Category Archives: Being and Feeling

From a polio stricken lady about wheelchairs and freedom

Terry Austin received his first wheelchair as a gift from the United States nonprofit organisation March of Dimes that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Growing up, going to church every Sunday was one of those never-miss activities for her family. She loved church because that’s where her friends would be. Her father was always her pastor.  Her father was a large man. He fought with the Marines in World War II and was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima. He was the strongest man she ever knew, and she had a healthy fear, whether he was around or not.

When she was so young that the doctors had no conscience memory in her adult brain, she saw so many. Her earliest memories were of Dr. Matchett, an orthopedic surgeon who was assigned the task of helping her regain what she had lost to polio. She says

I remember him because of his gruff bedside manner. His training included treating wounded soldiers on the European battlefield during the war. {Prescription for the Church}

She dreaded visits to Dr. Matchett because he scared her.

His grey hair was perfectly coifed into a one-inch flat top, and he barked out orders to his nurse as if he were still a Colonel in the Army. Every time he saw me, he would grab my crooked foot, twist it straight, and say to my mom,

“This is the way it should look, and when he’s old enough, I’m going to fix it.”

It was painful; I hated it. When I turned 17, he did what he promised and fixed both of my feet, and made it possible for me to wear normal shoes. Prescription for the Church

Several years later she recognises

As painful as it was visiting Dr. Matchett if it were not for him repairing my feet and other stuff he did with my spine, I wouldn’t be here today. He knew what was needed for me to live to old age. The gruff doctor had a special place in our family, and we learned that when he said something was needed, we should listen. Years later, when he died, my mother sent his obituary to me, and I’ll admit, I grieved. Prescription for the Church

It was a few days before she started first grade in the small town of Eads in southeastern Colorado that she received her first wheelchair. Up until that time, the only way she could move around was to crawl on the floor or have someone carry her. Even having a wheelchair, she did not experience complete mobility. Stairs were always a problem, and her polio-weakened arms didn’t allow her to get too far away or traverse difficult terrain.

She writes

Things improved some when I was eleven and began walking on crutches. I continued to use a wheelchair for school and other times that required walking long distances, but now freedom was greater. Whenever Sharon would drag me shopping, I often waited in the car, which could be a long wait. When we went to the mall, I would typically walk in and find a central location where I could watch other folks shopping. {How to Live Free}

For her freedom came in the form of an electric wheelchair.

For the first time in my life, I was free to go places without help, without stopping to rest, and without worrying about a fall. Freedom is great. I didn’t especially enjoy shopping, but I did enjoy following Sharon up and down the store aisles and wandering around the mall. Conference Centers and parks were now a part of my world. Freedom is a great thing. {How to Live Free}

Read more: > How to Live Free

In that article she directs our attention to what we call the “Ten Commandments” within the context of freedom. She agrees that it seems strange to associate freedom with what we have always understood are binding rules. She writes:

Every preacher, worth his weight in communion wafers, has preached a series of sermons on keeping God’s commandments with a heavy emphasis on obedience. Obeying them certainly brings blessings, but they are still rules.

But let’s rethink this for a moment. The Israelites had been enslaved people for ten generations. They knew how to live according to rules imposed on them by a master. The last thing that would have interested them was more rules.

Jesus specifically did not come to “abolish” what they considered the law. He was there to “fulfill” or complete it. In other words, to bring it to complete fulfillment. Listen to what He said. Free people don’t murder because they have no need to be angry. Free people don’t commit adultery because they’re free from the lust after another man’s wife. Free people have no need to lie because the truth is enough. Free people don’t need revenge because God has given them everything they need.

When we are free from stuff, we are free from greed, anger, covetousness, and all the other emotions that separate us from others. We like to tell people that God is all we need, yet we live as if we are enslaved to other stuff. It’s inconsistent to say God has set me free, but it really makes me angry when you disagree with me, or I’m jealous of what you have, etc. We find ourselves living like the Israelites after leaving Egypt, wishing for what we left behind. {How to Live Free}

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Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

++

Please also do find to read

  1. Utopism has not ended
  2. Looking at an Utopism which has not ended
  3. My faith and hope
  4. Utopian dreams
  5. Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?
  6. The Upbringing of Ideas and the Extrapolation of Capitalism
  7. A famous individual by the name of Jesus of Nazareth
  8. 19th and 20th Century Shifts in bourgeoisie
  9. All that is solid still melts into air.
  10. Intellectual servility a curse of mankind
  11. The New Imperialist Structure
  12. Is Christianity a Greedy Religion?
  13. Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?
  14. A History Of The Culture Wars
  15. Unhappy people in empty churches
  16. Gradual decline by American Christians
  17. Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways
  18. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1
  19. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  20. Liberation, salvation and the Latin American voice entering the Vatican
  21. Eyes on pages and messages on social media
  22. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  23. The Most Appropriate teacher and Scoffers in our contemporary age
  24. Social media for Trumpists and changing nature of warfare
  25. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  26. False teachers and false prophets still around
  27. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  28. Unhappy people in empty churches (Our World)
  29. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  30. Church indeed critical in faith development
  31. Crises of Real, Imaginary, and Symbolic Money
  32. International Proletariat
  33. The killing of capitalism
  34. The Principles of Communism – Friedrich Engels
  35. Ability
  36. Ability (part 2)
  37. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
  38. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
  39. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit
  40. To whom do we want to be enslaved
  41. Compromise and accomodation
  42. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  43. Not saying Jeshua is God
  44. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  45. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  46. Christ’s ethical teaching
  47. Obeying God rather than man & A Time to Act
  48. Entering 2022 still Aiming for a society without exploitation or oppression
  49. News that’s fit to print
  50. Beyond the Culture Wars
  51. January 6: A Failed Apocalypse
  52. Hope For, But Not In, Evangelicalism
  53. Presbyterians and Reformed Christians, membership and active involvement is part of a congregation’s DNA
  54. The Guardian’s view on the world 1st week of June

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Impossible not to dream

Poetry from John Looker

From time to time, I have been posting a poem from my book The Human Hive. This one is taken from Part 5, ‘States of Mind’:

DANCER

She turns and takes a final look at the room:
the mirrors across the wall, the well-sprung floor.
If you ignore the lights, it’s like a womb
where music finds embodiment in dance.
Re-living the last half-hour, she shuts the door. 

What did they think of that?

This was the feared audition, the longed-for chance.
Those weeks, let’s say the years, of preparation
had worked their alchemy: as though entranced
her mind and the music fused, her body became
line and shape, gesture, and lightness of motion. 

Surely they will recognise, at last,
my true potential?           

She feels so alive! She wants, she needs, this same
exhilaration daily in her life,
to burst out from the chrysalis…

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Where The Lost Things Are

Poetry from John Looker

.
Where The Lost Things Are

.
At the back of the west wind,
where the evening sun wakens a bird-rich isle:
that’s where the lost things are.

Where the hummingbird
quivers at a trumpet dripping with nectar
and clouds of scent rise over a turquoise sea,
that’s where they are, the things that can’t be found.

The golden sovereign that slipped between
the boards in the Tudor Hall; the Hall itself lost at cards
in Venice on the long Grand Tour;
they’re here; this is the spot.

Even the daughter, forswearing carriages and
pianoforte, who was carried away in steam and smoke
for love; and the son gone surfing in foreign lands;
they too are here. They all come here.

And therefore you.
You’ve raced across the foot-burning sand
to float like a starfish in the clear lagoon,
your tequila-on-ice waiting you back in the shade.

If only mine…

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A cloudy morning

George Shetuni

A sagging sky,
It’s so ugly, it’s beautiful.

I was happy once
Ah, to be young and in love…

A dreary wet morning,
Tea alone on a lounge chair

A thunderstorm last night
An open window, a thunderstrike

So loud, so near, so terrible!
That it’s beautiful

The windows left open
Rainwater gushes in.

Ah, to be young and in love…
O what beautiful dark days of youth.

I was happy once,
I was sad at once

This? What is this?
A sagging sky, so dark, so ugly,

That it’s beautiful?
This is nothing!

Lonely. I must write!
The End

Nje Mengjes me Re (Albanian)

Një qiell i varur,
Është aq i shëmtuar, sa është i bukur.

Një herë isha i lumtur
Ah, të jesh i ri dhe ne dashuri

Një mëngjes i zymtë i lagësht,
Pi caj jashte, i vetëm në një karrike të varur

Një stuhi mbrëmë
Një…

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The fall of love

George Shetuni

I want to travel back in time
to the best time of my life
I want to travel back in time
to the time I was young and in love

winds clearing branches of their leaves
The yellow, the red, the brown leaves
Temperatures falling,
A sign that fall again is here

it has come around again,
Just as it did when I was young and naive
It caught me by surprise and off my guard
And before I knew it, I fell hard

Fall would be the season I would fall in love
It was a regular, ordinary day like any other
Made the most significant day of my entire life
I remember the time, the place, the earth-shattering revelation

I could tell you the time, the place, the girl
But then again, why?
It was so long ago, why should I even care?
It may as well be…

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I Have

George Shetuni

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was a long time ago…

But what a time it was!

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was when I was young…

But what an age it was!

I have once lived.

I have once loved.

I have once felt.

But that was not to be…

But what a dream it was.

I have lived once.

I have loved once.

I have felt once.

I have…

And that makes me happy.

this poem was excerpted from my book Poems for a Good Occasion

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Beyond this earth life!

Preceding

The purpose of this glorious life…

Dutch translation / Nederlandse vertaling:

Voorbij dit aardse leven!

Purplerays

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Photo & text credit: “Return To Eden” on Facebook

“You *must* lift your eyes far *beyond the* earth and recognise where your path leads after this earthly life, so that at the same time you may become aware of why and for what purpose you are here on earth!”
– The Grail Message “In the Light of Truth” http://grailmessage.com/en/about/

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The purpose of this glorious life…

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Het doel van dit glorieuze leven…

Purplerays

    .

    The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it ,
    but to soar , stumble and flourish as you learn to fall in love
    with existence.
    We were born to live my dear not to merely exist ..

    ~ Becca Lee ~

    Art by Julie Marriott

            Text and image source: Serendipity Corner https://www.facebook.com/582555271766012/posts/4382941268394041/

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            Everything on Earth has a purpose…

            1 Comment

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            High recognitions . . . successive earthly lives

            Purplerays

            “Human beings are susceptible not only to good influences, but also to bad ones.
            Everyone knows what is good and what is evil. Good and evil influences have
            a decisive effect on successive earthly lives! Because the way human beings act
            in this present life shapes their future existence!”

            – Roselis von Sass (Atlantis, The End of a Continent)
            The writer draws inspiration from “The Grail Message”
            (In The Light of Truth) by Abd-ru-shin
             
             
             
             
             
             

            Text & image source: Garden of Illumination https://web.facebook.com/Garden-of-Illumination-1433140463620723/

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            Martin Heidegger Quotes

            Quoteliv

            Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.

            Everyone is the other and no one is himself.

            Why are there beings at all, instead of Nothing?

            The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.

            Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.

            Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy.

            If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.

            Martin Heidegger

            Anyone can achieve their fullest potential, who we are might be predetermined, but the path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set…

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            Heidegger and the Question of Being

            Looking at Martin Heidegger’s ideas and his question about being, and

            What is “goodness”? What is “truth”? What is “justice”?

            To remember

            • According to the blogger:

            Philosophy = literally any time when we ask a question that doesn’t necessarily have a right answer.

            • asking questions about being & existence = most urgent task for each of us.

            +

            Preceding

            Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

            Existence in the non-existent and non-existence in the existence

            Our existence, the world showing up for us and holding up a mirror

            There is no human being on earth capable of declaring with certitude who he is.

            ELI5 Philosophy

            Philosophy is really hard to understand, let’s get that straight. Yet while there are countless YouTube videos, textbooks, and podcasts dedicated to making hard things easy to understand, I’ve yet to find philosophy content on the internet that I actually like and is meant for everyday people. While I don’t have a formal training in philosophy, I thought I’d take a shot at explaining some of the most compelling philosophical ideas I’ve encountered. In the first installment of this series, I take on Heidegger.

            “What is water?”

            The most interesting observation Heidegger ever made, and what planted the seed for the rest of his philosophy, was that of the question of being. It triggered a shift in worldview for philosophers, in precisely the same way the shocked fish asks “What is water?” in David Foster Wallace’s (DFW) famous commencement speech. DFW used the anecdote to encourage us to reconsider our…

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            There is no human being on earth capable of declaring with certitude who he is.

             


            Léon Bloy,
            the French novelist, critic, polemicist, poet, and philosophical pamphleteer reasoned,
            “Every man is on earth to symbolize something he is ignorant of,”

            or more pointedly,

            “There is no human being on earth capable of declaring with certitude who he is.”

            +

            Preceding

            Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

            Existence in the non-existent and non-existence in the existence

            Our existence, the world showing up for us and holding up a mirror

            I and Thou

            In your own heart or outside of it

            Modern Living

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            Our existence, the world showing up for us and holding up a mirror

            The world doesn’t just exist, it shows up for us. It appears as the pure experience of the present moment. And one of the most amazing things about the world is that it changes – from age to age, generation to generation, over the course of a human lifetime.

            We can not ignore the world. We live in it, and we have to face those things that happen in that world. Today it would even be very difficult to live on a desert island just to live on our own without any interruption or interference from other human beings.

            We are here and though others can ignore us, we can not ignore them nor deny our own existence. We have our fleshy bodies within it our brains which enable us to think and reason. From the moment we are born we are confronted with the world and shall have to learn to live in that world. From that first step on earth, time does not let us on our own but however we want, time binds us to itself. It makes hours, days, months and years go by while we have to hold in it and come to the realisation that we are getting older. However, we turn it or turn it and look for the ‘why’ we are here and the ‘how’ we can make it true here, we are pulled in all directions to do this or that or to be here and there.

            Sometimes we even wonder not only why we exist, but also why this world and this universe exist. Lots of people also wonder what there would be in outer space. In the darkness behind the horizon, stars and planets get us dreaming of other planets and perhaps also about other living beings. Why should we be the only intellectual beings?

            When we see time passing, we often feel as if we are running out of time. Looking at how glaciers melt and how waters rise, but so many in the world do not want to believe climate change is a serious business and that we are heading for an unseen natural disaster if we do not act quickly to combat global warming.

            If nothing existed there would be nothing to contemplate existence and no existence to contemplate. Now we have to think about a lot of things. In fact, it happens that our brains don’t let us rest easy and get our heads spinning with all sorts of (sometimes foolish) thoughts.

            Why did anything happen?

            Why didn’t nothing happen?

            Why did all those planets came into existence?

            Why does anything at all exist?

            What does it mean to exist?

            Why did man came into existence and why does he thinks he is superior to all other beings?

            Why are we here?

            What is life all about? or What is the purpose of existence?

            Is that what we think to see realy there? Or is it just an illusion?

            Philosophers through all ages have tackled this most fundamental question of existence. Many persons came to practice or investigate the systematised study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. There was and is the searching, the rational, abstract, and methodical consideration of reality as a whole or of fundamental dimensions of human existence and experience. We know of major Eastern philosophers, like Buddha; Confucius; Dai Zhen; Han Feizi; Laozi; Mencius; Mozi; Nichiren; Nishida Kitarō; Wang Yangming; Xunzi; Zhu Xi.

            But in the West, they did not have to undercut and could in turn make others think and philosophise with a variety of thoughts. There were many Ancient Greek philosophers, like Aristotle and his followers, who brought a whole movement into being,  Aristotelianism. Epicurus and Epicureanism.
            The Western world provided lots of major Western philosophers, like Peter Abelard; St. Anselm; St. Thomas Aquinas; St. Augustine; Noam Chomsky; Jacques Derrida; Duns Scotus; Michel Foucault; Jürgen Habermas; Martin Heidegger; David Hume; William James; Saul Kripke; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz; John Locke; John Stuart Mill; Friedrich Nietzsche; Hilary Putnam; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Bertrand Russell; Jean-Paul Sartre; Socrates; Benedict de Spinoza; Bernard Williams; Ludwig Wittgenstein, and so many more who request our attention.

            Some of those philosophers from the east and west will tell you that everything that we experience as real is an illusion. Especially in Eastern philosophies, we find ‘masters’ or ‘teachers’ who will say this is all a dream.

            Could it be that we are part of a dream or living in some surreal universe?

            And is there some Being managing it all?

            Is there a Creator or Manipulator? And are we just His toys?

            We may see all this physical stuff around us, but in which way is it real, or do we get to know how it really is?

            Over the years, mankind had to change its views about so many things. More than once, man had it wrong. More often there were groups of people or organisations, who wanted to have control over people and made it a rule or doctrine that people had to believe. The Roman Catholic Church was (and is still) a master in that.

            Many people have high ideas about themselves. Sometimes it happens that they suddenly become confronted with themselves and have to come to see that their thoughts and emotions are ‘nothing’. It is all, they will say, the play of pure consciousness. John Locke considered “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind” man’s consciousness.

            Pure being is all that really is. Everything else is an illusion created in an ungraspable field of consciousness, awareness and sentience. Some philosophers regarded it as a kind of substance, or “mental stuff,” quite different from the material substance of the physical world. From such philosophers’ ideas many started to believe we exist out of more than one element. They managed to have several people believe that when they die that there is a spiritual element (the soul) that will go to other places (like purgatory, hell or heaven) and another physical element that will transform into another body (incarnation and reincarnation). That reincarnation, also called transmigration or metempsychosis, in religion and philosophy, would be a rebirth of the aspect of an individual that persists after bodily death — whether it be consciousness, mind, the soul, or some other entity — in one or more successive existences. Depending upon the tradition, these existences may be human, animal, spiritual, or, in some instances, vegetable, depending on the way one lived before.

            The French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher René Descartes for instance as one of the first to abandon Scholastic Aristotelianism, formulated the first modern version of mind-body dualism, from which stems the mind-body problem. Because he promoted the development of a new science grounded in observation and experiment, he is generally regarded as the founder of modern philosophy. We all know his expression

            “I think, therefore I am” (best known in its Latin formulation, “Cogito, ergo sum,” though originally written in French, “Je pense, donc je suis”).

            The medieval English logician St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033/34–1109), is at the heart of Descartes’s rationalism, the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge, knowledge about an existing thing solely on the basis of reasoning from innate ideas, with no help from sensory experience. Descartes has an innate idea of Allah Al-Aliyy or Most High God, being The Sublime God as a perfect being. For him, it is clear that God necessarily exists, because, if He did not, He would not be perfect. It is That God Who presides in the great assembly (Psalm 82:1) of human beings, who often think they are greater than others.

            Jim Holt, the American journalist, author in popular science and essayist, who often contributed to The New York Times, wrote the nonfiction work and NYTimes bestseller for 2013, Why Does the World Exist?, presented the central question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’, which lies in the domain between philosophy and scientific cosmology. Also the English cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees looked at the big-bang theory of the origins of the universe. By examining the nature of existence itself Holt was following in the path of the philosophy called ‘Existentialism’, which stresses human existence in the world concreteness and its problematic character. for those writers ‘Existence’ is primarily the problem of existence (i.e., of its mode of being); it is, therefore, also the investigation of the meaning of Being. Going back to the intitial thought of previous philosophers

            What is Being?

            What does it mean to be?

            To be is the question!

            What does it mean to exist?

            What is the nature of being?

            For the German philosopher, counted among the main exponents of existentialism, Martin Heidegger, the human subject had to be reconceived in an altogether new way, as “being-in-the-world.” Because this notion represented the very opposite of the Cartesian “thing that thinks,” the idea of consciousness as representing the mind’s internal awareness of its own states had to be dropped. With it went the assumption that specific mental states were needed to mediate the relation of the mind to everything outside it.

            Man philosophers had the above questions, bringing them to think about their own being and the being of others around them. Those people thinking and writing about those life questions bring the deep contemplation of what it means to be human. We think no other living being is concerned with such questions. Even pets don’t wonder what their role in the family might be (we think). Even though plants and animals have sentience, we suspect that they have no thinking capacity whereby they would ascertain their essence in this world.

            On the other hand, it can well be that one of the reasons that other creatures don’t worry about the meaning of life could be that they don’t seem to have any choice about how to live it. Dogs and cats just live the way dogs and cats live. They respond to circumstances the way dogs or cats generally do. Sure they may differ one to the other, but generally speaking they act more or less predictably like dogs or cats.

            But human beings can also be very predictable. We also could say human beings act in a similar way. Many people around us are also very predictable. Though we can notice that even when the majority lives a standard way of living, we can find people who follow a totally different course. There are human beings who stand out and surprise us. We also find several people who do not want to follow the tract the majority follows. They don’t live an ordinary life. They live an extraordinary life, that is remarkably new and different from the norm. And sometimes these rare human beings discover a way of being that eventually becomes the new norm.

            Martin Heidegger was convinced that the history of Western thought has failed to heed the ontological difference, and so has articulated Being precisely as a kind of ultimate being, as evidenced by a series of namings of Being, for example as idea, energeia, substance, monad or will to power. He recognised that most of us live as ‘the one’, or that we do generally what ‘one’ does or what would be the general norm to do. Though we are often concerned with what ‘one’ tends to be concerned with.

            He spoke about “Dasein” or “being there”, the most fundamental a priori transcendental condition or mode of being not so much to be seen from the point of being there but from the perspective of how the being essentially unfolds. As Heidegger puts it:

            “A being is: Be-ing holds sway [unfolds]”.

            The hyphenated term ‘be-ing’ is adopted by Emad and Maly, in order to respect the fact that, in the Contributions, Heidegger substitutes the archaic spelling ‘Seyn’ for the contemporary ‘Sein’ as a way of distancing himself further from the traditional language of metaphysics.

            We all should be aware that somehow we come on this planet and have to make the best of it. We receive an overdose of information during our lifetime and are fed an untold number of knowledges and rules, with which and by which we try or must try to live. Through all these influences we have to go through, we have to try to build our lives and live a generic human life.

            Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, a human being could, if they were heroic enough, choose to live a different kind of human life and could come to live a profoundly authentic and original human life. The American lecturer, poet, and essayist, the leading exponent of New England Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson called such human beings ‘representative’ because their lives represented new possibilities for being human.

            I do not think “Life is But a Dream” even when we may dream that we live or imagine our life to be a certain way. When we are dreaming it can well be that we are not aware that we are asleep. But also when we are awake it can happen that we wonder if we are dreaming, because what we encounter seems to be so unreal. How often does it not happen that we must come to the conclusion that we were in a dream-world. And that dream world was not always to our liking. More than once the dream world that comes into our mind, is one that can cause fear, but luckilly there is also that dream world that causes joy, surprise, and myriad other emotions. Dreams take us, seemingly, to worlds we’ve been to and worlds that we have never experienced. In them we re-live what we lived before in that world we should recognise as the real world. But we should be aware that very often we are deceived by the real world around us. Often we do not want to know that this world has played tricks on us.

            Every day we have doubts about certain things, often which we should recognise as facts. There and then we once more are confronted with those questions that come up into our mind so often. Oh, so often we are troubled, and question our own self and all the things we see happening around us. Then we might ask

            What is our role in this all?

            What happens when we become older?

            As time passes we start getting in contact with other peoples and other cultures. Mostly how we grow up is decided by our parents and our surroundings. The culture of our homeland, the religion of our parents, and the friends we hang out with, all influence us and mould us in a form we do not mind or which bothers us. In case we do not like the form in which we are moulded we get frustrated and come into a stressful position. sometimes people would love to have been born in an other place or have lived in other circumstances. But the choice is not up to us. We are dropped in a time and place and have to find our way in it.

            We have no memory of a previous life, because there is just not such another life.

            Could we prove that we have ever lived if we did not have our memories?

            No, there would be no way to prove it. There is not one person who ever could recollect and prove some previous existence. Even for those who are born, when young, their memory is too short and after some time they shall not be able to tell what happened in those first years of life. When you would ask a toddler to prove he lives, he would not be able to do so, because he has not enough memory and not enough knowledge. The very young cannot prove they live because they do not have memories. Memory starts to develop a bit later than the first few years of life. Memory is an essential component to the human mind, so important that we cannot say that we exist without memory. Knowledge and memory are two requirements to realise that one is alive and can be. In other words, our very existence is hinged on our capacity to remember. Without our capacity to think, or to have thoughts, we can not remember nor can we analyse. And to be able to know we live we need to be able to think, consider and to review.

            Memory, as the encoding, storage, and retrieval in the human mind of past experiences, is unconditionally linked to thought and being. Without awareness, there is no knowledge of being. We can notice this when people have reached an age when they start to suffer from dementia. It is then as if their thinking but also their “being” falls away.

            Memory is both a result of and an influence on perception, attention, and learning. It is those thoughts of past events and influences that help shape us, making us who we are. With that awareness and understanding of that event and of that personality we are confronted with, we ourselves are presented with a mirror, in which whether or not we will accept, love or hate that reflection. But dar we will recognise that this is that “I” that we wish, desire or curse.

            +

            Preceding

            With Positive Attitude

            There can only be hope when there is a will to be and say “I am”

            I and Thou

            Our existence..

            Leap

            To come to live in the peace of fulfilment of our own Divine Identity

            What is Existential Ergonomics?

            On the Anxiety of Non-Being

            Running out of time

            Why does the world exist

            Our real self ever perfect and free

            Life’s Purpose

            Modern Living

            Quandary of Reflections

            Existence in the non-existent and non-existence in the existence

            Human experience maintained in a fragile existence

            Soul-searching

            Vivamos Videre, the more we live, the more we are a witness to life

            ++

            Additional reading

            1. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
            2. Onsterfelijkheid – Immortaliteit – Immortality
            3. About The story of Creation 1 Existing cosmologies
            4. Genesis Among the Creation Myths
            5. Creator and Blogger God 1 Emptiness and mouvement
            6. Creation of the earth and man #14 Formation of man #6 The Uncreated One, neshemet ruach chayim and nephesh
            7. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
            8. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
            9. Ability
            10. Ability (part 2)
            11. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
            12. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
            13. The Opinionated Truth
            14. God make us holy
            15. Two states of existence before God
            16. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
            17. Wisdom Quote #21…..seeking within with Carl Jung!
            18. Living in this world and viewing it

            +++

            Related

            1. Who am I to…?
            2. Spike the obit
            3. Awareness is All
            4. Trouble being myself
            5. #being as details
            6. Conditioning and Consciousness
            7. Becoming
            8. What Descartes Proved
            9. The ABCs of Python: The Identity of “is”
            10. When I sleep, I think, I dream [A philosophy post?]
            11. Wisdom Collection Collection 26. Human thinking is a creation process with devastating results. Thinking is separation of myself from my source.
            12. Mind and language essays on descartes and chomsky
            13. Therefore (Quote Series)
            14. Essays on the philosophy and science of rene descartes
            15. Descartes proof for the existence of god essay
            16. My favorites: philosophy ideas
            17. I remember therefore I am
            18. Descartes, Perception, and Society
            19. Strange nonsense
            20. Perception and Reality
            21. How Ego Disrupts the Cosmic Brilliance of ‘Is’
            22. I am
            23. What is Left to Doubt?
            24. Life is But a Dream
            25. In here and out there
            26. Confusion of knights
            27. Awareness, Consciousness, Experience, Mind
            28. Interlude: Descartes’ Role
            29. Descartes
            30. Consciousness, Personhood
            31. St. Borges of Canterbury
            32. Spirituality of the Left
            33. Breakthrough
            34. The floating consciousness
            35. Useful Heideggerian Concepts
            36. At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell is a biography of existentialism
            37. Martin Heidegger, the Standing Metaphor, and the Politics of 1935
            38. Time and Being
            39. Heidegger and the Question of Being
            40. Existential Reflections: The Shadow Side of Human Existence (2)
            41. Second Principle- Freedom in Being
            42. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.
            43. The ‘Man for All Seasons’ and Ontological Exigency
            44. Martin Heidegger Quotes
            45. Religion, Consumerism, and Absurdism: Modernity and the Quest for Meaning
            46. Two reviews of The Early Foucault (Polity, 2021) by Colin Koopman and Jasper Friedrich – and a note on Heidegger
            47. [Reflections] Why Does the History of Philosophy Matter to Philosophy?
            48. Modern Transcendentalism
            49. Ralph Waldo Emerson
            50. American Voices: Ralph Waldo Emerson
            51. Transcendentalism literary origins in america and influence essay
            52. Living in Subversia
            53. Ernest Holmes and the Science of Mind Part One: ‘Ye Are Gods’
            54. What are the main features of Shelley’s Transcendentalism ?
            55. Autumn, Concord, and Transcendentalism
            56. Transcendentalism : An American Movement
            57. Self-Awareness, Self-Reliance and Non-Comformity

            4 Comments

            Filed under Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Questions asked, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Spiritual affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

            New form of body exercises gaining popularity

            Physical therapies and body exercises

            Regularly, some body technique is promoted. Since the 1980s, techniques have thus passed where the utmost of the body was demanded, while other techniques focused on just a few parts of the body. In addition, yoga techniques have come and gone only to reappear in a different form.

            Photo by Cliff Booth on Pexels.com

            In recent years, many even went so far as to make exercise an essential part of their lives or even came to adhere to a body cult. Thus, in the early 21st century, a kind of new religion or body cult began to replace traditional religions.

            People wished to feel good in their skin and were willing to go very far in this and even invest a lot of time, energy and money in it. But there were also many who actually wished to distance themselves from money and matter. For them, materialism was the enemy of our society and dependence on the matter was reprehensible and one had to train the mind to become master of the body again, through appropriate exercises on both spiritual and physical fleets. Several people were convinced that all facts (including facts about the human mind and will and the course of human history) are causally dependent upon physical processes, or even reducible to them.

            Because of the augmented stress in our industrialised world or so-called developed countries, a lot of therapies were also doled out.

            Physical therapy is a professional career which has many specialties including musculoskeletal, orthopedics, cardiopulmonary, neurology, endocrinology, sports medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, women’s health, wound care and electromyography. Neurological rehabilitation is, in particular, a rapidly emerging field. PTs practice in many settings, such as private-owned physical therapy clinics, outpatient clinics or offices, health and wellness clinics, rehabilitation hospitals facilities, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education, and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial and these workplaces or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities

            File:Fitness Magazine January 2015.jpg

            Fitness, a United States-based women’s magazine, focusing on health, exercise, and nutrition, launched in 1992.

            As we entered this century, a lot of health mags found the publishing market while only fitness magazines left the magazine shelves. Though there appeared men’s and women’s magazines which also centred largely on well-being, body form, exercise, nutrition, health, and beauty. For a while, wellness was the fashion word. Lots of magazines presented several adverts for wellness farms and all sorts of wellness programs.

            After all the years of hard, intense exercise with a lot of sweating, place was made for gentil exercises and feel good cures.

            An aerobics class

            All the brutal violence of the 80s with Aerobics, among others, now seems to have been pushed under the carpet for good. It has finally dawned on several people how bad such ‘good sweat and suffering’ programmes are bad for the body. It has taken several medics years to rid people of such techniques that do more harm than good.

            However, a large part of the population has become aware that one has to take care of the heart and treat the body respectfully to know how to handle multiple things smoothly. One came to see that for doing cardio or cardio-respiratory exercise there is no need in such high intensity exercises but has to come to low-intensity enough that all carbohydrates are aerobically turned into energy via mitochondrial ATP production. Medium- to long-distance running or jogging, swimming, cycling, stair climbing and walking, have proven to be more effective and less damaging than the overpopular Jane Fonda Workout or Aerobics. The American actress, political activist, and former fashion model spawned imitators and sparked a boom of women’s exercise classes, opening the formerly male-dominated fitness industry to women, and establishing the celebrity-as-fitness-instructor model. The horrible “Feel the burn!”, became a common saying lots of people really started to believe, along with the proverb, “No pain, no gain.” The exercise motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work, has been luckily now pushed in the corner. It is true that one has to put in the effort to achieve something and it is not all that simple. Effort is a must, but it should not be at the expense of a healthy body.

            Something of a revelation to devotees of hard, intense exercise, Zone 2 is one of this year’s key fitness talking points. Influential US well-being podcasters such as the American neuroscientist Andrew Huberman and the Canadian-American physician Dr Peter Attia who focuses on the science of longevity, have been recommending Zone 2 to their many thousands of listeners.

            In January 2021, Huberman started the “Huberman Lab Podcast”, focused on neuroscience and science-based tools.In those podcast s he gives attention to breathing/breathwork and the visual system influence the autonomic nervous system, stress, and other brain states, including sleep.

            On his podcast Huberman said:

            “Getting 180-200 minutes of Zone 2 cardio per week has enormous positive effects on longevity and general health.”

            Stress, he says, is not just about the content of what we are reading or the images we are seeing. It is about how our eyes and breathing change in response to the world, as well as the cascades of events that follow. Both these bodily processes also offer us easy and accessible releases from stress. By doing body exercises the wrong way we build up negative stress.

            If you need to run and catch your train, you want all the things that go along with stress to go pursue that train. But if the stress response is spontaneous or excessive, it can start to feel pathological.

            In the previous decades those exuberant fitness programs won terrain because lots of women wanted to lose weight.

            “Despite reaching epidemic proportions, obesity has been wandering in the wilderness of medical lexicon.”

            says Attia.

            It is striking and distressing to see how several fat people have been added in recent years. Notwithstanding so many fitness programmes and all kinds of diet items and drinks, obesity has increased enormously. (Today the definitions of overweight and obesity are based primarily on measures of height and weight—not morbidity.) Since obesity is often the on-ramp to cancer, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s, we sincerely need to do something against this worrying increase.

            The prevalence of overweight and obesity varied across countries, across towns and cities within countries, and across populations of men and women. In China and Japan, for instance, the obesity rate for men and women was about 5 percent, but in some cities in China it had climbed to nearly 20 percent. In 2005 it was found that more than 70 percent of Mexican women were obese. WHO survey data released in 2010 revealed that more than half of the people living in countries in the Pacific Islands region were overweight, with some 80 percent of women in American Samoa found to be obese. {Encyc. Britannica}

            The fattening population has everything to do with culture and lifestyle habits among which eating and exercise habits are the main ones.

            People need to be aware that it is not about being physically engaged to the point of giving up. On the contrary, one should exercise in a balanced way and not overload the body. It comes down to finding the right balance.

            Zone 2 training means exercising at a level of exertion where your body is working, but not very hard – at this level your body is able to use fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. As you work harder and move up into Zone 3 and beyond you will switch to using carbohydrates, a quite different state in which your heart, lungs and muscles are under stress and will need time to recover. (You know this switch is happening when breathing becomes harder and you are gasping or panting.)

            Thanks to its turbocharging effect on our cells’ mitochondria Zone 2 cardio exercises have a very positive effect on the metabolism, improving blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.

            The cardio is linked to lower rates of a whole raft of diseases including type 2 diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease.

            Dr Richard Blagrove, senior lecturer in physiology at Loughborough University, says:

            “In terms of both health and performance, Zone 2 training can be really advantageous. I don’t feel bad about getting on my stationary bike and reading a book for an hour.”

            Photo by Rui Dias on Pexels.com

            Yes, even in a simple and not too strenuous way, one can train their body and work on it. Of course, it is even better to get out now and then, say twice a week, to fully focus your mind on movement in, say, a beautiful green environment. Though such ‘biking’ can lay down an “aerobic base” before one goes training further and build to more intense modes of exercise for competition later in the year.

            For the rest of us, Zone 2 can be transformative.

            Blagrove points out.

            Former professional cyclist and fitness coach at ATP Performance Andy Turner lost 24kg through this kind of movement.

            “Zone 2 makes you better at utilising fats as a fuel source and it can help level out your blood sugar. Longer-duration aerobics work can sometimes be forgotten, now it’s all about time-efficient, 30-minute, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).”

            HIIT cannot be done every day without strain and risk. It can take 48 hours or more for your body to recover from a session and unsurprisingly this does not speed up as you grow older, whereas Zone 2 provides its many benefits in a sustainable way.

            Zone 2 works best in a mix with some high-intensity training – three Zone 2 sessions a week with two HIIT blasts is a good mix.

            Zone 2 is the place where your body is working, but not very hard. Technically this is 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate, but I would recommend an easier way, namely to check the Talk Test. If one trains properly and performs breathing correctly, one should be able to simply converse without getting out of breath. If you were to call someone during a Zone 2 workout, you should be able to use complex sentences, not just sentiments such as “Help!” or “Taxi!”.

            I hope now some more people will put aside that wrong thought of having to suffer to have some successful training. One should not do penance for having sinned by going to a dinner or party. Physical exercise should never continue as a punishment. It should be an enjoyable activity so that it is also a liberating activity.

            Always take of your body, because it is the only one you got.

            Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

            +

            Preceding

            Happy First Day of Spring: Spring Cleaning!

            What would you do if…? Continued trial

            ”For The Moment Of Happiness”

            Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

            7 Ways To Boost Your Immune System in Lockdown

            Be it in May or September: Run the race

            Do you have painful creaky knees

            Reasons to be cheerful

            ++

            Additional reading

            1. Strength of older people can be boosted by resistance training
            2. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
            3. The focus of multiculturalism in Europe on Muslims and Jews
            4. Why are we surprised when Buddhists are violent?
            5. Spreading good cheer contagious

            +++

            Celebrate

            Celebrate” – channelled spiritual message from The Circle of The Light of The Love Energy – Channelled by Kay Meade.

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            3. Many cancers might be avoided if people did at least five hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week @HarvardHealth
            4. Upper Body Workout You Can Do at Home With No Equipment
            5. Simple way of getting fit at home.
            6. How to Squeeze Fitness into Your Day?
            7. Relaxation or exploitation? The commodification of yoga as a colonial practice
            8. How do you prepare for yoga as a beginner?
            9. Today: “Now we have to understand…how we can tune our mind to Infinity. ” – Yogi Bhajan
            10. Trusted Sources: a Journey, Comfort and Wheeeeee
            11. Is Hot Yoga Right for Me? @ClevelandClinic
            12. What Are the Advantages And Benefits of Meditation Courses And Classes NYC?
            13. I Tried Nude Yoga…And It Was Nothing Like What I Expected (via Yoga Journal)
            14. Kicking it old school on Fitness Friday
            15. My Day At The 3rd Lehurutshe Annual Mandela Cycling & Sports Day
            16. CHA Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Residents Lose Weight, Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
            17. Fitness Tips: Monitoring Aerobic Exercise Intensity
            18. Step Aerobics Routines You Can Do At Home
            19. Exercise #18 – Leg Warmers and Raving Lunatics
            20. Aerobic Training Workouts That Benefits Your Entire Body
            21. Aerobics and ale
            22. Looking On For More
            23. Today’s Health Tip ~
            24. Sprint Triathlon Training 101
            25. Dance with all your might
            26. Pilates et yoga : comment choisir ?

            Leave a comment

            Filed under Being and Feeling, Fashion - Trends, Health affairs, Lifestyle, Nature, Religious affairs, Welfare matters

            The scariest part of fall

            It is very important that the American people come to see that their democracy is in great danger. There are several politicians and (so-called) Christian organisations who are undermining democratic principles and the necessity to tell the truth.

            Jewish Young Professional

            isn’t Halloween but election season -  
            silk-voiced vampires masquerading as politicians,
             
            politicians shuffling their constituents and dealing them 
            like playing cards, smoking their principles like tobacco.
             
            This country I call home feels ripped from its foundation
            by an evil crow and I feel powerless.
            

            From The Sunday Muse

            ***

            dVerse, Shay’s Word Garden Word List, The Sunday Muse, TMP

            View original post

            3 Comments

            Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Welfare matters

            The power of random acts of kindness

            Shuhua Xiong

            The power of random acts of kindness

            Warm words from a stranger. A free cup of coffee. An unexpected ride home. Random acts of kindness such as these can have a powerful effect on their recipient — one that may be underestimated by the perpetrator, according to research published last month.

            “People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential,”

            said one of the study’s authors, Amit Kumar.

            “But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them.”

            There may be a social cost to underestimating those acts, he warned:

            “Not knowing one’s positive impact can stand in the way of people engaging in these sorts of acts of kindness in daily life.”

            That kindness boosts well-being is hardly new. Studies have shown that voluntarily helping others can help lower people’s stress levels. Simple acts of connection, like texting a friend, mean more than many of us realize. But researchers who study kindness and friendship say they hope the findings strengthen the case for making these types of gestures more often.

            Leave a comment

            Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Positive thoughts, Social affairs, Welfare matters

            Beauty isn’t skin deep or a certain skin tone or size or specific weight

            Logic tells us we are just as good as the next person.
            Just as smart in our ways.
            Beauty isn’t skin deep or a certain skin tone or size or specific weight.
            Success isn’t defined by money alone.
            Talent is a perspective.
            Love isn’t the whipped cream on top of the coffee.

            Leave a comment

            Filed under Being and Feeling, Quotations or Citations, Welfare matters

            Gender, genderless, androgyny, bisexuality, cisgender and transgender

            How many children between 10 and 14 are not going through a phase where they wonder who or what they are?

            Photo by SLAYTINA on Pexels.com

            In some countries, such as Belgium among others, there is a view that there are not two genders but that genderless people should be taken into account, i.e. people who feel neither male nor female and often have no need for a person ‘of the opposite sex’. In Belgium, they are given the designation X under their gender. The genderless, a grammatical category, often designated as male, female, or neuter, used in the classification of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and, in some languages, verbs that may be arbitrary or based on characteristics such as sex or animacy and that determines agreement with or selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms.

            Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

            In other countries, such as the United States of America, then, people who feel genderless or feel that they are in a body of another gender are more likely to be regarded as “devilish” and are taunted and humiliated, as well as dismissed as perverts. For many citizens over there it is normal that the man should have the highest position and that the woman should be considered the lower one, and coloured people the lowest. Equality is out of the question, whilst in other countries, it is not the priority at the moment. Worse is it when there are people who admit they feel attracted to both sexes, male and female. From searching by whom they feel most at ease, some enjoy their being with both genders and enjoying sex with as well as male as female persons. such persons are often between two camps; for one group they are cowards, not gay enough, unfaithful, untrustworthy, indecisive, and confused, for others, they are doing it for attention, or just for sex and their own selfish physical satisfaction. In some cases it is also part of the experimenting, looking for their own particular favourite, on the way to gay or on the way to find out that they are sitting in a wrong appearance male or female body. For lots of people, their wondering and feelings, being afraid of what others would say, make them suppress their sexuality and their true inner feelings. For most Americans, it seems that only the “normal” (heterosexual) kind is valid, making it very difficult for those who feel differently, to express their feeling or to accept what they really are.

            In the USA, there is a very dangerous development going on at the moment, with a certain grassroots group wishing to have all kinds of books removed from libraries and schools. Books for children and young adults containing themes of race, gender and sexual identity received an “unprecedented” number of challenges last year, the American Library Association (ALA) has said, reflecting a growing national trend of attempted censorship. The challenges came from conservative parent groups and others. In some cases, the group says, librarians and elected officials were threatened with violence by members of the Proud Boys and armed activists at school board and library board meetings. In April, Pen America, a non-profit organisation that works to protect freedom of expression in the US, reported that 1,586 bans were implemented in 86 school districts across 26 states in the nine months to the end of March. The challenges reported to ALA in 2021, it said, represented the highest number of attempted book bans since the list began more than 20 years ago.

            Already two years ago Republican state Rep. Tony Randolph introduced a bill that would outlaw marriage equality, permanently legalise conversion therapy, ban changes to legal gender markers, and block the passage of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.

            In February 2020 House Bill 1215 (prohibit the state from endorsing or enforcing certain policies regarding domestic relations) was the third in a trio of anti-LGBTQ bills brought to the state’s legislature, the House passed a bill that criminalised trans-affirming medical care for minors. The other, Senate Bill 88, would require mental health providers to out kids expressing gender dysphoria to their parents. Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and organisers use the state as a test case for the nation, experts say.

            Kara Ingelhart, a staff attorney at Lambda Legal, characterises HB 1215 in particular as one of the most comprehensive bills to date targeting LGBTQ people.

            Such laws and attacks from thought-limiting groups are also happening also more in some countries of Eastern Europe, where one can see that people’s freedoms and rights are gradually becoming more and more restricted.

            “We don’t allow children’s parents to decide whether or not they can drink underage, whether they can smoke underage, whether they marry underage, and we certainly should not allow a child to be disfigured in a horrible way, in an irreversible procedure before they’re 18 years of age,”

            Rep. Williams Lamberth, R-Portland, said.

            The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) said they require parental consent to treat minors who are being seen for issues to those receiving gender-affirming care and never refuse parental involvement for those under 18. VUMC officials said they began their Transgender Health Clinic because

            “transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system.”

            “We have been and will continue to be committed to providing family-centered care to all adolescents in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards and guidance established by medical specialty societies,”

            officials said in the statement.

            In some countries, people go so far as to consider it plausible that those who dress or behave differently from their physical appearance may be freely harassed, humiliated in words but also in deeds, even raped.

            Photo by Alexander Grey on Pexels.com

            Countries already immersed in a civil — rather, uncivil —war between two distinct political ideologies, the last five years seem to have come into a #MeToo rage and starting another uncivil war between the two genders.

            During childhood, it often happens that parents want to steer their children into certain role patterns that are traditionally constructed. The search for “being” and dealing with attraction towards others, be they persons of the opposite or same sex, is part of growing up and belongs to peculiarities of puberty and adolescence that most young people have to go through.

            During the search for one’s own personality and sexual identity, it does happen more than once that a conflict situation arises between parents and child because the parent cannot enter the child’s own emotional world and feels hurt or feels a sense of failure because the child chooses a different sex than the parent has in mind.

            In September of this year Tennessee lawmakers made their way into the discourse about providing gender-affirming care. Matt Walsh — a Daily Wire conservative commentator, who questions LGBTQ rights — said he considered the care to be that of castration and mutilation to minors and adults.

            According NHS England most children who believe that they are transgender are just going through a “phase”, and therefore  it has announced plans for tightening controls on the treatment of under 18s questioning their gender, including a ban on prescribing puberty blockers, outside of strict clinical trials. The last few years in the states as well as in England we could see more clinics where such puberty inhibitors or hormone blockers, medicines used to postpone puberty in children.

            Several campaign groups in Britain, receiving taxpayers’ money have told teachers to drop all gendered toilets and language – and not to tell parents if they change their child’s identity.

            The Cass Review, commissioned by NHS England, has found

            “there is a disproportionate number of children on the spectrum, in care, same-sex attracted or with trauma in their background who identify as trans.”

            Victoria Atkins, who has responsibility for the Government’s gender equality policy, expressed concern that a rising number of teenagers were seeking “life-changing” medical interventions. Young people were undergoing treatment to change their gender because they regard it as

            “an answer to questions they are not asking themselves”,

            the minister said.

            “It may simply be a case of greater awareness, it may be that for some they see it as an answer to questions they are perhaps not asking themselves. We need to be particularly alert to this with regard to young people. The treatments are so serious and life-changing, I’m a little cautious of the use of those treatments because of the potential for the rest of their lives.

            “Lots of questions are rightly being asked about how we treat young people, people whose bodies perhaps haven’t developed yet.”

            The NHS  services note that there is a need to change the services because there is currently

            “scarce and inconclusive evidence to support clinical decision-making”.

            NHS England says that the interim Cass Report has advised that even social transition, such as changing a young person’s name and pronouns or the way that they dress, is not a “neutral act” that could have “significant effects” in terms of “psychological functioning”.

            Parent groups and professionals have long raised concerns that NHS medics have taken an “affirmative” approach to treating children, including using their preferred names and pronouns.

            The proposals say that the new clinical approach will for younger children

            “reflect evidence that in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence” and doctors should be mindful this might be a “transient phase”.

            Instead of encouraging transition, medics should take “a watchful approach” to see how a young person’s conditions develop, the plans state.

            When a prepubescent child has already socially transitioned,

            “the clinical approach has to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty if the gender incongruence does not persist”.

            In March 2022 there were 5,500 children on an NHS waiting list for gender swap treatment at the Tavistock and Portman Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London, after a “surge in demand”.

            In 2010/11 this were only 138 children and in 2020/21 a 17-fold increase could be noted, that number had grown to 2,383 children.

            Could the surge in demand for help and treatment possibly be linked to a global pandemic and the three lockdowns that left vulnerable youngsters imprisoned, isolated and glued to their screens?

            By January 2021, a report compiled by the Care Quality Commission showed that the waiting list had already reached 4,600. In March, Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of campaign group Transgender Trend, explained that during those lockdowns,

            “life stopped, really – so adolescents at that stage in their lives, where they’re really searching for their identity, turn online”.

            Photo by Alexander Grey on Pexels.com

            The public consultation documents say that change is necessary against a backdrop of a sharp rise in referrals to the gender identity service, from just under 250 in 2011-12 to over 5,000 last year.

            In recent years there has also been a spike, with

            “the number of referrals currently at 8.7 per 100,000 population per year in 2021-22 compared to four per 100,000 in 2020-21 and 4.5 per 100,000 in 2019-20”.

            On the day that Tom Daley marched into the Commonwealth Games with a pride flag bearing trans colours, the health service announced in July that it would be closing the Tavistock and replacing it with two regional centres based in specialist children’s hospitals.

            Trans-ideology according to some is the inevitable culmination of left-wingers deconstructing gender and sexuality in the 1960s cultural revolution. Several conservatives are asking for a serious look at the consequences of the previous era of free expression of opinion and free sex.

            Gay activists discredited the notion of aberrant sexual activity. Feminists said gender was a construct and a prison. This coincided with a new take on children, insisting they weren’t miniature versions of their parents but autonomous human beings who should control their own destiny, even their education.

            The move is aimed at taking a more “holistic” approach to treating children and looking at the reasons why they are questioning their gender.

            It is expected that the regional centres will be operating by the spring, whilst long-term plans for the gender identity services for under 18s, based on the final recommendation of the Cass review, will come into effect in 2023-24.

            Rather than being delivered by therapists and hormone specialists, the new clinical teams will include experts “in paediatric medicine, autism, neurodisability and mental health”.

            The proposals note that a “significant proportion of children” who are referred for treatment have neuro-development issues or family of social problems.

            The new treatment teams will be led by a medical doctor and the service will only take referrals from GPs and other NHS professionals.

            NHS England will also “strongly discourage” young people from buying hormones from private clinicians and will not accept clinical responsibility for the treatment of those who have done so.

            Is one prepared to bear the consequences that children with yet serious questions regarding their identities and gender have to resolve, and how?

            How exactly does the NHS plan to clear up the mess and plan for the fallout of mental health issues that will emerge?

            The consultation on the plans closes in December.

            It is the task of the adults to help children to accept themselves as they are and to get them to feel happy in their own bodies, even when it is not fitting in the general traditional idea of the mainstream. Parents and health workers should not teach them that mutilating their genitals and living inside a skin costume of the opposite sex is the way to peace and contentment, because studies have shown this is not the case. A life lived in medicalised pretence is not a happy or healthy one.

            But we should be open to helping those who have come into adult age, and even when for some that may look late, when they are in their twenties and then changing, there are still many years to come to live in a ‘renewed body’.

            Let’s hope the tide is turning, for the sake of our children.

             

            +

            Preceding

            A Progressive Call to Arms

            Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms

            Times of overcorrections

            Who Am I That I Could Hinder God?

            Do the concepts of male and female need to have a formal official definition

            The Catholic synod on the family and abortion

            Looking at an American nightmare

            ++

            Additional reading

            1. What’s church for, anyway?
            2. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
            3. Human relations 2013
            4. Study says highlighting gender leads to stereotypes
            5. 2014 Culture
            6. Same sex realtionships and Open attitude mirroring Jesus (Our View)Same sex relationships and Open attitude mirroring Jesus (Some View on the world)
            7. Tony Campolo Calls for Full Inclusion of LGBT Into the Church
            8. Two synods and life in the church community
            9. 2015 Human rights
            10. Cincinnati outlaws quoting the Bible
            11. In Eastern Europe the Foundations of the European Union in danger
            12. Right-wing fundamentalist Christians to dictate the U.S.A.
            13. Rights of Polish people in danger
            14. Living in this world and viewing it
            15. Problems with church counseling for gay people
            16. A selection of The Telegraph articles for Sunday 2022 October 23
            17. The Telegraph Front Page for Monday 24 October 2022
            18. Oppressive language of anti-Jehovah people does more than represent violence
            19. Intermarriage and Protecting the state of the Jewish and/or Jeshuaist family
            20. Belonging to or being judged by
            21. Need to Embrace People Where They Are

            +++

            L'égalité n'est pas secondaire face aux défis majeurs de notre époque. Croire l'inverse reviendrait à prendre le problème à l'envers.

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