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Category archives: Depression

Are you 'losing your faith' or is your faith being refined?

Just over a decade ago I began a journey, disillusioned by my experiences with “church” and the type of Christian faith and practice it advocated. I was a pastor, and thus a spokesperson for this brand: through teaching, preaching, and counseling. The crisis for me came in having to admit that what I had been taught — and was teaching — wasn’t really working in my own life. The faith […]

 
 
 
 

Leaders Don't Have to be Martyrs

Leadership is hard, but we make it harder by our own missteps. Leadership is challenging, but we make things worse when we don’t honor the limits of our bodies and souls. Leadership involves making hard choices, and dealing with conflict, but we make things worse if we don’t practice self-care. Instead we wind up fatigued, reactive, short-tempered, and feeling victimized by our role. Just because we are leaders doesn’t mean we have […]

Facing the epidemic of suicide

Today there are growing numbers of suicides — especially among military veterans. I just came across a great article from Jennifer Michael Hecht in The American Scholar about suicide. It’s written from a secular, scholarly, but wise perspective. It’s so well-written that I’m doing to quote some sections at length. Here are some excerpts: Today’s military faces a tremendous crisis. We are losing more soldiers to suicide than to combat. […]

Mental Illness in the Church: Making Sense of why Some People and Situations are so Perplexing

I served for 15 years as a pastor in several church settings, then spent five years in the counseling world, and now I’m back in the church / pastoring world again. One thing I’ve taken back into the church world from my counseling experience is an understanding that undiagnosed mental illness plays a big role in all-too-many “problem situations” and “problem people” in churches today. I’ve seen people get by […]

Dealing with feelings of emptiness

How many times have you heard someone say: “I just feel so empty?” Maybe they didn’t use that exact word, but that was the gist of it. Sometimes this label “emptiness” gets thrown around in talk about depression, sometimes with burnout, sometimes with relationship problems, or sometimes “mid life crisis.” As a young pastor my reaction was to think in spiritual categories … people feel empty because they need God. […]

On the Danger of Pedestals - part 1

As an ordained minister and the senior pastor of two churches, I know from experience that pedestals are dangerous. People often come into the church with a powerful mixture of expectations and illusions about what an uber-spiritual person should be. They may assume the pastor will embody that. This is a problem when we let them down – when they see how we fall short of the ideal that they […]

New study suggests that loneliness may be contagious

Loneliness is an important issue – and personal challenge – for many leaders and the people they are leading. For this reason, I was especially interested in the results of a recent study on the topic. What follows are highlights from a recent article about the study. A new study suggests that feelings of loneliness can spread through social networks like the common cold. “People on the edge of the […]

Facing our love / hate experience with God

I am increasingly convinced that spiritual inauthenticity is a major roadblock for many Christians in general, and especially Christian leaders. When we try to convince ourselves to believe something we don’t really believe, or when we struggle with thoughts and feelings about God that we “shouldn’t have,” we get stuck. There are no easy answers here, but I believe it is essential to face our questions, doubts, and jumble of […]

How to take back your power in relationships - set deadlines

People who feel victimized or mistreated in relationships struggle to know when and how to draw the line. We want to give people second chances … but what about fifth or sixth chances? Fiftieth or sixtieth chances? I know that Jesus said we should forgive people not just seven times, but “seventy times seven” times. But forgiving people multiple times does not imply remaining in the same kind of relationship. […]

Facing Times of Stress and Change

Times of stress and change can present great opportunities for ministry, but also create great challenges. And what else can you say about the tough times we’re living in now, with our economic woes and fears of job losses? With every news headline sounding more alarming than the last, and doomsayers coming out of the woodwork, I was encouraged by a letter forwarded to me by consultant and speaker Alan […]

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