Burlap Jesus

I’ve been a Christian for a long time.  Long enough to see items in Christian bookstores go through their cheesy phase.  Testamints, anyone?  Remember, it’s not just a mint, it’s a mint with a message.  I worked in a Christian bookstore in the mid-90s and one of the trends was to take t-shirt slogans and put a Christian spin on them.  Budweiser became Bloodwiser.  Gold’s Gym became The Lord’s Gym.  They were so prevalent and so horrible, they turned me off of Christian t-shirts forever.  Forever.  During my most recent stint in a Christian bookstore, I discovered they hadn’t gotten any better.  Now there’s one for sale that has the outline of Darth Vader and underneath it reads “I am not your father. God is your father.”  Nope. Continue reading

Mental Illness, Suicide, and the Church

Someone I knew from the recovery group at my former church committed suicide this week.  He had been dealing with mental illness for a while but everyone thought he had it under control.  Tragically, that was not the case.

I found out about his death this morning and I’m still trying to process it.  My friend, whose husband also took his life, warned me that the next time I encountered someone who had committed suicide, I would be transported back to Paul’s death.  A kind of survivor of suicide PTSD, if you will.  I didn’t believe her until this morning.  Upon hearing the news, I sat in my recliner wavering between anger and extreme sadness.  Memories of Paul’s suicide began to weigh heavily on my shoulders.  I went through the rest of the morning burdened, unable to think straight, barely getting out the door to go to work.   Continue reading