Daily Archives: May 7, 2020

(Local Paper) South Carolina state mental health centers are predicting a rise in patient calls when pandemic slows

Although state mental health centers in the tri-county area haven’t seen an increase in the number of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant rise is likely just around the corner.

“Where that rise ends, we just don’t know,” said Matthew Dorman, executive director of the S.C. Department of Mental Health’s Berkeley County center.

During any type of crisis, whether it’s an intense hurricane or shooting, South Carolina’s mental health experts have found that the influx of patients doesn’t come until immediate problems have cleared.

After a hurricane, if a home needs repairs, the owner is likely to address that first prior to any mental health concerns. Mental health experts say the same is happening during the pandemic, where residents are immediately facing issues around unemployment and managing child care.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(USA Today) David Colton–We need to mourn coronavirus losses, not just track the grim tally of deaths

The counting comes easily: More Americans have died from the coronavirus than during the entire Vietnam War. Total U.S. fatalities would overflow Dodger Stadium. More people are infected than live in the state of Delaware.

So why is the grieving so hard?

The enormity of the pandemic death toll is wrapped in a wall of silence, not connecting with our politicians, the media nor the public. Thankful applause echoes nightly for nurses and caregivers, but there are few candlelight vigils for the dead; churches are shuttered; most families cannot even hold funerals.

Doesn’t our national loss deserve more than just checking the number on CNN every hour, and shaking our heads as the death toll tops 50,000, then 67,000 and beyond?

Media coverage of the death toll seems clinical and for-the-record when it needs to be somber and shared, like the sounds of John F. Kennedy’s horse-drawn caisson clambering down Pennsylvania Avenue, or the tearful reading of the names on the anniversary of 9/11 every year.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, History

A Prayer for Easter from the Church of England

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT) A ‘Breakdown of Trust’: Pandemic Corrodes Church-State Ties in Russia

A physics student at Moscow State University, Dmitri Pelipenko turned away from science in 2018 to devote himself to God, enrolling as a novice monk at Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church.

His spiritual journey, derailed by the coronavirus, came to an abrupt and gruesome end shortly after the Orthodox Easter.

Admitted to the hospital after testing positive for the illness, Mr. Pelipenko smashed a window on April 24, jumped outside, doused his body with fuel from a church lamp and set himself on fire. He died from his burns two days later.

His monastery swiftly blamed the suicide on “mental illness.” Others, however, asked whether the monk’s clearly fragile mental state had been broken by the apocalyptic mood gripping wide swaths of the Russian church, some of whose leaders have challenged the state’s stay-at-home orders as the work of the devil.

Read it all.

Posted in Orthodox Church, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia

(CC) Books worth wrestling with

Several recent books by leading economists have critiqued the capitalist worldview and its structures as inherently flawed. Branko Milanovic’s Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, offers a slightly different take: it’s complicated. While capitalism needs major corrective measures, he argues, it is the only viable option. He brilliantly frames structural deficiencies and articulates goals, but many of his proposed measures fall short.

Milanovic traces the emergence of capitalism as the globally dominant socioeconomic system and distinguishes a Western form of capitalism—“liberal meritocratic capitalism”—from the “poli­tical capitalism” prevalent in au­thori­tarian regimes. He attributes growing inequality in countries like the US to a concentration of wealth at the top, higher dividends on wealth, and marriage patterns. Milanovic posits “people’s capitalism” as an alternative that can grant everyone an equal share of income.

It’s a noble idea, but how do we accomplish it? Some of Milanovic’s suggestions, like tax breaks for the lower and middle classes or more investment in public schools, might help. But he pays insufficient attention to the massive wage gap, the lack of guaranteed universal income, and the way factors like race and gender accentuate meritocratic capitalism. He suggests incremental shifts that would keep poor people alive but without leading to major structural changes.

Read it all and see what you make of the book choices also.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Books, Poetry & Literature, Theology

More Music for Easter 2020–Casting Crowns – “Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)”

Among the lyrics are:

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

Listen to it all.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Guardian) ‘You’re not alone. I am with you’: the chaplains tending to those dying from Covid-19

In his five years as a hospital chaplain, the Rev Steven Chewning has anointed the sick more times than he can remember.

The ritual of applying oil to the forehead of someone ill or dying is considered one of the most intimate of Christian sacraments. But when Covid-19 restricted Chewning’s access and left him working from home, a family’s request to anoint a young father who was intubated and critical forced him to get creative. While performing the rite over speakerphone with the help of a nurse (who is an atheist), Chewning found himself not only reimagining his own duties, but the very conception of holy space.

From his bedroom, the chaplain recited his litany, reading from James 5 and Mark 6, where Jesus first sends his disciples to anoint the sick. “O Holy One, giver of health and salvation, send your holy spirit to sanctify this oil,” he prayed, his words ringing over the drone of the ventilator. “As your holy apostles anointed many who were sick so may those who in faith receive this holy unction be made whole. Can you please rub a drop of oil on the patient’s forehead?”

“You want me to make it like a cross? I think that’d be meaningful.”

“Yeah, sure, if you don’t mind.”

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Resources for (today) the National Day of Prayer 2020

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Another Prayer for Easter from the Prayer Manual

We give Thee thanks, Almighty Father, Who hast delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of Thy Son: grant, we beseech Thee, that as by His death He has restored to us hope and peace, He may raise us up with Him to life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tables of stone like the first; and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No man shall come up with you, and let no man be seen throughout all the mountain; let no flocks or herds feed before that mountain.” So Moses cut two tables of stone like the first; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses made haste to bow his head toward the earth, and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us, although it is a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thy inheritance.”

–Exodus 34:1-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture