It’s been five years since my life took a strange sideways turn. I’ve written about it before (HERE, and HERE for example). It has made Good Friday a very strange day for me, personally.
This year I’m in a better place personally and emotionally than I usually am by this time in Lent. Sermons are done (I think). Family is coming. Everything is okay. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but sometimes, that’s all you have, and it is enough.
I pray for all my fellow sufferers that Christ’s death and resurrection would sustain you in the true faith to life everlasting. Your labor is not in vain. Your suffering will come to an end. There will be peace for you.
Grant peace, we pray, In mercy, Lord;
Peace in our time, oh send us.
For there is none on earth but You, None other to defend us.
You only, Lord, can fight for us. Amen. (LSB 778)
I just returned from speaking at the Fort Wayne seminary. The topic, of course, was clinical depression. It was really a two part visit. The first part was speaking to a deaconess practicum class, and the second part was doing a “fireside” chat in the Commons with about fifty students and (if they had one) their wives.
I always feel like it is returning to the mother ship when I go home. No matter how much I like (or dislike) what is going on at the place, it is home in many respects for me. I feel the same way about Seward. I don’t really have many ties to Seward anymore, but it is still my school.
The visit itself was good. I got to catch up with some friends, etc. More importantly, I was able to speak to about fifty members of the student body (and their wives) about depression. It was basically the same schtick I have done elsewhere (if you want to order the talk, CLICK HERE).
What do you say to a group of men who are studying to be pastors about mental illness and depression? There’s a lot to say but I tried to keep it to a description of depression, why pastors are at risk, and ways to address it (either preventatively or in the midst of it). I don’t know if they liked it. Can you “like” a talk about clinical depression? But I believe it was and is important for them to hear, and pray that there are more opportunities to do the same.
What would you tell a soon-to-be-pastor about clinical depression? Why?
Thought I would let the dear readers know that I will be speaking at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne on
April 12, 2011
In the Commons
Concordia Theological Seminary
6600 N. Clinton St.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
The topic will be depression and the Lutheran pastor. You may go to the Facebook page for the event at
Let me know if you are coming. Thanks!
-DMR (aka Todd Peperkorn
Very often it seems like the only time I pray is when I am forced to pray. It’s like Job or Elijah. When things get SO BAD (in my perception at least) that there is no other recourse, then I will pray. Unless, of course, I don’t have the energy. So my prayers become much closer to a 911 call than an ongoing conversation.
I wish it were not so. I wish I were more disciplined in my prayers. But I’m not and I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. My prayers are weak and timid. They are fearful and uncertain. My best prayers come when I am too desperate to do anything else.
So often my prayers make me feel like I am a fraud. I project the air of quiet faith and confidence to my parishioners. I sit in the hospital with them, console them with the Gospel which I hardly feel like I believe half the time.
I think this is all too common with pastors. Faith and doubt go hand in hand. There can hardly be one without the other this side of the grave.
I think a part of the problem lies in feeling like prayer is a show. So often for pastors, because we are called upon to publicly pray for others, it means that the prayers we offer are half prayer/half proclamation. Prayers can offer comfort, and we pastors will use any trick in the book to sneak in a little Gospel. But this can lead to making prayer feel like a show. I have to have a “good” prayer, because they are counting on me.
How do you counteract this? What is the actual goal of prayer?
I’m sorry I have more questions than answers today. Some days are just like that.
-DMR (aka Todd Peperkorn)