Streams In The Desert: July 4th, 2015

For the Vision is yet for an appointed time…though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry (Hab. 2:3).

In the charming little booklet, Expectation Corner, Adam Slowman was led into the Lord’s treasure houses, and among many other wonders there revealed to him was the “Delayed Blessings Office,” where God kept certain things, prayed for, until the wise time came to send them.

It takes a long time for some pensioners to learn that delays are not denials. Ah, there are secrets of love and wisdom in the “Delayed Blessings Department,” which are little dreamt of! Men would pluck their mercies green when the Lord would have them ripe.

“Therefore will the Lord WAIT, that He may be gracious unto you” (Isa. 30:18). He is watching in the hard places and will not allow one trial too many; He will let the dross be consumed, and then He will come gloriously to your help.

Do not grieve Him by doubting His love. Nay, lift up your head, and begin to praise Him even now for the deliverance which is on the way to you, and you will be abundantly rewarded for the delay which has tried your faith.

O Thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget–
Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared thy way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.
And if He’s helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now;
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow!
Oh! doubt not any longer,
To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is “just the same today.”

Selected

Praise & Worship: July 3rd, 2015

1.  All Your Anxiety-  Anne MacCallum

2.  Grace Flows Down-  Christy Nockels

3.  Holy (Wedding Day)-  The City Harmonic

4.  You’re Not Alone-  Meredith Andrews

5.  The Dry Bones Dance-  Mark Heard

6.   Alabaster Box-  Julie Meyer

7. Lay Me Down-  Andrew Peterson

8.  Revival-  Karen Peck & New River

9.  I Shall Not Want-  Audrey Assad

10.  Outrageous Grace-  Godfrey Birtill

11. Lord I Need You-  Matt Maher

“Racism As a Mental Illness”: A Mainstream Media Production

Taken from the  Huffington Post  which is found   HERE.

Just over a week ago, America saw its worst terrorist attack in years. I do not wish for its perpetrator to go down in history, as was likely one of his goals, and I therefore I refuse to call the Charleston shooter by his name. Instead, I hope we remember the names of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson, the victims of such senseless violence.

But even though I do not wish to call the man–and yes, a 21 year-old is man, not a boy, despite what sympathetic reporters might have you think–by his name, I do still want to talk about him in general–or rather, the media’s what I find to be a very disturbing portrayal of him.

Unlike the Charlie Hebdo shooters, who were instantly (correctly) branded terrorists by Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, and the rest of the media alphabet soup, even now, after more details have emerged about the shooter’s motives, the only ones calling a spade a spade with regards to Charleston are Jon Stewart and his fellow comedians, who’ve recognized this heinous act for what it is since day one–which is more than the FBI can say.

Perhaps the unwillingness of the mainstream media to call what happened in Charleston a “terrorist attack” would have stung less, had the same thing not happened back in February in Chapel Hill. In this case, the pain cuts sharper: While there is still some ridiculous debate over whether the brutal execution-style triple murder of Deah Barakat, his wife and sister-in-law Yusour and Razan Abu-Salha, was motived by a parking dispute rather than hate, the signs are clear as day in Charleston, revealed by the shooter’s own volition in his sickening manifesto. This damning diary is in addition to the bullets he already spoke when carrying out his murderous plan: “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.”

And yet, even after audible calls for a race war and an attempt at genocide, the FBI still refuses to call the terrorist what he is, and instead falls back on its favorite time-tested explanation: mental illness.

As someone who struggles with depression myself and who has many friends relatives who also battle mental health issues, this is an insult of epic proportions. But you don’t have to identify with that community to understand how. As one of my close friends commented after Chapel Hill, this constant refrain is harmful because it assumes a white person could not possibly be a terrorist, and has to be mentally ill to want to murder someone at all.

It’s a horrible cycle, and it continues, despite the fact that white supremacists have killed more people than those with mental health problems or wannabe-jihadists since 9/11. Should I have been surprised by these numbers? Twitter certainly seems to be, but I think in the back of my mind I’ve always known that was the case, that in the grocery store that is America, terrorism only comes in a certain brand. And as you leave the checkout counter? Here, hang onto your receipt, and enjoy the free stigma.

There are more than enough issues and sources of this stigma that both the Muslim community and the community of people who suffer from mental illness have to overcome already. In the case of the latter, it starts with the fact that we use the phrase “mentally ill” at all, as if there’s something deficient in those of us with depression. By mislabelling terrorists as victims of their own personal war with mental health issues, we automatically add to the burden even more by again stigmatizing words like “loner,” “soft-spoken,” and “depressed.”

Maybe we suffer from PTSD and are always checking over our shoulder to see if someone’s following us, maybe we find it harder to sleep at night, maybe we can’t as easily communicate with other people. But how does that make it any more believable for us to murder someone than a white supremacist? Are we going to equate white supremacists and genocidal mass murderers with teenagers just suffering from extreme anxiety? Certainly, these murderers are twisted and disgusting, but as Arthur Chu also pointed out, do a keyword search of phrases from the Santa Barbara and Charleston shooters’ manifestos, and just look at how many hits you get on message boards all over the internet of people applauding their actions or making similar calls for a race war.

The takeaway from all of this: Racism and misogyny are not mental illnesses. They’re acts of terrorism, just like 9/11, just like Charlie Hebdo, just like the senseless violence that occurred just last Friday morning-and just like the Holocaust, the Crusades, and colonialism in general. And this terrorism, violent extremism–whatever you want to call it–knows no one race or creed.

To consider these twisted ideologies and mental illness one and the same is a step backwards not only for justice, but for widespread acceptance of certain conditions throughout civil society as well. This disgusting saga playing out on our TV screens and in our newspapers must end now, before it permanently ostracizes and alienates two of society’s marginalized groups. I’m not saying that we must call every murder a terrorist attack. But let’s at least take out race and religion as factors, and hold everyone to the same standard. To do anything but hold every identity to the same standard is an insult to all of them.

While I have said that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was an act of terrorism, I am not Charlie, and I’ve written about why on a separate occasion. But Charleston? I and the other minorities in this country, whether we’re Muslim or “mentally ill” or both, feel you. We stand with you. And American media? Do better.

Autism And The Church

Taken from  Baptist News  which is found  HERE.

We feel alienated. We’re scared to tell you about our son’s ASD. We don’t want you to treat our daughter any differently than other kids. Sometimes we don’t understand our child’s behavior any more than you do. We feel judged. He isn’t a bad kid. She’s not trying to be disruptive. We’re not bad parents. Sometimes we feel so shamed at church. We’re so exhausted. We can’t worship because we’re too busy preparing ourselves for that “it-didn’t-work-out-today-with-your-son”look from the Sunday school volunteer. Please don’t define her by her diagnosis. We love our child so much. Some weeks it just feels easier to skip church. We feel so isolated. 

But Robin Davis, director of the Richmond Autism Integration Network and mother to a son on the autism spectrum, says it really boils down to one answer.

“Honestly, more than anything, we just want support and a community that will accept and love our family, regardless of a diagnosis.”

Since August 2014, Davis and RAIN have been in partnership with Bon Air Baptist Church at the Village in Richmond, Va., to establish just that: support, acceptance and love.

A year ago, Bon Air Baptist Church and RAIN had nothing particular in common — just a desire to connect with their community. Bon Air, a multi-site Baptist church based just west of Richmond, commissioned the Village Campus and its pastor, Jake Maxwell, in the fall of 2013 to engage young adults and other largely unchurched populations.

Davis founded RAIN five years ago after leaving her job with the state of Virginia and committing to resource and integrate families living with ASD in her community.

Today, the two organizations not only share ministry space in the Village neighborhood just north of the University of Richmond; they share an unpredictable partnership committed to resourcing and surrounding families living with ASD in loving community. But there’s nothing predictable about listening for how God is at work around you, Maxwell explains.

“We launched the Village campus with a few answers, but the whole time we were still listening and asking, ‘What does God have for us here?’ We discovered God most among families living with autism, who aren’t necessarily suffering from extreme violence or oppression, but are just as crushed by anxiety and not knowing what to do. Our eyes were opened to an entire community of people around us that we had never noticed.”

In addition to Bon Air, faith communities across the country are beginning to take notice of ASD and its growing prevalence. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified about 1 in 68 children living with autism spectrum disorder in the United States. This latest estimate stands 30 percent higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88) and 120 percent higher than the estimate for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). The CDC also discovered that nearly half of children living with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85). ASD is reported in all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups, and is almost five times more common among boys than among girls.

As Bon Air began to learn more about ASD, they quickly discovered that their school district was desperate to partner with organizations supporting families with ASD.

Furthermore, families living with ASD began to emerge from the congregation itself, offering their experience and time to resource other families seeking support. So together, Bon Air and RAIN began organizing resources that are available to families living with ASD through the community, city, state and other organizations. In addition, Davis and her staff provide coaching for parents as they discover more about their child’s place on the spectrum and plan with guidance counselors at their son’s or daughter’s school.

“As parents of children with ASD, we’re constantly trying to offer our kids support, but it’s exhausting,” Davis says. “If I have a big problem, I go to God and I go to my pastor or my church community, but a lot of people living with autism can’t do that because even the church doesn’t know what to do. As a person of faith, I wanted to be part of a bigger movement with churches who wanted to meet this community where they are.”

In order to provide that support, Bon Air and RAIN offer a camp for children ages 8 to 18 with ASD during spring break, summer break and winter break called Camp Free2BMe, which provides arts, crafts, games and field trips for children at a time when parents struggle most to find child care. In addition, they host Social Saturdays, a weekly four-hour session in which children with ASD are paired with mentors from the congregation to practice crucial life skills and therapeutic activities including cooking, art, music, chess club and science club. On two occasions, 20 students from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond came to Bon Air to volunteer with RAIN.

By far, Maxwell says, the most popular opportunity they created through the partnership was a special-needs prom for students on the autism spectrum. Because students with autism are often overwhelmed by high levels of sound and light, they cannot attend traditional prom through their school system. But with the help of parents and volunteers from the congregation, Bon Air and RAIN created a prom in February, complete with a red carpet, paparazzi, special lighting and low music.

The football team from the University of Richmond even came to trade dance moves with the students.

“One of the most beautiful things is that, unlike myself and every other human being, autism doesn’t discriminate based on age, race or ethnicity,” Maxwell explains. “So this has the most culturally diverse expression of church that we have been a part of in our ministry here at the Village. We had all of these families come from various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, and it has transformed us all.”

Maxwell says Bon Air is far from exemplary in its mission to engage families living with autism but is more aware than ever of the calling to integrate the ASD community into its rhythm as a church. So as churches in the United States face a growing population of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, how can they take similar steps to more fully integrate families with ASD into the faith community?

Amy Fenton Lee, author of Leading a Special Needs Ministry and consultant for helping churches include families with ASD, says the church must begin to understand autism. The first step, however, is understanding what these families and individuals face within the church.

“Every single parent of a child with autism will tell you that they’ve felt judged before,” Lee says. “But often, the family doesn’t know whether or not to be honest about their child’s diagnosis in the first place because they fear the church will label their child and limit his or her social circle. If a child is identified with autism, he or she is often misunderstood as having bad behavior, being defiant or unpredictable, so families can often feel a great sense of shame from their peers, as if they have failed to teach their child right and wrong.”

The good news, Lee says, is that addressing these issues of alienation and integrating families into the community of faith is not an insurmountable task. The most important thing churches can remember is that integrating families with autism more fully into the congregation is completely attainable when the goal is to learn, understand and seek solutions. Lee keeps an ongoing blog of resources for helping churches include children with special needs at theinclusivechurch.wordpress.com.

Beginning in June, Bon Air will host RAIN’s summer session of Camp Free2BMe for the first time at their ministry building. In addition to learning activities, church volunteers will spend time with the students each morning providing devotions and having conversation about what it means to be created in God’s image. Davis says there’s no question that children living with autism are fully created in the image of God and that they may have more to offer the church than the church has to offer them.

“If you look all through the Bible, people with special needs are close to God’s heart,” Davis says. “It’s crucial that the church include them, not only because it’s what God wants, but because they can learn so much from folks with special needs that will enhance their experience of God and the church.”

 

How To Minister To The Mentally Ill

This is an article that was written by Rachel in 2008. Rachel lives with Bipolar II disorder and has a gift for communicating.  What she shares here is what this blog is all about. Her blog is located  HERE and hasn’t been active for some time but what’s there is worth your time.

March 3, 2008

This came out of a conversation on another blog, and I thought it might make a good post. I’m only writing from my perspective and experience. So, not everyone suffering from mental illness will agree with me. If you don’t please comment and let me know where I got it wrong.

How to minister more effectively? Big question! I think first, we need to seek to make ourselves and our churches welcoming for those that are mentally ill, or otherwise suffering. Church should be a place where people can share their struggles in these areas without fear of prejudice or judgment, but so often it isn’t. We are all so busy pretending to have it all together out of fear of what others will think that we never realize that everyone is struggling with something! We can only minister to the ill and struggling if we know of their condition!

Further, if we really have a desire to minister to those with specific illness, we should research that illness. We should learn about how it works, its symptoms, its treatment, the side effects of treatment, etc. the only way to truly understand of course is to go through it yourself, but I think people would be surprised by how much they can learn from research and how it could equip them as they try to understand. Then just ask the person how they are impacted by their illness. What it feels like, how it impacts their life, etc. I know for me, I’ve always appreciated people that really sought to understand, that really tried to get it.

I also think that a lot of times, the one that seeks to minister is really going to have to seek in order to minister. A lot of us are the sheep that have wandered off. I know for me, when I am feeling the worst, my desire for isolation is highest. For all of my friends it should be a big sign that I’m not well when I fall off the radar. Even when I logically know I shouldn’t, I withdraw, and find myself unable to really think rationally enough to resist withdrawing. So, I need people who will call me, and not wait for me to call them. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how abandoned I’ve felt in my illness. On more than one occasion I didn’t hear from my closest friends or anyone at my church for months. I even sent out a panicked email to a few friends once about falling into depression again and asking for prayer, only to receive no response.

And just listening is HUGE. I know that people are sometimes afraid to reach out because they worry about saying the wrong thing. Well, sometimes, you don’t need to say anything–just listen and be physically there. Even if you say the wrong thing, if you do it from a place of humility, love and a genuine care, most of the time that is what will come across to the person and it will mitigate anything “wrong” you might have said.

I know this territory is woefully uncharted in the realm of Christianity. Perhaps prayer that more writing and teaching would occur in this area would be a start. I guess that’s another way the local church could help: sermons that touch on the reality of mental illness and that while depression, etc. might sometimes be a spiritual problem, it’s often a physical one, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.

I hope this might help someone.

Glen Campbell: I’m Not Gonna Miss You

Following up On Glen Campbell. If you weren’t able to see the documentary yesterday it ended with this song. Glen sang this when he didn’t know the names of family and so much more. It’s amazing he was able to do this. If you have or have known someone with Alzheimer’s this song will touch you deeply.  Allan

Glen Campbell’s Daughter Ashley Details Dad’s Declining Health

Taken from Rolling Stone Magazine  which is found   HERE.

On Sunday, June 28th at 9:00 p.m. ET, CNN will exclusively broadcast the profoundly moving documentary film, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, a revealing look back at the phenomenal career of Campbell, who went from in-demand L.A. session guitarist to pop-country superstar around the world thanks to such iconic hits as “Gentle on My Mind,” “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Among his fellow performers who comment on Campbell’s influence are Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Brad Paisley, John Carter Cash, Sheryl Crow, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and U2 guitarist The Edge. Campbell’s final recording, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” won a Grammy for Best Country Song earlier this year. Campbell and the song’s co-writer, Julian Raymond, were also nominated for an Oscar for the emotional tune.

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me is a heartbreaking but celebratory document of the musician’s final album and his Goodbye Tour, which expanded from a five-week trek to 151 sold-out shows in an 18-month period, yet at its core, the film bravely details the Campbell family’s coming to grip with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, as the performer’s children, including Ashley, Shannon and Cal, who were members of his touring band, rally together in support of their dad, just as the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s fans and friends have done, especially since his diagnosis was first revealed.

“It’s a great way to get the message out there,” Campbell’s daughter, Ashley Campbell, tells Rolling Stone Country of I’ll Be Me. “The film is definitely not what you think of when you think of a documentary about Alzheimer’s. I think the beauty of it is that my dad is such a personable person. He’s so charismatic and funny and just real, and it really shines through in this film. He puts a real human face on this disease that a lot of people are dealing with that we don’t really hear about it a lot in the media. That’s the conversation we’re hoping to start, that it’s real and it happens to people we love and that we need to personalize it.”

Included in the film is a historic stop in Washington, D.C., during which the Campbell family testified before Congress, lobbying members for more research funding for a cure and meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Acknowledging the widespread effect Alzheimer’s has had on millions around the globe, Ashley says, “Everyone goes through a similar process and through this ongoing grief that happens as we take care of our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. When people see the film they talk to me afterwards, they’re just so relieved that it’s not just them going through these things. They’re not alone in this.”

Although she reveals that her father, who is currently at a memory care facility in Nashville, is progressing into the late stages of the disease, Ashley says her dad is physically very healthy, adding, “He’s calm most of the time, which is kind of all you can ask for in the late stages, that he’s calm, content and happy and feels a lot of love in his life. Because he has aphasia, he can’t really communicate very well. He doesn’t really understand anything that anyone tells him anymore and he can’t communicate with us very well. But he understands body language and sometimes very small words.

While the aphasia has robbed Campbell of the ability to communicate, his daughter says he still comprehends things such as like hugs and taste and sometimes even music, although the latter can prove difficult.

“Overall, he’s just very happy and content in his own world and we just love hanging out with him. It’s all we can ask for,” she explains. “At least he’s not aggravated and scared and confused all the time. He’s happy and content and smiles most of the time. He still makes jokes and likes to play around, even though the jokes don’t make any sense and it’s gibberish; he still goes through the motions and it’s still him. Like, he’ll take a French fry and start smoking it like a cigar and give us all that ‘joke’ face. He likes to fake you out like he’s handing you something, when you reach out for it he pulls it back and just laughs. He still likes to make people laugh.”

In spite of tabloid reports of a rift between Campbell’s wife and family and his older children from previous marriages, Ashley insists that unlike some of those stories have suggested, “No family member has ever been denied a visit to my dad. Sometimes we have restrictions as far as for his privacy and safety, like restricting photos taken or items brought in, but no family member has ever been denied.

“We have some family members who don’t understand the disease and what he’s going through and like to make a fuss,” she continues. “What they don’t know is what they’re doing is a disservice to their dad and to people with Alzheimer’s everywhere and their families dealing with it. What I will say to any negativity that’s being spread out there by whomever and whenever, is that he is surrounded by love and he is getting the best care possible. He’s not missing out on anything. He’s being taken care of by people that love him and are making sure he has everything he needs.”

In addition to the broadcast of the documentary, CNN.com has created and curated content related to Alzheimer’s and its impact on people and families. There are medical facts about the disease, a digital short film about one man’s “cruel journey” with Alzheimer’s, and a look into Campbell’s own experience through excerpts from the film. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will also report for a digital series on the latest progress in Alzheimer’s research. Following the film, a custom public service message about advances in Alzheimer’s medical research will be presented and CNN’s Impact Your World will gather resources for families and sufferers of Alzheimer’s online.

Two days before the film’s TV debut, on Friday, June 26th, at 12:00 p.m. ET, Campbell’s wife, Kim, and CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will answer questions on Facebook, allowing users to share their questions about the disease and the challenges facing families and loved ones with relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Since participating in the documentary, Ashley Campbell has signed to Dot Records, the rejuvenated Nashville label under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella. Her first single, “Remembering,” which she wrote as a tribute to her dad, comes out in early July and is also featured in the film and on the soundtrack.

Campbell says her LP, which she will be recording later this year, will be driven by two main elements: songs she has written in the last couple of years and, of course, plenty of banjo, including an instrumental written and performed with her godfather, legendary banjo picker Carl Jackson. A release date for the new album has yet to be announced.

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