Dr. Jean Neely is a writer, independent scholar, and Christ-seeker. She loves literature and the pursuit of peace for all peoples. She currently teaches writing at Azusa Pacific University.
Posts By This Author
Suffering Is Not a Sin
In our faith walk, there is much to celebrate, but insistently characterizing life as a triumphant march from glory to glory can alienate people who don’t find life quite as sunny. Church culture can feel painful for people who deal with various health issues or certain kinds of inner suffering that make it difficult to sense God’s presence. There’s little discussion in church of the “dark nights” that are a normal part of the faith journey, or the fact that such nights can last for years in some cases.
Grieving America on the Fourth of July
We in the church have clung too tightly to our country’s myths of exceptionalism. We’ve been too slow to name the real “terror within” and unwilling to listen to those telling us of terror all around. We’ve been reluctant to own up to our history and speak out against unjust policies . We don’t like to think or talk about it, but most of us know that our quality of life here comes directly at the expense of everyone else on the planet (not to mention the planet itself), millions of ordinary folks whose countries have been ravaged by centuries of colonialism and persistent neocolonial structures, who make our clothes and gadgets, grow our food and coffee, and pay in countless other ways for all our out-of-control consumption and addictions. Their problems are our problems. So we can’t set them aside.
How the Church's Approach to Mental Illness Can Shame the Suffering
For some, joy comes in the morning after a passing night. Others might require special, prolonged attention and a slew of various helps to cope through a night that lasts years, that seems to hijack all of life — and this is not just true of the chronically ill, but many who might be bound by trauma or unbearable grief.
Throwing Our Despair and Hope into Advent
This has been a devastatingly difficult year for many of us, to say the least — even for those of us whose homes and families haven’t been directly hit by any of the ongoing wars, natural disasters, or the reckless actions of the current president. Around this time last year, many in our country were insisting we needed to withhold judgment and give #45 a chance. While some church leaders led us in lament after the election, too many in our churches urged us to “wait and see.” More than 10 months in now, we’ve had time enough to witness more grievous offenses than we thought were possible from anyone in that office within such a brief period.