Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Category: Mental illness and the church (page 1 of 9)

Let the Church be the Church

THE CHURCH, MENTAL ILLNESS, AND US Jesus came to love and to heal those who are sick. And that should be the Church’s role. Teaching about mental illness is good, but it does nothing to remove stigma or discrimination. It does the opposite. It only serves to point out how our disabilities make us different […]

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My disability gave me a reason to live

DISABILITY AS A GIFT As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. […]

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Invitation to Launch of Justice for All

  HISTORY BOOK PROMOTES CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM Author Marja Bergen had many reasons for writing her recently-released book, Justice for All. The primary reason was to instill confidence in those who need encouragement to be all they can be—those who want a more meaningful life. The book looks at the stories of twelve of history’s […]

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We’re not so different

MENTAL HEALTH AND BUILDING UNDERSTANDING As a person with mental health issues who has helped many like herself, I worry when I see people like us portrayed as victims—a class of people set apart from others, needing special care and consideration. We are as human as anyone else and every one of us will need […]

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Narrowing the gap that divides

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS IN THE CHURCH After many years of fighting to overcome the stigma of mental illness in the Church, starting with publication of a couple of articles for the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division in 2005 and 2006, I’m coming to see that “well” people will never truly understand what it is […]

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Let’s get angry at mental health stigma

  Throughout history, anger has proved to be an instrument of change. It leads to revolutionary action that can upend unjust social structures. Mahatma Gandhi was incensed with the state of his Indian nation, where his countrymen were made to feel inferior under British rule. Some years later, Nelson Mandela felt the same way when […]

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Church mental health – Awareness or care?

When talking about those in need of our help, Mother Teresa is probably the best example of compassionate love and care for the suffering. We would do well to study her thoughts about feeding the hungry and helping those for whom life is feeling hopeless. She did not wait for institutions to be established. If […]

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Mental health care and the church: Building self-esteem

The Church has made great headway in offering more accepting communities for people with mental health issues. But is the acceptance and the support it now gives enough? I believe God calls us to do more. One of the most difficult things people with mental illness face is low self-esteem. With the love of Christ, […]

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Talk with us, not about us

Bored? William Wilberforce, the British slave trade abolitionist, once said, “It is inconceivable that we could be bored in a world with so much wrong to tackle, so much ignorance to reach and so much misery we could alleviate.” I’m certainly not bored. I only wish I were younger so that I would have more […]

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Reducing the feeling of shame

EXCERPT FROM A FIRM PLACE TO STAND (PAGE 198) – MARJA BERGEN (2008) In the introduction to his book, No Man is an island, Thomas Merton said that loving ourselves properly is “desiring to live, accepting life as a great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of […]

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