Vacations are good medicine. Science proves it, as we’re about to show you. So be sure to take that vacation before the summer ends. And even during the busy school year, be sure to find some Sabbath time each and every week.
Health & Well-being
One-in-five adults suffered from mental illness (52.9 million Americans) in 2021. For 14.2 million American adults the diagnosis is severe. Of those suffering, fewer than half received treatment and the young (18–25 years-old) are more susceptible to illness and receive the least care. These numbers tell us that wherever five or more gather, not only is Christ among them, but one likely suffers some type of mental illness. This is one place science can help the church.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus explains that God’s telos must be understood in terms of a Christian engagement that includes making provisions for the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.
Leading a church already had its own set of challenges. Add 18 months of pandemic, social upheaval, and political unrest, and it is indeed overwhelming. Part of what makes it so difficult is that both pastors and their congregations are overwhelmed and worn out. The data on depression and mental health bear this out. Our collective mental health is not good.
I get a little annoyed each time a science and faith conversation gets railroaded by the question of origins, climate change, or some other contentious issue. Sure, these are issues that our churches must wrestle with, but by putting all our attention on areas of felt conflict, we might entirely miss the ways science reveals how God works.
When the effects of the pandemic subside—and when we can safely do so—should we go back to church? What do science and Scripture say?