Some random thoughts this Easter Sunday on the sacrificing of one for the many.
There is a green hill far away,
outside a city wall,
where our dear Lord was crucified
who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiven,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heaven,
saved by his precious blood.
There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin,
he only could unlock the gate
of heaven and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.
"Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander wrote this hymn as she sat up one night
with her seriously sick daughter. Many times, traveling to town
to shop, she had passed a small grassy mound, just outside the old
city wall of Derry, Ireland. It always made her think of Calvary,
and it came to mind as she wrote this hymn. Music by William Horsley."
As a child this was a favourite hymn of mine when I went to St Matthews Church, Tay Street in Perth, aged about 9 or 10. I remember getting dressed in my red coat and hat to go to the church myself, my mother helping me get ready. My parents didn't go to church and I hadn't been christened as a baby but they didn't stop me from going. I have a memory before this of going with a friend's mother to hear Gladys Aylward, missionary in China, speaking in a packed North Church, Perth. As a child I believed in God and in prayer.
It was from an American psychiatric survivor activist that I first heard the phrase 'church of psychiatry' only in the last few years since becoming a psychiatric survivor activist myself. It made sense because I've been involved with churches since 1981 when I became a Christian.
It's not been easy for me in the religious setting, as a non-conformist believer in Christ and non-believer in psychiatry. There's something in me that won't keep quiet if something needs to be said. It's got me into trouble in both places and has resulted in force or coercion, of one sort or another. Then exclusion. I have no regrets.
Religion and faith (or belief) are opposites to my mind. The former is about having to do certain things to be acceptable whereas the latter is about being acceptable or accepted because of what Christ has done for us. He has paid the price and become the scapegoat so that we don't have to.
I think it's part of the reason as to why I can't be doing with psychiatric labels and the scapegoating of people for whom psychiatric treatment doesn't work. The naming, shaming and blaming of the "treatment resistant", the "non-compliant", those "without capacity", who have "anosognosia". When the truth is that the drugs don't work, they don't cure anything and they tie people in to a hierarchical, patriarchal system that infantilises its conscripts.
Now if people want to believe in the church of psychiatry, the dogma of mental illness and reductionist philosophy, then that is fine. But please don't try to force it on me and other unbelievers. The game's a bogey when you have to force your views on to others. You've lost the argument.