In this bonus mini-episode we explore mental health in relation to discipleship for Mental Health Week. Josh and Ash briefly look at how those who face mental health difficulties can also face stigma not just in the world but also in the church and briefly discuss their own experiences with mental health. Mental health is something that we should all think about and in this podcast the following links are recommended:
0:26 Hello, it’s lovely to see you in a different way as we we come to you from the vicarage, and we come to talk about an issue it’s on both are actually in his heart. The minute this week is Mental Health Week, isn’t it?
0:43 It is and what kind of want to invite you to discuss that with as well as
0:48 we kind of want to, you know, this podcast is called journeying faithfully, or faithfully journeying,
0:55 journeying faithfully,
0:56 and we want you to come on that journey with us. And actually, mental health can be a really difficult conversation to have. It’s, it’s not one that’s often out in public. And we want you to be part of that conversation. We want to remove some of that stigma, in this very short video of mental health problems and issues and difficulties and challenges. And we want to offer some resources, maybe if you find yourself in a situation, that is difficult. One of the greatest resources we can offer as the US is the Bible. And the Bible talks a lot about peace doesn’t, it does it really does. Jesus’s ministry was based all around peace and giving peace. And in john, in chapter in john 16, Jesus says this, I have said these things to you, the enemy, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. In our last podcast, if you listen to it, we talked a little bit about Easter. And about Jesus overcoming some of our tribulations, didn’t we? We did.
2:15 And we look, we linked that to both our physical and our mental health. And that’s a little bit of the statistics, including the one where one in four will suffer from a mental health, illness or episode in every year.
2:33 And I’m still surprised by that. Because it’s such a large figure. yet we’re afraid to talk about it.
2:40 We are afraid to talk right? And we’re not just afraid to talk about it. We’re afraid to pray.
2:44 Yeah, we are. Not because the church has mistreated and misused prayer. Either in in our church, even in my church in norbury. I’ve seen examples where we have said things that have not been helpful to people who may be struggling with one thing or another thing we may have said, Well, how can you just prayed? And that can be a really unhelpful thing on it.
3:12 It can we get it wrong to like, we’re not perfect in any sense of the word. But we it’s simple things, isn’t it, we will quite happily pray for physical ailments will quite happily talk about them in a much easier sense than it is when it comes to mental health where that stigma still lies.
3:33 Definitely. And also, I think, sometimes we approach prayer with an expectation that there has to be an answer, or there have been answered that that looks like healing. Yes. And often that isn’t the case. Often the we need all the things to help just like we need to go to a doctor to receive physical healing. There were some times we need to go receive healing for for other issues as well and other crises as well. And I think that was kind of the stigma wields challenge, isn’t it?
4:03 Yeah. And I think it’s interesting, isn’t it because we understand or we’re getting better at understanding where we haven’t always got this right. But there is physical illnesses there always get healed. We expect this miraculous from the mental health and though actually understand that actually, it takes a lot of work and requires a lot of time to to work on those issues.
4:29 And often we see it as weakness, especially men. The word that is branded around often is toxic masculinity and it can be used for anything toxic masculinity, especially in the response to Sarah Everardo and what happened a few months ago, it can be seen content as as kind of a different thing but there is also a side to toxic masculinity that is about pride and ego and To not cry, and I listened to a podcast recently by Governor B, who is a rapper and a Christian artist. And he talks about in his recent book about grief and how grief affected him, and how he didn’t cry, actually, until a good few years after his dad died. And it was in that moment of crying that he realised that there is weakness, but that’s releasing emotions in a in a healthy way.
5:29 And it can be as a strength that you are able to mentally process what is happening, that we don’t accept a lot of the tailors as that actual strength.
5:42 Yeah, and that’s, so that’s kind of where we are, I think that’s conversation want to have. But I think we want to talk a little bit about our own experiences, because we both have very different experiences. When I was at university I trained became a Mental Health First Aid practitioner. And in one of the roles I performed within the university, I saw a lot of different students who were facing a whole stream of different problems and challenges. And often would encourage them to go and receive counselling, because it’s a really helpful thing to do. And I think you’ve had quite positive experiences, haven’t you with counselling?
6:18 I have, I think I was on the other end of that, I suppose. And in college, I had an amazing counsellor who helped me process a lot of the things that were happening in my own personal life, with my dad being ill, as well as coming to terms with who I am. But they haven’t always been positive counselling experiences. When I was in university, it wasn’t a positive. And so I think it is important to find the person that is right for you. But I also found, I came to faith, actually, in some of my darkest moments. Yeah. And I think that has been a massive importance in my life in changing, not changing who I am, but allowing me to become the person I was always meant to be.
7:09 And people may have seen and although imagine discussions well, but they may have seen us reflections on the Psalms that we did in Len. And we talked a lot about in our songs about lament, and actually how the psalmist really came to God with all of their emotions, both that praising God and the hilltops, but also their, their deep his moments of despair. And I think people were surprised that your faith almost grew out of despair rather than hope.
7:42 Yeah, it really did. I think I connected so deeply to those cries of lawmen that there was an outlet for it that I found somewhere that nowhere else in society nowhere else in culture was willing to go. Yet the Bible. Had it right there. They were willing to go there.
8:04 Yeah. Yeah. And that is what we want to encourage, really, from this mini podcast, this mini episode, is we want to encourage the conversation, we want to say that it is absolutely okay to talk about mental health, to talk about mental well being and to seek appropriate support when that’s needed. So actually, you got a resource that we were talking about earlier today, haven’t you that that you want to recommend to people
8:32 I want it? Well, there’s two there is obviously the NHS website. As a ex pharmacist, I am a big advocate for the NHS website. And there is also the charity mind, we will put the website in the show notes. So if you need to access that charity, you can do so. And you had something more local Yeah, stop. Oh, yeah.
8:55 So I need to I need to get up my notes for this because I can can’t remember all the details. But in 1989, Stockport Christian counselling services was out that’s a long time. And they offer pre trained professional counsellors for you to have conversation with. After they offer lots of support. They offer prayer support, they offer counselling support, and it can all be a free or a donation based system. We as no reject. I think in the past I’ve given donations to Stockport counselling service to support the work they do. And that really experience is as we come in to learn that’s what we want to encourage you to be able to begin the conversations
9:43 and not just with these professional services but with each other. And with your churches if you’re not part of norbury or if you are brilliant with with the church, with each other, with your family with your friends
9:58 reach out, reaching out to anybody is a good thing, isn’t it? Yeah, I really just to begin that conversation because sometimes that just the start of the conversation just saying, I don’t feel okay is a good way to begin a massive step forward and you might be in a great place you might be in an absolutely wonderful ways and life might feel brilliant. And that’s fine as well but to remove that stigma to remove that stigma of even if you are in a good place, so there’ll be others who are struggling so it’s being willing to approach them and have a conversation with them as well. It is really important isn’t
10:33 it? Yeah, definitely. And go into these websites you could you can get help for yourself. But places like mine will actually give you information of how you could reach out and help others
10:46 as well. Yeah, we want to normalise the conversation that’s that’s what we want to do. I think as your you’re gonna leave us, we began Didn’t we with Jesus peace, john reading but I think you’ve got another reading.
10:59 I have. I’ve got john, Chapter 14, verse 27. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.
11:20 Peace I leave with you. God’s peace can overcome any tribulation in the world. God’s peace is far deeper than any of the struggles we face. God overcame death. So that we could have eternal life was live in that peace and close journey together in that peace and oneness. Remove stigma of struggle of hardship, unless encourage one another to walk and to practice peace. Thank you for joining us for this mini episode of journeying faithfully. If you’d like to catch up on our series, or listen to any of our episodes, please do check out our website journeying safely.com or our anchor site or look for our podcasts on any of your streaming devices however you stream. I’m Josh and I’m Ashleigh and thank you for joining us in the conversation today.
A look at healing in the Gospels and what it could mean today
Below are the show notes for this weeks episode:
Unknown 0:09 Well, hello, it’s nice to have you with us for this month’s instalment of the journey and faithfully podcast. I’m Josh. And I’m Ashleigh, you know I nearly said I was actually Ashleigh
Unknown 0:23 Well it is a girl’s and a boy’s name is indeed you. All right.
Unknown 0:26 Well, thank you for joining us in today’s podcast. Today, we’re going to look at healing discipleship. We’re actually we look at the Gospels as well, suppose in healing art, we actually better we are a little bit yeah. So I’m not sure we planned to make this podcast every other month. But that seems to have become the pattern, doesn’t it? Really? Yeah. It seems a bit odd that we’re recording this podcast, actually, two months after we discussed whole life discipleship. I know how’s your discipleship journey been since then? Well, it’s, it’s been locked down. And up and down. It’s really hard to find those small spaces start small, like quiet spaces. When you live in a house with both a puppy and a four year old. Yeah, definitely. So there’s one exciting thing that our discipleship includes, isn’t that it is about our whole life. And I know that you have made some small changes in your life, which I’d love to think of our ways of discipleship. Have I? Yeah,
Unknown 1:31 we gave a couple of things. We became vegetarian. We did. Yeah. I thought about our ecology, you know, how we cared for the environment? No way to do that. And I gave up caffeine. That was fun for a few weeks. Fun for her.
Unknown 1:47 But also, we are something didn’t we? We did actually, we added exercise in a way.
Unknown 1:54 It’s hard, isn’t it? Because in some ways, it doesn’t feel like discipleship, though, does what? But our health is intrinsically linked to our discipleship. Do you remember the retreat? We went on in Chicago? Yeah, the one with a really good food. And that amazing pizza? If I remember, right, it was so okay, I’m getting Yeah, you are definitely getting off topic. But yeah, it was the one with the good food, and the good hospitality as well. Well, at the heart of that retreat was a whole life discipleship model, which was based on health. The Trailer’s who had put together this congregational wellness model, as they called it understood that the heart of our faith is a call to look after ourselves, body, mind and soul. You are so right. And I think we should really give out a shout out to living compass. And you should be able to check out their Facebook page. I’m sure they do some amazing work. So I’m guessing that the focus of this podcast impart Yes, but we’re also going to focus on one specific area of faith, which is often difficult to understand and grapple with, and what’s that healing? Yeah, even as a pharmacist or x pharmacist, I can really still struggle with the link between that health and faith. It’s something I’m really passionate about. But yeah, it’s you, not me here that has the experience. So it’s you that that’s really going to be offering the explanations, isn’t it today? Yeah, I’m sure you’re gonna chip in a little bit. Of course I am. This is a conversation after all. And if the listeners wants to contribute, if they want to get involved in this conversation, how could they go about doing that ash? Well, they can go to our website or a Facebook page, or they could even email us. Yeah, we want them to be a part of the conversation as well. And at the end of these episodes, there’ll be a specific question that we would love them to answer for was, isn’t there? There is I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. I tend to do that though. I want to go back a little bit and talk about health. Now, there are many different aspects to health. Is that like, physical, mental, that kind of thing? Yeah, exactly that, although some experts actually say there are even more than just those two categories. It can encompass everything from physical to financial, emotional, and mental health, and some experts split it down even further. Wow. Well, well, we’re going to start then, let’s take physical health. physical health includes everything from physical fitness. Let’s just say that I’m glad that these are podcasts and not videos. Okay, and overall well being according to Jeff at ease. Now, here in the UK, it is said that 93% of the population have at least one risk factor of ill health from smoking to low fruit and veg consumption. That that’s actually a quite scary statistic when you think about it. It really is and therefore
Unknown 5:00 physical health is a massive area, and is probably the one we can relate the most to, because we can see it. It makes me think of Doubting Thomas in that because we can see it and have it personally feel it, it becomes a bit more real, probably why we so often forget all those people with hidden illness. That really is true. But I reckon we could have a whole separate podcast on just that issue alone. True. When it comes to physical manifestations of disease, we can relate that really easily to healing. But there’s also mental health that we have to think about. This is probably the secondary isn’t it that we think of when it comes to our health? Yeah, mental health, according to the World Health Organisation, is a state of well being that allows individuals to realise their own potential, cope with normal stresses of life can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community. And now for another scary statistic, about a quarter of the population will experience a mental health problem over the course of one year, just one year, just one year. You can see why physical and mental health are what we first think of them when it comes to healing, can’t you? Definitely if they seem obvious, because these are the kinds of things that we would go see a medical professional, about from pharmacist to a doctor. Now, as I have said, there are other forms of health. But I know that we’re going to touch on at least one other in this podcast, so I think it might be best to move on then. Sounds good to me.
Unknown 6:50 So if I seem to remember right, we did a lot of on wellness at the retreat. Although being in the throes of morning sickness means that some of that time is a little hazy now. Yeah, the whole process was about wellness. The facilitator spoke about wellness, as coming in four different ways.
Unknown 7:09 Yeah, they did they talk about wellness, being in heart, soul, mind and strength, if I seem to remember right, and in the good story of the good,
Unknown 7:19 the good story, the good sorry. Well, the Bible is full of good stories are we talking about in particular, that the good story of the Good Samaritan, a lot of gods, I just love, love the word good. When Jesus was asked by an expert in the law, how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with a question, didn’t he, he asked the expert of the law, what he thought he did, and the expert of the law report, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.
Unknown 7:57 And Jesus responded, you have answered correctly, Jesus replied, do this, and you will live.
Unknown 8:07 Often when we approach healing in a medical or scientific way, we forget that we need to focus on the whole person, that healing is not just physical is not simply praying and getting healed, but about a whole person wellness. In fact, until really, very recently, wellness has been focused primarily on the physical dimension of our healing. If you think back to our discussion a moment ago, I have taken up physical exercise to help but not found time to focus on the other areas of my life. That’s why the story from Luke 10, the good good good samaritan is if you put it is so interesting. It shows that Jesus and the Bible is interested in the whole person. After when Jesus heals, as we will come to see all we’ll talk about. He heals the whole person, not just the illness, but often he’ll forgive as well. And I suppose for us and this podcast, it’s interesting to think about your profession. Why is that? Well, I don’t think many people are coming to you to ask for a cure for cancer, are they? No, they tend to seek me out when they have a crisis of faith, a moment of doubt, like Thomas, you mentioned a few moments ago. Yes. And they wanted some form of spiritual or emotional healing. And that is something that I think the church can offer, but often misses. Interesting.
Unknown 9:34 Maybe we should explore some of the examples of Jesus, Jesus, healing others and look at healing in the gospels, and then discuss how we could maybe structure our lives in a better way. maybe think about whole life, discipleship, and healing.
Unknown 9:48 So let’s think about healing and Jesus. Jesus, as we’ve already said, was all about healing and not just physical healing. No, not at all he was about wholeness.
Unknown 10:00 When I was looking through the Gospels in preparation for this podcast, I was surprised about how many times when healing someone, Jesus would say your sins are forgiven. Yes. And then when healing people Jesus seemed far more interested in making them whole, and forgiving their sins, then simply curing them of a recent ailment. Actually, it may be even more simple than wholeness. I think. Christopher Gower, a previous Rector and prebendary writes that the heart of Jesus’s message is the preaching of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not around, but a rain, the dynamic reign and rule of God. By healing others, Jesus was bringing about the kingdom of God. So yeah, that’s all really fascinating, Josh, but I think what some of our listeners are going to focus on like I am.
Unknown 10:57 What was it a bender? prebendary prebendary? Probably is an honorary canon. No, no, no, not like a cannon on a pirate ship. Not something you shoot a cannon ball out of but a member of a cathedral?
Unknown 11:16 Does that answer that question? And you think, yeah, but I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disappointed that the cathedral doesn’t have real cannons. Well, okay. And I’m sure you can take that with a cathedral at some point in your in your life. But today, can we return to Our discussing about Jesus? I think that sounds good to me. I think actually, we’re about to have a bit of a fact of looking at our notes, cuz I think we might have read the same material. I think so. So, I’m going to begin and I’ll maybe I’ll sound wiser than you. And then you can, you can come come in with the same facts. But I know, in listener, our listener will be really interested, I think, in the fact that over 38% of the narrative verses in our gospel, that somewhere near 484 verse, I didn’t count them personally. But that was formed in April versus I are devoted to describing the healings, miracles of Jesus. I’m interested. But did you know that 40% of the Gospel of Mark is made up of healing stories? I’m fairly sure we’ve read the same book, mainly because we live in the same house and we have access to the same books.
Unknown 12:31 And it goes back to the honorary canon again, doesn’t it to Christopher Gower. And Christopher goes on to know that the Gospels we called 38 incidents of healing 26 of those are healings of individuals. But I was fascinated to see that 12 of them are healings of groups of individuals. Yeah, it was a really fascinating book. And what I really liked was, the premise, much like I spoke about a moment ago, was not simply about healing, but about giving a message. Jesus wanted people to know about the kingdom of God. Yes. And an older chattering report all about healing now, it was called the time to heal. Well, that report argues that the healing ministry is one of the greatest opportunities the church has today, for sharing the gospel for doing just that, for sharing the kingdom of God. It really does. But I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. So we love a bit more about the importance of healing before we move on to thinking about how we could live those principles out in our Christian faith in life, that seems to make sense. Should we look a bit about healing salvation.
Unknown 13:42 So as you said, we’re now going to look a little bit about healing and salvation. And one of the crucial messages that I want people to understand is that health is deeply biblical, that Jesus was not just performing some neat little parlour tricks, but his message of healing was something much more important. Absolutely. When Jesus healed, he was interested in the person salvation.
Unknown 14:10 Often we come to these stories, as sceptical.
Unknown 14:16 We either dismiss or distort our biblical understanding of healing, we either seem to put too much of an emphasis on the need and the expectation of being healed. And therefore dismiss and people who have not been healed, or don’t have faith like we talked about those hidden disabilities often
Unknown 14:37 or we begin to doubt the messages of healing we begin to doubt their their if they were true at all.
Unknown 14:44 And then we question the biblical understanding, don’t we? That is so true. And someone when we were out in America that we found heard a lot about was an American scholar and theologian, Kate bowler, who
Unknown 15:00 herself suffers from cancer and writes this for some Christians. People wanted salvation from bleak medical diagnosis. They wanted to see God rescue their broken teenagers or their misfiring marriages. They wanted talismans to ward off things that go bump in the night. They wanted a modicum of power over things that ripped their lives apart at the seams. In the face of difficulty these people wanted answers. Kate’s book is a beautiful exploration of what it means when we do not get the answers. Kate found in her suffering not some extra special outcome but a deep rooted ordinary ordinary, can’t say this word. Oh,
Unknown 15:49 how on earth do I say that ordinary ordinary, to have a, she found a hope that did not offer healing straightaway, but gave her faith to in the resurrection. And she she also offers a quote from the prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila. We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can, namely surrender our well and fulfil God’s will in us. That is one of the hardest things to do, though, don’t you think?
Unknown 16:20 When it comes to healing, to self doubt to hardship, it’s just impossible to let go. Let it go.
Unknown 16:30 Sorry. I live with a four year old.
Unknown 16:35 Yes, it is. But it seems to be the advice of most saints let it go. Think about it. How often in the Gospel? Did Jesus ask people to let go?
Unknown 16:50 I didn’t think to give up on belief and pay off something else. In fact, often healing came when people chose to give up on one thing and choose to believe Kate reminds is that the first thing we need to let go of when it comes to healing his pride. If we think back to league 10 that is what Jesus was telling the religious expert to do, wasn’t it? He was commanding the religious expert to let go believe, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. And in doing so believe that he will be set free that he will be healed. And that’s just as relevant to the religious activated league. tenza is to to us today. Exactly. It is such a rich narrative of what it means to be healed. Not just to be healed, though, but to be a part of the kingdom of God. If we return to the prevalently Christopher Graham canon, yes, the Canon but not the pirate canon. He writes that healing is inherent in Christianity. We see it throughout the ministry of Jesus. More than this, however, Gower goes on to argue that we see it in the promises of the resurrection. We’re writing this while recording this, I suppose. Just after Easter, we’ve just celebrated the promises of the resurrection. And in the hope of the resurrection, we are promised eternal life. We offer the time in the future we don’t know when that will be, which will be free of sickness, free of suffering, free of mortality, a time when all shall be well. And that is what the healing ministry of Jesus offers us a foretaste of the kingdom of God. So just before we move on, could we offer the reader three simple points to summarise the conversation we just had? Do you think? Potentially we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, haven’t we up to this point? Well, number one, healing is at the heart of our faith. It’s at the heart of what we believe and it’s crucial to our faith is about more than physical healing, and incorporates a whole life healing, which focuses on our heart, on our mind, on our soul and on our strength. Yeah, definitely. And I think our second one is that healing is actually at the heart of our gospel. And if we go back to the factor of
Unknown 19:24 45, it makes up over 30% 38% of the narrative verse in the cost of time well bear these facts in you. I would have known it was 38.
Unknown 19:37 We would love to hear from you guys on who you think’s better at the funky factor.
Unknown 19:42 And so and what did we all say to 38% of the narrative versus in the gospels, which equals somewhere near 484 verses in which are devoted to healing miracles of Jesus. Yeah, and
Unknown 20:00 Third, I think if we’re going to have a third, healing is linked to our salvation, Jesus healed to give people a taste a foretaste of the kingdom of God. In the resurrection, we are promised eternal life, a life where there will be no more pain, suffering, or sickness, I really want to be a part of. So when it comes to faith, we’ve already demonstrated that healing is crucial. But I wonder what you’d say to someone who is suffering today?
Unknown 20:28 Do you mean somebody who is suffering, or someone who’s suffering and needs healing? Because I think there’s a difference there?
Unknown 20:36 Yeah, that is a difference. I suppose someone who is suffering and needs healing, so is coming to that Becker. Because they either have a physical or a mental
Unknown 20:51 condition that they want to ask God, for healing for. Okay. Well, I think I’d encourage them to believe I mean, this is a really hard area. And I do not profess that I’ve got this right yet, or that I have got to a point in my faith journey where I am, absolutely bang on. I don’t think I ever will be. But I think to begin with, I would definitely encourage them to believe, to not be discouraged, and to know that they are loved.
Unknown 21:18 Often we can feel like a failure when things don’t happen the way we expect. Others seem to be happy and healthy. And we are now. Yeah, our Bible is full of misfits and rock tags. People who are not perfect, who often had what the world would define as issues or problems.
Unknown 21:41 But God still use them. In fact, often God used them because they were misfits or rock tags. That explains a lot about us.
Unknown 21:51 And think about think about Paul, think about St. Paul. He grappled his whole life with a thorn in his side, and we have no clue what that Thorn was. I mean, some people say that he might have been blind, or others have said he was crippled. Some have said like me, he was probably below average in height.
Unknown 22:09 Whatever it was, though, God’s still used him. And God didn’t take that thought away ever in Paul’s ministry. He, he grappled with that right until the end. But he was he felt a mightily powerful ministry, he still was a real preacher of the Gospels, showing people this kingdom of God, wasn’t he?
Unknown 22:30 Yeah, definitely, I think we, what we can learn is that healing can happen in many ways, or not at all. Yeah, I think that’s really important to stress actually, that God has good intentions for us. That even if we are not healed in the way we expect, God still loves us, and wants good for us. And if we go back to Kate bola, who the Theologian with cancer, who was spoke about earlier, she’s not been healed from cancer, or at least not yet. And she may never be. But she still believes.
Unknown 23:05 Because I’m because of her cancer, her faith has actually deepened. She’s come to appreciate the messiness of life and the importance of suffering. And it’s become a huge beacon for many, I would go to say a million, probably millions of people across the world. Definitely, she has such a strong example, isn’t she of, of how we can we can deepen our faith in the midst of suffering. And I think that’s really important, actually. And as a vicar, I don’t think it’s easy to things for me to tell people, that sometimes God leaves us in our suffering. As we want answers, aren’t those fairytale Lego frozen answers, don’t we, but often, God, God, God’s still with us in our suffering, and God may never take that suffering from us. And that’s the thing I think, if I go back to a book where that I used to that I’d read a long time ago, Philip Yancey, his book, he talks about where is God when it hurts? And he does link that, you know, he shows that different people healing meant different things. And that doesn’t have to have always a physical manifestation of no healing, healing may actually be a foretaste of the kingdom of God. But it’s only a foretaste, isn’t it? It doesn’t mean we have to be healed. So it may feel that that foretaste of heaven, but others might know. I’m not I’m that’s really hard to hear, I know. But it can often be the hope for us
Unknown 24:36 that this is only a foretaste,
Unknown 24:39 that God wants a deeper relationship with us that there’s a promise of eternal life that goes long beyond and goes far beyond our suffering. So Josh, how do we make this all about our discipleship? Well, that that’s really the question we were getting to, wasn’t it? I mean, we’ve had our funky facts. We’ve had our really fascinating stuff, and I’ve actually loved this week. It’s helped me think about
Unknown 25:00 About my my faith journey and how I approach healing, but when it comes down to healing, and our discipleship, I think it’s about, it’s about a deepening of our relationship with God. I think that’s what you spoke about, with Kate bolas story, that as we we’ve explored, as we’ve seen in the Gospel, Jesus uses healing to demonstrate the kingdom of God. And when we see people heal today, that’s a foretaste of that it’s a foretaste of those promises God has given us. And as we see that, and as we suffer, it’s all about deepening of our relationship, deepening of our trust. So it’s all about relationship. Yeah. As as should be. And so have you got any ideas on how we could maybe delete or deepen our relationship with God? Well, let’s return to Luke 10. It feels like we’ve used Luke 10. I was gonna use other examples today. But But I think actually, that speaks quite, quite beautifully. This idea of whole life, design, whole life, wellness, whole life health. If we look at Luke 10, to begin with, we can love God. That’s what that’s what the expert says, Jesus love Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, strength, even when it’s hard to do so. I think especially when it’s hard, I think they’re the times that we really need
Unknown 26:23 to dig deep and focus. Yeah, definitely. Just like when we get on a treadmill and want to lose weight, we can also begin to put practices into our faith, that deepen our spiritual resilience. And we can put those practices in our daily lives that make us spiritually healthy. And maybe in the next episode, we will look at some practical examples of those kinds of practices. That sounds like an amazing idea. So Josh, I think one thing that we haven’t explored is that Jesus body post resurrection hadn’t actually been healed. Yeah, we definitely probably could look more at that. But I think we’ve we’ve talked a lot today. And we’ve kind of we’ve covered a lot of ground. Maybe in our next podcast, when we’re going to look at different ways of discipleship, different ways of healing can relate to our life. Maybe we could look at it then. And especially when we’re looking at the Eucharist, and receiving Jesus body. What do you think? Absolutely. I think we have covered a lot of ground. There is a lot been a lot of facts, a lot of things for people to absorb from this week. And I think we should leave them to maybe ponder. Those three points we offered earlier. Yeah, definitely. What What were they get forgotten?
Unknown 27:39 Well, Josh, they are number one, that healing is at the heart of our faith. Yep. Number two, that healing is at the heart of our gospel. Yep. And number three, that healing is linked to our salvation. That seems like an amazing place to stop actually today, doesn’t it? It does. And I hope you’ve got those three. Yeah, I’m, I’m right now. And I’m right now, actually, before we wrap up our recording, though, when we had to ask people to join us in this conversation? Yes, definitely. And how can they do that? Well, if they have any ways that they could link their health, emotional memories, they are linking health and discipleship. Not Oh, we’d love to hear about them. That can be physical that could be I don’t like running and pray. Although I’ve heard that if you run with your eyes closed, you went into things, not training myself. You don’t have to pray with your eyes closed, you know this, right.
Unknown 28:38 But anyway, that they they link their health with their discipleship, we’d love to hear from them. But how could we hear from them? Well, we’d love to include them in the next podcast. And so you could leave us a voice recording, you could email that to us at email@example.com. Yeah. So I
Unknown 29:00 put that in the I’ll put all this in the podcast blurb so that people can find the links. So yeah, so they can either send us a voice recording, or they could send that on via Facebook. Or you could just send us a written message, either to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, again through Facebook, and we will read that out in the next podcast. That would be that would be really cool idea, wouldn’t it? But for now, should we offer a prayer about health and life and salvation? I think that’d be a really cool idea. Shall I pray for us? That would be amazing. So the prayer we’re going to use comes from the Iona community and it’s a prayer for anyone really who’s suffering today could say, I think,
Unknown 29:45 shall we pray?
Unknown 29:48 spirits of the living God, present with us now enter me body, mind and spirit and heal me of all that harms me in Jesus’s name.
Unknown 30:00 Amen
Unknown 30:01 And may God bless all those who listened today and always. Amen. People said Amen. Amen. Thank you for listening to us today. Yeah, definitely. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you
Below are the show notes for our first podcast episode. The episode can be found on Spotify and by following the link below:
Are you currently on a journey of faith? Lost and bored in the old ways of doing it? Want more creative and fun ways to deepen your faith? Then we welcome, to the podcast Journeying Faithfully, the monthly podcast, with your hosts Josh and Ash, as we begin to look for new and imaginative ways to explore our faith. Let’s take this journey together…
If you have ever wondered if there is more to faith than attending church on a Sunday or listening to Christian music in the car? Well this is a podcast for you! In each series Josh and Ash will look at a theme and explore how it can relate to our faith and how we can integrate it and develop our faith to incorporate our whole lives. Each series we will try and include at least one guest who is working in that particular field to show how they have integrated faith and discipleship in their every day lives.
Let’s get down to today’s episode? What are we looking at today, Ash? Today we are looking at adult discipleship. And why is that important? Well, as we have already mentioned most “christians” understand attending church on a Sunday. They may even be attending a church virtually in the current climate. But many Christians don’t seem to appreciate the importance of developing their own walk with Christ. Yes, often we fail to remember that 98% of people who attend church on a Sunday will spend 95% of their lives beyond the church walls and that this is the primary context for their discipleship! Whether they be at home… we are all spending a lot of time at home at the minute. or at work, or at the school gate, on the sports pitch or whether they are most of our lives are not lived in the church building. So, if that is the case, we need to think a bit about our discipleship then? Yes, we especially need to think about what it means to nurture our faith when we are not in the building. We need to think about what it means create “whole life discipleship.” Yes, we need to be intentional about spending time with God. And that doesn’t need to be boring. Or even look a certain way. Not at all. There are so many ways we can connect our faith and lives together and they will not look the same for everyone. Should we may talk about some of the ways we connect with God? Yes, and while we are at it maybe we can bust some of the myths that church needs to be boring as well! Let’s maybe not try and tackle to much in one episode!
Whole Life Discipleship
So why do we put our faith in a box? That’s an interesting question. I wonder if it’s because we get caught in a school type mindset. If we think of it as a type of learning. You read the bible to learn about God. Or you go to church to become a better person. I wonder if we frame it in terms of head knowledge. Yes, often we get caught in wanting to know stuff. We need to prove that our faith means something, or that God exists, or that Jesus was real and we do not leave space for what some people call heart knowledge. Yes, Jane Regan, who is a Director of Continuing Education and Associate Professor of Theology and Religion Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, argues that “information is not enough – it is information for its own sake”. She goes on to suggest that what we need is “information that is in the service of formation and transformation”. Now, that is something I could buy into. The idea that we take our “head knowledge”. The things we learn in Sunday School maybe and transform them into heart knowledge. But, how do we go about that? Well, it’s different for everybody isn’t it. No two people are the same and neither is our faith. We cannot all follow the same path. And that’s what makes discipleship so exciting. Yes, it is. For me, what I think is amazing about Christianity, is hearing people’s stories. Often people come to faith from different places and that impacts how their faith works. For me, I was raised a Christian. From a young age a read the bible and learnt about God. I knew a lot of it in my head but it wasn’t till much later that it resonated in my heart. That it became heart knowledge. For me faith wasn’t found in dust old books, although I read a lot of them at Theological College, but in spending time with others. Encountering God in the day-to-day outside of church on a Sunday. But, what could that look like? For me it is nature. I love walking and can often find God more in the hills than in my study. If I can pray and walk I am at peace. God is different for everyone though.
Faith is different for me I didn’t’ come to church as a young person and the way I have connected with God has been through finding different ways to pray at different times. I came to faith when I was 18 and I definitely believed that everyone had some magic formula to prayer and faith and it took a long time to realise that God is in the everyday. That how I connect to Him can be in the everyday. … Yes, we are all different. All our stories are unique and as we think about discipleship we need to be willing to adapt the practices of others to help us develop and grow. We need to improvise. You know I love improvisation. As a drama student and wanna be jazz musician there is nothing better than improvisation. But what could it have to do with our discipleship? Well, Helen Cameron, who is chair of the Northampton District of the Methodist Church, suggests that as disciples we are called to be playful both in our witness and our discipleship. Oh, that makes sense it’s like when you let a toddler loose with paints in the garden. Kind of, but a bit more structured. Cameron writes: ‘It is playful improvisation when play means meaningful and purposeful thought and behaviour that has patterns but no prescribed our predetermined outcomes.’ Yes, you need to be given the tools. That’s what we do with 5% of our time in church and then we take those tools into the world and improvise. Yes, it isn’t exactly like the toddler in the garden. More like the musician outside of the music lesson. We practice the skills we learn in church and use them in a way which works in our day-to-day lives. So we need to be creative and imaginative with the tools we are given? Yes, that’s it. The question seems to be: what can we do in our every day lives which can connect us to God? Yes, but before that, we need to ask what are we missing in our lives that mean we are not connecting to God. Yes, and that is what this podcast will be about. Each episode we are going to take a theme and look at what it can show us about discipleship and offer some simple take aways that we could use in our day-to-day lives to connect more with God.
There is another question though. Really? Yes, and it is one which is very specific to our current time. You mean like now, at 7.50 pm, when we are recording this? No, I mean in 2021. Oh, and what’s that? What does discipleship look like in a digital world? Yes, that makes sense. I suppose we could say we are spending 100% of our time outside of church and there must be lessons that are specific to that. There are, but I also wonder why we have been so fearful of technology in the past? I wonder if we have been? We haven’t got models that seem to sustain our faith. But, what about all the work we have done this year. Yes, and that has been wonderful but could we go further? I think we may be getting side tracked from the issue. You may be right, but as we think about our whole life discipleship we need to think about what life may look like in the future and what role technology can play in that. Is that why we have recorded a podcast? In part, but also I think “hybrid church” will be a thing for a lot of people because it helps them connect with faith in ways they could not before. Yes, like the lady in Neston who couldn’t face sitting in a pew but can worship from the comfort of her own home. Yes, and I am sure there are many more who have been excluded from worship who are now a part of our church. I see what you mean. Maybe we should think about how the pandemic has effected us?
The pandemic has pushed us to think more and more out of the box when it comes to our faith. We have lost so many of the ways we used to do “church” and our own discipleship has become even more important. Yes, and I suppose there will be a temptation to just jump back in when things go to normal? Exactly, and yet there are so many things we can learn from the pandemic about our faith. Maybe we will value the scattered and gathered times we can spend as Christians more. I certainly hope so! I also think it has prompted us as a church to think more about discipleship. Yes it has. Should we maybe tell people what our focus will be this series? I’ll be impressed if they are still with us.. Yes, but I am sure they are. They listen to us at other times! I guess so! This series we are going to look at the interplay between health and faith. Yes, we are going to use your experiences in theology and your experience in pharmacy, to look at how we can use our whole lives to worship God more fully. That sounds amazing! Should we start now? Well, I think we have discussed a lot this week. So maybe we should leave it there? On a cliff hanger Not on a cliff hanger no…
We have learnt so much in fact that I just don’t want people to go away frazzled! Okay, okay, maybe I have got a little over excited! Yes, but that’s what our faith should be like. Exciting! and creative. That’s what we’ve talked about today, isn’t it? Yes, we have learnt that our discipleship is about more than the 5% of time we spend in the church building. It’s about how we spend the other 95% Our time in church should equip our faith outside of it Yes, and we should approach faith in a playful way. It’s not about a formula or set of rules . Instead it is about connecting with God in a meaningful and purposeful way. That’s so important, especially while we cannot go to church. Or church isn’t exactly what we expected it to be. We need to be willing to connect in new ways. Exactly, and that is what we will be looking at in future episodes. So, what are we exactly looking at in future episodes? Well, the next episode is all about health and the gospels. We are going to explore together the dynamic and creative ways Jesus demonstrates connecting healing and faith. Great, that sounds interesting. What can the listener do in the meantime though? Well, they could become part of the journey. And how would they do that? Well, if you have been inspired or intrigued by what you have heard today why not subscribe to the podcast on whatever streaming platform you have used to listen today. Also, make sure to sign up to our mailing list and also check out journeyingfaithfully.com. We cannot wait to continue the journey and we hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Thanks for joining us on the journey.
Our podcast came about because we want to connect more people to their faith in new and creative ways. We want to use everyday life, from health to family, to explore what is happening out there, what does the Bible say and tentatively suggest new ideas.
Each new podcast will appear on the podcast page, with show notes and where to find and hear the latest from us.