Why I pray by C Fred Alford





. On the one hand, when I look around the world and see so much suffering and misery, I can only believe in the God of Job. The God who created the universe out of formless matter (not ex nihilo; that’s Genesis not Job), not for our satisfaction, but for His. Or as the liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez puts it about the God of Job,

the speeches of God have brought home the fact that human beings are not the center of the universe and that not everything has been made for their service (p. 74)

Along with many theologians, I hold that Job 42:10-17 was an addition by later redactors to encourage the faithful. The Book ends with Job despising himself for his arrogance in questioning God, not with God rewarding his faith

Conflict with Friends, Relationship Blindness, and the Pathway to Adult Disagreeableness


However, self-perceptions may not be ideal for understanding how disagreeable youth interact within close relationships, as these youth in many instances might not even know that they are acting in a disagreeable manner. Observations are useful for addressing this shortcoming and have been used to understand the enduring qualities of interaction-styles, particularly when trying to understand unique profiles across individuals. Further, understanding the interactional style in adolescence that lead to an enduring disagreeable personality-type has tremendous usefulness.

The current study utilized observational, multi-reporter data collected over a 10-year span to identify and track the development and relationships of disagreeable youth (see Figure 1 for conceptual overview). Observations of target youth and their friends at age 14 and 15 were used to assess early adolescent disagreeableness in terms of rudeness, lack of cooperation, and forcefulness. In order to track the relationship blindness of these disagreeable youth, reports from friends in middle adolescence and from romantic partners in 

How to Nurse a Vulnerability Hangover – The New York Times


In early August, at a tiki bar in Washington, D.C., Erin Pedati told a group of friends that she’d been struggling with depression. They were good friends, and they responded with empathy and compassion, but the next day Ms. Pedati, 40, felt weird.

“Part of me was relieved, because it’s important to have these discussions,” she said. “But another part was like, ‘Oh my god, what did I say?’ You replay the conversation in your head and you’re like, ‘They haven’t replied to my text, did I tell them too much?’”

Instead of a hangover from too many Mai Tais — “which honestly would’ve been easier to treat,” she joked — Ms. Pedati was experiencing a “vulnerability hangover,” a term coined by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, to describe the anxiety, shame and regret felt after divulging something personal.

Stan’s last full day on earth


Art by Katherine      

After church on Sunday Mary wanted to visit Stan , her dying ,beloved  husband in the Rehabilitation Unit where he had been sent recently by a strange physiotherapist [instead of to a hospice?)
He was unhappy as the diuretics made him pee even more often than he used to do and  he got very worried about it because his bad heart made it extremely hard for him to walk.
When she went into the 4 bed ward she saw Stan sitting on his chair without any pyjama trousers on even though it was visiting time from 3 to 8 pm.
Why has he no trousers on?
Mary asked a nurse angrily, her blue eyes full of  glistening tears which almost washed off her turquoise mascara and made runnels in her honey beige foundation by Remmel of London ,Paris and Auschwitz
He keeps wanting  to  go to the toilet so it’s easier for us   all  if he has no pants on,the nurse told her haughtily.He’s on diuretics,you see as he has water in his lungs and other inner organs and the water has to be removed from his body
I know that

What about the lack of dignity in baring him to the world,Mary enquired softly yet piercingly her eyes dripping tears again.
Dignity,what’s that? the nurse said insolently.It’s out of date like suits for men
He is just a pest. And old men don’t deserve any attention.We are tired of them.They should all die now.That’s government policy too.
Emile who had hidden in Mary’s old,but good olive green Radley leather handbag let out a sound like a banshee in Cork or a demon in a nightmare.
The nurse looked as frightened as a gypsy in a train to Poland in 1941
What’s tha noiset? she whispered to Mary behind her hand.
It’s probably Satan coming to say ” hello” to you as you seem very wicked to me.
Mary informed her politely yet honestly in her Northern way.
Oh my,what shall I do? the nurse asked in a trembling voice.I am so upset now.
You could try reading the Ten Commandments,Mary riposted jocosely… if it’s not too late.
Or recalling the Golden Rule………
I’ve never heard of the golden rule,said the nurse.Is it a measuring instrument of some unusual type?
Yes,in a sense it is,Mary said.It measures us by our compassion towards others.And you seem to have none for Stan.Can you not imagine what it’s like being a man sitting half naked in a public room with no recourse?
What’s a recourse,Sheila, the nurse, asked her thoughtfully,Is it a garment like a dressing gown?
No,it’s a a source of help in a difficult situation.It’s a remedy or an  option
I have a higher degree in nursing,Sheila boasted stupidly.
I don’t care if you have ten doctorates in nursing and philosophy,Mary cried.It’s what you do and say to the patients that counts.And going to an evening class in English would do you no harm.Your vocabulary is limited,to say the least.Words are useful  whatever job you do.Or even if you are unemployed it helps you deal with bureaucrats
Oh,dear,said the nurse,I am sorry for being so thoughtless.I am always thinking about sex,love,Putin,my boyfriend and my clothes instead of the patients.I see now I have fallen into evil ways and hope I can improve my behaviour and speech
You have been cruel, said Mary.And seeing my aged husband like this is breaking my heart.Although it was cracked already
She went over to Stan whose face was almost black, [when he was normally beige] and sat by him.He fell against her bosom hungrily.

Alas it was not for erotic reasons.His blood sugar was only 2 and his BP was 60/40.He was dying there with no trousers on and with no-one but Mary to help him… and Emile, their small  intelligent black cat ,of course.Unfortunately Emile’s trousers were too small for Stan

.Mary wrapped a bath towel around Stan and held him in her arms.
Stan tried to speak but Mary could not make out what he was saying.
Tears ran down her  beautiful oval face and dripped onto Stan’s head.
I suppose one might say it was a kind of baptism by love.
Now Stan will be entering a new dimension and will be given a new and better name by One who cannot be named here.But you catch my drift?

Soon Stan collapsed, his face went even blacker.Only then was he sent to a real hospital with full equipment.He died, looking happy, the next day.His last words
“So many lovely friends”
Emile was crying on Mary’s lap.
Don’t worry Emile.He was very unhappy.
So am I, Emile wept
Then Mary wept herself.
What a pity Emile is a cat and so cannot embrace the person he calls “Mother”

Judgement is mine says the Lord
Though He is a total Mystery to Humankind

Relaxing Is a Skill. Here’s How to Do It.


And I learned that doing so regularly, once or several times a day, can be more or less instantly life changing. For me, deliberate muscle relaxation immediately reduces fatigue, stress and anxiety. It creates a kind of allover refreshed feeling that can be attained nearly anywhere and at any time. And it gets more effective the more I do it.

I have come to think of relaxation as a skill; the more I relax, the better I learn which parts of my body tend to become tense, what that tension feels like and how to unlock that tension with a quick flick of the mind.