Yes, I do realize that I have already published what I really did think, at the time, was my farewell / ave atque vale “Skeptic’s Collection” column. But there is a matter that has been percolating in the back of my mind for some time: the issue, and the very concept of, “religious vocation”. (I will deal only with Christian vocations in what follows, since Christianity is the religious tradition with which I am most familiar. But I would argue that the following remarks apply, mutatis mutandis, to all monotheistic religious faiths.) So … in styling my supposedly final column as my final column … mea culpa! … I lied. So let’s jump squarely into the middle of my heresy du jour, shall we? Over the past roughly 30 years, I have come to believe – based on bitter personal experi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teEKzpSZoug I've lived with depression for over half my life. I learned that often religious people believe that if you live with depression, you can't possibly be a "real Christian." I found myself on the outside of a faith community and debating the truth of such a statement. It's hard to find the way back in when you've been out for so long. I just learned of the story of William Cowper, who was a British poet and hymn writer in the late 1700's. He lived with depression and was institutionalized more than once in his life Yet he wrote poetry and hymns that are still giving people comfort and encouragement today. I am a strong believer in the power of art and creativity to lift spirits higher in times of darkness. This story helps confirm it.
Over his morning coffee, he sat dreaming of yesterday's spring and the hill country of his youth, remembering summers of peace and autumn days when he still thought life a forever thing. The world lay before him then, a ripe field awaiting harvest. Now beside this sad cup, a winter hand, so withered and so gray, an old man's hand he barely recognized as his own. Then his gaze found her playful smile. In the hazel warmth of her eyes he felt like spring again, the rich loam of her love yielding a gentle harvest of joy The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life © 2015, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), all rights reserved; 2012, photograph, Wendy Rose Alger Begu