Mental Illness, Faith, and Action

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by Ben Huot

You are now in the 5th Generation Subsection of the Writing Section

June 28, 2023

Being mentally ill with Schizophrenia
Means being an outsider
In the midst of a highly regimented society
Whose foundations are being uprooted

Only an anarchist or a revolutionary
Would look forward to a complete breakdown of society
We think things always develop towards something better
But technology may become so revolutionary
That civilization itself becomes irrelevant

The only regularly meeting organization
That meets regularly in person
That spans the entire world
Is the Church started by Christ

Religion is always relevant
Because separation from God
Always feels lonely

And the only thing that can stop
Our every increasing desires
Is faith in Christ

We as members of the Church
Have too often engaged in debate
And have relied to much on
Human reasoning and solutions

We need to return to understanding God
First by faith and secondarily by reason
We need to pray first and find solutions second

God needs to be the focus
And doctrine should only be a means to an end

We will never explain away everyone’s doubt
The best evidence for Christianity
Is Christians willing to sacrifice everything for Our Savior

How can we appreciate who Christ is
And what He sacrificed coming into our world as a baby
If we do not have faith based on intuition?

The biggest challenge to Christianity is human suffering
But the best answer is that Jesus wept

We need not fear our choice of God
In the eternal battle for our minds and hearts

Feelings were created for a reason
And we need not deny how we feel
In the name of systematic theology
Emotions are no more an obstacle to faith than reason is

The reason why we worship with rituals
Is partially to satisfy the emotional aspects of our creation
We need not be ashamed to show emotion
Or to be moved by our worship experience

We are to love God with all we are
This includes our emotions
And most importantly our decisions

When Peter chose to follow Christ
His answer was so fast that
It could only be emotionally triggered

Too many aspects of modern Christianity
Are made in response to Church history
And the battles of the past
We think our doctrines will save us from heresy

But for the common person
It is telling that they have little interest
In examining the reasons for theological realities

It is not that we need to give up study
Of God and our place in His plan
But we need to embrace all aspects of who we are
Not just the ones that our society values

The Church in America has great faith in many ways
But they also fear the supernatural
And largely reject the experience of faith
To instead reason out evidence

There is a Northern and a Southern European
Way of understanding God
And neither is better

The crosses of the Northern Christian have no trace of Jesus
Because they see the suffering of Christ to have ended
And this is the proof of His overcoming death and hell

But until we see ourselves on the cross
We do not fully appreciate God’s sacrifice
This is something we need to remember
Because Christ still bears His marks of crucifixion

We cannot have salvation and freedom
Without the cross and the suffering of God
He suffered in our place
And we need to remember that

It is great to see Christ as victorious
But if we don’t remember how the war was won
We are likely to be ineffective in resisting the enemy

Christ has long since risen from His painful death
But we are still living here on earth
We still suffer and although we have victory
Suffering still hurts

You can give a perfect explanation
Of how suffering is justified and temporary
But this does not satisfy our hearts
Even if it does satisfy our minds

Seeing God from the point of view
Of a person suffering with Schizophrenia
I can see how scary it must have been
To give up the protection of thousands of angels

I have a different understanding of fear
And maybe this is helpful in understanding
Parts of who God is that theology comes short
In explaining with mere words

We know that there is more to God
Than what the Scriptures tell
Sure there is no more general revelation
Of who God is beyond Scripture

But there is more to accepting God
Than by understanding it makes sense
Each patriarch proved the depth of their faith
By following God in specific actions

We say salvation by faith
Is different than salvation by works
But these are just different way of looking
At the same great decision we all must make

In our society we are tempted
To turn off our emotional brain
Because it is hard to exist in society
Without putting it under
The control of our rational brain

In some ways the irrational fear
That I live with
May allow people like myself
To see the power of God
In ways others cannot accept

If all your brain can do is act
Then you are not kept from
Understanding the immediacy of faith
Our society is so comfortable
That it has trouble accepting the reality of struggle

Sometimes when faith is reduced to a prayer
Or is thought to be best increased by study
We need not forget the importance of
The proof of our faith that necessitates action

We must not just accept Christ with our brains
But be strengthened in our faith by our struggles
To overcome our pride and rebellion
Faith is in many ways as much a process as it is an event

We must go through the continually reoccurring
Rituals of the faith like the Lord’s Supper to the giving of the tithe
Faith like worship is more than just an acceptance of reality
It only comes from believing reality can be changed by God

None of us really seeks God
God seeks us
We can only understand
What we need to do to
Act out our faith
When we seek God with all our hearts

We cannot allow our minds to be at the center
Of our faith in Christ
God should always be the beginning and end of our faith
To truly understand the depth of our need for God
We need to act our faith with fear and trembling

It is easy to fight heresy with more doctrine
But if you add too much to explain Scripture
You can end up alienating those
Who do not understand faith in these terms

I do not think we should just give up our rational brain
For those who still have a working one
And certainly most of us can put it to work
Limiting the damage the acting our brain can cause
To our place in society and our peace with God

We just need to be willing to experience faith
In our not thinking brain
So that we don’t end up following all the steps
But still be paralyzed by our fear of our emotions

There can only be peace with God
When we put our entire mind and heart into God’s hands
There is a great risk we take in letting our hearts bleed
But we need not fear opening that part of ourselves before God

God can only give you the power to conquer your fears
If you first give Him access to that part of you

There is not just one answer to what faith is
The answers span across time and space
And occur in different times and places in our journey
We are the sum of our experiences emotionally

Faith is not something you think about
It is something you do
And the greatest faith moves us to act
Before we decide to think through all the reasons
Why we don’t want to follow God

While we get lost in arguments
About how God will return
We forget to prepare for it as Jesus
Instructed us

After He told us
The only things we can be certain of
About the end of times

Too many Christians want to focus
On solving theological problems
That they miss the obvious commands
That God has instructed for us to follow

We provide explanations
To things we don’t really understand
When only obedience is required

The shortcut to get around the limitations
And our procrastinations of the flesh
Is to act before we think through all the answers

And rely on faith even when we could
Rely on money or human skill
To accomplish the same thing

We need to allow room for God to work miracles
By having faith that goes beyond
Merely comprehending the meaning of Scripture
And forces us to make a decision
We follow through with action

Our own faith is the best response
To our own doubts about suffering
Because there is no better way to explain
This mystery than to accept it with faith

Sometimes we think too much
And feel too little
People with mental illnesses don’t have this problem
We have a very different problem

We have to accept our weakness
Before God will raise us up