Today in the studio we had Rev David Pickersgill, from St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark. We had a really lovely chat about mental health and the church, listen in for the full picture.
It was such a pleasure to meet and record with Rev David Pickersgill today. We had a really lovely chat about religion and mental health. I had to be really honest and up front and explain to David I have no real religious beliefs, although I do believe in something. I guess I would describe myself as spiritual.
We talked about some of the similarities between what I might refer to as spiritual and what others might describe as religion. Prayer was an area we found one of these similarities. Every day in some way I give thanks and show gratitude to what I have in my life, on occasion I may look up and ask for a little extra help, on occasion I may look up and give thanks to some help or extra assistance I feel I may have received. Who am I thanking? Forme, I guess I’m thanking the universe. I do have a belief that we are taken care of, I do belief that this is stronger if I’m able to see and show what I’m grateful for. Some might see someof these actions as prayer and I might agree, but what came first a belief in the universe orreligion and does the answer really matter? For me it doesn’t matter at all. For me whatmatters is that people find some comfort in their actions.
I have met many people in my life that get great comfort from religion. If a person is getting this comfort and peace, then for me that’s amazing. I do get a little nervous a religion or set of beliefs doesn’t offer or have space for the individual to develop their own version of what is being said. There are, as we know religions in the world that are so strict on their versionof the truth that it stunts a human’s ability to grow and develop.
David and I talked about my fascination about the cross. I wear a cross around my neck, I have one tattooed on my upper arm, and I wear one on my wrist. I have already said I donot consider myself to be religious, yet for some unconscious reason I’m covered in thecross. I have thought about this a lot, I wondered if as a child there were crosses in the house, and as far as I can remember there were not, although mum was kind of catholic, I say kind of because she never quite fully believed, this partial belief came from her tight catholic upbringing, in my opinion.
During this recording we chatted about the sense of community the church can bring into someone’s life. From a psychological point of view, it is well documented that as humans weare wired for human connection, although some people choose to deny this (usually through previous unhealthily or traumatic relationships) it is part of our being. Consider the social settings that we create, pubs, clubs, all manner of meetings, consider websites like“meet up’ a website created just to pull people together. Facebook offers something similarbut via a different medium. We thrive most when with others. The church offers this. The church can offer many things, a sense of belief, a sense of purpose, a place to go and be.
I was quite taken by David’s conversation about his upbringing. And how he and the peoplearound him have always talked about their feelings and emotions. For him and those around him, this was the done thing, not to hold stuff in but to talk about it openly with others. This is such a healthy way to be, most of what I work with in therapy is people not knowing how to express or even recognise the emotions they are feeling. There are lots of reasons it feels like we have lost our way with expressing emotions, maybe in another blog I will talk bout them. It feels like the church has created a way we can communicate, a healthy way to communicate. I wonder also how, or if we could, replicate that? Imagine for a second a world where we all understood our emotions and feelings and therefore were able to able to handle and address them without so much trauma.
We also asked the questions, what is authenticity? what is a sin? This led onto a lovelyquote about Michael Angelo’s David, to hear the quote you will have to listen in.
I wonder if in the past, and this is certainly true for me, we have been quick to judge thechurch/religion. We know it’s not perfect, we know, like all of life it has it flaws, but I do seeit brings peace into many people’s lives and that can’t be bad.
St Marys and Magdalene are hosting a drop in on a Monday afternoon, 1-3 pm a place to be and chat with like-minded people.
As always if you feel this podcast would benefit someone you know then please pass on. If you would like us to cover an area of mental health not yet covered then, let us know. You can contact me through Facebook at Guthrietherapy.
These podcasts are yours, let us know how we are doing.
Until next time.
Peace and love