by Sarah Griffith Lund
Chalice Press, 2014.
112 pages, paperback.
Reviewed by Rebecca Dix
To be blessed. To be in the right and loving protection of God. To be the recipient of extraordinary favor and to know that the eyes of the loving Creator and Sustainer are ever with you.
Blessed are the hungry.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Blessed are the crazy.
In her book, Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family, and Church, with an achingly honest and gentle narrative style, the Rev. Sarah Griffith Lund invites us into her family’s journey through the pain of mental illness.
With hands outstretched, she brings forth the offering of her testimony, giving the reader an understanding of what it means to have, as she puts it, “crazy in the blood.”
Hers is the kind of story the Church has been reluctant to handle.
Lund shares how it began in her youth: her father’s bipolar disorder; her mother’s struggle to keep the family whole and her children safe; and her brother Scott’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as well.
As she unveils her “crazy in the blood” narrative, we become aware that the experience of her family is intricately interwoven with her experience of the Church. There are moments of deep grace, but also moments of rejection. The Church, the hands and feet of Jesus, seems to want nothing to do with stories like hers and her father’s and brother’s.
Lund concludes, “We mock Jesus when we reject people with mental illness because Jesus himself got crazy blood on his hands when he touched people with unclean spirits and exorcised demons from his followers (p. 35).”
Blessed Are the Crazy entreats readers to listen to and walk beside our friends and families as they carry crosses we cannot see. Only by breaking the silence surrounding mental illness can we understand the power of God’s healing love.
© 2016 by Rebecca Dix and Christian Feminism Today