Tuesday, October 07, 2014

[doing small things with extraordinary love, article by John Swinton]

In "Doing Small Things with Extraordinary Love: Congregational Care of People Experiencing Mental Health Problems", John Swinton begins with:
The mental health industry is a big and complex beast. Amid the high-tech, neurological, genetic and pharmaceutical landscape it is easy for religious communities to feel nervous and disempowered. "What could we possibly have to offer that might bring healing in the midst of such prohibitively high-tech approaches to mental health care?"

Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche, provides us with a rather unusual answer: "The church is not called to do extraordinary things; it is called to do ordinary things with extraordinary love." In response to the complexities of the experience of mental health problems, the church's vocation is not to become a community of psychiatrists. Rather, it is called to become a community of disciples who strive to embody and reveal God's extraordinary love.

Read the rest of this excellent article.

Subsection titles:
Understanding mental health problems
The problem of stigma
The ministry of small things: What would Jesus do?
Re-thinking hospitality: Moving from host to guest

Note: Swinton also has a book out called Dementia: Living in the Memories of God which looks excellent! However, my sister got a copy and says it's a "detailed, clinical book," which means that if you are looking for something to help you and your loved one, it might not be the ideal choice.

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