Hollywood publicist Michael Levine comments on the struggles of actor and comedian Robin Williams: “Very few people in this world reach the level of fame Robin Williams did and could understand the type of depression he dealt with…. There tends to be a lack of compassion — ‘So what, you’re famous’ — and it’s hard for people to then empathize. People like Robin often feel like they have to completely isolate themselves from the fishbowl they live in, and are so isolated they are afraid to ask for help.” Found here: Robin Williams worried about faltering career, struggled with survivor’s guilt, sources say.
Also: here is a list of quotes from Robin Williams: The Profound Quotes From Robin Williams That Helped Shape Our Generation. It includes the following: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
I also liked this brief video of clips of memorable moments in Robin Williams’ career: The Best Robin Williams Moments.
Anyone who has suffered from anxiety issues, with depression, or addiction issues can understand the suicide (if that’s what it was) of a man who struggled with these all his adult life. We are not inclined to point fingers or moralize. Allan R. Bevere writes: “It is estimated that 350 million people suffer from clinical depression globally and many are not receiving treatment. It is also estimated that 40% of those treated with medication receive no relief from their symptoms…. Add to that the sad fact that all too many resort to alcohol and drugs to gain some relief from their symptoms, and now depressed individuals are working with a dangerous combination of depression and substance abuse, which only causes more depression which leads to more substance abuse. It is a dangerous and vicious cycle, which all too often ends in tragedy.” Found here: Depression Is a Pernicious and Persistent Demon. Allan links to an article by David DiSalvo at Forbes.com: Five Common Myths About Depression.
Vince Miller, the Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton comments on the rise of the Culture Wars in the USA: “Culture war politics focuses on what can divide groups, polarize them and then mobilize them against each other. Part of what defines the culture wars is rhetoric: using language that portrays the opponent as not simply wrong, but morally depraved. Politically, it seeks policies and legislation that do not appeal to the majority. It aims to mobilize the base, but not broad coalitions. It’s always about getting 51 percent.” Found here: Rise of culture wars has meant ignoring the common good.
Kelsey Dallas writes about how churches can help people overcome gambling addictions: “However, sociological research has shown and some therapists… agree that support for problem gamblers may be as close as the church down the street. Problem gamblers can find strength to overcome a gambling habit in the fellowship of local congregations, as long as worshipping communities can put aside harmful stereotypes in favor of openness and understanding.” Found here: Betting on faith: How church helps gambling addicts.
Kasey Hitt writes about the power of imagination in prayer: “In the 16th century, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a knight turned priest and theologian, recognized in himself and others the imagination’s power in having a transforming relationship with Jesus. In my ten years as a spiritual director, I, too, have seen how the imagination offers people the power to move from wanting a deeper relationship with God and wanting transformation, to actually having a deeper relationship with God and actually being transformed!” Found here: Praying with the imagination.
Brian LePort writes about his own spiritual pilgrimage and the effect of visiting the “New Room” in Bristol, UK — the oldest “Methodist building” in the world: “The current state of the Church has caused many to fret over her future. What will become of Christianity in North America and Europe? Can we hope for revival? As I walked through the old pews, up the stairs into the balcony, even further up to what is now called “the Preacher’s Room” where you’ll find the Wesleys’ living quarters, and then back down to the pulpit, I realized that the Church has never been free of crisis. We live in the tension of being a missionary people to the world while not conforming to its values and sometimes this makes things uncomfortable (or, as our brother and sisters in places like Iraq know, life-threatening), yet God has sustained the Church and God has raised up the right people for the right time.” Found here: My Pilgrimage to the New Room.
Drew McIntryre quotes the always quotable G. K. Chesterton here: “People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.” Found here: The Wild Truth or Easy Heresy?
Andrew Dragos says, in introducing his list of recommended books on Christian apologetics: “But not everyone is called to learn apologetics. In fact, the whole enterprise has led to anxiety in many Christians over fear of embarrassment for not having all the right answers. Some Christians have even used apologetics as a weapon in conversations with non-believers, often forfeiting opportunities for deep friendships for the sake of winning arguments (you know the type)…. Does this mean that there’s no place for apologetics in the life of the Church? By no means! Many times apologetics can mature the faith of Christians or encourage Christians struggling with doubt. Apologetics, when not relying on simplistic answers, may also serve as a bridge which moves skeptics to recognize the rich intellectual heritage of Christianity. Again, the purpose of apologetics isn’t to convince everyone, but it may encourage people on their faith journey.” Found here: 7 Books for Recommended Reading on Apologetics.
Jonathan Merritt interviews Wendy VanderWal Gritter about whether a third way is possible for Christians in the controversy over gay and lesbian issues. Wendy explains what she means by “generous spaciousness” — which also happens to be the title of her new book: “In generous spaciousness, I choose to listen deeply to the other, expecting to encounter God in our conversation. With generous spaciousness, I am seeking to experience a sense of community with those with whom I disagree. That means I intentionally contribute to an ethos of mutual respect. True respect doesn’t whitewash differences as if they don’t matter. But in generous spaciousness I allow myself to wonder if there might be more for me to learn and discover as I build relationship with the one who sees things differently than I do.” Found here: A third way for Christians on the ‘gay issue?’
Benjamin Shank draws an analogy between the scientific search for dark matter and the search for the reality and character of God: “The dark matter hypothesis is one case where we have remained ‘fairly confident’ for an extended period of time while we gather many different kinds of evidence. This situation is a good analogue for the common deity detection problem. The question “Is there a God?” is not readily addressable by observation and, for practical purposes, not nearly as interesting as “What is God like?”. To get from “There might be a God” to actively searching for a God who came to Earth and died on a cross requires an appreciation for the implications of this idea, a measure of faith and enough humility to possibly be wrong. This is not a strange feature of religious knowledge. It is part of how finite people learn new things about a creation beyond our comprehension.” Found here: Lessons From Dark Matter – Searching For Something That Ought To Be.