LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Rev. Tim Finley Jr. is the senior pastor of Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center in Louisville and the founder of the Justice and Freedom Coalition. He has announced he will run for mayor of Louisville.
I think there came a point where everyone really began to feel the weight of the moment, because at the same time we're dealing with this healthcare crisis, we're dealing with extreme racial tension in the country, specifically in our city. And it began to have a mental effect, a very traumatic effect whether you were involved in protests, or just sitting at home and being exposed to story after story after story. It began to have an effect on the psyche.
On the impact from media images
So many times we think we have to be in the video to be affected, or something has to have happened to us in that moment. But so many people are affected mentally just by seeing what's going on. And it's happening every day.
Every day we wake up, there's a new video, there's a new story, there's a new statistic, there's a new sort of issue. And after a while, when you are constantly dealing with that reality, whether you're being arrested, whether you're protesting, or you're somewhere just watching the video and reading the story, that begins to have an effect on you mentally, it just does. And that to me, that's the textbook definition of what trauma really is.
On the current stage of the pandemic
Just talking with other community leaders, talking with other pastors, we're seeing that specifically now that people are starting to face what they've been subjected to over the last year-plus--COVID-19, job loss, mounting bills, things they didn't necessarily have to worry about in the moment in 2020. It has now come full circle.
We're starting to see more and more young people dealing with issues. NTI had such an effect on especially our Black and brown kids, that although school is out and it's the summertime, we're starting to see certain things. They’re disturbing. And it's a signal that we need to collectively as a community begin to embrace the idea of counseling and therapy.
As a pastor I talk to people, and I give spiritual advice. But I'll be the first to say I'm not a therapist. I am not a licensed psychologist. I enjoy the fact that I can refer people, even past my spiritual counsel, to go and seek help from professionals. Because it's not normal to carry that amount of emotional baggage and trauma that people are carrying about now. It's just it's too much. And if we're not careful, we're going to see a rising issue become a crisis in our community.
On why he sees a therapist
I sought out a therapist after a pastors’ conference several years ago. But to be completely transparent, I don't think I took it serious then. I took it serious, but it wasn't as critical as it is now.
One of the great sort of moments that caused me to rethink what I was doing, why I was doing it and why I wasn't seeing a therapist was the amount of funerals that I was doing in 2020. It was difficult because people were dying from COVID-19. And then we had a lot of young people dying from gun violence. And these weren't big funerals. So you were doing funerals in close settings, with just family, and you weren't able to evade the moment in a big crowd. You were right there. And the type of anguish in these moments--it's already difficult. But when you're doing 30, 40, 50 funerals--that's a lot.
I almost became desensitized to it to where it was just another, another, another. And I always want to operate with the kind of heart that people know I'm not just sympathetic, but I'm empathetic. And that for me was the catalyst when I said, ‘Okay, you're doing something that is abnormal, it's different. You're being subjected to things that most people aren't subjected to, day in and day out. If you think you can do this, and not have a therapist, somebody to talk to, not just a friend to vent to, but an actual therapist--you're going to hurt yourself.’ And that's what was the push for me.
Note: These are excerpts from an interview with WDRB News. Some have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.