Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mental Ilness and Stigma of Mental Illness in the Church, Part 2

Do Nerves Break Down?

Another reason why stigma persists in the churches and in society as well, is the continuing use of the term nervous breakdown to describe mental illness. This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States. It conjures up the images of women, lacking in energy, eating chocolates, popping downers to calm their frazzled nerves.

The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology.(see our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like Losting It,Bloem, Steve & Robyn(2005) Kregel Publications,pp 32,33)

I still remember being so depressed that I could not candidate at church in Florida. I had gotten better and tried to reapply. The head deacon said to me, in a smooth southern drawl, "Steve, do you have a case of the "nerves?" They did not want me back.
Certainly, mental illness has to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness. Mental illness is biological in its origin. Christians cannot claim to have immunity from it.

Let’s Pray For Our Poor, Mentally Ill Member

Evidences of the stigma of mental illness in churches persist. For instance, when is the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? If people in your church or your town would really be honest, they would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.

However, most will not mention mental illness, their silence for themselves or their loved ones in the church speaks loudly to us. Instead, there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.

Heaven Knows No Stigma

Thankfully, there is no stigma in Heaven about our subject. Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ through His shed blood and resurrection has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which to many was feared more than death itself. Matt. 5:3 tells us, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the kingdom of God.

A pastor friend of mine contacted me about a godly man in his congregation who had severe mental illness. The tried Christian died suddenly, in the middle of reading his Bible one morning and went to be with the Lord.
My friend, the pastor said, “Now his torment is over forever.”
Let us be brave and face the horrible suffering of mental illness head on.
By doing this we will bring glory and honor to God. Romans 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another ; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Bloem, Steve and Robyn, CAMI Leader Guide, (2007) available only from the authors. Study Guides are also available. Please follow the link below to read reviews of Broken Minds.

Thanks, Steve and Robyn Bloem
My email is camimovement@yahoo.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Abasing in the Basement

Trying to Figure it Out

It was proving to be very difficult living in the basement of our relatives house. I was having my ups and downs. Sometimes I would pray and feel God’s peace; sometimes I would pray and feel nothing. The strain was enormous. I was falling somewhere between total acceptance of God’s will…and the impulse to slam cabinet doors. Two resources helped. First, I read Edith Schaeffer's book, Affliction This books application of what Scripture says about suffering helped me to understand God in a deeper way. Mrs. Schaeffer forced me to stop asking "Why?” and start asking "Why not?"
With her book and my Bible spread before me at the table. I spent mornings trying to make sense out of our situation.

Serve God in the Alone Times

Second, I recalled a sermon I'd heard one Christmas Season. Our Grand Rapids pastor, John White, was considering Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had found herself going through labor and child birth in a small, smelly stable, without help except for her husband, Joseph. She could not understand the full import of that moment. That couple sat there alone, looking into the face of God, the Savior of the world.

In that sermon we were exhorted to serve God in the alone times, when no one knew what God might be doing.

I began to look at God’s providential hand in our lives. As I sat by myself,at the kitchen table reading His Word, remembering that sermon, and praying in my faltering faith, I knew the greatest event in history still was at work in my heart.

I was still His child. I had not run from the cross. He was still enabling me to trust Him by faith. It was not a faith that said “Everything will be okay.” It was a faith that said “God is in control". If things are not okay, we will still follow." I was finally able to accept God's will, realizing that I may never fully understand why He has allowed a certain trial. But His plan is good, even if the reason for what He is doing seems to be none of my business. This was taken from Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publications,p. 83

Monday, November 14, 2011

7 Things to Remember About Sex by Bob Lepine

Do Men and Women Think Differently about sex?? It’s no surprise that many husbands and wives think differently about sex. And these differences can easily become a source of conflict in marriage. With that in mind, I want to suggest seven things men need to remember about sex and seven things wives need to keep in mind as well:

What husbands should remember about sex

1. Hollywood sex is made up. It’s a fantasy. The people in romantic scenes in movies are actors. Don’t try to measure your marital sex against what you see in a romantic film.

2. Sex is probably (but not necessarily) a lower priority for your wife than it is for you. Are you as committed to meeting her needs and desires as you’d like her to be with your desire for sex? Could you even name her top three relationship needs? Here is one of them ...

3. Your wife needs a safe and secure relationship. In order for her to engage in sex with heart and mind and body, she needs to know that you will be there for her, that you are committed to her, and that she is your one and only.

4. Your wife wants to have sex with a companion, not with someone who simply shares her mailing address. If you’re not spending time having fun together in all kinds of settings, she’s going to be less motivated to be with you sexually.

5. You don’t need to have an affair to be an unfaithful husband. Whether you look at pornography or at other women, the Bible makes it clear that any lust for a woman who is not your wife is adultery.

6. There is no secret formula to arousal. If you think you have found a secret formula, and you attempt to repeat the recipe, your wife will change the secret. Women don’t want to be figured out. They also don’t want to be manipulated.

7. Your wife is insecure about her physical beauty. She sees all the flaws. Watch what you say to her.

What wives should remember about sex

1. Sex is God’s idea. He created it and gave it as a good gift to husbands and wives in marriage. It is a key part of His plan for how we become one in marriage.

2. For most men, this is a big deal—and it’s not because men are perverted or ungodly. God delights when a husband and wife enjoy marital intimacy.

3. How you respond to your husband when he initiates is critical. To be uninterested can communicate a lack of respect and honor for him. I’m not saying you need to say yes every time he initiates. But when you say no, explain why in a way that still affirms your desire for him.

4. Sex is a marital discipline. It’s a part of how we serve each other in marriage. It is wrong for a wife to use sex as a reward or a lack of sex as punishment. The Bible clearly teaches that husbands and wives are not to deprive each other in this area.

5. Men are visually oriented. No matter how you see yourself, he is stimulated by sight. Again, God is the One who made men with a desire to see women naked. And the only legitimate way for your husband to satisfy this God-given desire is for you to let him see you naked.

6. Men in romance novels and soap operas are made up. The strong, sensitive, caring men portrayed in most romance novels are fictional characters. No husband can live up to the near perfection an author presents.

7. Creativity is good. The Bible says that the marriage bed is undefiled. This means that a husband and wife have freedom to explore what brings them pleasure and enjoyment in the sexual arena of marriage. Neither of you should be pressured to do something you're uncomfortable with in the sexual relationship. But passion can be stirred by variety and creativity in the sexual relationship.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For Lindsay and Emily

This poem was written by my wife, Robyn Bloem, in December of 2001, just a few months after our daughter, Lindsay, was killed on September 11, 2001. She was eight months pregnant with our first grand child, Emily Hope, who was also pronounced dead at the scene. Robyn and I were driving behind her when it happened and two of our sons were also with us. We firmly believe that it was no accident that Lindsay went to church that night to pray for the families of the victims of those dreadful terrorist attacks. She also wanted to pray for the first responders, our President and the terrified nation. She and Emily were brutally killed by a seventeen year old man who was returning from a cancelled rock concert that night; cancelled because of the terrorist attacks. On his way home from the cancelled show, he and his buddies were shooting up heroin as they drove. The police found open syringes in their car. A few months later, we finally were told the toxicology reports. When the examined blood results came back, it stirred this response by the head of the Michigan State Forensics Lab; This man had enough heroin, crack and marijuana in his blood stream to put down six men.
I believe Robyn's response in this poem is a testimony to the strong faith she has in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Something's happened in my heart
That words cannot describe;
Life on earth has changed for me
Since my precious ones have died.

The angels were attending,
Their wings were closed to wait;
The "accident" that took your lives,
We're left to contemplate.

Your purposes completed
"Early" seems so true-
For life is long and grief is ours
Continuing without you,

Plans for future, plans for us-
All stopped the day you slept,
Two little souls now rest in Christ;
We know His Word's been kept.

We, wet and somber clay,
This world does not entice.
Our happiness does not grow here
And grief is shared with Christ.

Meeting you again my Loves,
A day I think of often,
The curse so great and cumbersome.
Reunion thoughts do soften.

You both eternal rest enjoy,
Willing, loving servants;
Our prayers no longer needed
But our love is just as fervent.

The saints you've met we cannot know
Being so completely earthbound;
Consigned humanity we live
Traverse on curs-ed ground.

Soon, I pray, reunion's song
We'll sing with heaven's tune,
We'll cry no more for loved ones missed,
Nor visit grassy tombs.

For just a twinkling will you wait-
Without the fear and dread?
For then together raptured up,
The living and the dead.

O Come, O come, Emmanuel
With angels' wings extended,
The joy, reunion, no more strain;
Heart-gripping pain is ended.

We'll shout for joy as heaven claps
Eternity begins-
With tears of joy unspeakable
As He cups our weary chins.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rob Bell's successor at Mars Hill on Hell

Rob Bells successor, Shane Hippel has written a piece on the subject of Hell. We don't have space to give you all he said. One statement which shows that he lacks a biblical theology is scary. He states, "I have never died, so I don’t have a theological position on heaven or hell. I can only entertain theological possibilities. There is a big difference."

My Answer
We are told in Jude 3, Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints, “The faith” here is the whole body of Scripture, the Old and New Testaments..

God's word is inerrant.
Faith is based on the inerrant word of God. You don't have to experience things to believe the Bible is true. The Bible was written over 1600 years by numerous authors who were all inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16, states,” All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” The Greek word for inspired is, Theopneustos, which translated means, “God breathed.”
The Bible is true on all subjects. It reveals God’s mind to us. And part of that revelation is the veracity of a literal eternal Hell.

Post Ascenion Statments by Jesus Christ about Hell

The doctrine of the eternality of Hell is clearly taught in Scripture. Mr. Hippel is in error when he says that the Lord Jesus Christ never talked with anyone about Hell after His resurrection. All you have to do is turn to the book of Revelation. Whose revelation is it? Look at verse one. “ The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show to His servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” This revelation is from Jesus Christ. It is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The term the wrath of God is throughout the Bible

The "wrath of God" is used in the book of Revelation, seven times. Romans 1:18, tells us “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth unrighteousness.” The wrath of God must be satisfied. We need the shed blood of Jesus Christ by which He paid for our redemption. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Eternality of hell and the lake of fire

What about Rev. 20:10? And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
We would expect that Rob Bell would have associates like Mr. Hippel.
Please go to our website for more Scriptures about Hell.