Monday, January 28, 2008

It's gettin' churchy up in here.

OK, I don't think this blog is going pastoral or anything, but I feel the need to share.

I got a free issue of Leadership -- a magazine about "real ministry in a complex world" -- the other day, and I've been slowly working my way through it. It's a nice magazine and all, but it's caused me to reflect on some stuff that I don't really know what to do with. Two examples:

Example the First: Whom Would Jesus Lick?
So on Saturday morning, I was reading a Leadership article about how some urban churches are responding to persons who are homeless or addicted or mentally ill or whatnot, and for some reason, my brain came up with the very weird ethical question: "If a stranger came to the church and someone I trusted told me that I could change that person's life (cure their addiction, rehabilitate their mental illness, find them a job with dignity and a safe place to live, etc.) simply by licking one of their hands right now, would I do it?"

(I said it was a very weird question. None of the congregations profiled is actually licking the homeless, as far as I can tell.)

I still haven't figured out my answer...leaning toward Yes, I guess, but I think it would depend on who was telling me that's what I had to do.


I had recently shared with some friends about reconnecting with my friend KT from IU, and one of my friends asked if that was the same person as this other Katie we knew, whose last name was Miracle. Later on Saturday, as I was looking to reply to my friend's question about this other girl we knew, I did a web search for "Katie Miracle" and on the first page of Yahoo search results was the headline: "KATIE MIRACLE-CURES LEPERS WITH TONGUE". It has nothing to do with the Katie we knew, and it has nothing to do with curing lepers by licking them -- it's actually some guy's joke website, but HOW WEIRD that I was just thinking about that and then there was something exactly like it (sort of) online?

Example the Second: The Meds Generation
Another article in this issue of Leadership talks about "The Meds Generation" -- how do you lead "when everyone's on something." Now, this didn't get me thinking all freaky-deaky-licky like the other article did, but it did get me thinking.

And what it got me thinking about was the fact that I am not on anything...and maybe how odd that is. I don't drink or smoke (though some might say the way I use food is comparable), and I haven't taken anything more than an Advil since the Great Backpain Episode of 2002.

I also started thinking about the recent episodes in my life where friends have chosen to go off anti-depressants and other similar prescription drugs, to varying degrees of success. In no fewer than three incidents, I have been on the receiving end of what can only be described as a personal meltdown by someone who had recently stopped taking their anti-depressants. And I've heard other stories of folks who've had similar experiences. I have witnessed one person successfully navigate that process, but perhaps my perception of her success was influenced by the fact that I knew what was going on, and didn't find out after the fact, as I had in those other three instances.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: if you're on anti-depressants now, that's cool. If you want to stop taking them and your medical professional is on board with that, also cool. But it might help to let other people in your life know about that upfront, so that in case you have a day where it's not going super-well, they're more likely to get what's going on and be forgiving instead of wondering what the hell that e-mail was about or why you're acting like you had lost your damn mind.

And if you're part of a faith community, let your pastor or other trusted church friend know, so that they can be as supportive of you on that part of your journey as they are in the rest of it.

1 comment:

Emily said...

This makes me think about when my husband told me, while doing a psychiatry rotation, that people who think that God talks to them are considered less crazy than people who say aliens talk to them. So I guess that means that the Pope is less crazy than Scientologists...which seems right.