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Are They Crazy???!!!

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.

Number 227

You have a brain. Your members have brains. That's good news and bad. It's good news when they use their God-given cerebral endowment for the support and betterment of the Kingdom. It's bad news when they demonstrate outbursts of anger, obsessive behaviors, anxieties, depression, etc. Given all the possible "bad news" scenarios, no wonder one pastor remarked, "If only I could be a brain surgeon for just 5 minutes each month this ministry would immediately go into high gear ."

Conclusions

1) Nearly everyone in this world carries some pain. Many carry it on a daily basis. It is the task of the ministry to address this pain.

2) A greater understanding of the nature of brain function and shadow syndrome behaviors can make it easier to forgive. As God's leaders we want to think we're holier or more spiritual than others. We want to believe we can forgive easier than others. But we can't. We, like our parishioners, find that forgiveness is difficult. Once we understand the reasons for behaviors, it becomes less threatening and forgivable. As the saying goes, "With understanding there is forgiveness."

3) When labels fit, they can be a blessing. Whether it's in counseling or conflict, in our personal family r in the greater family of faith, once something is labeled it can be treated. Depression, for example, can be treated chemically to change biologies. Anxiety and other disorders are also subject to chemical treatment and hence, have a considerable biological component.

4) We can't under-estimate the role of biology in behavior. Change the biology, change the behavior. Change the chemistry, change the behavior. It's that simple.

5) Pray changes things. But, when biological or chemical disorders are present, God's people need to respond for their benefit. When God's people pray "Give us this day our daily bread," they don't just stay on their knees until God drops bread in front of them. God answers their prayer by their response of obtaining and eating that bread. The same is true of medications. They belong to the wants and needs of our body. When we need them we are to respond in the same way as when we need bread.

Thomas F. Fischer  
 
For further reading see John Ratey and Catherine Johnson,
Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders
That Sabotage Us. New York: Bantam Books.

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