Dear parents, families, students, staff members and friends of Eastside Lutheran College,
Welcome to a new year. Along with challenges a new year gives us opportunities for new discoveries, joys, pleasant surprises and growth. I never cease to be amazed at the new insights God keeps bringing my way, often out of the deepest pits. What an amazing God, so beyond our limited human powers and reason. He loves to raise us up and build faith in doing so, turning the deepest night and most impossible situation into the bright of day, even death into resurrection! Nothing is beyond His power, love and care.
I share with you a short article which shows how faith is good and healthy for us all, including and especially our young. They, like us all, need a sure hope and something deep, real and proven. However, as the following article reveals, this is not just therapy or wishful thinking, but something grounded in truth!
To be sure, none of us are totally well adjusted in this present age. That belongs to the ultimate healing of all things in the age to come which Jesus will usher in at His return. We ‘manage’ various areas of our lives now. But Gods Word (rightly understood) guides us and His real presence in our lives (as Jesus comes to and lives in us us through His life giving Word and real presence in Holy Communion) does transform us and brings so many blessings and benefits. This is not to deny the challenging counter-cultural aspects of faith which calls us not to live just for ourselves, but for God and others. Following Jesus can take us to some fairly testing places, but with each test will come the resources to handle it, an occasion to grow in resilience and especially in faith in the God who can do what we can’t! Nor is it to play down the complex and, for many, the painful nature of this subject or undermine the important contributions that various professionals and others make through various medical, mental health and other associated vocations. There are also so many parents and caregivers who are hidden hero's in this area, quietly providing care and bearing much that is seen and known only by God and perhaps a few others close at hand. Bless you! As parents and as a family who has raised a child with a disability we know first hand the impacts.
So much more could be said on this subject but I hope that this is enough to wet the appetite and for you to read further. Here is an extract from the article: The full article can be read by clicking on our St Peters Lutheran Church Pastors Page site (see link immediately below article extract), which also gives the opportunity for further questions and comments.
1. What Secular Research Shows Us About Religion
Religion is good for children’s mental health
There is a growing body of social-scientific research showing something that many in our secular world wish to deny: religion is good for people, especially children.
In her article, Komisar references a large study from Harvard:
A 2018 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined how being raised in a family with religious or spiritual beliefs affects mental health. Harvard researchers had examined religious involvement within a longitudinal data set of approximately 5,000 people, with controls for socio-demographic characteristics and maternal health.’
The result? Children or teens who reported attending a religious service at least once per week scored higher on psychological well-being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness. Weekly attendance was associated with higher rates of volunteering, a sense of mission, forgiveness, and lower probabilities of drug use and early sexual initiation.’
(You can read the full study for yourself here).
Acclaimed Psychologist and former President of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman, also links belief in God to positive mental health:
[O]ne truth about meaning is this: the larger the entity to which you can attach yourself, the more meaning you will feel your life has. While some argue that generations that lived for God…were misguided, these same generations surely felt their lives imbued with meaning. The individual, the consuming self, isolated from larger entities, is a very poor site for a meaningful life. However, the bloated self is fertile soil for the growth of depression.’  (Emphasis added).
Seligman makes that point that as ‘[Western society has moved] away from individual investment in endeavours larger than self: God, Nation, Family, Duty,’ depression has increased:
Depression, until the 1960’s, was a fairly unusual condition, typically reported by middle aged women. In the early 1960’s, depression started becoming more prevalent. Now, after only thirty years, depression has become the common cold of mental illness and it takes its first victim in junior high school, if not before. 
In other words, social science points to the fact that for children especially, being religious is a protective factor when it comes to mental health. 
And that’s worth our society noting, especially as rising numbers of children in the secular West suffer from poor mental health.
Read full article at The Gospel Coalition.
Ask questions or leave comments here:
Warm regards and blessings,
Pastor Mike Steicke
The aim of this Page is to be a safe place to explore the ultimate questions of meaning and purpose and to enquire about and discuss the Christian faith from a Lutheran perspective.
A Little About Me
I am Pastor Michael Steicke, often referred to as Pastor Mike. I have been a Lutheran Pastor for over 30 years, having served Parishes in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, before moving to Tasmania to be the Pastor of St Peters Lutheran Parish in Hobart at the beginning of 2016.