Monday, March 17, 2008

A Chai Latte and an Exorcism please. . .

There is a story in the Murdoch Press today about the Hillsong Chruch Mercy Ministries program. I read up on this sometime back when I saw the collection boxes in every single Gloria Jeans cafe I walked past.

I was concerned by the lack of information they provided about the governance structures of the program and how they evaluated their touted '90% success rate'.

The story in the press appears to claim that casting out of demons has become a tool in treating mental illness in Mercy Ministries.

If this is true it is very disturbing and reaches back to the dark ages for its inspiration.

Mental illness is real - not the manifestation of evil spirits but an actual and treatable medical condition.

Telling people that the 'voices' they hear are demons does not help. If this is in fact what is occuring at Mercy Ministries then I am appalled.

It is no secret that Gloria Jeans are closely linked with Hillsong Church but I think that tying the franchise to a very narrow focus of charity does not give a good impression. I wonder if franchisees are 'required' to fundraise for Mercy Ministries or even if they are permitted to fundraise for other charities?

1 comment:

Sojourner said...

A disturbing story indeed! As a former Christian educator turned psychology student, the story frightens me. During my time in church ministry and now pursuing a degree in the mental health field, I have witnessed a positive trend toward reconciling the long rift between theology and psychology. Grendel, I echo your concern! We do not want a return to the dark ages!!! These two disciples can bring great healing to broken people if they are not abused and misused. I would be interested in knowing the exact stats of the 90% success rate that was quoted. You know how we love to abuse and misuse statistical information when it suits us! That, my friend, is another thorn in my side. I would like to know how long they tracked those 90% success stories and what happened to the other 10%. I worry about both groups.