Coping with Spiritual Dryness

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Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down…
(from “Youth and Age”, George Gordon, Lord Byron)

In the pilgrimage of our lives, there comes a time when spirituality seems to have died, where the vastness of the universe seems empty of the God who made it, when God seems to have left us. This feeling of disconnection from God is known as a spiritual dryness or desert, a wilderness experience, a dark night of the soul, a time of crisis and distress. How can we cope, and find water in our desert?

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“Welcome Me As I Am”

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Just a short post today! I’d like to introduce my readers to a website I’ve just found, called “Welcome Me as I Am“.

It provides information and training resources for churches and chaplaincies on the subjects of mental illnesses and dementia. There is a free toolkit with resources for discussing mental illness and the church, information about mental health first aid, a guide for dealing with mental distress and some interesting prayers in the mould of Michel Quoist.

It looks excellent, and it’s great to see churches and denominations (Roman Catholic, in this case) engaging with mental ill-health, and offering a genuine welcome to their churches for those who are ill.

They also offer seminars as well as workshops in parishes – I assume they charge for these.

An interesting and useful resource for all churches, not just Roman Catholic ones! Please do visit:

http://www.welcomemeasiam.org.uk/

Stress: Mental Health Awareness Week

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From the 14th to the 20th May is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and with the theme this year of “Stress: Are we coping?” Started in 2001, Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK aims to raise awareness of mental health and ill-health, and to promote the message of good mental health.

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Ora et Labora: Work, Prayer & Value

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It’s value judgement time!

Alex is always busy. From 9-5 Alex is at work in the office, and then attends prayer meetings and church outreach events in the evenings. At weekends Alex can be found leading worship and preaching the Gospel.

Jamie isn’t quite so busy. Jamie doesn’t work, receives welfare, and rarely makes it to church events. Jamie spends a lot of time in the house, reading, and praying.

Which of these two people is the most useful in the church, and more generally? In what they do with their time, is Jamie or Alex worth more?

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Unreliable Witnesses?

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“You are my witnesses,” says the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am He.” (Isaiah 43:10a)

“You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8b)

It will soon be Pentecost, the great Christian festival celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples, the power behind the great mission of Christ’s Church, to proclaim the Good News to all creation.

Christ’s followers are his witnesses – people who have seen and experienced his love in their lives, and whose duty and desire is to share that love with others, “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) They witness by testifying of what they know and have experienced of God, his grace, forgiveness, and love. Both in their words and in their deeds, Christians are to witness to the truth of Christ’s divinity, his sacrifice upon the Cross, and his resurrection – to the love of God made known in Jesus. This isn’t a choice, or a specialist role, but part of what it is to be a Christian (Matt 10:18, 28:19; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:13; Acts 1:8 and more), and the testimony of Christians helps others to believe (John 4:39; 2 Thess 1:10). So, evangelism, bearing witness to Christ, is the duty of all Christians – but what does it mean to testify to the truth of Christ as a mentally ill person?

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