Faith Friday: Charles Marsh’s ‘Evangelical Anxiety’

Charles Marsh joins us to discuss his compelling spiritual memoir, “Evangelical Anxiety”, and opens up about his personal experiences with anxiety.
3:45 | 08/05/22

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Transcript for Faith Friday: Charles Marsh’s ‘Evangelical Anxiety’
>>> WELCOME BACK TO "GMA3." IT'S OUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE WEEK, "FAITH FRIDAY," AND WE ARE VERY EXCITED FOR OUR NEXT GUEST. HE IS A PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA AND THE AUTHOR OF EIGHT BOOKS. >> YEAH, JUST RELEASED HIS LATEST WORK TITLED "EVANGELICAL ANXIETY," A MEMOIR DETAILING THE INTERSECTIONS OF RELIGION AND MENTAL HEALTH. PLEASE WELCOME TO THE SHOW CHARLES MARSH. SIR, YOU SAY THAT YOU GREW UP BEING TAUGHT THAT A GOOD CHRISTIAN DOESN'T NEED THERAPY. NOW, WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? >> T.J. AND AMY, IT'S LOVELY BEING HERE. YES, DURING MY FIRST YEAR OF DIVINITY SCHOOL I SUFFERED AN ACUTE ANXIETY EPISODE THAT LEFT ME FAIRLY SHATTERED. I HAD BEEN TAUGHT BY THE EVANGELICALISM OF MY CHILDHOOD THAT CHRISTIANS DON'T NEED PSYCHOTHERAPY. WE ARE TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED. IT TOOK YEARS FOR ME TO REALIZE THAT THERE IS NO ESSENTIAL CONFLICT BETWEEN GENUINE FAITH AND MENTAL ILLNESS. AND THAT REALIZATION OPENED UP FOR ME A PATHWAY TO HEALING, TO THERAPY, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND TO TREATMENT. BUT IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST HEARTBREAKING PARTS OF MY STORY THAT I LACKED THE RESOURCES TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME IN THIS TIME OF ACUTE MENTAL DISTRESS. >> AND, CHARLES, OBVIOUSLY YOU WROTE THE BOOK, I'M SURE, TO SHARE THAT JOURNEY AND TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS. HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALSO LIVED WITH THAT STRUGGLE, THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN GETTING HELP, MENTAL HEALTH HELP, WITH ANXIETY, AND RELIGION? >> YES, AMY. JUST THIS PAST WEEK I WRAPPED UP A SHORT BOOK TOUR OF THE DEEP SOUTH GOING TO MANY OF THE PLACES I HAD LIVED AS A CHILD. AND WHAT STRUCK ME AND MOVED ME ABOUT THESE PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS WAS THE HUNGER I FELT AMONG READERS AND THOUGHTFUL MEN AND WOMEN FOR A PLACE TO SHARE THEIR STORIES AND STRUGGLES, A HUNGER LOVE.OMMUNITIES OF EMPATHY AND - WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS LEARNING THAT MANY OF THESE MEN AND WOMEN STILL FEEL LIKE THEY CANNOT TALK ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS IN CHURCHES AND IN HOUSES OF WORSHIP. YOU KNOW, RELIGIOUS PEOPLE TEND TO CREATE IDEALIZED VERSIONS OF OURSELVES, OUR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL LIVES, AND THESE IDEALIZED VERSIONS JUDGE US AT TIMES AND INHIBIT OUR GROWTH, INHIBIT US FROM ADMITTING OUR BROKENNESS. AND I FOUND PEOPLE EAGER TO SHARE AND LEARN IN A SAFE PLACE FROM OTHERS. >> WELL, PROFESSOR MARSH, WE ARE GLAD NOW THAT WE'VE COME TO THE MOMENT IN OUR FAVORITE SEGMENT OF "FAITH FRIDAY" WHERE WE HAND IT OVER TO OUR GUEST AND ALLOW YOU TO GIVE OUR VIEWERS SOME WORDS OF WISDOM AND INSPIRATION GOING INTO THE WEEKEND. SO, THE FLOOR IS YOURS. >> I WOULD SAY AS A KIND OF BENEDICTION, MAKE IT YOUR PRIORITY TO CARE FOR YOURSELF. MAKE YOUR SUFFERING AND STRUGGLES A KIND OF PROJECT, A RESEARCH PROJECT, IF YOU WILL, AND BECOME A TENACIOUS RESEARCHER. SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF AS A COUNTERPOINT TO LOVING OTHERS. YOU NEED TO LOVE YOURSELF SO THAT YOU CAN BE THE SELF THAT YOU NEED TO BE FOR OTHERS. >> CHARLES, I THINK THAT IS GOOD ADVICE WE COULD ALL USE WEEK IN, WEEK OUT. THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING SOME TIME WITH US. WE WANT TO REMIND FOLKS THAT "EVANGELICAL ANXIETY" IS AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD. SIR, THANK YOU SO MUCH. >> THANK YOU SO MUCH. TAKE CARE.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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