Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Mental Illness, Christian Education and Leadership

Why does mental illness, and even suicide, afflict Christian families?

Have deficiencies in theological study and application contributed to the prevalence of mental illness among Canadians?

Anton T. Boison discussed his own psychotic breaks and suggested that they represented efforts to reintegrate his personality. He developed an empirical theology which sought to study the patient, his symptoms and the healing process. He became one of the founders of clinical pastoral education. This field has largely been taken over by secular psychologies which allow the patient to become a subject for experimental testing of theory. Pastoral theology has thus been transformed from the divine cure of souls into the pseudo-Christian effort to correct human flaws by human techniques.

Arno Gruen describes the folly of so-called normal behaviour when it is shown to be counter-productive. (see his book, 'The Insanity of Normality') Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, has been pointing out, for several years, inaccuracies in the financial formulae used to predict market behaviour. Could there be similar errors in the spiritual formulae which our churches develop to meet their 'objectives'?

True leaders cultivate the ability to foresee events and potential circumstances. Robert Greenleaf claimed that it was actually "necessary (for a good leader) to live a sort of schizoid life, always at two levels of consciousness, both in the real world -- concerned, responsible, effective, value oriented and also above it, seeing the actual reality, being deeply involved in daily events, but having the perspective of a long sweep of history and looking to, and planning for, the indefinite future".

The schizophrenic features of our churches, and our various denominational divisions, are hardly conducive to good mental health in a society in which many families are split among different, often antagonistic, churches.

For those of us whose churches are more formal, we have an "inherited attitude toward the liturgical act (which) reflects a kind of schizoid state. We hear but do not really hear. The liturgy is an encapsulated experience, entered into in isolation from real human experiences. It does not connect with the real world because it has been shaped by a piety which is often consciously an escape from the pressures of the real world. Liturgical time is seen as ‘holy time’ working according to its own laws, and feeding our hunger and thirst for God. But it does not connect for the great majority of our people with the real choices of daily life." - from 'Sacraments and Liturgy: The Outward Signs', by Louis Weil.

Education involves much more than filling students with facts and theories. It is an attempt to lead out of darkness and ignorance into light and wisdom, an attempt to develop competence and ability in the area of study. In short, good leaders show the way as well as talk about it. Real teachers lead and real leaders are good at teaching.

But, do our schools value this reality based approach?

for more see

Monday, April 6, 2009

Discrimination and stigma plague Canadians with schizophrenia

Evidence straight from those who know!
Would you wait 18 weeks to have a broken leg treated?

According to a national report released in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on March 30/09, by the Schizophrenia Societies across Canada, 60% of Canadians assume that people living with schizophrenia are likely to act violently toward others.

Schizophrenia in Canada: A National Report calls on Canadians, health care professionals and government to support a National Mental Health Strategy that addresses the disparities and inequities faced daily by those living with schizophrenia and their family members.

The report describes different factors affecting those with
schizophrenia, such as public perceptions and discrimination, quality of life, access to health care services, access to medications, wait times and government spending on mental health. These are key factors that illustrate the standard of schizophrenia care in Canada.

"While 92% of Canadians surveyed have heard of schizophrenia, most do not understand what it is or its symptoms. In fact, the majority confuse it with split personality disorder," said Chris Summerville, CEO, Schizophrenia Society of Canada. "Misconceptions such as these lead to negative stereotyping and stigma towards people living with schizophrenia."

The report examines how stigma negatively impacts the lives of people living with schizophrenia. Stigma causes gradual social isolation, making it harder for them to seek the help and treatment they need to manage their illness.

The report found that people with schizophrenia also experienced discrimination within the Canadian health care system. Schizophrenia in Canada calls highlights the findings of a 2008 report by the Fraser Institute on hospital waiting times, in which, physicians were asked to provide a reasonable wait time to receive various medical treatments. On average patients are waiting over six weeks longer for psychiatric treatment than is deemed reasonable. (Source: Fraser Institute, Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada, 2008 Report)

"It is simply unacceptable that people living with schizophrenia wait an average of 18.6 weeks from referral to receiving treatment for psychiatric care," said Mr. Summerville. "Mental health must be considered a top priority in the national and provincial wait time strategies."

The research for Schizophrenia in Canada: A National Report was conducted by Léger Marketing and supported through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Canada Inc.


The Schizophrenia Society of Canada began in 1979 and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia and psychosis through education, support programs, public policy and research. The Society works with 10 provincial societies in a federation model to: raise awareness and educate the public in order to reduce stigma and discrimination; support families and individuals; advocate for legislative change; and support research through the SSC Foundation and other independent efforts. All the Societies are united through each organization's efforts and share a common goal to raise awareness and educate the public in order to reduce stigma and discrimination.

For further information: or to book an interview with Chris Summerville, CEO, Schizophrenia Society of Canada, please contact:
Jennifer Gordon, Thornley Fallis Communications,
(416) 515-7517 x 348,;
Marissa Lukaitis, Thornley Fallis Communications,
(416) 515-7517 x 324,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are You a Schizophrenic Christian?

If so, you're in good company. The prophets of Israel often showed schizoid tendencies.

Hopefully your condition is under the control of the Holy Spirit by whatever means the Lord has given that works for you.

Click on the title above to read an article by Gary DeMar which critiques a less than healthy theology which advocates care for creation and then presumes to suggest that The Lord's imminent return excuses us from strenuous activity in the realms of social and ecological justice.

JESUS is both our Salvation and our Judge,
and HE is NOT schizophrenic.