Not all ‘irregular’ people are mentally ill or unstable. Some people are shy and socially awkward. AA is filled to the gills with damaged people who dislike the church. It isn’t just AA people, there are lots of people who don’t know God because they do not see Him in the church. I do not want to be the person to stand in the way of someone having a relationship with the Lord. I want to facilitate it. I am well aware, writing this blog, that I fall way short of being the person to minister to others. I feel an obligation to do whatever I can to get myself to a place of wholeness.
The following is an e-mail l received from a longtime friend in AA who happens to have bipolar illness like me:
‘I read your first post yesterday and I was going to comment on it. I just read your second post. I like what you are saying. My dad was an Evangelical Christian. I went to church with them several times. I never felt welcomed at all and some of those people knew I have problems because my dad kept insisting on putting me on their damn prayer list. At my dad’s funeral not one of the church members even came up to me. Their pastor is nice. And so is his wife. I used to see him in Starbucks all the time and he would always stop to chat with me. I don’t find most organized religion to be very inclusive. By nature alone they are all pretty exclusive with the whole you must believe what we believe to be accepted crap. I think mental illness scares people. I too have a habit of sharing too much sometimes. I want people to know me and accept me and I believe that can’t really do that without knowing I am nuts and intense. Most people can not handle my intensity. I’ve learned that. I have no idea how to turn it down though. ‘
Think about that for a minute. Someone close to me says mentally retarded people are the Cadillac of handicaps. Put a schizophrenic person next to a mentally retarded person and people will choose the retarded person every time. Schizophrenia is scary. It is more scary to the person who has it than the person who is witnessing it.
Angry people may respond with anger, but you have done your job if you expressed love to them. They receive love whether they want to or not. Christ never shrank from a person. Keep it simple, reach your hand out.