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Redeeming the Time with St. Patrick - Feeney (First Things)
In Ireland, [Patrick] took up the Christian struggle between two
biblical injunctions: “do not conform yourself to the world” and “go
therefore into the world.”
Patrick knew he wasn’t from Ireland, as we can see in both his
Confessions and in his condemnation of slavery The Letter to
Coroticus: “I am a stranger and an exile living among barbarians and
pagans.” But he wasn’t just a stranger and exile when he wrote these
words. He was a man in love with the Irish people. Moreover, this love
wasn’t blind. He had experienced the cruelty of the Irish pagans as a
child slave. Yet he returned to live as a stranger among them “because
God cares for the Irish.” He returned to preach because he loved the
gospel, but also because he loved those people, at that time, and in
that place. And in loving them, he became one of them.
As St. Paul “became all things to all people,” Patrick became Irish
for the Irish. This wasn’t his plan: “Was it my idea to feel God’s
love for the Irish?” Out of love for God, he felt God’s love for
Ireland's particularities, and this love bound him to Ireland even
though he remembered it as a “land of slavery.”
In our era of dwindling faith, it is tempting as Christians to detach
ourselves from this time and this place—to long for a time when things
were otherwise. We live among people who have rejected the God Patrick
served. What should we do about those around us? Following Patrick’s
example, we must love them up close. Patrick was similarly tempted to
distance himself from the Irish, but he chose to “walk in wisdom
towards those who are outside, redeeming the time.” Patrick walked
towards those outside in order to walk with them.
Only by doing the same can we redeem our own time. In modernity there
is much that is lovable and much that merits celebration. We are not
called to flee from the world but “to go into the world,” to offer
ourselves to our fellow denizens of this time and place and offer our
“very life for them.” Paradoxically, we can only avoid conforming to
the world by truly living in the time in which God has placed us.
Patrick writes that he learned to “turn with my whole heart to the
Lord my God” in Ireland. This turning allowed him to both resist
conforming to the world and to go into the world.
It was in Ireland that God first opened St. Patrick’s heart. Love God
and you will be able love the time in which your heart was opened.
Love your time and you can help other hearts open to the God of open
hearts. Why love this world? Because it was in this world that we fell
in love with God and it is only in this time that we can help other
hearts turn to God. In so doing, we can redeem the time in which we
were redeemed.
StPatrick  FirstThings  Secular  University  Hope 
march 2019 by mgubbins
(11487) Is Trump REALLY a Fascist? - YouTube
Fascist Roots, Trump the product of the failure of neoliberal neoconservative capitalism to provide a better future for all.
DonaldTrump  Donald  Trump  fascism  far-right  right-wing  alt-right  neo-nazi  neonazi  nazi  Brexit  PEGIDA  neoliberalism  neoliberal  neoconservatism  Capitalism  inequality  downward  mobility  income  working  poor  poverty  trap  Austerity  GFC  secular  stagnation  stagflation  economic  history 
august 2018 by asterisk2a
Faithful Suffering and Medicine After “The Baconian Project” - John Brewer Eberly, Jr. and Ben Frush (Mere Orthodoxy)
Suggestions for Christian responses in a society that worships health.
“Given the dangers that an unhealthy desire to eliminate suffering begets,
what does a faithful response to physical suffering and bodily limitation
look like from those who would follow Christ?
Martin Luther demonstrated that the Christian life is fundamentally one of
thanksgiving and repentance. Meister Eckhart said something similar—that
is, if you’re going to pray one prayer, pray “Thank you.” Perhaps the first
step then is thankfulness for our anatomy and the physical, gritty,
sometimes awkward reality in which we find ourselves as creatures both made
in the image of God and operating within a fallen physical world. We also
might offer thanks for medicine itself, for the wonder of it, those who
practice it, and the health of our own bodies and the bodies of our
A second faithful response is the (perhaps surprising) call to repentance.
In “A Theology of Illness
Orthodox theologian Jean-Claude Larchet argues that modern medicine, in its
power and obsession with alleviating suffering, has turned the physician
into a “new priestly class,” effectively sealing a permanent idolatry of
health in the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike. In a similar
vein, ethicist-theologian Stanley Hauerwas has written
medicine is a “pseudo-salvific institution,” maintained by physicians as
the “new priests.” Patients understandably place strong hopes in physicians
and healthcare institutions, particularly when they find themselves in
vulnerable states of illness and suffering. At the same time, common
phrases like “That surgeon saved my life” carry a strangely salvific tone.
We may worship in a church building, but often we confess at the altar of
health, receiving medicine in exchanges that can be eerily sacramental.
Transplants and transfusions take on new meaning as literal “body and
Amidst this temptation, we must be reminded of the sobering fact that, as
Larchet writes, “the health of the body in this world can only be
precarious and ephemeral.” We serve a bodily-resurrected Lord whose own
body endured suffering and was broken on our behalf, who taught that, as
ethicist Allen Verhey puts it
life was a good but not the greatest good, that death was an evil but not
the greatest evil. We ought therefore to repent of putting undue hope in
health, and to turn anew to Christ, constantly reminding ourselves and our
neighbors in Christ that our ultimate joy lies not in our ability to
obviate suffering, but in learning to worship well in sickness or in health.
A third step is a commitment to presence. Presence in the face of suffering
is one of the most morally taxing endeavors any person can engage
in—requiring great patience, time, and imagination. This is likely one
reason why caregivers and doctors face burnout in such high numbers.
and “suffering-there-with” <> are long,
difficult labors, particularly in the face of a culture which increasingly
seeks to avoid suffering or outsource the task of “presence” to social
media. As Kate Bowler
wrote in Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
, she is grateful for the presence of a Mennonite community in her
upbringing because “they insist that suffering never be done alone.” Or as
2007’s Lars and the Real Girl <> put
it, “We came over to sit. That’s what people do when tragedy strikes. They
come over and sit.”
It is worth asking then whether we are, in fact, sitting with our suffering
neighbors. Suffering together, particularly when suffering has no clear
end, hope, or purpose, is foundational to the Christian story, from the
sitting of friends in silence and sackcloth in Job to the way Christ waited
and wept beforeresurrecting Lazarus.
And with Christ’s weeping in mind, a fourth and final response is
recovering lament. There is a danger inherent in the critique of modern
medicine’s Baconian goal to eliminate suffering that risks an
overcorrection into something like suffering aggrandizement or suffering
pursuit. This is a crucial distinction: Christian martyrs did not
pursue suffering,
they endured it and received it. Sometimes the most faithful thing a
Christian can do when they are in pain is to cry.
The psalms provide an important framework for how this can be done: an
honest conveyance of our deepest pains and grievances, with the knowledge
that such cries are heard by a God who will not “break a bruised read”
(Isaiah 42:3). If the “dirge” is the practice of raging inwardly in the
echo-chamber of self, then lament is bringing our honest and raw feelings
before the Lord and in community—weak and withered and half-hearted as our
trust and hope in those moments might be. Lament refuses to give suffering
the dignity of clean, theodical explanations while also refusing to look
away. It means when we find ourselves or our neighbors in Psalm 40’s “slimy
pit” or Psalm 6’s “bed wetted with tears” (images that are less metaphor
than reality for many who are sick), we cry out—confident that our creator,
sustainer, and redeemer grieves suffering and remains steadfast.
In a world in which it is increasingly easy to resort to solipsism, truism,
despair, or denial in response to pain, lament allows us to exhibit grief
that is honest, grounded in faith, with the knowledge that the Lord’s
enduring promises are true, that his word will not return void, even in
those painful instances in which “the darkness is my only friend” (Psalm
88), “my bones burn like glowing embers” (Psalm 102), and “outwardly we are
wasting away” (2 Cor 4:16).
The Witness of Patients
It is doubtful that medicine alone can harness the moral resources
necessary to allow its practitioners and patients to cultivate acceptance
of the finitude of bodily existence, repent of an insidious idolatry of
health, acknowledge the importance of mere presence in the face of
suffering, and recover lament. Therefore, if there is hope to inspire a
better response to suffering, perhaps it is faithful patients, grounded in
faithful habits and practices, who can serve as examples for those
participating in their care. As moral theologian William E. May once wrote,
“The heavy burden of heroism in medicine falls not on the physician but on
the patient and the patient’s family
<>.” For
those who would follow Christ, such heroism is evidence of the
cross-burdened King to whom we owe our ultimate hope in the face of
Secular  Suffering  medicine  disciplines 
july 2018 by mgubbins
Ana Kasparian SHREDS Trump's Weak Economy + Trade War Tariffs + Farmers Bailout
US going to run 4-5% budget deficit + debt accumulation + 1% tax cuts AND hourly earnings have not risen June 2017-June 2018! - From June 2017 to June 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted.
Combining the change in real average hourly earnings with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in no change to real average weekly earnings over this period.
//&! & - $12bn Farmer's bailout (only for this year) to save face in mid-term elections & telling voters 'don't trust what you read and hear.' << - "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." - George Orwell, "1984" - Donald Trump in front of Vets of Foreign Wars: "Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening"
DonaldTrump  Donald  Trump  1%  income  growth  working  poor  poverty  trap  stagnation  secular  stagflation  Fed  social  mobility  economic  history  downward  taxcut  mid-term  wage  GDP  recovery  GFC  inequality  election  elections  Farmers  bailout  tradewar  trade-war  tariffs  WTO  Brexit  China  retaliation  EU  UK  freetradedeal 
july 2018 by asterisk2a
Millions of families 'worse off' than 15 years ago - BBC News
[ decades of underinvestment across the plane of the economy, infrastructure education skills ] On the "why", research by the Foundation - which was set up to look at the problem of low incomes - reveals that the economy has struggled to create wealth for people in work.
JAM  working  poor  poverty  trap  productivity  output  gap  class  Brexit  skills  education  policy  social  income  mobility  Austerity  downward  UK  recovery  secular  stagnation  stagflation  economic  history  GFC  debt  household  disposable  globalisation  globalization  Competition  competitive  competitiveness  underinvestment  London  child  childhood  Council  public  health 
july 2018 by asterisk2a

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