Sunday, May 22, 2005

Crazy Paul, et al

It's well-known by those in the mental health field that many of the "delusions, compulsions, and obsessions" experienced by people with schizophrenia (and other mental health "diagnoses") have a spiritual flavor to them. I'm a strict substance abuse counselor now (if there is any such thing), but in my former years as a mental health worker, I've seen fights nearly break out between clients over which one of them was the "real" Jesus.

On a more positive note, I've often heard PROFOUND spiritual things uttered by those whom society would label as "needing stronger meds." In these situations, I'm silently humbled by the "truths" coming out of the person I'm supposedly there to help. One is left mumbling under one's clinical breath: "One of us is being shown a lesson here today, and by God, it's not me."

The question of "are some flavors of mental disturbance a case of being more attuned to something spiritual?" is a far bigger topic than I can do justice to in a short post. However, THIS article by John Piper is a great reminder that God has/can/ and probably will, use "colourful" folk (I don't mean skin colour) in his plans. The article is about a guy who single-handedly wrote one of the first Bible concordances, but demonstrated some pretty bizarre behavior all the meanwhile.

In the book of Acts 26:24-29, the apostle Paul was on trial for his beliefs in Christ, and was accused of being crazy. Festus thought Paul had had his head buried in the Old Testament for too long, and was getting some kind of academic burnout:

24 Suddenly, Festus shouted, "Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you
25 But Paul replied, "I am not insane, Most Excellent Festus. I am
speaking the sober truth. 26 And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak
frankly, for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not
done in a corner! 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do -
" 28 Agrippa interrupted him. "Do you think you can make me a Christian so
29 Paul replied, "Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both
you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for
these chains."

Regardless of your current state of mental health, may you too come to an "insane" understanding and love of the Gospel! Oh, and enjoy the article ...

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