A friend from seminary visited a couple of weeks ago. Her father-in-law was a pastor in the South, and she had been on a church staff for years before she became a pastor. She talked about how the male pastors of former generations would say that they were going to make visits, and they would spend the afternoon at the golf course.
Dante speaks to the uncertainties of every generation, to those who have awakened lost in an impenetrable darkness.
At a chemical level, it didn’t matter that we loved him. It couldn’t penetrate the shield around his sense of self-worth.
Sometimes I wish the Gospels told a story in which Jesus slumps in the shade of a tree and can't make himself face another crowd or meet one more plea for help.
In 1992 I had a clinical depression. It was a long time in coming, but in hindsight it was inevitable. I was hunkered down in my study trying to write a sermon on the atonement. Behind the stormy sky in my mind, I saw not a smiling Providence offering a gesture of boundless love in sharing his son Jesus, but a scowling ogre, an angry, petulant father. Whether this torment was a function of the descending depression or a contribution to it, I cannot say, but I called my wife and said, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m coming unglued.”