Pain and Suffering

Suicide And The Tyranny Of Altruism

Suicide And The Tyranny Of Altruism

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Albert Camus, autonomy, awareness, Broken Heart, C. S. Lewis, Character of God, Christianity, Church, Comfort, community, Compassion, conflict, contemplation, courage, Creator, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, Ethics, faith, faithfulness, God, Grief, Healing, healing moment, in memory of, Lewis, Mystery, Pain and Suffering, Philosophy, Problem of Evil, reflection, relationships, Religion, remembrance, sadness, Suffering, The Divine, Theodicy, Theology, Uncategorized
This “Skeptic’s” column tackles a subject that is both delicate and volatile:  suicide. People who have known me for a fairly long time are well acquainted with a time in my life – during the time in Boston at Harvard and later at Seattle University  during the equally ill-advised quest for the MDiv -- when I was undergoing episodes of very  severe, quite arguably pre-suicidal, clinical depression. So – for the benefit of those people, for “my mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought and thought with me” – I want to emphasize that the following column does not describe me as I am now. Quite the contrary. I am not in crisis. I am not depressed. I am not afflicted with suicidal ideation – a term I came to know all too intimately during the “winter of [my] discontent”. So those of you
Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, body, Change, Character of God, Cherry picking, Christianity, community, Compassion, contemplation, courage, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Discernment, empathy, Epiphany, faith, God, Gratitude, Healing, healing hands, healing moment, Hope, Human Condition, image of God, Intentional Living, mindfulness, Pain and Suffering, Present Moment, Religion, T. S. Eliot, Theology, Uncategorized, Waiting
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a
Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol”, And … Sorta-Kinda … Keeping Christ Out Of Christmas

Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol”, And … Sorta-Kinda … Keeping Christ Out Of Christmas

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Advent, Anticipation, awareness, Challenge, Change, Christ Child, Christianity, Christmas, Church, community, Compassion, Creator, critical judgment, culture, December, Discernment, forgiveness, God, Gospel of Luke, Holy Mystery, Human Condition, Ideology, Imagination, Jesus, Jung, Myth, Numinous, Pain and Suffering, Poverty, relationships, Religion, Scripture, Secularity, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, Waiting, Wholeness
I suppose there are still people around here and there who complain about the creeping secularism of the Holidays and who in consequence admonish others to “keep Christ in Christmas”.  I well remember such exhortations from the time of my childhood, growing up in Wichita, KS. Such hortatory rituals were often accompanied by carols, religious services, and – I would argue, curiously enough – by a reading of Charles Dickens’ perennial A Christmas Carol. I say “curiously enough” because I have just finished reading Carol for the few-hundredth time and for the first time, I noticed the absence of Christ in Carol, except in a very "thin", allusive sense. Carol without Christ, or with Christ in the background of the background, is a much more universal, even “archetypal”, story of the awaken