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Reviewing the Review: Depression edition

October 8, 2009 – Vol. 186, No. 28
This issue features two timely articles on depression, its causes and cures. A discussion of this disease is important for Seventh-day Adventists because, according to Raquel Arrais, the General Conference’s Associate Director of Women’s Ministries, “Admitting to depression is difficult. . .because [church members] fear having their spirituality judged.”
Ric Trion, in his letter to the editor, gives “The Shack” a positive review. I have only a comment and a question after offering paragraph teases from Katia Garcia Reinert’s and Jennifer Jill Schwirzer’s MUST READ articles on depression.
According to Katia Garcia Reinert, a family nurse practitioner and health ministry/coordinator for Adventist Healthcare and specializes in working with people struggling with depression:
“It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and more than 20 million of them live in the United States. It costs the U.S. more than $70 billion in treatment, disability, and lost productivity each year. In addition, studies show that women are two to three times more likely than men to have depression, and one in four women will suffer from clinical depression sometime during their life, versus one in eight men.
Some Adventists may mistakenly think these disturbing statistics represent only those “in the world”—not in the Adventist Church. After all, Adventists are known to be among the healthiest people around and outlive many others. . .Ironic as it may seem to some, depression does not discriminate against race, color, or religious affiliation, and many faithful children of God today are suffering from this disabling disease.
General Conference Women’s Ministries director Heather-Dawn Small and associate director Raquel Arrais travel throughout the world meeting and talking with faithful Adventist women of all races. They have noted that most women are afraid of talking about their depression and emotional pain.
“I’ve met with many of my sisters who suffer from depression, and yet no one wanted to talk about it,” Small says. “It seems there is a misconception that those suffering from depression and other mental problems are suffering due to spiritual problems, as if a lack of a good spiritual life leads to mental problems.”
Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, a practicing mental health counselor, author, and musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provides the following information:
“There’s a difference between depression and grief. Grief is normal sadness felt in response to loss, and an important part of a well-rounded life experience. A time of sorrow is healthy—it’s sobering, deepening, and refining in its effect. For people who are concerned with developing a beautiful character, grief is a friend and not a foe. Depression is a related but different animal. It is characterized by prolonged rumination over an event or loss, leading to compromise in relationships, work, and hobbies. Grief is healthy and normal, but depression is neither. Whether sadness develops into this chronic and debilitating form of illness can depend upon how we process loss.”
Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. He’s also featured on the Hope Channel’s program CLIFF! In spite of these impressive credentials, he occasionally needs reminding that the biblical creation stories are not literally true.
In his editorial, GRACE AND JUDGMENT IN GENESIS 3, Cliff seems to go along with the notion that God is responsible for the deaths of women in childbirth, their second-class citizenship, and the specter of worldwide famine, all because Eve got tricked into eating an apple and Adam took a bite, too.
“Notice, too, that only after this promise, only after hope of grace and salvation is given in verse 15 (known also as the ‘first gospel promise’) does the Lord pronounce judgment on Adam and Eve: “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing. . . .’ To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife. . . .’” (Gen. 3:16, 17).”
Goldstein doesn’t include the entire curse, so here it is.
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband; he will rule over you.”
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you must not eat of it, Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
The STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP that appears on page 28 announces that there are currently only 25,500 paid subscribers to the Adventist Review, the self-proclaimed “flagship” publication of the Adventist Church. Editors, why so few?

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