Tag Archives: Lutheran

On the Reason for Curmudgeonness

[Originally posted on Lutheran Logomaniac]

Curmudgeon

I often wonder why I get so, uh, curmudgeonly during Christmas time. It is one of the two highest feast days of the Christian Church. The music and Scripture readings for the season are sublime. In every measurable way, it is a time of great joy and happiness. Family gather together. There is festiveness in the air. All in all, it is a good time.

But then I remember.

Nadia. Emmanuel. Mom. The many people whom I have buried over the years who are no longer with their families. The families who now are at a loss of what to do because of this emptiness.

To quote the hymn, “In the midst of earthly life, death has us surrounded.” Or to quote St. Paul, “the wages of sin is death.” Death has a way of messing up and just bringing down everything around us. Some years or season are greater reminders than this of others, but the sad reality is always there, always present, always trying so very hard to draw us into the pit of self-pity and despair.

That is why I get curmudgeonly.

But that is also why I don’t stay curmudgeonly.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, to defeat death by taking it into Himself, and to wipe away the tears of grief which wet our faces year after year.

One hymn, perhaps more than any other for me, encapsulates this reality. I hope it brings you joy this season.

Oh, rejoice, ye Christians, loudly,
For your joy hath now begun;
Wondrous things our God hath done.
Tell abroad His goodness proudly,
Who our race hath honored thus
That He deigns to dwell with us.

Refrain

Joy, O joy, beyond all gladness,
Christ hath done away with sadness!
Hence, all sorrow and repining,
For the Son of Grace is shining!

See, my soul, thy Savior chooses
Weakness here and poverty,
In such love He comes to thee
Nor the hardest couch refuses;
All He suffers for thy good,
To redeem thee by His blood.

Refrain

Lord, how shall I thank Thee rightly?
I acknowledge that from Thee
Every blessing flows to me..
Let me not forget it lightly
But to Thee through all things cleave
So shall heart and mind receive:

Refrain

Jesus, guard and guide Thy members,
Fill Thy brethren with Thy grace,
Hear their prayers in every place.
Quicken now life’s faintest embers,
Grant all Christians, far and near,
Holy peace, a glad new Year!

Refrain

God’s richest peace to you this season. Merry Christmas in Jesus’ Name.

Pastor Todd Peperkorn

Video of Lutheran view on depression now available

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Through the gracious energies of the Lutheran Catechetical Society, I am now happy to report that there is a video of my presentation that I gave to the LCS last weekend at Christ Lutheran Church in Normal, Illinois.

The LCS has been in existence for around five years, and they have high quality videos of a number of their presentations available.  The video of my presentation is essentially a shortened version and commentary on my book, I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression, available from LCMS World Relief and Human Care.  I receive requests for videos from time to time, and this is now where I will be pointing them.

If you are interested in having me come and speak to your congregation, circuit, women’s group, etc., about depression and the hope we have in Christ, please email me here.

Thank you to all of my friends in Indiana and Illinois!  It was a wonderful weekend.  God bless you!

-Pastor Todd Peperkorn

Presentation on Depression for CDC

Below is a PDF file of the slideshow from the Deaconess Conference, as well as a QuickTime movie of the same.  I have not posted the actual slideshow file, since I will probably use portions of it in the future.  If for some reason you would like access to the actual Keynote or PowerPoint file, please contact me via email or telephone. Thanks! -DMR

Presentation on Depression for CDC

Presentation of Slides in QuickTime for CDC

Episode 4 – Letting Others Help You

I Trust When Dark My Road – Episode 4 – Letting Others Help You

The easiest way for you to hear and get these consistently is to subscribe in iTunes.  Try this link from iTunes.

I am trying to send this one out in MP3 format. Let’s see if this is a little more generally accessible.

Again, I would appreciate any comments on the quality, accessibility, etc., of getting this audio.  Thanks very much!

-DMR

Episode #3 – Selfcare

I Trust When Dark My Road – Episode #3 – Selfcare

The easiest way for you to hear and get these consistently is to subscribe in iTunes.  Try this link from iTunes.

Here’s the Luther quotation:

“The Christian takes care of his own body in order that, through its health, he is able to work and to acquire and preserve property in order to help those who are in need.” Martin Luther, “How to Live a Christian Life,” p. 68.

Again, I would appreciate any comments on the quality, accessibility, etc., of getting this audio.  Thanks very much!

-DMR

On Confessing Your Illness

I recently had a conversation with someone that centered around the question of what to confess if you suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. So many of the symptoms which we face that are bio-chemical in origin also find their origin in our fallen nature. In other words, I can look at certain manifestations of my illness(es) as being the disease “talking” but at the same time it can be my sinful nature “talking”. Here are a few examples:

  • Laziness, sloth, incapacity to work
  • Boredom, lack of interest in anything, indifference
  • Isolation from others, unfriendliness, dislike of crowds
  • Inability to handle children

Now these are just a few examples. I think that any of those three categories could be easily attributed to sin or clinical depression/anxiety.

So what do you confess?

The real mess of depression and mental illness is that they are so intertwined. My general approach is that if you are in doubt, confess it. But it is also a matter of real pastoral care, so that when I am confessing something that isn’t sin, my pastor tells me that.

Probably the dilemma comes from the fact that when you are in the throes of the darkness, you aren’t in a position to be making subtle theological distinctions. I just want relief. And at some level, I don’t really care where it comes from. IT it comes from my pastor forgiving my sins, great. If it comes from my doctor or counselor reminding me that this is biochemical and not a character flaw, great.

So how do you approach this question?