Daily Archives: August 15, 2014

[Economist] Ebola: Fever Rising

[i]Given the discussion about Ebola in the current open thread, this article from the Economist may be of interest. The graphs comparing Ebola with other diseases in West Africa, and per capita health spending in various countries are worth looking at. – the elves.[/i]

Ebola is now exposing how hard it is to contain an outbreak, particularly in poor countries. Stopping Ebola should, in theory, be straightforward. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat victims that will maximise their chance of survival and help prevent transmission. Patients should be isolated and kept hydrated, their blood pressure monitored and secondary infections treated. Those who have come into contact with the infected should be watched to see if symptoms develop. If none emerge within 21 days, the person can be deemed virus-free.

But all this is labour-intensive. “You still have to have a cadre of people who at the end of the day are able to go out there,” explains Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. That depends on strong health systems or substantial international help. In this case, there was neither.

The outbreak began in three of the world’s poorest countries. Guinea spends $62 per person on health each year, compared with $3,364 in Britain. Sierra Leone has two doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 245 in America (see chart). Such health workers as are available in the countries affected by Ebola are under severe strain. About 150 have been infected and 80 have died, the WHO said on August 8th. Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit organisation that has 680 health workers in the region, now says that its staff “simply cannot do more”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

(CT) Brian Howell on Tim Keesee's new book–The Broken Beauty of the Global Church

…the book provides an encouraging reminder that God’s people continue to stand in his power around the world. We meet Dennis, a poor yet influential pastor in Liberia, who works with his North American partner to drill wells, preach the gospel, and lead Christians in villages throughout his country. Grace, a Filipina missionary working with her husband, Noe, leads a church and cares for sex trafficking survivors and HIV/AIDS patients in Cambodia. Allan Yuan, a 90-year-old pastor in China, baptizes dozens of believers on the banks of the Ye Xi River after spending decades in prison for his faith.

But these are not always stories of triumph. Keesee remembers the life of Gayle Williams, a nurse ministering to children in Kabul, Afghanistan, who was killed by a sniper’s bullet. He tells of Ika, a Muslim-background believer from Indonesia, who was rejected by her family, kept from her children, and cut off from her community. These stories reveal that God does not always take away our pain even as he comforts us within it.

Dispatches from the Front assures us that God has raised people around the globe to bring his Word into difficult circumstances.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Theology

A Prayer for Christ to be with us at the Beginning of the Day

Jesus, our Master, do thou meet us while we walk in the way and long to reach the heavenly country; so that, following thy light, we may keep the way of righteousness, and never wander away into the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Light art shining within us; for thy mercy’s sake.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) Chuck DeGroat on the qtn: Why is personal spiritual health so important for leaders?

I was fortunate, in my own life, to have a bold counseling professor tell me what he saw””immaturity, arrogance, insecurity. We live in a culture of affirmation, and I believe in affirming young men and women entering ministry or leadership positions. But not without some honest feedback””about their relational patterns, hidden insecurities, and messianic dreams.

Spiritual health is not about climbing some moral ladder, but about what Jesus calls “purity of heart.” This means that our inner life matches our outer. Remember, this was the problem of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day. They were hypocrites, play-actors, doing life on stage but hollow within.

It takes time and suffering for growth to happen. This is why the poor, broken, and unclean seem to be privileged in the New Testament””they’ve already hit bottom. Our humiliations breed depth, grace, forgiveness, strength, courage, curiosity, and hope””all the attributes that make healthy leaders. Otherwise we’ll quickly experience what happens to anyone living a lie: We’ll get caught, fall, or alienate everyone we love.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)