Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Month: October 2023

Spirituality, theology, and our health

HAROLD G. KOENIG, M.D. AND HIS PASSION In 2004, at a time when I had started raising mental health awareness in the Church, Harold G. Koenig, M.D. published, New Light on Depression, a book he had co-authored with David Biebel, D.Min. I read the book and was much inspired. It was just two years later, […]


What’s in a name?

IN THE NAME OF JESUS, REVISITED Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You […]


Through His love we are healed

IN THE NAME OF JESUS I was disturbed a short time ago when I was at a church service that spent part of worship time singing a song focused on Jesus as One who could loosen our chains of depression and anxiety. Although it was about Jesus, “the light of the world,” I felt that […]


God drew me close – a story

A LIFE WITH BIPOLAR Many years ago, believing that people with mental health challenges should be better accepted, I thought that a way to do that was to be open about my bipolar disorder. To tell it as it is. How else could it be known that there should be no shame connected to such […]


It can bring us closer to God

EMOTIONAL DISTRESS CAN DRAW US CLOSER TO GOD – from Dr. Harold G. Koenig, M.D. “C.S. Lewis said. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to a deaf world.” (The Problem of Pain) Indeed, it is emotional stress that gets our attention […]


Insight and ability to help

SENSITIZED TO THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS – from Dr. Harold G. Koenig Until one has undergone pain, discouragement, isolation, confusion, and fear, it is difficult to really understand and appreciate these experiences that people with mental illness must deal with on a day-to-day basis. Having gone through such experiences, a person is more able to […]


Mental illness can have a purpose

HOW DOES FAITH HELP US SURVIVE? – from Harold G. Koenig, M.D. Many, many persons today must live with recurrent persistent emotional or mental illness. What about these people? Are they doomed to a life of senseless pain and suffering? Certainly they should hope for, and seek, information about new treatments that may relieve their […]


Other-directedness remembered

RELIGION PROMOTES OTHER-DIRECTNESS – from Dr. Harold G.Koenig, M.D. Religion influences mental health by directing one’s attention outside of the self. As noted earlier every major world religious leader has instructed his followers to support and care for one another—Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Hindu holy men, and Mohammed. All emphasized this teaching as the key […]


What happened to faith and mental health?

WHEN DID THE CHURCH LOSE DIRECTION? In 2005 Harold G. Koenig, M.D. published Faith & Mental Health. It happened to be the year before the faith-based support group, Living Room, was founded in 2006. I look forward to re-printing some of the highlights of Dr. Koenig’s book here. Followers of Christ should find his thoughts […]


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