian celebs on twitter and the blogs to dig in than admit they may be wrong.
    Sort of Driscoll behavior.

  60. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “One more thing, as Walsh is now playing the victim.
    There is a huge difference between bi-polar disorder (which Robin Williams suffered from) and depression.
    Bi-polar is much more difficult to treat, especially if it is accompanied with other disorders.
    All mental illness is difficult at best…we make it worse when we pontificate on things outside of our knowledge and training.”

    I know people that have been diagnosed with Bi Polar and I ask them how they were diagnosed. The answers are eye popping, many of these Therapists/Psychologists use lazy subjective methods to diagnose, there is virtually no science behind these diagnosis. I think somewhere along the line we all got hoodwinked into the Wisdom of this World rather than the foolishness of God.

  61. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    God’s word says we are to endure to the end and suicide is not enduring to the end. My prayers for Robin’s family.

  62. incogneto says:

    I witnessed one attempted suicide, a friend / neighbor jabbed a broken bottle into his forearm and dragged it down about six inches. My mom who was a nurse saved his life. The other time I was a kid and was in the house of a friend when the brother killed himself in the garage. Then another friend in high school killed himself in a very brutal fashion that no one really knew about it, I found out about it when a sibling came over and was laughing at me about how stupid my friend was after the cop told some other folks and they all have a good laugh. The guy on our court tried to kill himself after he tried to cut his family up with a butcher knife, we died in the mental health facility. Though it was not seen as suicidal but self injurious behavior one lady tried to take out her one remaining eye with a fork, I was able to stop that one. I could go on but wont. I did make the mistake of sharing my Christian faith groups but I think it was just too much for them as it was for me. It really is sad at times.

  63. Steve Wright says:

    Bi-polar is as real as cancer.

  64. In fact, the other article you wrote today and it’s “subliminal message” thing sort of reveals this whole thing is about presumption.
    Presumption of Walsh’s heart motives.
    Words and motives that weren’t there are imposed upon him.
    I saw zip, nada, nothing to suggest a cold heart in the original article. I saw it as caring about all those people thinking about taking their lives and not sending them a go ahead message.

  65. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Not too much legit Science behind this Bi Polar thing, more like Junk Science. False Psychology has hi jacked Science. Colossians 2:8 applies here. Bi Polar is not a disease that’s why no one is born with it and it develops later on as it is a human behavior, manic and depression. Instead of just saying someone gets depressed they quickly want to label it. Sin will sure make people get depressed such as drug/alcohol addiction. It’s simply common sense. Chemical imbalances, what an inexact Science, what came first the chicken or the egg? Chemical imbalances many times are brought on by stuff people bring into their systems, drugs etc., addition to porn and violence and such.

  66. Reuben says:

    I read some of the Christian nonsense over Robin Williams and just get angry. Every single loud mouth has to proclaim they can speculate how he wound up in this “place”. Most of those have only ever watched his movies, and know very little, or damn near nothing about him.

    He was a stand up comedian. If most “christians” had sat through one or two minutes of his average routines, they would reject him as a total heathen. They would also learn that he was an Episcopalian, and he spoke of it often. They would also know he was a very depressed man, and he spoke of it often. They would also know he had huge addiction problems, and spoke of it all the time. He was hugely profane. He was also gut busting hilariois in facing all those demons.

    Because one famous pastor or two were touched by one of his movies, does not make one an expert on the man, nor give anyone the right to attempt to speculate on his trials. I am speaking of Christianity Today, who is not worthy of printing toilet paper in this matter. They have no idea who he was, or what he was about, and if they did, there would be no idiotic articles attempting to slap a Jesus fish (for their own gain) on Robin’s grave.

    His depression in life drove him to standup.

    Reading through the typical “Biblical Psychology” horse poop today, I saw Christians defending ignorance to mind blowing levels in this situation.

    “if only he had memorized more scripture, prayed more, not drank, hung out with godly influences”

    This is wilful ignorance regarding clinical depression, and frankly some of the most embarrassing garbage to have been vomited by “ambassadors for Christ” known to man kind.

    The position that his “dark side” needed to be hidden or simply not discussed is silly. He had no problem with it. He just did it different.

    Mark Driscoll is being martyred for Jesus. Don’t believe me? Pay attention to his minions. This is a big boost in his fundy street credibility.

    Heretic Reuben signing off.

  67. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Again, one doesn’t go from point A to Z in regards to depression, it is a process. Sorry, but the way one lives their life can easily lead to depression. Like I said before it can happen to anyone if you don’t keep grounded and disciplined.

  68. Michael says:

    Derek @ 60,

    Walsh wrote about “depression” when the best information I have is that Williams was “bi polar”.
    Two radically different diagnoses.
    I read his article today and he’s still lumping all mental illness into the depression category.
    Presuming that they have the ability to seek “joy”…and holding people in hellish darkness as accountable for their choices as those who are well.
    It’s wrong and I don’t care whether you think so or not.
    Driscollish?
    Because I and thousands of others including medical professionals think this guy is wrong?
    That’s just slander.

  69. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Instead of hailing him or condemning him, maybe we should use it as a warning to others that Fame and Riches in this World don’t mean anything when it comes to true Joy and Peace. Only our Lord can give us that.

  70. erunner says:

    Solomon Rodriguez, you should really ask to have your 67 removed. It’s really cruel and misinformed.

  71. Michael says:

    Solomon,

    You are clueless.
    Go away.

  72. Anne says:

    http://www.afsp.org/news-events/in-the-news/suicide-is-not-cowardly

    If I said everything on my mind after reading this thread, Michael would have no choice but to ban me. Not the way I plan on welcoming him back after his vacay. So I will try to behave. I do recommend everyone read the links and info besides this article at AFSP. For your own sakes and those in your circle of influence. Every time I think I can get not anymore disheartend by christianity some folks posting here and elsewhere prove me wrong. Did you all know that more folks in the US die from suicide than from auto accidents? And the stats of the “church” match the overall population? So much for salt & light. Grateful for those within and without the church who are beacons of hope & light though. Thanks for plugging along in your convictions Michael despite the challenges.

  73. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I think some Christians have a Man Crush on Driscoll, that’s why they talk about him so much 🙂

  74. Michael says:

    Anne,

    I’m real close to getting banned myself.
    It’s getting time to clean house.

  75. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    Well said.

  76. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    erunner/Michael,

    Actually I looked into Bi Polar quite a bit. God gave us Power, Love and a Sound Mind! I choose to believe the scriptures rather than those that spout off FALSE Psychology

  77. Solomn Rodriguez says:

    Michael,

    You seem to be an angry little man.

  78. Steve Wright says:

    Solomon, as Michael wrote, there is a difference between depression and bi-polar illness. And thus I believe the diagnosis should not be misapplied.

    But posts like yours give us Christians the “luddite” sort of label that then people like G take to the extremes in his mocking of the faith

    I’m married to a professional in this field, who also is a Christian and knows all about sin, the power of God and all the rest.

    She just came home and said exactly what I was thinking and expressing here. An appreciation for the spotlight on mental illness but a fear that the world would do so at the exclusion of alcoholism which was his number one problem it seems pretty clearly.

    And of course the reason is obvious why the world would be more comfortable with the focus on the one at the expense of the other, rather than look at the two in tandem……especially with football season sponsoring up once more…

  79. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I choose to think for myself instead of believing the Hype!

  80. Drummer says:

    Michael,
    Close to home here as well. Thanks for the article. Welcome back

  81. You know what I didn’t even know he might be bi-polar till you said it today.
    I looked it up and it does not seem to be an established fact that he was. People say it could have been either depression or bi-polar.
    So is this your big argument?
    I stand by what I have said. You read into Walsh what you wanted to see there. Your other article today pretty much indicates you saw things that weren’t there.
    But, please continue to dig yourself in.

  82. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Sorry all,

    But I choose to exercise my God Given freewill to not believe the Hype about Bi Polar diagnosis. I also choose to believe that Psychology is dangerous and False. If me standing up for what I believe makes me the bad guy then so be it. I’m not going to agree with you just for the hell of it, I am expressing my view, sorry you can’t handle that , maybe you need to mature Michael and anyone else that acts like baby about my views on this.

  83. erunner says:

    This is difficult as I have come to know people that have posted here who have tried to take their lives because their pain was unbearable. They know the Scriptures and love God. I know what it’s like to have my mind betray me and that doesn’t compare to what these people have experienced. I can’t fathom walking in their shoes.

    We as the church can’t allow this to be an area of polarization because all it does is further harm and confuse hurting souls who are desperate for help. Why come forward and run the risk of being marginalized if you share your burdens?

    This world is only going to get more complicated as things continue on and there are going to be many more who are going to need our help and encouragement. We owe them that.

  84. Anne says:

    SW – as a retired mental health worker it has always been my understanding as a practiioner and survivor, that addiction is very often the self- medication of underlying conditions such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar, etc. I think your missus would concur.

  85. erunner says:

    Bipolar depression and dark depression apart from bipolar are both merciless. They strip you of all hope and drive you into dark places you wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    Sol Rod you are quickly becoming a joke with the garbage you spout…

  86. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I clearly said it can happen to anyone, depression that is, chemical imbalances also don’t happen by themselves, there are triggers and they could be a lot of things, Porn addiction has been known to cause certain triggers

  87. erunner says:

    Thanks for sharing Anne.

  88. I think we look too deeply – bi polar or depressed? Hey, some people are just sad and don’t want to live any longer. Why is that so hard to accept? You don’t have to be ‘sick’ … just tired of living.

  89. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I very carefully stated my objections.
    I’m not alone.
    Many psychiatric and medical professionals have posted the same responses I had.
    Walsh doesn’t want to acknowledge those…and neither do you.
    You’re damn right I’m going to dig in…this stuff affects lives.

  90. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Erunner,

    One man’s Garbage is another Man’s treasure

  91. Michael says:

    Drummer,

    You’re welcome.

  92. Michael says:

    Erunner,

    This is why your blog was so damn important…

  93. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    ERunner,

    you Insult because you have low self esteem, how’s that for Dime Store Psychology

  94. Michael says:

    Solomon,

    Tell me how mentally ill children who’ve never seen porn or abused any substance other than sugar got so sick…inform us o’ holy clown.

  95. Steve Wright says:

    Bipolar sufferers don’t go 20+ years without treatment and do well. It is a very real, serious illness. For 20 years his only “treatment” was avoiding booze and drugs.

    Maybe he had a very unusual late onset of bipolar illness in his 50s which was tied into his relapse back to alcohol. One thing that seems to have been proven is that withdrawal from alcohol can bring on more strongly bipolar behaviors, and we know he was off and on with alcohol the last decade. (And thus bipolar victims resort back to the booze and a vicious cycle ensues)

    But it is because I have a very high view of mental illness, and its reality, its need for medical treatment and not a Jesus juke, that I am hesitant in saying definitively someone has bipolar illness when there is no record – just because that person was often quite manic when on camera and did have the battle with depression (which is not simply equated to bipolar)..

    But there is no doubt he was an alcoholic. And those words he gave in that interview are haunting in my opinion. How quickly, out of the blue, Satan (even if we don’t recognize him) can tempt our flesh with what the world makes so available and say “One drink won’t hurt you”

    That’s all I have to say….

  96. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You have no idea how many people reading here that you mock with that sort of comment.
    It’s sad.

  97. Anne says:

    Thank YOU, Erunner!!! Michael’s #94 is so true! Thank you for continuing to advocate for sane, compassionate understanding of mental health issues even while on hiatus from blogging.

  98. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Michael,

    So you can’t discourse without insulting, you really are a little man aren’t you? Maybe it’s time to grow up and mature, you are supposed to be a Pastor, aren’t you? I think maybe your not really all that you are cracked up to be. You don’t have the temperament to be a Pastor, you need to rethink that one bro.

  99. Michael says:

    Steve,

    There is a ton of research on bi-polar, substance abuse, and suicide and the correlations between them.
    It is very complex.
    The other issue is that anti depressants often make bi-polar symptoms worse.
    We were told by some prominent people in the psychiatric community long ago that Williams was bi-polar…and he was used as an example of someone who had succeeded in life despite it.
    That’s about all I have to say on that.

  100. erunner says:

    “Not too much legit Science behind this Bi Polar thing, more like Junk Science. False Psychology has hi jacked Science. Colossians 2:8Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) applies here. Bi Polar is not a disease that’s why no one is born with it and it develops later on as it is a human behavior, manic and depression.”

    SolRod, you have lost all credibility with me based on the above. That’s as extreme as it gets.

  101. Michael,
    “You have no idea how many people reading here that you mock with that sort of comment.”

    You must have your eyeballs in backwards today if you got that out of my comment. Are you saying sad people don’t also kill themselves?

    If that is your conclusion then you have no standing in this conversation … how sad.

    I am standing up for people who are just tired of living – they are out there and they are not sick.

  102. Michael says:

    Solomon,

    Jesus, the Great Shepherd, spent a lot of time defending broken people from religious idiots.
    I try to follow Jesus.

  103. Depression is not “sadness”, that’s a misnomer.

    It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain that has predictable physiological biological consequences. Get the imbalance corrected and, generally, a person is good to go. Ignore the imbalance like ignoring an infection that is festering…and you’ll have a major problem that can lead to suicide.

    It’s not some mystical mysterious phenomena, it’s an illness, it’s biological…often it can be helped with modern medicine, sometimes it can’t. It is what it is.

  104. I have not said that sick people kill themselves – my point is you do not have to be sick to do it.

    We have stigmatized suicide so much that you must be mentally ill to do and that is not the case.

  105. Anne says:

    MLD’s observation is relevant to many folks in my hood. Old age, lack of connection to family/friends, isolation, chronic illness impact many seniors I know to be “tired of living”. However when “sadness” reaches that level it meets the criteria of depression.

  106. Correction – “I have not said that sick people kill themselves” – should read “I have not said that sick people DO NOT kill themselves”

  107. erunner says:

    MLD, at times it seems you have trouble making yourself clear and it opens you up to criticism.

  108. Michael,

    To me it just looks like you are attacking him because “YOU” didn’t see him as compassionate enough.

    “He noted that suicide is a choice…and technically he’s right.”
    You then go on to say why you think he is wrong while he is right.

    “The second place he erred was his statement that what the mentally ill really need is joy.
    They do”
    You then explain why he is wrong again.

    Basically, you say they have no choice.
    Is that what you would say to someone thinking of committing suicide?
    Would you tell them they have no choice?

    This is the overwhelming message of the Christian internet today. How dare you presume to know my pain? These people have no choice but to kill themselves, their very bodies betray them. I am sorry, but I cannot agree to that.

    Is this your Calvinism speaking?
    If so, I know why I could never be one.
    That is a hopeless way to think.

    I would also like to see you apologize for saying he hasn’t been through anything like that when he states today that he has. Or do you only apologize to people you personally know?

  109. Erunner, in this case I think my comment @ 90 was very clear. Now sometimes I have trouble clarifying the obvious for some.

  110. Reuben says:

    Sol Rod and hillbilly Thornton have not changed a bit.

    Good to see you Anne.

  111. The Christian twitter and blogosphere is full of talking heads who think they have the answers to every problem known to man.

    Just waiting for the inevitable articles that say:
    How should you react to the death of Robin Williams?
    The Christian internet has become a 5 easy steps program.
    Let me tell you how you should think has become their rallying cry.

  112. Reuben – how about me?? 😉

    How are those Rockies?

  113. I just read an article on why people use the term hillbilly/redneck/white trash. It wasn’t complimentary to the people using the terms.
    But then again, our host does the same at times
    Still hating on Paul the Apostle, Reuben?

  114. Xenia says:

    I think everybody here needs to step away from their computers. This has gotten out of hand.

  115. erunner says:

    Derek, yes suicide is a choice. There is help and hope available for those who are contemplating suicide. That help needs to get to them before they reach a point of losing the word joy from their vocabulary. Help d to get to them before suicide becomes the only option in their mind.

    Suicide is at epidemic proportions across society. Somehow we’re failing as a society to help these people as much as we could.

    As you know we are losing our veterans to suicide at an alarming rate. People are giving up for any variety of reasons.

    I firmly believe those who suffer with mental illness are people Jesus would search out if He walked the earth today as He did once before. Now He asks us to represent Him.

  116. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I stated my disagreements very carefully.
    I reiterated that it’s a choice…but that choice often isn’t made with faculties that are able to make the right choice.
    We live in fear everyday that someone I love more than my own life will make an irreversible bad choice in the grips of a bad season.
    If you’re going to wrote about very ill people making a choice you damn well better take the time to write it with compassion and understanding.

    Do they need joy…of course.
    Just like a paralytic needs nerve conduction to walk.
    Sometimes, the brain is simply not capable.
    To tell someone they must have something that they are incapable of having, (whether for a season or forever) is simply cruel.
    If you’re going to write about it, write with compassion and with understanding.

    He has not written anything that indicates that he knows the depths of this issue…indeed everything he has written indicates that he doesn’t.

    To bring Calvinism into this is ridiculous.

    What’s speaking here is years of treatments, therapy, counseling, drugs, and tens of thousands of dollars invested in someone I love.

    What’s speaking here is hours and hours and hours reading medical journals late into the night desperately looking for answers.

    What’s speaking here is praying and crying out to God until I’m exhausted from fear and frustration.

    That’s what’s speaking.

  117. Reuben says:

    MLD, I skip over your comments these days. Steve’s too. You both know why.

    I saw Rockies though. Have watched a total of 5 games this year. Been too busy. I will be attending the number retirement party for Helton on my birthday! That is out of respect for a time long gone, as made evident by the embarrassing numbers produced this year.

    I toast Tulowitzki

  118. erunner says:

    I’ll take your advice Xenia. I don’t think this is what Michael expected after a brief hiatus.

  119. Reuben says:

    I toast Tulowitzki who will probably be going to the Yankees next year.

  120. ( |o )====::: says:

    Steve Wright, as usual, doesn’t get it.

    The Frivolity of SolRod’s ignorant statement deserves to be repudiated in the light of sound and reasonable medical science. Religious twits are being mocked, NOT our faith or our Lord Jesus.

    SolRod posts, “Michael, you seem to be an angry little man.”

    SolRod, I’m embarrassed for you. You’re acting more like an EmRod

    http://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/emerods.html

  121. ( |o )====::: says:

    Reuben isn’t hating on Paul, he’s preferring Jesus

  122. Reuben says:

    Hi G!

  123. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I was going to message you and tell you that you live in a very lovely community.
    Very pretty.

  124. ( |o )====::: says:

    Reuben!

    Love your truthful post.

  125. Xenia says:

    You were down here in Monterey? Yes, this is a very pretty neck of the woods.

  126. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Trey’s mom and stepfather took a late honeymoon down there and paid my way to come down with Trey for a few days at the end.
    It was very gracious and we spent two days there.
    I waved when we left. 🙂

  127. Jean says:

    I would like to vet 3 specific recommendations that everyone on this blog might endorse or decline:

    (1) If we can eliminate (or at least reduce) the stigma of depression and addiction, perhaps some or many out there suffering from these diseases will come out of the shadows and seek treatment and find relief. The practical action would be to support and lobby for laws that prohibit discriminate on the basis of these diseases. I’m not saying that an employer can’t fire an employee who is intoxicated on the job. I am saying that an employer can’t discriminate against a person with a history of, or who is being treated for, depression or addiction.

    In addition, we could support and lobby for laws requiring health insurance plans to cover treatment for depression and addiction.

    (2) We can support and lobby for Federal funding for research into the causes and treatment of depression and addiction. Depending on the profit opportunity of the diseases, it’s possible that they won’t attract private funding for research. So, in those circumstances, if the Federal government doesn’t fund research into causes and treatment, progress won’t take place.

    (3) We can use our personal presence in our churches to reach out and/or form local ministries which reach out to people in our local communities who suffer from depression or addiction.

    I would love to see how Christians today might prove the truth of Paul’s words to the Romans in light of RB’s death: “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

  128. I still agree with Walsh.
    He makes far more sense and shows far more compassion in his writing today and yesterday than you give him credit for.
    If you had linked his articles, maybe people could see that for themselves instead
    He deserves better than you and the rest of the Christian blogosphere are giving him.

    “The majority of folks just mourned the loss of a broken joy bearer…but there always has to be a loud voice utterly devoid of empathy and compassion wielding a granite Bible.”

    Where was that granite bible you accuse him of weilding?

    If you had linked to it, maybe more could decide for themselves, instead of being told what to think.
    I won’t link it in this, just tell people to google “Matt Walsh blog” to see why people have their knickers in a twist over much of nothing. if you haven’t already.
    But as someone once said:
    “Anger is the new badge of honor that must be constantly on display, one of the marks of a true believer.”
    I see it on display since yesterday.

  129. Michael says:

    Derek,

    You’re entitled to your opinion and you’ve expressed it freely here.
    Here is the link.
    http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-didnt-die-disease-died-choice/

  130. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I can affirm all of those.

  131. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Michael,

    You have the emotional maturity of a Midget. You hardly reflect the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, nice try there. Mightier is one who can control his temper than one who can conquer a city. Dont use Jesus as an excuse to be an A Hole!

  132. Michael says:

    As to the granite Bible…
    When I taught through the book of Mark a few months ago I was taken aback by how many times it spoke of Jesus acting “with compassion”.
    Compassion is the essence of the Christian life…and we we speak without it we betray our heritage.
    Am I guilty as well?
    Yes…I tend to react strongly to those who speak to difficult situations and hurting people without it.

  133. jean says:

    Michael,

    For some odd reason, some people who promote “masculine” Christianity and/or Christian men being “masculine” have a real hard time with Christian men being loving, forgiving and especially compassionate. They are pining for the days of Samson and just don’t know what to do with Jesus.

  134. Sorry, but to me Matt Walsh spoke with compassion.
    And now others can see that he did also.

  135. I tried accessing help through my former church. I was told to go home and write out the alphabet and for each letter write an attribute of Jesus. I was informed if I REALLY believe Jesus was who he said he was, I would have joy instead of sorrow. That it was a promise I could cling to.

    I did that and everything else I could: read bible more, pray more, go to more services, serve more. And when everything I tried still failed, I believed it was my fault somehow, not poor advice, as “they” were the voice of the Holy Spirit, blah, blah blah.

    Many years later, 3 hospitalizations, two intensive out-patient day therapy for 3 weeks, and on-going therapy I see light at the end of the tunnel most days. Walsh’s piece hit me in the gut and I have been sick to my stomach since I read it yesterday evening. I cannot take psychotropic drugs due to allergies so that is not an option. I am very jealous of the testimony by PPV on the other thread but glad they found relief.

  136. Michael says:

    BTDT,

    The part about “joy” kicked a lot of us in the gut.
    My concern was that the people hurt most by comments like that that are the least able to recover from the blow.
    For you and others that I love I wish there were simple answers…

  137. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I think Jesus was the essence of masculinity.
    He fought when necessary, but He wept openly and loved like no other.

  138. Jean says:

    140,

    I agree Michael. The difference I see is in what masculinity means. Does it take more strength to forgive or retaliate?

  139. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I can only speak for myself, but I far prefer retaliation. 🙂

  140. Found that article referring to hillbillies.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/07/ten_reasons_i_am_no_longer_a_leftist.html?utm_content=buffer5aebd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Leftists freely label poor whites as “redneck,” “white trash,” “trailer trash,” and “hillbilly.” At the same time that leftists toss around these racist and classist slurs, they are so sanctimonious they forbid anyone to pronounce the N word when reading Mark Twain aloud. President Bill Clinton’s advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

  141. Michael says:

    Because only “leftists” use those terms…
    Because all of life is now about “right” and “left”.

  142. That is all I have ever heard use hillbilly at least. Twice in my life, both right here.
    Once from you and once tonight.

  143. Well, except for the times Reuben decided to ac t psycho and use it multiple times on my FB.
    I should qualify, only from people I met on here.

  144. Michael says:

    I live in the most conservative place in Oregon…traditionally one of the most conservative in the country.
    I hear it often…have for years.

  145. Jean says:

    143,

    Derek,

    What does right/left have to do with this thread? I haven’t read anything on this thread distinguishing right/left or conservative/liberal or hillbilly/red neck, except in your comments.

  146. Excuse me, Jean?
    I was the one called hillbilly.
    You need to read back.

  147. The time Michael uses it on here are derogatory also.
    He has not used it against me.
    Although, I have seen him use it against people he considers “ignorant”
    If the shoe fits.

  148. Jean says:

    Derek, I juw noticed 112 and correct myself.

  149. Michael says:

    Derek,

    It is a derogatory term and I do use it when I find people to be ignorant and happy about it.
    I had a professor once who used it on me when i would speak out my hindquarters.
    It actually motivated me to read and think more broadly.
    What it has to do with politics is beyond me.

  150. Jean says:

    I would only point out Derek that when you make such a big deal out of a derogatory term, you give it power in the mouth of the ignorant.

  151. EricL says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for including the link to Walsh’s article.

    My reaction to it: he doesn’t realize how his words have hurt others. That happens so easily whenever a sensitive topic is addressed.

    The lesson I hope to learn: I need to be careful what I say about emotional, complex topics, especially if it isn’t something that I have deep personal knowledge about or haven’t done years of research on. It is so easy to spout off my solutions/ wisdom/ opinions, especially when I don’t have to look a person in the eye. That is one of the dangers of long-distance communications (blogging, writing, Facebook, twitter, and on and on).

  152. Michael says:

    EricL,

    Excellent comment.
    We should quit while we’re ahead. 🙂

  153. Reuben says:

    I will gladly rest my case with statements like, “…Matt Walsh spoke with compassion. ” and, “I ‘choose’ to believe Psychology is dangerous and false.”

    Sol Rod has you beat by a mile or two tonight, Thornton.

  154. London says:

    Sol Rod,
    You made one very good post early one.
    Then you just kinda went wacky.
    You’re right out of your element and clearly know nothing about how the human brain works.

  155. J.U. says:

    I have so much to say about this discussion, but not a lot of time. I would just say this. When a celebrity dies, we all hear about it, and have various opinions and thoughts about the situation. However, we typically don’t know the person at all, only their public persona or some snarky things we read in the Enquirer.

    Robin Williams is no different. I doubt anyone on this blog knew him personally. Sure we enjoyed his comedy, although it may have held hints to his mental state.

    What I have noted on a very positive note is how many of those that did know him personally have commented on what a nice and kind person he was. It appears he was like that with the famous and also everyday people. Even allowing for some hyperbole in respect tp a departed person, I get the sense he was a very kind and gentle man. I note that he often performed for the troops and supported USO. That’s a very good sign.

    So I think he was probably a very good person. Always sad to lose a “good” person. We need all of those we can get around here.

    There are many lessons to be had from this death and from the various reactions. I’m trying to understand those lessons.

  156. filbertz says:

    I’ll try to be constructive and appropriate in my comments.
    First–I was truly shocked by Robin Williams death. No amount of spiritual autopsies will contribute to the Church being more compassionate or understanding of the struggles of human beings that lead them to weigh suicide as a viable option. Scripture is not a handbook for mental health as some clearly hold. Forcing texts to speak to mental health issues or dismissing them as demonic, evidence of weak faith, lack of the Spirit, etc. is careless at best and damnable at worst.
    Second–there are more hillbillies and rednecks on television now than at any other time. they’ve earned the title and the stigma that goes with it.
    Third–I watch Mark Driscoll’s saga from afar knowing there are hundreds more with a lower profile nationally, but with equal ambition, ego, and scrupples.
    Fourth–Babylon’s Dread continues to distinguish himself week after week.
    Fifth and finally–Michael, welcome back. May you daily find the salve for your soul, courage for your heart, and satisfaction in your labors.

  157. Michael says:

    filbertz,

    Thank you…and really well said.

  158. Here’s a post by the 2nd man to walk on the moon, a man of faith who celebrated communion in the Lunar Excursion Module, who has something very noteworthy to say about the late Robin Williams…

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152609224379581&id=22166949580

  159. Regarding rednecks & hillbillies, don’t want to be labeled one, don’t think like, act like, talk like or post like one.

    …or have a confederate flag flying over your state, or on a bumper sticker on your truck

  160. Somehow a Tesla with a confederate flag on its bumper blaring Ted Nugent is a mashup I would actually laugh at. Guess I’ve still got some sensitivity training classes to attend

  161. incogneto says:

    someone referred to “Junk Science” concerning bipolar disorder. I have almost bit my tongue off to not say anything, but could you please give a link or citation supporting your position. Thank You.

  162. Michael says:

    incogneto,

    He can no longer post his nonsense here.

  163. brian says:

    This is a good compilation of information concerning bipolar disorder.
    http://bipolar.about.com/cs/menu_science/a/press_umich0210.htm

  164. brian says:

    OK sorry thanks Michael.

  165. brian says:

    JD Hall if you read this, I disagree with you on almost every single aspect of life and the Christian Religion, from what I read and listened to, you made a very strong effort in reconciliation and repentance. If you do read this, you have a very unique position to reach the group / world view to help them understand mental health issues. I hope the health of your young child is improving, I have been praying for that, I was deeply concerned with the medical challenges your family has had to deal with.

  166. Jean,
    Don’t worry, I could give less of a crap what people call me on here.
    Reuben writes a post on here that gets praised by the host, then he backs up his words by calling names and our host has….silence.
    Sorry, I tend to see our host agrees with Reuben’s words.
    I see it in many ways he tends to put down people or ideas he disagrees with.
    Simple, simplistic, hillbilly….all terms to make your opponents seem to not be as smart as you, while you hold all the wisdom cards.
    That would be not-so subtle elitism.

  167. Rob says:

    As I recall, psychiatric conditions are classified by their symptoms, rather than by the underlying biological causes. The causes are still not well understood.

    However, that does not mean the condition does not exist. And, it doesn’t mean all conditions can be solved by denying they exist, or ascribing them to supernatural causes. (This is known as superstition.)

    Ignorance regarding mental illness is not an excuse to deny its existence.

  168. PP Vet says:

    Cute one, G.

    I choose to believe the reports that Robin accepted Christ in a 12-step program, and will be in heaven with the rest of us.

  169. papiaslogia says:

    Matt Walsh has written a follow-up article defending his initial post and clarifying his point.

  170. Mark says:

    I think we miss the main point if we focus on Williams mental illness and not his addiction. Williams was an addict/alchohlic. He battled sobriety his whole life. Yet he was able, mentally, to make choices throughout his life to lay down drugs and alchohol. Those of us who have to make that choice (and it is a choice) every day know the constant struggle betwen our flesh and the Spirit of God that lives within us. In the same way Williams made the choice for sobriety, he had the ability to make the choice for life. Instead he chose death.He may have suffered, as some report, from mental illness. But the choice to take his own life was stil that, a choice. No different from the choice he made to drink- or not to drink. It is a tragedy to those he left behind. And if, as it seems, Williams did not know Christ it is a tragedy for him- since he is condemned. It is a very difficult problme- no simple answers- but lets not accept the illusion that the we are not responsible for every choice we make, and even more so when we know Christ, have the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and reject anyway

  171. Mark,
    I challenge you to spend the next 6 months volunteering at a 12 Step Meeting in your local area, make the commitment to show up at meetings, work the 12 steps, but most importantly, get to know each person who attends the meeting by their first names. Listen to them and say nothing except, “I’m Mark and I’m a ‘normie’ so please be patient with me.” Have a sponsor just like everyone else there.

    Your illusions about choice will be tempered by your growing heart of compassion

  172. Jean says:

    The troubling thing about Walsh’s article IMO is the intersection between “choice” and “joy.”

    “Choice” is probably the most prolific idol of Western (and particularly American) culture. We crave choice, believe it is God given, and want to hold people responsible for the choices they make. We are inundated by choice. Driving down the street, I can choose from between a half dozen fast food restaurants for lunch within a quarter mile.

    If were to drop some LSD or PCP, I wonder what kind of choices I would make. When if someone slipped some LSD or PCP in my drink at a restaurant and I went out and killed a pedestrian with my car. Am I responsible for the death of the innocent pedestrian resulting from my impaired choice to get behind the wheel?

    When if the mentally ill person lives with a chemical or other psychological imbalance that impairs his/her ability to make rational choices. How much choice does he/she really have? What is the most productive way to counsel that person regarding making choices?

    Then there’s the element of “joy”. Joy is a great thing. Christians have good reason to be the most joyful people around. But, is joy something to be sought after, or is joy the byproduct of something else? If it is something to be sought after, then it becomes an idol, an emotional high, a temporary feeling which doesn’t truly satisfy. However, if joy is the byproduct of a life lived in relationship with one’s Creator and family and friends, in contentment, with hope, etc., then how do you counsel joy to the mentally ill who can’t connect in relationships, who can’t find contentment and who don’t have hope?

    So, while “choice” and “joy” are relevant to the conversation, they can easily do more harm than good if not discussed and used sensitively and properly within the context of the person suffering mental illness. I think Walsh’s articles fell short of acknowledging the reality of the struggles of mental illness.

    I don’t know anyone personally who suffers from serious depression. However, I watched the interviews with Rick and Kay Warren after their son, Matthew, committed suicide. I believe them when they said that they tried everything humanly possible to get Matthew the appropriate help, and I believe that they provided Matthew with loving, Christian family support. Based on their story, I have come to the view that depression is as mind altering as any an illegal drug when it comes to its impact on the sufferer’s choices and ability to experience love, joy and hope.

  173. Mark says:

    G- I’ve been 12 stepping for 24 years. I recetly relapsed after 16 years sobiriety and almost killed myself. I’m currently four months clean and trudging the road of happy destiny. I know from where I speak.

  174. Muff Potter says:

    From the main body of Michael’s article:

    “The majority of folks just mourned the loss of a broken joy bearer…but there always has to be a loud voice utterly devoid of empathy and compassion wielding a granite Bible.”

    Is it any wonder that a heart of stone would wield a granite Bible?

  175. Mark says:

    Also, G, I do not need a lesson in compassion. Our Lord is full of compassion and yet He expects us to choose to “sin no more” once we allow Him inside our heart. He laso holds us eternally responsible for the choices we make. I have compassion for the struggling addict. I am one. But I also know that I, and every otehr addict, choose to act out- we are not forced- nor are we bound- to give in. 1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is
    faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” I believe this aplies to the addict and the mentally ill.

  176. Jim says:

    This is one of the saddest threads I’ve read here.

  177. Mark says:

    Muff- who is devoid of empathy and compassion on this thread?

  178. Xenia says:

    I think I have a more supernatural view of the world than many of you. I am NOT saying I am more spiritual, or a better Christian (God forbid) but I almost always look at a problem from the spiritual POV rather than the scientific POV. So for me, every problem is rooted in the supernatural world of God, the Saints, the Angels and the demons. This does not mean that I don’t believe mental illness is just as real as cancer but my mind always looks to a supernatural explanation first.

  179. Michael says:

    Jim,

    I agree.
    I’m not sure if this means that I have a lot more work to do or that I should spend a lot more time in the woods.

  180. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Your 176 was gold…thank you.

  181. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I have a highly supernatural view of the world…I consider prayer and the Lords Supper as important as the medications my loved one takes.
    The disease has not yielded to anything but the drugs…

  182. Xenia says:

    Michael, I am not against drugs for mental illness. If that’s what works, that’s what should be taken.

    I know of two cases where drugs were given for mental illnesses that were the result of sin. A guilty conscience can make a person very, very sick. I know what Sol Rod wrote here was universally condemned but I have to agree with him that psychology is very hit or miss. A relative was wrongly diagnosed for many years as being bi-polar, given a big assortment of drugs that didn’t work, and then they decided all she had was attention deficiencies. So years of listening to shrinks telling her she was bi-polar and loading her up with drugs and every shrink she saw had a different method and opinion. I have very little faith in the psychiatric profession even though I know that many times they do hit the mark and save lives. I myself was improperly diagnosed with depression (I was sad over a specific situation, not clinically depressed, which the doctor never took into account) and put on pills that…. well, never mind. In my case it was 100 percent a spiritual problem yet there I was, officially diagnosed as depressed with a prescription to go a long with it. If I had bought into that whole scenario for longer than I did, who knows what kind of shape I’d be in now.

    There is a tendency to say it’s all of science or it’s all of spiritual problems. I say it could be either or a mixture of both. I do know that the Evil One can take a bad situation and make it worse.

  183. Steve Wright says:

    With the possible exceptions of steps 2 and 6 (which can be seen more as a process over time), the other 10 steps are all choices made by the one in recovery. One either does them, or one does not.

    (Mark, I am so glad you are sober again. Like Williams, to have to go back as a newcomer after all those years of sobriety is incredibly difficult. I wish you the best going forward and if you want to talk to someone, feel free to email me… pastorsteve (at) calvaryle (dot) org )

  184. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I would in no way belittle what you wrote.
    We have gone through hell with misdiagnoses and then the prescription of drugs that made the actual condition worse.
    Hell is not an exaggeration.
    I have never despaired over someone the way I did through that trial.
    When under the wrong medication, I can tell anyone who wants to hear that making sound “choices” was almost impossible for the person involved.
    We believe we are on the right track now…but we don’t ignore the spiritual or volitional aspects of “treatment”.

  185. Xenia says:

    Michael, I know you wouldn’t belittle my experience. And I am not belittling yours, that’s for sure.

    May God bless you and your family.

  186. Jim says:

    Michael,

    If I said, “the woods”, you wouldn’t listen. 🙂

    There are those here who need you (in a sense), and those same gentle lambs who come here for solace have to wade through the vomit of dogs.

    There’s a difference between holding an incorrect position while engaging in respectful discourse, and joyfully spewing soul damaging vitriol just for giggles.

    I’d ban some dogs. It’s your yard, which enjoys no 1st amendment protections. Quit picking up poop, and just lock your gate.

  187. Michael says:

    Jim,

    After getting away for awhile, I’m finally inclined to listen to you for purely selfish reasons.
    I lost a bunch of weight and my blood pressure was normal…
    When I go back to work, (hopefully soon) it will be impossible to moderate this.
    I’ll be praying about an equitable way to do this…

  188. Xenia says:

    You lost weight in Monterey????

    THAT is a miracle.

  189. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I lost about 6 pounds on the trip…and something about Monterey just soothed me…my blood pressure dropped and my lung capacity went up.
    It was really kind of dramatic.
    Then I came home and wrote this…

  190. Xenia says:

    Regarding Moderation.

    There’s a very popular Orthodox blog somewhat comparable to the PhxP that holds every post in moderation until the blog owner has the chance to review them all. Lately, this has been in the morning and when he gets home from work. (He’s a pharmacist.) If there’s a scandal brewing in Ortholandia (his specialty), he will be quicker with the moderation. That blog has a lot of lively conversation despite this but it does cut down on tedious back-and-forths that sometimes plague the PhxP.

    It dampens spontaneity, of course. Which might be a good thing, if you are not going to be able to watch this place very closely.

  191. Steve Wright says:

    In my opinion, there are in general 3 types of depression. The first I would call a spiritual depression that only unbelievers can have, and the cure is a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the depression I knew once I was old enough to enjoy much of what life offered and found it vanity, and was used by God to draw me to Himself

    “The only philosophical question I cannot answer is why I don’t commit suicide.” Jean-Paul Sartre

    The second is a soulish depression, of the emotions – which both believers and unbelievers alike can know. This to me is the depression found in the Psalms, and what many of us experience. Like the Psalmist, we can be depressed and still led and filled with the Spirit in the midst of the trial. Maybe this is the depression of people like Spurgeon, or maybe he was subject to the third type…

    The third is a bodily depression, chemical imbalance etc. Once more both believers and unbelievers can know this, and the SOLE cure (apart from a supernatural healing from God) is medical. This is where the equivalency to cancer can be found. Yes, we pray for healing, but we get medical treatment.

    The world today usually lumps all depression into the third category and wants to prescribe a pill. The Church too often ignores the third category entirely and proclaims pills are a sign of weakness or lack of faith. And the worst is when the Church tells a child of God they actually must not even be saved, assuming the depression is of the first description above.

    When someone comes to me saying they are depressed, one of the early questions that I bring up is simply when they had their last thorough physical with a doctor. Getting blood work etc. And I encourage them to get checked out, as well as encourage them in the things of the Lord.

    I share that if it is helpful. It is what I have come to understand and believe and what I teach – and I am not looking to argue it. If one disagrees, fine.

    But since we are spirit/soul/body in one being, any one of these will affect our entire being – but they need to be “diagnosed” distinctly.

  192. I didn’t like the Walsh article. It brought up bad memories. If you were a Christian, you’d have joy. If you have joy, you are not depressed. Therefore, if you are depressed, you are on your way to hell. The guilt compounds the self-hatred. It doesn’t help. I’m not saying Walsh is evil, just that he overstepped his area of expertise.

    I lived my teenage years on the edge of suicide. A talented, smart, good-looking boy who would lock himself in his room and cry for days on end. Break furniture and knock holes in walls. Usually, for no good reason. Never did any drugs, and only drank two or three times in my life. Something was just wrong with me. I knew it, and everyone else knew it. I was evil, or queer, or just seeking attention…whatever the diagnosis, the prescribed treatment was the same: Just stop it. Believe it or not, that didn’t help.

    Over the next few years, my mental state deteriorated even more. I saw demons and heard weird voices. Aerosmith had planted a subliminal message in there song “Crying” just for me. Told me to kill myself over and over. Pearl Jam’s “Black” had a similar message implanted. (Oddly, Janet Jackson wanted to marry me and wrote “Again” just for me).

    After getting married, my wife was terrified of me, and for me. I had stayed up several nights in a row in some lunatic fit and she finally took me to the hospital. I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1997. Started medication, realizing that I was a weak failure who did not love Jesus. The next few years were still very rough. My wife and I split for a short time, at which point I slept in the back of a truck for a while. Reconciled with my wife, but my health got worse. Oct. 2000, a demon visited me every night trying to kill me. That’s the closest I ever came to killing myself. I stared at the bottle of pills for a long time. Called a true friend at about 3am, and if he would have been even the least bit bothered by my call, I would have ended it all. He saved my life that night.

    Somewhere around 7 or 8 years ago, the fog lifted. I still take medication, but I don’t struggle daily like I use to. I haven’t had a major episode in that entire time.

    I just don’t know which part of that I chose, and which part I could have willed myself out of.

  193. Steve Wright says:

    Praise the Lord, Josh. I love you, brother.

  194. Michael says:

    Xenia @ 194,

    That’s the direction I’m headed towards…

  195. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Thank you…and I amen what Steve said…

  196. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I would pretty much agree with your synopses…

  197. Michael says:

    I’m out for a while…keep it between the ditches, please.

  198. Thanks Michael and Steve. Love you guys, too.

  199. Mark says:

    Josh- Praise God that you are in “remission”. I hope it is permanent. Steve- thank you for the outreach. Going back (like a dog to his own vomit) was a combination of self loathing and false pride. I no longer needed otehrs- or God- I could do it all myself- but I hated who I was and needed to escape. The scariest part of relapse was how quickly I escalted drug use- shady dealings- putting myself at risk- etc. I was headed to prison or the grave. The Lord delivered me at my weakest point- but the shame of exposure remains. Exosure to my wife- my children-my church- my ministries. It was necessary though, for me to be accountable for my choice. And that is the message I was trying to convey in my posts. Addiction is a disease- I believe that- but acting out- each time addicts choose to do so- is sin. No different from any otehr sin. We dont need govt money to study it- or special focus on elimiating it. We need Jesus and the Holy Spirit to show us a better life. I neevr intended to imply- further- that mental illness was a choice. My point was that suicide is a choice. And I do not accept that anyone can be exonoer

  200. Mark says:

    Suicide is a choice for which we should be held accoutnable.

  201. ( |o )====::: says:

    Ok Mark, praying for you & thinking of you in your journey

  202. Mark, thanks for sharing. I hope your recovery is permanent, too.

  203. I agree with Josh…and I echo what Steve said, love you bro, you’re a good dude and have overcome a lot, I am still sorry for taking shots at you, I should have chosen to do differently.

  204. ….gotta learn to pick my battles more carefully.

  205. Alex, you know I love you, man. We’ve both apologized for saying cruel things to one another. We’re good.

  206. Nonnie says:

    Well this conversation from 1 to 208 has gone from mud slinging to something beautiful. I’m blessed in reading the last 15 or so posts!

  207. Xenia says:

    Hi Alex! Great to see you!

  208. Hi X! Good seeing you as well thanks for the hello.

  209. brian says:

    “Suicide is a choice for which we should be held accountable.” I took care of a lady who tried to kill herself on a regular basis, turns out her mother who was a prostitute left her in a van for a few days so this young kid beat her head against the inside of the van and caused massive damage to her brain. She would bite herself try to shove well nevermind. Wasnt much of a choice for her and I cant think for a minute how God gets any glory out of that, or why He would even need Glory in the first place but that is another post. I mean no offense by that I just honestly dont get it.

  210. Rob says:

    To say everything is a choice is an oversimplification. We are not just a computer (brain) attached to a body. There are strong biological factors that influence addiction, mental illness etc. Humans are not near as rational and logical as we like to think 🙁 and we are influenced by things we can’t choose, such as genetics.

    Please note, I didn’t say we are helpless, mindless, without choice. I just said science shows that these decision processes are not as simple as just deciding to change.

  211. brian says:

    http://youtu.be/p2jBB4Ny5Tc

    Why I struggle. The behavior this young man exhibited would be considered extremely mild compared to other folks. 3 to 1, 2 to 1 or even 1 to 1 care ratios try ten to one or more and if a student got even a red mark on them be prepared to be accused of abusing them and being an awful human being. I mean what does one do with someone wanting to bite off their finger, rip out their hair down to the skull, or shove objects into every orophis, or even invent a few more? I wish I was making this stuff up. I cant go into detail because of confidentiality. I know I make it up, I am exaggerating. That was the basic response in my faith group. I admit I asked for prayer and wanted to talk about it. Yes I wanted attention, evil I agree and have repented of said sin.

    These people defined me, as a person, they seared their lives into my soul because I wanted to help them so much, I wanted the pain to stop. I am stupid that way, and it is stupid. But I could not find another way. I did pray for them, I begged God sometimes all night calling out to take the “demons” away. Now medication helped tremendously, behavior modification and other vile defective, human interventions worked wonders. Prayer, not so much. Well I take that back I think prayer was answered through medication, behavior modification, and the other techniques but because that is mixing the pure with the profane I am sure I am committing some type of heresy.

    It is strange that other human adaptations, interventions, and ingenuity seems to produce results, like vaccines, antibiotics, cancer drugs, bridges, airplanes, spacecraft, satellites, computers, rovers running round on other planets, cameras, smart phones, the sequencing of the human genome, tractors, better cultivation techniques, freshwater supplies for more people, desalination plants, GPS, blood tests, blood cross matching, …… I cut it way way way way way way down. Im not incognito any more. I dont get it, but maybe I do. I think every single one of these inventions observations developments is an Answer to Prayer and a gift from God through His grace won at the Cross through Jesus Christ. I dont understand why it is sin for me to think this way?

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