People living with mental health challenges are not excluded from God's love or even the fullness of life promised by Jesus. Unfortunately, this hope is often lost amid the well-meaning labels and medical treatments that dominate the mental health field today. In Finding Jesus in the Storm, John Swinton makes the case for reclaiming that hope by changing the way we talk about mental health and remembering that, above all, people are people, regardless of how unconventionally they experience life.
Finding Jesus in the Storm is a call for the church to be an epicenter of compassion for those experiencing depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and related difficulties. That means breaking free of the assumptions that often accompany these diagnoses, allowing for the possibility that people living within unconventional states of mental health might experience God in unique ways that are real and perhaps even revelatory. In each chapter, Swinton gives voice to those experiencing the mental health challenges in question, so readers can see firsthand what God's healing looks like in a variety of circumstances. The result is a book about people instead of symptoms, description instead of diagnosis, and lifegiving hope for everyone in the midst of the storm.
"Finding Jesus in the Storm is a masterful, wise, clear, and compassionate look at the experience of those struggling with mental health challenges such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, and the thin ways these are often described by mental health professionals, Western culture, and the church. Helped by refreshing philosophical insights, we are invited to listen to thicker descriptions of who these people are in relation to a theological, as well as a clinical horizon, and to better understand biblical healing--finding joy in Jesus while suffering. This book should be widely read."
John R. Peteet, MD Harvard Medical School
"John Swinton has listened well to Christians who have struggled with the unrelenting storms of severe mental health challenges. He has heard them tell of their experiences of the presence of God, and of the seeming absence of God, and of faith that grapples with the tensions between the two. Finding Jesus in the Storm provides a 'thick' description of Christian experiences of depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Drawing on the author's experiences as mental health nurse, minister, and practical theologian, these accounts are engaged in conversation with both professional and Christian perspectives, scanning the horizons of mental health care, Christian Scripture, tradition, and church life. This book provides a unique, and hard won, account of journeys through deeply troubled waters. It is essential reading for all who are dissatisfied with superficial and second-hand Christian accounts of mental illness."
Chris C. H. Cook, Durham University
Table of Contents
Introduction: Life in All of Its Fullness
Part One: The Art of Description
1. Redescribing the World of "Mental Illness"
2. Resurrecting Phenomenology
Part Two: Redescribing Diagnosis
3. Taking Our Meds Faithfully
Part Three: Redescribing Depression
4. Lament and Joy
5. Finding God in the Darkness
Part Four: Hearing Voices
6. Understanding Psychosis
7. Hearing Voices
8. A Strange Kind of Loneliness
Part Five: Redescribing Bipolar Disorder
9. Bipolar Faith
10. Bipolar Disorder and the Nature of Suffering
Conclusion: Redescribing Healing
Appendix: Mental Health Resources
About the Author: John Swinton
John Swinton is professor of practical theology andpastoral care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, andfounding director of the Centre for Spirituality, Health, and Disability at Aberdeen. His other books includeSpirituality and Mental Health Care, Resurrecting thePerson, and From Bedlam to Shalom.
Author: John Swinton
Paperback: 233 pages
Dimensions/Weight: 15.7 x 23 x 1.7 cm / 345g
Publisher/Date: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing / 2020