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.

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.

How to Daydream


Health Concerns:

Daydreaming is contagious. All traffic jams are a result of one person daydreaming, which spreads from car to car. “Do you want me to stab you in your lungs right here on this highway?” is a phrase closely associated with daydream pandemics, which typically occur when two lanes are merging near construction sites.


What to Daydream:

“I want to daydream more, but I don’t know what to daydream about,” a lot of people probably say. For that reason, they keep rehashing the same old daydream scenarios:

THE LOTTERY You aren’t going to win the lottery. Stop fantasizing about the cars you’ll buy, the vacations you’ll take, the house you’ll build. Stop imagining quitting your job, the speech you’ll make while systematically destroying office property. You wouldn’t have the guts to do that even if you did win, which you most certainly will not. What you need to be doing is daydreaming about better ways to do your current job. If you weren’t spending so much time incorrectly daydreaming, you’d probably have earned that promotion by now.

SEX By all means, have sexual fantasies. Sleep with better-looking people. Have intercourse in trees. But under no circumstances should you daydream about fornicating with nearby co-workers. Colleagues can tell when you’ve been daydreaming about having sex with them, and it’s an unprofessional way to spend company time. Some whiz kid is probably months away from inventing an app that can decipher whether you’re fantasizing about co-workers, or whether you’re just fantasizing about normal people who will never have sex with you.

CELEBRITIES Stop it already. Celebrity cameos are just the kind of infantile escapism that gives daydreaming a bad rap. “I bet George Clooney and Brad Pitt and I would have a great time on a cross-country road trip,” you might have daydreamed. Well, they wouldn’t. They would be totally freaked out that you’re sitting around daydreaming about driving them around the country when you’re supposed to be working.

HEROICS This is a tricky area of daydream ethics. Society needs everyday heroes, but most heroic daydreams are about scoring the winning touchdown, or hitting the home run. If the daydream is not sports-related, it’s terrorist-related — tackling the suicide bomber, defeating a terrorist cell in a shootout using your iPhone Call of Duty training. But no one daydreams about donating blood, or volunteering for Meals on Wheels. We’re a nation of extremes and it’s infected our daydreams.


Efficient Daydreaming:

Daydreaming about being a better person, or positive things happening to loved ones, or flying through the office on a dragon that thinks one of your co-workers has stolen her dragon things — these are all dynamic mental breaks that can prepare you for an afternoon of cheerfully cleaning lint out of your keyboard. To become an efficient daydreamer, you needn’t dwell on quantum mechanics or solve complex algorithms; you simply need to blow off a little steam so you don’t get overstressed and have a nervous breakdown in front of your computer screen.

What type of fast food will the aliens prefer when they arrive and will it be the ultimate undoing of their civilization? If you were living in a world of all puppets, could you just assume you would be in charge because you’d be smarter and stronger and all fleshy? Or would you be ridiculed because of your minority non-puppet status? What if someone invents a machine that can read trees’ thoughts, and it turns out they spend the day laughing at us? These are some solid, intellectual quandaries for your next daydreaming stint.


In closing, do not daydream about the problems in your life, the evil in the world, the troubles around the next bend. That is what real life is for. Instead, daydream about things that make you smile. No summer workday is complete without a grown person staring at the wall, just laughing.

Jon Methven is the author of the novel “This Is Your Captain Speaking.”

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WHY do I always feel guilty when I’m not doing anything? I mean, what’s the big deal? The cat sits around all day and never lifts a paw, yet I feel like a degenerate when I’m idle. Maybe the cat has a better analyst. Who knows. But me, I’m like a kid caught robbing the cookie jar.

My friend Sheila sits for hours devouring the soaps, while curtains are still packed away from her move six months ago. I get nervous if the 4:30 movie sounds inviting. And what about Ginger who, behind closed doors, daily from 2 to 3, hums her mantra, totally relaxes her body and soul, and emerges as if she’s had a 10-hour nap. I tried that once, but found it difficult writing my grocery list in the lotus position. Then there’s Pam, who takes one day off every other month, her ”sick and tired time,” she calls it, just to laze, read Redbook and sip tea. She unplugs the phone, puts on her robe and really gets into relaxing.

How I’d love to get into relaxing! What’s wrong with me? I don’t think I was born this way. Looking back, there were no great traumas in my childhood warranting this aversion to loafing. Just where along the way did I pick up the guilties? Was it the occasional prod by Mom that ”idle hands are the devil’s tools”? Or could it be because I always finished my chores faster and seemed to be sitting around all the time, and Mom would say, ”How can you just sit there while your sister does all the work?”

Maybe it’s because over the years, two bosses have trained me to keep busy. Even when I have a minute’s breather, there are always those folders with little notes attached like, ”for your spare time,” or ”when you have nothing to do,” or ”leisure