We interrupt our lovely homemaking theme this week to invite you to pull a chair up to my soapbox. Settle down and get cozy, friends. This is gonna be a doozy.
If you’ve read my blog recently you know that we have been having a hard time with “church”. We didn’t really attend church much in the summer, but when we returned from our trip to Toronto in mid-September, we decided to visit a few churches around town, to see if there was indeed a better fit for us. This past Sunday we visited the fifth church whose doors we’ve darkened since moving to Tiny Town. If the others were bad, this was horrible. If the others were not a good fit, this was just plain offensive. It was a guest speaker, thankfully (for the church’s sake), but it was absolutely horrendous and shocking regardless.
It started off being about Jesus and the Pharisees. One of my biggest frustrations in a sermon is when the overall message is completely incoherent. The beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the end, and the bits in between are random and choppy. This was the poster child for an incoherent sermon, but it was the last section that really killed it for me…
He (the preacher) said that all psychological diseases and disorders are actually sinful rebellion against God, and that taking drugs is denying the sin. He says that “Physical (medical) issues are testable and observable, such as a withered hand, a blinded eye, a lame appendage, a blood disease. Spiritual (psychological) issues occur when one struggles to function within the framework of his/her life setting without the joy and peace of a clear conscience before God.”
He claims that impulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression are simply folly, fear and worry, and despair, and that we must listen to the Bible’s admonishment against such things, and acknowledge that those things are simply sin.
“All the people who advocated spiritual issues as “disorders” and “diseases” will be stripped bare and isolated at God’s judgement.”
Yes, he actually said all of that. I have the bulletin insert sermon notes in front of me.
I can certainly agree that it is possible that some people deny (or are unaware of) the spiritual aspect of their psychological issues. But to say that all psychological diseases and disorders are actually just sinful rebellion against God?!?!
I won’t even dignify this load of crap with intelligent counter-arguments, because to be honest I’m too angry (still, 3 days later). Having been familiarized with mental illness through some people that I love and care deeply for, I take personal offence to that sorry excuse for a “sermon”. That was a perfect play for Satan’s strategy of making people feel guilty and beaten down (oh, and he said that guilt is a gift from God. I am gonna have to vehemently disagree with that one too. Guilt is from Satan. Conviction to change is from the Holy Spirit. There is a BIG difference.)
The entire thing was flat-out wrong, offensive, and ignorant. It was the first time I was *thisclose* to walking out on a church service in moral protest. I almost wish I had. Needless to say we left as quickly as we could and have no plans to go back ever again. That may sound cold and harsh, but I assure you it is only a reflection on how strongly I feel about this issue.
The fact that the pastor did not get up (he was there – he was new, but he was there) afterwards and state that the church did not necessarily agree, blah blah blah… was a grave disappointment to me. I also heard a few “amen’s” as the sermon was in progress, which distressed me even more.
There are sinful attitudes that need to be addressed, but they sure as hell aren’t the mind-numbing consuming depression that so many souls suffer, nor the obsessive compulsive disorder that overwhelms and breaks families. Not the varied mental illnesses that are a tragic and difficult enough part of our fallen world and broken bodies already. No. They aren’t.
They are the self-righteous ignorant attitudes that condemn without mercy or grace, or experience.
They are the in the pulpit on Sunday morning.
And I wonder why in God’s name I am sitting there listening.