Tag Archives: 2020

2020 Talking Points – Stuck with polemics, histrionics, and ad hominem denunciation

Continually the world turns around and time goes on. But it will not go on for ever with man being able to bring bad things to others.
There shall come a time that with a roar and fire, believers and non-believers still alive shall come to see the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The Great Tribulation will come bringing great sufferings, but it shall bring us our waiting to an end, making our hope coming into fulfilment, Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the great Reconciler of humanity with the Creator, coming back to judge the living and the dead, to allow the righteous to enter the gates of God’s Kingdom to live there forever without pain or sorrows.

*

The retired High School teacher and an ordained Christian minister in Ontario, Canada, Vincent finds that

No one who has lived through and is old enough to remember it will forget 2020 – the “Plague Year” of a century. We tend to forget that there have been many plague years in human history, and many far worse both in absolute numbers of victims and in proportion. {2020-2021 and Hope}

He was not without hope as we ended 2020 and began 2021 and writes:

Even in dark times like 2020, and there have been many much darker in many ways over the centuries, the Creator has not departed. He remains anchored among us through the presence of a living Redeemer, a presence shared far and wide wherever those who know Him bring His light. {2020-2021 and Hope}

He is also aware that we might be coming closer to the prophesised days of the end.

It may prove true that we are quite close to or even in the last, Last Days and on the verge of the Great Tribulation. I am aware that quite a few believe that we are now seeing such signs, and they may be right. My generation thought this back in 1973. People thought it in World War 1, and in WW2 called Hitler the Antichrist.

World.V.You

Like many I know, I have been paying less attention to the swirling morass of the news these days. Most of it is glum and discouraging anyway, and, here in the “Great White North”, summer is all too brief to waste on keeping up with the latest blasts in the present mockery of “discussion and dialogue” in uber-confused Western culture. Besides, between true news (??) and the boundless volume of the less reliable variety, it is often hard to draw a firm line in the midst of all the spin and vehement opinion masquerading as considered point of view.

Everyone has a point of view, of course. But the problem is that it is now uncommon to find any serious attempt to talk about an issue. Most of what passes for commentary consists of dismissing the writer-commentator’s submission as mere strong bias or even some sort of incipient “Communism”…

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Some Hope for 2021

Karla Surguine cried when the clock struck twelve on January 1st, 2021. She writes:

It never crossed my mind that I would be emotional about the moment wretched 2020 would turn to history, but my heart was relieved to see a conglomerate of pain walk away. I am not a believer that a different day immediately improved things; we are still in the midst of everything 2020 brought for us. However, I know for sure that 2021 is the year of hope. We hope that things will get better from here. They will not be as normal as a year ago, but we expect this year to bring healing to our bodies, hearts, and pockets. {My Hope for 2021}

At the beginning of the year, we all have a lot of resolutions or plans we want to realise in the new year. On the 31st of December many are waiting and counting down, ready for a fresh start and a New Year. Every year we want to have certain things of the previous year to be put in a bin to forget very quickly. 2020 brought us something we shall not easily forget, though we would love to see it soon over.

It’s crystal clear that 2020 was not as promising as we expected it to be, that was a year filled with challenges and hopes for a better future that we so craved to come as soon as possible and now it’s finally here but how can we manage to leave that outdated/shadowy mindset behind in order to bring up a fresh one that can take us exactly where we wanted to go in the former year but couldn’t utterly achieve? {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

How many people do not spend their whole life stuck in situations where they wish to escape.  This last year was for many more a year we all want to leave behind. Though so quickly it shall not let us go loose. We must understand it is still going to be here for some while. So we shall have to be patient.

writes:

Last year was a hard/different year and even if we don’t see many changes in the beginning of 2021, we have to be positive and think that we learn some things in the hardest times, and that good times will come. The good thinks we learned should be remembered and applied in 2021 (and maybe for the rest of our life) but there are always more things that we can try to be better. {Our 2021 Resolutions…}

For many 2020 has shown the importance of finding bliss in the little things and of being able to be with our beloved ones, trying to stay save and uninfected. Many of us could find in 2020 so much more time for themselves, because they did not have to go to work or could not open their shop. The obligated time for oneself could enrich us. The time of isolation could also be for many a time for reflection. We clearly see the result of it, by having even people starting a new business in this crisis time. Others found now the time to work in the house, doing renovations, or working more in the garden; All the green fingers seemed to have come out of the soil.

2020 surprisingly was also a year many could find renewed energy to things that bring them pure happiness, learning that change is okay, and setting boundaries in order to be their best self. Many people their eyes opened how they were the other years taken by their job full of stress, more working instead of living.
2020 brought them down to earth to reconsider. It was really a year of reflection for many.

Marcella Marie confesses:

I often get so caught up in work, stress, + daily to-do’s that I forget to take a moment to look around me and appreciate everything that I have. This is something that 2020 has taught me to do, and I am so grateful. I hope to carry this mentality into the coming year, because it has shown me what is most important in life.{New Year, New Manifestations}

Ranjani writes:

With a deadly virus lurking in unexpected corners, it was critical for everyone to maintain a good physical health. But it did not suffice, did it? To sustain those prolonged durations of lockdown, distancing ourselves from our loved ones, isolations and taking responsibility of our dependents despite our precarious emotional states, achieving and maintaining a state of harmony of the body, mind and emotions had become inevitable. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

We can look negatively to those lockdowns, or we can be glad we still could make the best out of it and stay healthy. She continues:

we are a lot calmer than what we were a year before and have embraced the uncertainty, albeit gingerly. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

2020 was for many a year that showed reasons enough to be thankful.

There’s no such thing as not having anything to be grateful for, it might be the most modest thing we can possibly think of that it’s still going to count as something to be grateful for, so grab a pen and a piece of paper and go do some grateful thinking practice or just type it on your phone. Whatever you fancy! {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

Probably for most people things didn’t go the way they wanted them to go. All over the world, we got taken by the unexpected. However, one thing is for certain, all over the world, people are looking forward to some change.

A change in perspective holds the power to highly influence in your outcomes regardless of your setting point. So, perhaps adjusting the way we perceive things to be might not just give us the results that we want plus also helps us discern our dreams and hopes from a brighter perspective. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

All people were taken out of their comfort zone. Most of us are not yet sure what perspective 2021 might bring. But we all hope we shall be able to put an end to this mighty coronavirus tickling our society for such a long time. For sure in 2021 we shall need another strategy than in 2020.

See, this is the moment when we are supposed to be courageous and driven enought in order to let go of the control and boredom and take over a whole innovative attitude on how to take actions that are just as reasonable and that can take you where you are intented to go. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

Last few months we were allowed to go easy on ourselves and allowing us to have time for resting and even perhaps some time to go lazy (who knows?).

2020 was a rough year in which required so much of us to merely make it through to get to this point and so just for that we are deserving of the greatest amount of respect we could ever nurture for anyone…

So, please in the name of quality of life, the next time we find us beating ourselves up let’s remember that that inner, ugly and powerless voice has no inpact on our reality unless we grant it the strenght to. {Tips For a More Uplifting Mindset}

One of the good things of 2020 was also that lots of people became more aware of the difficult position others are.

People, otherwise preoccupied with their mundane problems, turned crusaders in support of the less privileged and the needy. There are reports galore in the media of people donating their earnings to relief funds, supplying essentials, arranging transport services, serving food to frontline workers, volunteering along with health care professionals, working round the clock to bring relief to patients, supplying medicines and protective gears, sharing their resources and opening their heart, mind and arms to fellow humans, across the world. {Entering a new decade with old values!}

2021 shall not directly bring new days, but the hope might be here now that in lots of countries vaccinations have been started.

In our minds getting something done can be a huge elephant that we have to tackle when all we have to do is beat the potato sitting on us. What happens to our dreams? What happens to our environment? What about our friends? Do we just accept turning into a puddle of screens or a piece of that silver tape on our couch that will not budge? It’s not worth it. These mindless activities just cause emptiness and blend our free time away. Again, it’s not worth it. By shifting just a little bit we can move the potato off its position and gain some momentum. Potatoes aren’t particularly heavy. {The 10 Minutes that Will Change Your Life}

The time being we shall just have to make the best of the coming months. Therefore, take some good books with you and watch some nice films with your partner and your kids. Take some more time to play outdoors and to play some family games inside.

Deciding to pick up a book for a few minutes a day instead of my phone, will water me and make me very fruitful, enabling me to give to others. As a consequence, I hope to sleep better, try new things around my neighborhood, discover new interesting topics, learn a bit about art, and cook some new dishes. Reading will breathe newness and refreshment in me. {My Hope for 2021}

Choose for 2021 to

  • find happiness in the everyday
  • read more
  • set clear boundaries
  • continue to prioritize health + wellness
  • continue to grow
  • to make the best out of life

To end:

So often we try to work at ourselves to change ourselves. But is that always change for the good? More often we need to accept ourselves more and find a way to fit in this world of diversity. It is not bad to have plans for the future and to work at yourself, but always think very carefully about it and do not have too high expectations.

We don’t know what the new year has in store for us. But let’s pack some optimism and newfound values and lessons learnt last year in our benevolence bag and make headway with a big smile! {Entering a new decade with old values!}

Good luck.

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Find also to read

  1. In Coronatime thinking about death
  2. Today’s thought “A New Year” (January 01)
  3. The secular year coming to a close
  4. If you’re going to try, go all the way
  5. Good time to sort out your friends and contacts
  6. A new start when the lockdown comes to an end
  7. Do we need to learn to accept ourselves as we are?
  8. A living Word giving confidence
  9. We should use the Bible every day

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Related

  1. What has this #coronatime brought to me?
  2. Be yourself, Be at home
  3. Work from Home: Quarantine Time
  4. Complex dynamics and simple disappointments
  5. The good behind the bad and the ugly
  6. The 200 year present
  7. Hope & possibility
  8. New Year
  9. Fresh Start
  10. New Year, New Manifestations
  11. Alive in the future – dead in the past

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Let’s change

 

THE SEMPILL THINGS

The worst year yet? A lot of people would say so: “I’m glad to leave 2020 behind”, or “F*ck you 2020”, or whatever the trending caption of the moment is. 2020 has been a difficult year, but without it we wouldn’t be where are now. It’s shaken up all of us. And sometimes we need a shake-up. 2020 changed be me for the better in many ways –some good things, some great things, and some painful things that I wish would have panned out in a different way. I haven’t even come to the pandemic thing yet.

I’m hopeful for 2021, just as hopeful as I was at the start of last year. 2020 delivered in many ways and I’m pushing for ’21 to do the same. The attitude of wishing last year to go to hell is beyond me; the shift from one day to another makes no difference……

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Where did we come from and who are we?

Having started a new year after one we probably all want to forget very quickly, we do hope soon to come out of the darkness.

At the beginning of all times there was also darkness and void. There was no form when everything came into being. In 2020 lots of things seemed to have lost form and meaning. Suddenly there seemed something wrong with the world. All over the globe people had become frightened by what one president smilingly called the Chinese disease. Many came to wonder:

What has gone wrong with the world? What can we do to fix it? How now shall we live?

2020 was a year that gave us enough time to think. Many were in isolation in their own home or were locked up in a care home. Lots of people suddenly got enough time for themselves and their own family. They got now some time to reflect on the response to the first and most foundational of these questions  –

where did we come from?

and

Where are we going to?

There are a limited number of answers at our disposal: We came about by chance (the naturalist contention), we don’t really exist (the Hindu response), or we were spoken into existence by God. Some believe mankind was placed here on earth by extraterrestrials.

For the Christian, the answer to

“Where did we come from and who are we?”

gives a foundation for thinking that no other answer gives. Because we were created, there is value in each person. There is meaning and purpose to every life. There is Someone above and outside our existence who stands over it as authority.

As human beings, all created in the image of God, somehow we all can carry something of God in us, even without knowing it or willing to know. Several people claim Jesus is God because there is written he was in the image of God. They forget that the first Adam was also created in God’s image like all the other human beings, but for sure they are not God, the same way as Jesus is not God.

Last month several Christians celebrated the birth of a man who changed the course of this world. They claim to be his followers though reject many of his words, his teachings and those values as a part of shaping our culture for the future. They look at a King, but forget that he came from the root of another king (King David).

Perhaps this world has gone “buzark” because people living in this materialist world have forgotten those important ethics and values. For centuries people were truthful to the teachings of Jesus, but they were always in the minority because their way of life was based on something not of this world that the world no longer recognizes.

After the darkness and isolation of the CoViD year there is some hope with the upcoming vaccines. Let us also hope more people would come to the realisation that we seriously have to do something to protect the animals and the nature around us. This so maniest coronavirus was a very serious one which had brought the economy and life to a standstill. It was a time to reflect and to think about the way we are treating mother nature.

With the opening of the “Newer Year” we do hope you and our other readers would find the way to make the best out of this life.

Stay healthy & All the best for 2021

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De ellendigste tendens van 2020

December 2019 bracht een eerste tijding van een soort virus dat in een marktplaats zou opgetreden zijn. Volgens China dat dit nieuws liefst niet kenbaar had gemaakt was dat vreemde nog ongekende virus dat in december 2019 in de stad Wuhan was uitgebroken, het coronavirus, van mens op mens overdraagbaar. De dokter die voor dat nieuwe dodelijke virus had gewaarschuwd was eerder wegens zijn slechte nieuwsvoering opgesloten in de gevangenis. Maar door de snelle verspreiding van het virus dat ook na het Chinese nieuwjaar buiten China werd gebracht, kon men de feiten niet meer stil houden. In Wuhan waar  zo’n elf miljoen mensen wonen werd de hoogste besmettingsgraad waargenomen in China en moesten de mensen zelfs 76 dagen lang in een harde lockdown, waarbij mensen helemaal niet naar buiten mochten. (Dus heel wat anders dan hier, waar meerderen steen en been kloegen.)

De nieuwsuitzending doorheen het jaar brachten ons allerlei corona weetjes. Uren radio en tévé geweld gingen aan dat coronavirus verloren. Soms leek het wel of er niets anders in de wereld gebeurde. Natuurlijk mocht Donald Trump op het palmares niet ontbreken. Met zijn bagatellisering van de “Chinese ziekte” en andere absurde uitlatingen mocht hij ook wel ons televisiescherm bijna dagelijks bezoedelen. Hierbij deed hij ons wel meermaals de ‘zure’ lach op anders ernstige gezichten brengen.

Naar het jaar 2020 dichter bij haar einde kwam doken wel wat meer positieve berichten op om die onverwachte pandemie klein te krijgen. Overall in de wereld waren dokters en verplegend personeel druk in de weer geweest om mensen er bovenop te helpen. Toch kwamen over geheel de wereld heel wat mensen te overlijden. 19.581 Belgen en 11.529 Nederlanders verloren het leven, wat niets lijkt te zijn tegenover de 346 000 doden die de Verenigde Staten moest optekenen, waarvan er honderd duizenden konden vermeden worden indien de president de nodige maatregelen had getroffen. In Nederland was de bevolking in 2019 nog gegroeid met 132.000 mensen, tot 17,4 miljoen inwoners, aldus het CBS. De sterkste groei sinds 1975, maar nu leek een uitdunningsslag begonnen te zijn.

Heel wat mensen in de rijkere landen vonden dat hun vrijheden werden beperkt en dat ze het oh zo moeilijk hadden dat ze het niet meer aan konden. Wat zij zeker niet zagen of niet in hun geest op riepen was datgene wat heel wat minder in het nieuws kwam maar daarom niet minder ernstig was.

De ellendigste tendens van 2020, waarvoor ook 2021 geen vaccin belooft, is namelijk die van vluchtelingenkampen en -stromen, en harde politieke dijken en dammen.2020 bracht geen einde aan de vluchtelingencrisis waarmee Europa al enkele jaren zit mee te kampen. Ook al mocht de pers er minder over gesproken hebben mochten wij dit afgelopen jaar  een recordaantal van bijna tachtig miljoen medemen-sen op de vlucht aantreffen. Ruim de helft van hen is ontheemd in eigen land, dertig miljoen hebben een erkende vluchtelingenstatus, ruim vier miljoen zijn in afwachting van hun asielaanvraag. Veruit de grootste massa’s vluchtelingen worden – geheel conform een populair politiek devies – ‘opgevangen in de regio’. In Turkije (uit Syrië), Colombia (uit Venezuela), Pakistan (uit Afghanistan) en Uganda (uit Zuid-Sudan, Congo en Somalië). Op een strookje als Libanon wonen naar schatting 1,5 miljoen vluchtelingen naast 4,5 miljoen Libanezen – en dan gebeurt juist dáár een ramp van nucleaire omvang, waarna de regering aftrad.

Erg genoeg waren er asielzoekers die ten einde raad hun tenten in brand staken, in de hoop beter onderdak te krijgen. Dit bracht hen echter in nog grotere ellende, onder de blote hemel in nachten die alsmaar kouder en natter werden. De komst van het coronavirus maakte de toestand nog nijpender, daar de gewone bevolking rond de kampen die mensen als een mogelijkedreiging begonnen te zien en hen afhield om verder hulp te bieden. De Verenigde Naties bleef vragen om extra noodhulp ter waarde van 500 mil-joen euro voor huisvesting, voedsel en gezondheidszorg. De extra belasting aftrek die door de Belgische regering werd beloofd voor giften aan goede doelen zal hopelijk toch ook iets extra hebben mogen bijdragen. De cijfers zijn hiervan nog niet gekend. Wel is geweten dat veel donoren toch nog aarzelden, want bij vorige acties bleek dikwijls het geld en goederen niet toe te komen waar het hoorde aan te komen. Omtrent Syrië was men ook bang dat het geld en de goederen in handen zou vallen van jihadistische strijdgroeperingen. Die bleven nog lange tijd doorvechten, omdat Idlib de laatste provincie was die nog niet in handen van Assad was en nog een goed toevluchtsoord leek.

De corona-epidemie beheerste zodanig het nieuws in 2020, en zeker in april, toen het virus zich wereldwijd uitbreidde en dagelijks duizenden levens eiste. Nieuws dat anders de voorpagina’s zou hebben bepaald, werd helemaal naar de marge geduwd. Waar dat sinds 2014 een burgeroorlog heerst, die aan meer dan 112.000 mensen het leven heeft gekost, kwam nog uitzonderlijk één Vlaamse reporter ons toch nog wat schrijnend nieuws brengen.

Over Jemen, bijvoorbeeld, wordt weinig meer vernomen. In het land, in het zuidwesten van het Arabische schiereiland, woedt de strijd vooral tussen de rege-ring en de Houthi-rebellen maar voort. Door bemoeienis van Saudi-Arabië, dat de soennitische regering steunt, en Iran, dat de Houthi’s steunt, bleef het conflict daar maar meer mensen verarmen en kampen met voedsel tekort maar ook met een tekort aan medische zorgen. Na vijf jaar oorlog is de helft van alle ziekenhuizen en klinieken verwoest. Er is gebrek aan voedsel, medicijnen en kleren. Miljoenen mensen dreigen te verhongeren.

Ook al mocht het positief lijken dat ISIS of Daesh zware tegenslagen had opgelopen in het Midden Oosten, konden zij ondertussen in Afrika nieuwe uitvalsbases oprichten. Dit deden zij door samenwerking met terroristengroeperingen als Al-Shabaab en Boko Haram. Aanslagen in Nigeria, Mozambique, Congo, Kenia en Somalië, kwamen eigenlijk onvoldoende aan bod in de Westerse media. Algerije en Ethiopië kwamen iets meer in de kijker doordat zuid Europa weer een toename van vluchtelingen te verwerken kreeg uit die streken.

Volgens de cijfers van de UNHCR zijn zestig miljoen vluchtelingen langdurig op de vlucht. De kans dat vluchtelingen naar hun land van herkomst terugkeren, neemt al jaren af. In de jaren negentig keerden nog anderhalf miljoen mensen terug, de laatste tien jaar is dat gedaald tot 385.000. Meer dan zestig miljoen vluchtelingen verblijven in landen of gebieden waar voedselschaarste en ondervoeding heersen, en waar de gevolgen van klimaat- en natuurrampen zich laten gelden. Een aanzienlijk deel van de tachtig miljoen vluchtelingen is nog kind: naar schatting zijn dat er tussen de 30 en 34 miljoen.

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#Omens&Symbols . . . Letting 2020 out

Let 2020 be carried away by strong winds bringing it out of our stratosphere.

New Year’s Eve…a blessing for all of us who await the light this night..whether that be the bright light of fireworks (televised only!), the still light of prayer, the inner light of hope, the new light of dawn… {Text https://www.facebook.com/1567391160191012/posts/2925267964403318/}

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La colonne vertébrale de la bienveillance

L’attitude de compréhension et d’indulgence qui permet de bien vivre ensemble sont très important dans notre vie.

2020 a été une année au cours de laquelle la population du monde entier a eu beaucoup de maux de tête. Ce fut une année où plus de gens se sont retrouvés enfermés et ont eu suffisamment de temps pour réfléchir sur eux-mêmes.

En cette année de crise et d’incertitudes, la bienveillance est plus que jamais une clé du bien-être et de l’épanouissement au travail. Mais cette valeur ressemble parfois aussi à un concept tarte à la crème tellement de clichés lui sont associés.

Comment passer de la théorie à la pratique ? La psychologue Christèle Albaret, auteure de Et si on osait la bienveillance au travail ? (Diateino), nous apporte son éclairage et des pistes très concrètes.

La façon dont on va dialoguer, prendre des décisions, avancer me semble encore plus importante cette année quand on travaille à distance, elle doit être accentuée car les mauvaises interprétations sont plus importantes quand on n’est pas face à face. La cultiver, c’est aussi nourrir le besoin de vous sentir bien quand vous allez au boulot, sans boule au ventre.

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La bienveillance n’est pas une solution miracle face aux difficultés, mais un ingrédient essentiel pour les traverser ensemble

 

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Wishing you a Happy New Year in this time of Corona

Happy new year! 

I do not now how the year 2020 went for you. For me it was like a rollercoaster ride having to bring over all the pages from the old Google sites into different multiple New Google sites.

It took months to transfer all the pages manually (because the website was to huge to convert,hence now divided in sites for each of the four languages.

It looks like the year took only two months, for me.

For everybody it was a year of isolation and perhaps also some coronastress. I have put on some corona kilos.

I do hope you were not to badly affected by the corona crisis.

We are not yet rid of this virus which took the whole world. With vaccinations started we may look forward to some better times. Though we shall still have to be patient until next Summer.

For now I send you and your family our warmest wishes for 2021. May this new start give each of us fresh inspiration and determination for the year ahead.

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2020 a year of having more idols but also more personal problems

The Spring of 2020 brought something new to the world which made everyone and everything coming to a standstill but brought also many to having psychological problems. At first, it seemed incredible to hear certain churches calling for their members to come to church, even when the governments asked people to avoid contact with many. Some pastors dared to go so far as telling people that if they would become infected with Corona that would be because they had not enough faith. Such saying we can only call “criminal”. Several Christian groups, mainly in Holland wanted people to believe that as faithful people would come to the service they would not be harmed because they would do what God expected from them.

Lots of people got in problem with their mind, having become pulled away from their social contacts by the lockdown. Depression, bipolar episodes, and anxiety attacks were hindermost in the running.

Because depression isn’t often discussed in churches, a great deal of misunderstanding has popped up in this year when there were so many more people with a lot of psychological problems, who could not be helped by medical staff.

We want people to believe that the first step is realising what this disorder isn’t:

“It’s not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice.”

Also we want Christians to be aware that it is not, like some Trinitarian preachers wanted their flock to believe

a penalty from God.

When you do not feel well in your skin it is not that God would be punishing you because you would have done something wrong or that you would not have enough faith in Him.

We also must be aware that just because someone seems “happy,” that doesn’t mean they’re healthy or that they really would be happy. Look at the very popular Flemish influencer. Social media seemed to take more people in its ban this year. The advertising flow is drying up, so professional users of social media tell more about their concerns and they seemed for many to provide some good information. After the death of that 21 year old boy more than ever, several influencers came to understand their role in the youthgroups and to realise that good mental health is important.

This way NokNok wants to teach young people that it is normal to not always feel perfect. Staff member Eline De Decker:

“Nobody walks on clouds every day. Sometimes you get up and immediately feel that it is going to be a terrible day. Sometimes you doubt yourself or feel insecure. Or are you stressed or disappointed with friends or family. That is normal.
And that’s all okay. ”

NokNok wants to convey that message clearly and shows young people between the ages of 12 and 16 what they can do to gain more self-confidence, have less stress and go through life as positivo.

Instagram has been around for ten years, and what the app has perhaps achieved best during that period is creating the illusion that users can “work independently” via the platform. Certainly influencers, people who live off sponsored photos on their Instagram profile, are an example of this bogus self-employment.
They live off Instagram, but much more for Instagram – they tweak their entire lives to create the best photos and videos. And once their Instagram goes down, they have nothing to fall back on.

With the rise of social media, the phenomenon of fanship has changed drastically. About ten or twenty years ago, an idol was someone you idolized by hanging posters on the wall, playing CDs, maybe watching movies or TV shows. The relationship fan-
Idol was pretty one-sided: the fan was occasionally thrown a treat – a new song, a TV appearance, a message about a wedding in a gossip magazine – and he or she had to settle for that.

But with digitization, the relationship between fans and idols has turned inside out,
British sociology professor Ellis Cashmore writes in his book Kardashian Kulture, in which he examines how celebrity culture has changed in the 21st century. No longer are fans from outside looking at the world in which their idol lives – they are right in the thick of it.

Certain churches used those idols also in church and wanted to attire people to their meetings by using a lot of music and disco settings. In 2020 we saw a continuation of the pulpits shrinking and even disappearing while bands and lighting have grown. But faith does not come from music, dynamic experiences, or supposed encounters with God. Faith is birthed through the proclamation of God’s Word (Rom 10:17).

Our assurance is threatened.
Whilst certain churches kept calling their flock to the church building, others tried to bring entertaining video presentations. All that attention or focussing on those idols and entertainement made many youngsters feeling even more alone, when there was no such church meeting any more. If we associate God’s presence with a particular experience or emotion, you can ask what happens when we no longer feel it.

We search for churches whose praise band, orchestra, or pipe organ produce in us the feelings we are chasing. But the reality of God in our lives depends on the mediation of Christ not on subjective experiences.

Musicians are given priestly status.
When music is seen as a means to encounter God, worship leaders and musicians are vested with a priestly role. They become the ones who bring us into the presence of God rather than Jesus Christ who alone has already fulfilled that role. Understandably, when a worship leader or band doesn’t help me experience God they have failed and must be replaced. On the other hand, when we believe that they have successfully moved us into God’s presence they will attain in our minds a status that is far too high for their own good.

Division is increased.
If we identify a feeling as an encounter with God, and only a particular kind of music produces that feeling, then we will insist that same music be played regularly in our church or gatherings. As long as everyone else shares our taste then there is no problem. But if others depend upon a different kind of music to produce the feeling that is important to them then division is cultivated. And because we routinely classify particular feelings as encounters with God our demands for what produce those feelings become very rigid. This is why so many churches succumb to offering multiple styles of worship services. By doing so, they unwittingly sanction division and self-centeredness among the people of God.

Scripture is full of exhortations to God’s people to sing and make music to Him. Our God has been gracious to give us this means to worship Him. But it is important to understand that music in our worship is for two specific purposes: to honour God and to edify our fellow believers. Unfortunately, many Christians tend to grant music a sacramental power which Scripture never bestows upon it.

Intense relationship
Those churches who by the years focused more on the show element of their services brought their members now in a situation where the lockdown is felt more as a restriction and limitation. Some even came to find that they could not serve God any more or did not give Him the full worship they had to offer Him. The fact they felt they could not serve their God any more made them feeling very bad. Instead of making them to understand they also could worship God in their own house in their own small bubble, some churches gave them even more a feeling of guilt by keeping to tell them they should not stop coming to the church building.

Against the lonely feeling they said what’s needed was the gathering and coming to feast again for God. But what is really needed is a loving community where people are encouraged to speak up and get help. And that speaking can be done by internet meetings and help can be giving by phone calls as well as by sending material by land mail.

People should know that when fear comes into their heart, they themselves can call to God. They not only should trust on the entertaining sessions of their church.

God Loves You

The fundamental message of the Gospel is that God loves you.
Do you understand?
God loves you. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God will always love you. Dr. Kenneth Hutcherson describes it like this,

No matter what kind of situation you may find yourself facing, don’t be afraid, because God will always be with you and have your best interests in mind since He loves you.  Whenever feelings of fear creep into your life, turn to God for the help you need to overcome them and successfully navigate your circumstances.  Whenever you sense God calling you to do something that requires taking a risk, move forward without fear because God will empower you to do whatever He calls you to do.

It’s Alright to Feel Sad

No one likes to feel sad. We frequently try to avoid feelings of pain, or bury them under the weight of our daily routines. But sorrow cannot and should not be ignored. Accepting our sorrow doesn’t mean we’re weak, or a failure, it means we’re human. Just look what Ethan McCarthy of Christianity Today had to say,

Our faith is predicated on sadness. As we grow in Christ’s service, we begin to recognize ourselves in Christ’s sad gaze in the icons. The sadness of Jesus exemplifies the sadness of Christians everywhere, and through it the whole world is redeemed. For the sadness of Jesus is not an ultimate sadness: the Bible also promises the end of sadness, and the wiping away of all tears: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matt. 5:4).

After bad times better times

2020 may not have been an ideal year, but we should know there have been lots more worse years in the past. When looking at those horrible years of illnesses, pains, horrible situations and wars, we should see that we did not have it as bad as some want us to believe.

Hope is a frail thing, but it’s hard to kill. If you’ve found yourself struggling in the valleys of life, please don’t give up. Surround yourself with friends who will comfort you and mourn with you. If you’re suffering from depression, have courage and make an appointment with a doctor. Above all, remember that God loves you, and that will never change.

2020 has been a year where a lot more people had psychological difficulties. The helplines got a lot more calls. Lots of people were struggling with depression.  More than 1 in 5 youngsters this year had difficulties with the isolation brought unto them. Christians should see signs and then should come to help.

Every suicide is a tragic end to a life that’s precious to God. If you’re willing, God can empower you to help save the lives of people he loves from ending their lives before they’ve completed the lifetimes he intends for them. Here’s how you can help prevent suicide by reaching out to struggling people you know:

Recognize warning signs.

The American Association of Suicidology says that people who are at risk of committing suicide often display warning signs such as: communicating a desire to kill themselves, looking for ways to kill themselves (like seeking access to guns or medications), expressing a lack of purpose or hope in life, demonstrating dramatic mood changes, behaving in significantly anxious or angry ways, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, feeling trapped in a challenging situation, taking reckless risks, abusing alcohol or drugs, and withdrawing from relationships with family and friends.

Listen well and offer unconditional love, like God does.

Pay attention to the troubling thoughts and feelings that people share with you. Listen carefully to what they express, and ask them questions to clarify and seek more information. If suicidal people know that you’re genuinely interested in them and that they can trust you not to judge them, gossip about them, or avoid them when they tell you something disturbing, they’ll likely open up to you. Ask God to help you love suicidal people unconditionally – like He does – and that will give them hope they desperately need while struggling with embarrassment and shame.

Pray specifically.

Let people know that they can count on you to pray for them about every specific issue they’ve shared with you. Ask God to bring them the help and healing they need, and pray in Jesus’ name against any form of evil that may be attacking them spiritually.

Give people a fresh perspective on themselves and their problems.

Suicidal people often become so preoccupied with their own failures and the problems in their lives that they blow them out of proportion. When that happens, they feel overwhelmed and can’t see how they can ever find solutions to their problems or find relief from their suffering. Mistakenly thinking that there’s no hope for them to experience better lives, they then may choose to simply end their lives. If someone tells you that she hates herself or feels like a burden on others, you can encourage her by pointing out specific ways she has enriched your life. When someone you know is distraught about a problem that seems insurmountable, you can gently and respectfully point out other aspects of her life that are positive to help her gain a better perspective. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice, which can seem judgmental to someone who is struggling. But remind your friend that there’s plenty of good in her, and in her life, despite the bad aspects that trouble her. You can also point out that every problem – no matter how severe – is temporary, but suicide is permanent. Encourage suicidal people to give themselves time to see how their problems can resolve in unexpected ways, rather than prematurely ending their lives.

Strong churches don’t “fix” depression.

Even large churches may not have the framework currently in place to deal with mental disorders. So, what’s needed?

“Healing comes from a prayerful, loving community that seeks to truly understand major depressive disorder and related conditions, and one that develops a positive response.”

Depression can feel like a huge weight that keeps pulling a Christian down again and again. Breaking free from the clutches of this disorder may seem impossible, but Margaret Ashmore (of the Association of Biblical Counselors) says that one of the most important things a sufferer can do is “the next thing”:

“So ‘doing the next thing’ might mean getting right with someone you’ve wronged, making restitution on outstanding payments, putting away once for all that website or magazine which feeds a monstrous, lustful appetite, taking back a purchase of self indulgence whose only outcome was more debt – you will have your own list. I certainly have mine. But be assured, this principle alone can take you from a shrugging Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders to that of renewed vigor and reviving refreshment….”

“The choices we make to obey despite our feelings or to give in to the downward pull of a fallen world filled with fallen people – mean everything.”

If you suffer from anxiety of depression, you’re not alone.

The one true source of freedom: Jesus.

People who kill themselves are trying to break free from their pain. But suicide just makes people dead, not free, and it actually causes more pain by spreading grief around to deceased people’s loved ones. Tell struggling people you know that while suicide can’t make them free, Jesus Christ can. Jesus is the way to God. He is the mediator between God and man, and having been here on earth as a man of flesh and blood, he very well knows the pains man can have to face.

No matter how difficult, certain things may look for us, when we pray to God we may find solutions to get over those difficult situations.

 

(With parts of articles by a.o. Todd Pruitt, John UpChurch, Ryan Duncan, Whitney Hopler of Crosswalk.com)

 

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Health affairs, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters

Het grote verzuim voortgezet in 2020

Vijf jaar geleden bereikten de bijna 200 deelnemende landen aan de internationale klimaat conferentie overeenstemming over een bindend klimaatakkoord. Iedereen zag wel in dat wij dringend iets moesten doen om de toenemende verandering in ons weer gestel bij te sturen. Men was er ook bewust van dat de uitstoot van broeikasgassen, zoals CO2, moesten worden teruggedrongen en de opwarming van de aarde moet worden beperkt tot maximaal 2 graden, met 1,5 graad als streefwaarde.

De uitkomst van de klimaatconferentie werd met veel vreugde ontvangen ook al was men er bewust van dat men niet ver genoeg was geraakt met de broodnodige afspraken. Zo zijn er geen afspraken gemaakt over de vervuilende lucht- en scheepvaartsector.

Het klimaatverdrag dat in september 2016 geratificeerd kon worden kon op 4 november 2016 in werking treden, maar had al snel een Amerikaanse president die het met de voeten trad en in de Verenigde Staten de vervuiling meer kansen gaf om toe te nemen. De Verenigde Staten waren al de opvallende afwezige op de 1995 conferentie in Berlijn en voor het tekenen van het Kyoto-protocol.

Het Klimaatakkoord van Parijs 2020-2050 moest ons zekerheden brengen dat de 195 ondertekende landen de situatie nu ernstig zouden aanpakken en zo snel mogelijk hun best zouden gaan doen om de uitstoot van broeikasgassen en schadelijke stoffen te verminderen in combinatie met de beschikbare techniek van dat moment. Daarbij houdt het Klimaatakkoord van Parijs rekening met verschillen tussen landen.

Er was afgesproken dat armere landen die moeite konden hebben met het behalen van klimaatdoelstellingen zouden kunnen putten uit een fonds dat door rijkere landen zou worden gevuld. Dit is echter geen bindende afspraak wat ons doet inzien waarom het nu vijf jaar later nog steeds niet goed verloopt. Wanneer alle rijke landen zich aan de afspraak uit het Klimaatakkoord van Parijs zouden houden, dan ging het in de jaren 2020-2025 om een fonds van 91 miljard euro (100 miljard dollar) per jaar gaan.

Wat wij de laatste jaar wel hebben kunnen zien is dat geld nog steeds in de watten wordt gelegd, maar de natuur en de mensen nog altijd niet. De maatschappelijk onmacht ten aanzien van de geldmarkten die sociale ongelijkheid creëren blijft onverantwoord groot. Dat er nu meer over wordt gepraat, betekent voorlopig niet dat er ook iets verandert.

Wij zijn meer en meer in een maatschappij komen te wonen waarbij de meerderheid van de bevolking het meest geïnteresseerd is in eigen gewin. Liefst hebben ze die hebbedingetjes waar hun oog op gevallen is en kijken zij uit om het meest recente materiaal op de kop te tikken. Waar het vandaan komt en hoe en door wie het gemaakt is interesseert velen niet.

Een grote meerderheid van de bevolking bleek in 2020 zo veel te consumeren dat het leek alsof zij er geen idee van hebben dat het niet goed gaat met onze aarde. Ze willen er ook niet bij stil staan hoe het komt dat wij de laatste jaren met bepaalde ziekten en crisissen (zoals de dioxinecrisis) opgescheept werden. In welke mate er onrecht aan dieren wordt gedaan willen velen niet weten en als wij het vele dierenleed aanhalen wordt ons verweten te emotioneel te zijn en geen oog te hebben voor wat wij als mens wel nodig hebben.

Nochthans moeten al die consumenten beseffen dat alles wat zij willen eten gekweekt moet worden, en dat daarvoor ook grond en water voor nodig zijn. Het water dat we drinken, het voedsel dat we eten, de andere energie die we nodig hebben en tal van natuurlijke rijkdommen die de basis voor onze welvaart vormen zijn zaken waar wij als mens en gebruiker veel meer bewust van moeten worden. De consument moet meer bewust gemaakt worden dat als we allemaal samen steeds meer de draagkracht van dat natuurlijke kapitaal overvragen, we niet alleen in nesten zullen geraken, maar ook het hele gestel zullen ondermijnen en uiteindelijk een hele reeks mensen ook zullen doen lijden door tekorten en onverdraaglijke weersomstandigheden.

De grote meerderheid heeft in de afzonderingstijd met de meerdere lockdowns niet echt tijd genomen om eens over zijn gebruik na te denken. Veeleer hebben verscheidene mensen meer tijd genomen om rondom zich nog meer hebbedingetjes aan te schaffen, en koerierdiensten maar heen en weer te laten rijden om zo nog eens extra bij te dragen aan de luchtvervuiling. En we zijn zo stom om dat inderdaad te blijven doen. Zo holt de biodiversiteit, ondanks wat inspanningen, verder achteruit. Al te veel broeikasgassen warmen de aarde verder op, waardoor wij in België dit jaar het warmste jaar sinds de metingen kunnen noemen.

Men zou denken dat de grootmachten van de wereld er iets aan zouden doen om de inwoners te beschermen.  Maar een mondiale economie bleef nog steeds de ecologische pijngrenzen van onze planeet verder doorboren.

Gelukkig mag er een klein lichtpuntje geweest zijn in 2020. Dat de samenleving er enkel naar kijkt, bleek onjuist te zijn. Wetenschappers wijzen al meer dan veertig jaar op de systemische onhoudbaarheid van onze ongebreidelde opsoeperende levenswijze. Tijdens de extra televisieprogramma’s die op de Vlaamse huiskamers werden losgelaten kon men meerdere mensen horen die aankloegen hoe verkeerd het aan het gaan is met onze maatschappij en hoe het tijd wordt om het tij te keren. Ook leek het wel nu dat mensen meer thuis moesten blijven, ze ook de tijd namen om meer te gaan wandelen. Ook al viel het op dat daar dan in de natuur meer vervuild werd, kon men toch hopen dat meerderen de mooiheid van onze aarde weer zouden gaan waarderen.

In ieder geval kon men de vorige jaren meerdere milieubewegingen en ecologische partijen hun leden alsook hun financiële mogelijkheden zien aangroeien, dat als een teken kon opgevangen worden dat in 2020 wel wat meer mensen hiervoor oog kregen. De grotere aftrekmogelijkheid voor de belastingaftrek was hier bij een welgekomen tegemoetkoming van vader staat.

Maar het tij keren konden deze groeperingen nog niet, allesbehalve zelfs. Steeds meer lijken milieubewegingen zich vast te rijden in een systeem dat niet functioneert. Ze hoppen mee van milieutop naar klimaattop, die al te vaak zonder enig besluit of resultaat uiteengaan… en in geen geval de systemische veranderingen brengen die hoogdringend zijn.

Men mag zelfs zeggen dat er in dat realpolitieke klimaat een vorm van zinsverbijstering optreed bij woordvoerders van sommige milieubewegingen die men soms moeilijk nog kan begrijpen. 2050 blijkt namelijk een jaar te worden waar wij met veel ongenoegen zullen moeten vaststellen dat we het weer niet gehaald hebben.

Toch kon 2020 wat meer hoop brengen als wij zagen hoe bepaalde grote concerns toch blijk geven van zich te willen inspannen. Ze maken zelfs al reclame met hun pogingen om het milieu te ontlasten. En dat is een goed voorteken. Het betekent dat ze beseffen dat ze met een groen beleid ook nog geld zullen kunnen verdienen. Meer mensen zijn ook bereid meer te betalen voor een bepaald product als ze mogen geloven dat er fair trade achter zit en de natuur niet overbelast.

We zien grote energieconcerns niet langer investeren in fossiele brandstoffen maar wel in windenergie. We zien zelfs banken die adviseren om niet langer voor klassieke energiecentrales te kiezen maar wel voor zonne-energie en de ethische en ecologische fondsen zitten in de lift.

Hoewel heel reëel en in de goede richting gaat, is het toch onvoldoende om het tij te keren. Iedereen moet degelijk beseffen dat er geen tijd is voor uitstelgedrag. We moeten ons terdege af gaan vragen wat wij willen opofferen voor de luxe die wij wensen te genieten en of er geen andere mogelijkheid is om diezelfde of zelfs nog meer luxe te hebben zonder zulke schade aan onze omgeving aan te richten.

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Voorgaande

De domper op velen hun succespad

2020 en het onfatsoen van het grote geld

Constant schuldig verzuim in 2020 als het om ongelijkheid draait

Interview ‘De liberale democratie is bezig zijn eigen graf te graven’

Mens of Consumens: Wat is tegenwoordig nog sociaal?

Toenemende overstromingen bedreigen vijfde van wereldeconomie

Geen tijd meer voor uitstelgedrag

Coronacrisis biedt geen oplossing voor het broeikaseffect

Hoe Gaan We Dit Uitleggen – Jelmer Mommers (boekbespreking)

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Filed under Ecologische aangelegenheden, Geschiedenis, Levensstijl, Nederlandse teksten - Dutch writings, Politieke aangelegenheden, Wereld aangelegenheden