— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 14, 2019
Daily Archives: May 15, 2019
Must not Miss–How one girl struggling mightily with a difficult illness was cheered up by her Mother with a Surprise
A mere nine years after I’d first sat in front of my computer to stare hopelessly at a blank page, my novel, The Shock of the Fall, was – by some miracle – finished. In that time, I’d left frontline nursing to work in mental health research at the University of Bristol. I’d also had a baby daughter, got married, and was wondering whether I should maybe try to write another book one day. Then the emails arrived.
They were from people I’d never met but who had read my fictional account of a young man living with “schizophrenia” and had taken the time to share their own stories. Many were upsetting, others hopeful. Rarely did they have the kind of neatly conceived beginning, middle and end that as a novelist I had the luxury to craft. A truth about the strange phenomenon we call mental illness is that it’s messy and chaotic; it can be extremely difficult to make sense of, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. There’s a fragility to the mental health of everyone. It serves us all to be part of the conversation.
I realised I needed to think more about such concepts as stigma (and why anti-stigma campaigns may be missing the point); psychiatric diagnosis (and why the science behind this is deeply flawed); the causes of “mental illness” (and how sometimes what needs “fixing” mightn’t reside within the individual at all); delusions and hallucinations (and how these are a part of all of our lives, all of the time); and psychiatric medication (including cracks in the evidence behind current prescribing practices).
On my first day of work in a psychiatric hospital, I spent most of my time sitting in a dreary smoking room drinking tea with the “service users”. Someone took a long drag of their cigarette and told me that before they came on to the ward they hadn’t known such places really existed. I didn’t know what to say, which by chance meant I probably did the best thing. I listened. It’s not always possible to find the right words but we can walk with people for a bit, sit with them, hear them.
— Khaliya (@Khaliya) May 14, 2019
Yet the folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides. Almost no one can fix their own computers: the field is too specialised. People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. Faith in ahistoric theory only fuels a false sense of certainty. Few economists expected the 2008 financial crash. Historians were unsurprised.
Alas, America’s curiosity about itself is suffering a prolonged bear market. What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour. The spread of fake news is often blamed solely on social media. Facebook bears a heavy — and largely uncorrected — responsibility for the spread of viral harm. But the ultimate driver is the citizens who believe it.
There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society. We may no longer be interested in history. History is still interested in us.
Read it all (subscription).
“The folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant.” https://t.co/Wjm0cVcYZ0
— Trevin Wax (@TrevinWax) May 15, 2019
…Secondly, however, they should also note that there are a number of central parts of the teaching of the Bible and the orthodox Christian tradition concerning sexuality and marriage that the report rejects or underplays:
- God has created his human creatures as male and female and given them a command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:26-28, Matthew 19:4).
- God has ordained marriage as a permanent and exclusive relationship between one man and one woman as the sole legitimate context for sexual intercourse and as the appointed means for the procreation of children (Genesis 2:24, Genesis 4:1).
- It is this form of marriage that bears witness to the love between God and his people in this world and to the eternal relationship between God and his people in the world to come (Hosea, Ephesians 5:21-32, Revelation 19:7).
- All forms of sexual activity outside of marriage, including same-sex relationships, are types of sexual activity that are contrary to God’s will for his people and exclude people from his kingdom (Leviticus 18:1-30, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
- A sexual ethic involving sexual abstinence outside marriage and sexual faithfulness within it is an integral part of Christian discipleship (Matthew 5:27-30, Ephesians 5:3-14, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).
- Furthermore, because marriage is something created by God and not be human beings it is not something that human beings can change. What marriage is, is what God has ordained it to be. Consequently, the act of the British parliament in establishing same-sex marriage in 2013 has no validity from a Christian perspective.
- God is a God of justice and love, but we reflect his justice and embody his love by living according to his will ourselves and encouraging others to the same. To love God is to obey his just commands (John 14:15, 15:9-10). 
Because these things are so, the claim in the Methodist report that God is calling the Methodist Church to affirm sexual relationships outside marriage and marriage between two people of the same sex must be wrong. It also has no support from the teaching of John Wesley who held an entirely biblical and orthodox view of sexual ethics.
Martin Davie–Should a parish fly the rainbow flag? https://t.co/p4j0OHXJjz ‘what is conveyed by the flying of a flag in a particular context is not necessarily what is intended by the person flying it’ https://t.co/p4j0OHXJjz #ethics #anglican #religion #uk (img: Gilead Books) pic.twitter.com/tHYVB9S516
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 31, 2018
The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It’s the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low.
Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born. And it’s an ongoing slump: 2018 was the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Birthrates fell for nearly all racial and age groups, with only slight gains for women in their late 30s and early 40s, the CDC says.
The news has come as something of a surprise to demographers who say that with the U.S. economy and job market continuing a years-long growth streak, they had expected the birthrate to show signs of stabilizing, or even rising. But instead, the drop could force changes to forecasts about how the country will look — with an older population and fewer young workers to sustain key social systems.
Not a surprise, given the trends I discuss in iGen around relationships, sex, individualism, and growing up slowly. A low unemployment rate is not enough.https://t.co/xrwjZbs9gR
— Jean Twenge (@jean_twenge) May 15, 2019
Methodists have recommended that gay couples be allowed to marry in their churches for the first time in a groundbreaking report.
In a document published on Tuesday ahead of the Methodist Church’s Conference this summer, a task force called for a series of recommendations in a bid to modernise the Methodist Church.
The report was drawn up amid changes in society regarding same-sex relationships, cohabition and the delicining marriage rate, the legalisation of civil partnerships and same-sex marriage.
It also comes following the Government’s revelation last year that civil partnerships would be rolled out to heterosexual couples and the proposal has been welcomed by the LGBT community.
The recommendation to change the rules to allow same-sex weddings in its chapels was revealed in the publication entitled ‘God in Love Unites Us’, and was drawn up by the Methodist Church’s Marriage and Relationships Task Group.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a foreign policy community in possession of great power must be in want of peace of mind. Climate change, the Middle East, terrorism, trade, nonproliferation—there is never a shortage of issues and areas for those who work in international relations to fret about. If you were to flip through the back issues of Foreign Affairs, you would find very few essays proclaiming that policymakers had permanently sorted out a problem. Even after the Cold War ended peacefully, these pages were full of heated debate about civilizations clashing.
It is therefore all too easy to dismiss the current angst over U.S. President Donald Trump as the latest hymn from the Church of Perpetual Worry. This is hardly the first time observers have questioned the viability of a U.S.-led global order. The peril to the West was never greater than when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik—until U.S. President Richard Nixon ended the Bretton Woods system. The oil shocks of the 1970s posed a grave threat to the liberal international order—but then came the explosion of the U.S. budget and trade deficits in the 1980s. The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks seemed like an existential threat to the system—until the 2008 financial crisis. Now there is Trump. It is worth asking, then, whether the current fretting is anything new. For decades, the sky has refused to fall.
But this time really is different. Just when many of the sources of American power are ebbing, many of the guardrails that have kept U.S. foreign policy on track have been worn down. It is tempting to pin this degradation on Trump and his retrograde foreign policy views, but the erosion predated him by a good long while. Shifts in the way Americans debate and conduct foreign policy will make it much more difficult to right the ship in the near future. Foreign policy discourse was the last preserve of bipartisanship, but political polarization has irradiated that marketplace of ideas. Although future presidents will try to restore the classical version of U.S. foreign policy, in all likelihood, it cannot be revived.
The American foundations undergirding the liberal international order are in grave danger, and it is no longer possible to take the pillars of that order for granted. Think of the current moment as a game of Jenga in which multiple pieces have been removed but the tower still stands. As a result, some observers have concluded that the structure remains sturdy. But in fact, it is lacking many important parts and, on closer inspection, is teetering ever so slightly. Like a Jenga tower, the order will continue to stand upright—right until the moment it collapses. Every effort should be made to preserve the liberal international order, but it is also time to start thinking about what might come after its end.
The gravity of the problem is dawning on some members of the foreign policy community. Progressives are debating among themselves whether and how they should promote liberal values abroad if they should return to power. Conservatives are agonizing over whether the populist moment represents a permanent shift in the way they should think about U.S. foreign policy. Neither camp is really grappling with the end of equilibrium, however.
“Right now, the United States’ Jenga tower is still standing. Remove a few more blocks, however, and the wobbling will become noticeable to the unaided eye.”https://t.co/K2fQtF7loJ
— Foreign Affairs (@ForeignAffairs) May 14, 2019
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s William Temple Foundation Annual Lecture–‘Reimagining Britain: Faith and the Common Good’
We need to recognise ourselves in community, not just as atomised individuals, but, as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:27, ‘You are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it’. We may perform different functions with the gifts given to us by the Spirit, but ‘the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
Jean Vanier, who as we know died a week ago, the founder of L’Arche communities, was a visionary who took hold of this – living out the idea that we are strong in our weaknesses and in our human relationships with one another.
As Christians, we must recognise that it is not in our independence but in our interdependence that our strength and humanity is found.
We need to love the whole more than ourselves. There is too much of a tendency in our world, and even in the church, that we would sometimes prefer to rule over the ruins than to serve in the intact structure. As Desmond Tutu wrote, ‘We are different so that we can know our need of one another, for no one is ultimately self-sufficient.’
Set us free, O God, from all false desires, vain ambitious, and all that wouldst separate us from thee, that like thy servant Pachomius we might give ourselves fully to a life of discipleship, seeking thee alone and serving those whom thou hast given us to serve. All this we ask through Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate. Amen.
Saint Pachomius the Great, founder of coenobitic monasticism (346) (May 15/28)
— Catalina Chatellier (@ChCatalina1) May 14, 2019
O GOD our Father,
let us find grace in thy sight
so as to have grace
to serve thee acceptably
with reverence and godly fear,
and further grace
not to receive thy grace in vain,
not to neglect it and fall from it,
but to stir it up and grow in it,
and to persevere in it
unto the end of our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.