I had no intention of adding another blog to the four of mine already out there (not least because of the book projects that are coming), but it is slowly becoming clear that I’m going to spend the rest of my life heavily involved in the ‘life of the mind’ in more ways than I ever could have imagined.
Mental health is something which affects more of us than most of us care to really think about. And when you come from a demographic which supplies the highest number of people in jail cells and mental health institutions – and you belong to a church which – in perfect synchrony with most other churches – does a pretty terrible job in general of taking care of people who suffer from the kinds of health problems that cannot be ‘seen’ – you start wondering how it works that some people have the privilege of better cognitive functionality than others.
I must now point out that there are a tiny number of health professionals in my church who are doing an super job of raising awareness and taking care of people whose mental health is less than brilliant. And in other church communities, there are people who are stepping forward and raising awareness about the need for much better pastoral care for mental health sufferers. And some of the work going on is amazing and I give God thanks for those people. But there is much more to do. We need better theology in this area – not least applied theology that encompasses praxis (and some people – not least in the area of practical theology – are and have been working on this for some time). But the Church also needs to engage much more with the science that is taking place in the psych disciplines, and ask some important questions.
And so although music, anthropology, philosophy and theology have each been a big part of my life for several years now, I have made up my mind to invest in learning more about mental health as concept and practice so that I can become part of some of the solutions to the many problems faced in this area – inside and outside the Church.
I’m not just thinking about what is archetypally understood as ‘mental health’ – I’m going to think about this as the ‘life of the mind’ and in so doing I will be spinning a few paradigms in different directions (‘re-thinking’) as I try to get an even greater handle on what is meant by the lexeme ‘mental health.’ Writing is a crucial way for all of us to gain real clarity on the contents of our own minds – so as I write, I grow and as I grow, I write. Thanks for coming to visit this blog!