Naming Rights for These Afflictions — They Belong to the Legions
Oh my goodness, Kevin De Young! You allow this lack of accountability on your blog, after wringing your hands about the loss of moral language in our culture! And its replacement with therapeutic categories of being. You talked then about how much it mattered. How about the loss of integrity on the Christian Internet when we are just beginning an interesting discussion about who should have the power to name these things, and you? You shut it down! But perhaps my taxonomy of treachery is not appropriate — you, the reader, I give you the power to decide.
But to Whomever moderates comments, and has shut down this potentially profitable dialogue between me and ‘Not a Sole Fib’ — this moniker I call the anonymous commenter at The Gospel Coalition on Kevin DeYoungs guestblog discussing The Gospel and ‘Mental Illness’ who has the tremendous power to discontinue discussions, and to let his assertions remain unchallenged. Yes, he called himself ” Sole Fidd” but I have tweaked his name a little bit. Because he has masked his identity, this moniker is meaningless — he might as well have claimed to be Jesus Christ Come From on High to Adjudicate This Debate. That would be at least a hilariously appropriate identity that would have power to quiet any lunatics’ objections to being silenced! But his name is not connected to flesh so it is a waxed nose I may manipulate to suit my purposes, like Psychiatry’s bible, the DSM-5 — when there are no biomarkers for supposed diseases, there is no logic and no accountability around the diagnoses. It is rabbits from hats, It is not Real.
We are considering deep questions of Knowing and Being that are certainly above my limited understanding of philosophy, and I will show you later how it is going to be very meaningful to you in my next blogpost, but here is where it Gets Real. There are good reasons to have but limited respect for anonymous commenters on the Internet. A friend of mine named Ian Vincent, equally harmed by anonymity on the Internet, wrote these wise words about what an assumed name means:
It does mean that they don’t want any real fellowship, which means, at best, they are very immature and not qualified to teach the Body of Christ or function as an Elder. It does mean they are avoiding being accountable, therefore they are emboldened to say wrong things bcos they think that no one will find out who they really are. It very likely means they are hiding something. It could mean their spiritual life is more fantasy than reality. It could mean that they think that if you found out they are just a normal Christian like you, with all the normal faults, imperfections and struggles, then you would not be interested in them nor honor them as a great spiritual giant.”
And because anonymous commenters do not leave a trail, they can adjust the truth and even their historical record to suit their purposes — events are their own waxed nose. Not a Sole Fib says, “Don’t take the opinions of men too seriously – especially internet strangers who may or may not know what they are talking about and cannot walk with you, pray with you, or love you through the challenges God has put on your plate.” The irony of this comment is so rich: where does this Internet Stranger, who was asked to unmask himself but politely declined, get off by calling me “insensitive” — and what does he know of my real life?
So who will you trust, dear reader — ‘Not a Sole Fib’ — or me? I at least cite my sources, and my pastor said he will vouch for my character, he said, “I let you watch my kids”. But Not a Sole Fib has informed the world at TGC that they cannot trust me as a source of reliable information — and reader these are not trivial issues we are discussing — life and death are literally at stake. What does ‘Not a Sole Fib’ know of how I love or pray for those Schizophrenics who die twenty years earlier than average, and this rate has doubled since the introduction of the newer atypical antipsychotics.
And since no one gets exercised about the deaths of crazy people, here’s a fact to affect your taxpaying life, and give you an idea of the corrupt world you are dealing with: the old drugs average $10 a prescription now. The newer atypicals average cost is $600 a bottle!
But this is what I wrote, and of course I freshened it up a bit. It is better.
With all due respect Not a Sole Fib — just as I believe the naming rights to these afflictions belong to those whose brains are tormented, so I also believe that those with lived experience should be properly listened to, and consulted as to whether we are satisfied that the “Conversation About Mental Illness” you are having about us, and most often apart from us –
all those privacy invading discussions you have about us in your NAMI meetings, when our families are deceitfully advised to turn over the furniture to make it look like we are more dangerous than we really are
all those sidebars among lawyers at the judges’ bench at commitment hearings,
and all the panel meetings of the DSM-5, where we were allotted us two weeks to mourn our human conditions
All those awful closed meetings! In all of them, do you know, sometimes we sufferers have had the temerity to think we should be allowed to decide if the discussion is really finished, as it has everything to do with our future. And as one who identifies with this community, I am formally retreating from future engagement with you with those who support the lying practices of Psychiatry, tell their people those are not really broken cisterns they are drinking from. That huge juggernaut Saddleback has entered the discussion, right behind you, Not a Sole Fib. I know how things will go from here.
But before I leave this discussion, I still think there are still too many questions that you yourself have asked that I do not feel have been satisfactorily answered. And in this blogpost — since you have moderated my comment indefinitely although most people will not read these ojections, I would like to speak for us, and later I would like to make a request, especially of pastors, who disagree with my answers. And then I will definitely get out of the way of the inevitable. I’m going outside the camp where my people are.
But first, Not a Sole Fib, you ask some wonderful questions. So we really can’t shut down the discussion now! But don’t worry, I will keep the discussion equally collegial. I am most interested in these two points –by whose authority shall those who suffer be named? And where can we more profitably locate this discussion in the Bible? I think it is interesting that Jesus always gives first naming rights to those whose brains are involved. He always respects free agency. His searching questions always lead those infirmed by sin to diagnose our own condition. Always the names we hold so dearly are uncovered by his heart-piercing gaze, and nearly always these identities involve idolatry, don’t they? I do think the churches should follow his example, and give away the naming rights to those who have the greatest stake in the matter.
So I would zero in on Luke 8:30, because it is such a juicy passage, although it terrifies some. I suspected that it is why my first rough comment on this subject was moderated, but now I know there are Other Reasons. Have you ever noticed Not a Sole Fib, that Legion is never named at all in the church’s Conversation about Mental Illness? Nor, lest some horses and grandmothers become too alarmed, should he be always named in these discussions. As Sam Storms says on this issue
“Some are not healed because the demonic cause of the affliction has not been addressed. Please do not jump to unwarranted conclusions. I am not suggesting that all physical disease is demonically induced. It is interesting, is it not, that in Paul’s case God used “a messenger of Satan” to inflict the thorn?”
I am fascinated by the reasoning behind names and our fear of some names. The church has become so afraid of naming things ‘evil’. Why are we so afraid of saying Legions name? I have some ideas about that. I wrote a blogpost that examines what happens when the biblical descriptions collide with modern science, as demonstrated in the fascinating story of the woman with a “brain on fire” — classic-seeming demon possession diagnosed by medicine — she had ‘anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis’ and was treated successfully with plasma. Very interesting questions are raised. What do you think?
But for all practical purposes, I think those with the current power who make up the names, all you Thought Leaders and Mental Health Professionals, you really need to give the survivors and sufferers back our naming rights. It is part of our healing to name the thing. I would so much rather be a Magdalene slapped forever with the notorious label “She From Whom Seven Demons Were Delivered”, than be left with your own stigmatizing and dehumanizing diagnosis of ‘Schizoaffective Disorder’– at least there is hope for a demoniac that they can always be forever free of torment, if they keep their house clean and well ordered. Those you name ‘Mentally Ill’ and ” incurable”, for purposes that privilege those in power — think of Szasz’ example of Drapetomania, for example — are then left often permanently crippled by your defective drugs, and certainly stigmatized by your permanent label of a Defective Brain. Except those fortunate crazies living in a third world country, without any medical treatment — we know their outcome of recovery from schizophrenia without relapse is far better, according to two World Health Organization studies.
I myself refuse your atheistic names. It is not all about me, however. It is not even about your ‘worried well’ — they can have all the Ativan they imagine will aid them. I am sorry they are so deluded. But Jesus said, it is the sick who need a physician.
I read about all these kind of hurting people in the secular blog “Mad in America“, which is unique in that it levels the playing field and gives away the naming rights to all those parties who are interested in the issues surrounding Critical Psychiatry, and listens especially respectfully to those who actually Hear Voices.
MIA does a wonderful job in offering hospitality to those who suffer the terrifying ravages of a disintegrating psyche. I am going to find out if they will be equally hospitable to me, a Christian with similar lived experience. I want to try to reach out to them, to listen to them, and to encourage them with my own story of complete recovery. You all should listen to these kinds of voices too. If you are interested, here is a basic primer of the language of the traumatized — that I have adjusted from Dr. Karen Purvis’ helpful axiom: “When a[person] looks crazy, he’s scared. When a [person] looks angry, he’s sad.” That’s enough to know for now, so you don’t stop the conversation with my friends and frighten them off church completely.
I know if you spoke to them the way that Jesus did, and let them name their own infirmities, they would listen to you. I can assure you, many afflicted at Mad in America would rather fall into the arms of Jesus — who touched agonized people like them with authority, and then set them free–I am sure those unfortunates would rather be treated with such compassion than fall into the hands of unrighteous men who might force them into psych wards. Because their name for those places is ” torture chambers.” Remember! They have been there, have sat under the stark white lights of the locked wards. They get to choose the names –even for the cures. Remember, how gracious our Lord is towards our own agency?
I tell you that field is white with harvest. You Christian Thought Leaders think the world will lose respect for us if we tell them the story of Legion, and connect his case to any real condition. I think it just depends on what world you want to reach. I am going deeper into the world of Mad in America — I think they will appreciate my writing more than many of you do. Please don’t frighten my friends if they visit your churches — allow them to give you their name. Please don’t force drugging on them, even if they are a harm to themselves, or to others. If they are going to harm themselves, they need friends who listen closely, and they need hope for the future. If they have harmed others, the place for them is called a jail.
I would like to set up networks of churches that share my kind of taxonomy, so that my friends hurting from Psychiatric abuse can easily identify where their agency will be respected, and where they will feel safe– kind of like a “Joni and Friends” network — but that is a discussion for another day. Already I have gone over a thousand words. Thanks for listening, those who have come this far!
On this 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, please oppose the Murphy Bill HR #3717, because:
“People will turn away from forced and coercive services.
We need to feel safe and understood to connect with others.
We also need hope and a sense that we can get what we need.
So many difficulties arise in life,
especially when our parents, schools and communities
have their own problems and don’t understand our perspective.
Connection, unconditional positive regard,
trauma informed services and safety
must replace coercive, medical models
and forced services if we hope to help others heal.”
words of Cindy Peterson Dana, as a comment on a thread at Mad in America, titled– Murphy Bill: Violates Civil Rights, Increases Government Intrusion and Control, and Ignores Scientific ResearchBiblical Counseling, Christians and Psychotropics: An Uneasy Exchange comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.