I answered the phone and thus began my conversation with Babylon Joe. He kept asking me the same question. No matter how I responded he would repeat the question. I was getting nowhere with this guy. He kept asking me if I thought “the Babylon Woman” could change? What? Could who do what? He asked again, “Do you think the Babylon Woman can change?” I told him with Christ they could. “But what about the Babylon Woman—can she change,” he echoed again. The conversation continued for several moments until I overheard the nurse inform him that his phone time was up. At that moment I realized Joe was a patient at a local mental care facility. He said his name was Joe and he would call back.
Joe represents a group of people that the Church has left behind. Search the churches in your area for faith based support groups for those who suffer with clinical depression, OCD and other emotional and mental issues. What you will find is very discouraging. Furthermore, search the churches in your area for faith based support groups for those who are dealing with sexual addictions and brokenness. The results of your search will be woefully inadequate compared to the need. Not only is the Church as a whole not involved in the lives of these people we are now completely incapable of knowing how to care for them. We have lost so much ground in the caring of those who suffer in these ways that to start often feels too complicated and time consuming. When you add the prejudices that exist in our churches towards those who deal with these issues the challenge seems insurmountable. We represent the God of compassion and the God of ALL comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). Therefore, there is a way to do so.
My theology tells me the Church should have a voice in all areas of pain and brokenness. My experience tells me something very different.
Yes, these are complicated issues to tackle at the local church level. But they aren’t insurmountable. As I have make strides in my own church to provide safe and helpful environments for these precious people, the road has been difficult. But the healing and freedom that I have witnessed is beyond adequate description. It’s like getting a front row seat to the Amazing Grace of God. Does your church or community offer support for those dealing with these issues? If so, give us a snapshot of the effort? Do you work with other faith based organizations who partner with churches in these ways? If so, who are they?