A couple of weeks ago, the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay committed suicide. It was especially sad to learn that Matthew Warren had suffered for so long with mental illness. I commended the Warrens for taking him to professionals — something that may have helped prolong his life for an additional ten years.
One of the problems in the Christian church is that mental illness is often seen as a sign of weakness, an indication that Satan has latched onto you. Prayer is the cure and professionals are not.
To their credit, the Warrens didn’t take that approach. And they’re not backing away, either.They currently have a petition up on their church’s website for a noble cause:
Join Kay and I, and the Saddleback Family, in our effort to urge educators, lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and church congregations to raise the awareness and lower the stigma of mental illness… and support the families that deal with mental illness on a daily basis.
They’ve also set up “The Matthew Warren Fund for mental health,” though there’s no indication as to where the donations will go.
I wouldn’t make a donation just yet (call me cynical…) but I signed the petition. This is one instance in which other churches would do well to follow the Warrens’ lead.