I’m here, but I’m not really here. I’m just popping in, and loading up my Twitter app with scheduled tweets, to tell you about the best of the blogs for April. Tomorrow I’ll post my ‘what I’m into’ for April. and then you’ll have a whole lot of great things to read while I abstain from all internet for a WHOLE WEEK. Sounds good, no?
Here are some of the best things around the interwebs this month:
- Kiki Malone @ Kiki in the morning – Reflections on the classical condition. “A bumper crop of compact handheld mirrors” – on the pathological narcissism of our society. This is probably the most insightful thing I have read all year. I LOVED it. Do check out his whole site – I found it via Seth Haines, and Malone’s voice is an important one in the blogosphere.
- Preston Yancey – when God is gone again (and this is not doubt) – Preston at his best
- Elora Nicole for A Deeper Story – I am not a robot. On being an angry and gentle feminist.
- Addie Zierman – Christian concert – the Chris Tomlin edition. This post on worship concerts was both nostalgic for me and captured just what I feel about Christian worship concerts, halfway between cynicism and being profoundly moved.
- Sarah Bessey for Micha Boyett – One Good Phrase (Calm your heart). I wish Sarah could be my parenting mentor. I love her tips here for using words to parent well.
- TJ Walsh for Transpositions – Finding beauty in the practice of creating: an artist’s reflection – I am thinking more about a theology of creativity at the moment (more to come in May) and this article really helped me to see how art can be worship
On illness and suffering
- Malcolm Guite – Thank God for doubting Thomas. I loved this poem, and his accompanying sermon on doubt and healing, ‘Touching the wounds’, really ministered to me.
- Kay Morgan Gurr – Can I pray for healing for you? Lady: can I pray for your leg? Me: no. This is an honest and helpful response from a chronically ill Christian on why sometimes it’s NOT helpful to pray for healing.
- Susan Silk and Barry Goldman for the LA Times – How not to say the wrong thing. Dump out: comfort in. This is GENIUS – a must-read for any friends of people who are suffering. (Scroll down past the annoying ads.)
- Stephanie Glidden @ Walking through the valley – Insurance vs Assurance. I am new to this blog, written by the wife of a man who has ALS (a terminal neurological illness which slowly paralyses you). Her thoughts on illness and suffering are well worth perusing, and I liked this piece particularly.
Depression and suicide
On 5 April, Rick and Kay Warren’s son, Matthew, committed suicide. He had been struggling with severe depression for most of his life. The Warrens’ moving statement is here. I have been praying for them as they grieve and process their tragic loss while under a considerable amount of public scrutiny. Since then, others have written very helpful articles on suicide, depression and Christianity:
- Katharine Welby – Hopeful depression – this, by the daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expresses perfectly that paradox of despair and hope that coexists in depressed Christians
- Susan Isaacs for Donald Miller @ Storyline – Thoughts on Depression and Suicide: Sometimes you just want to go home – so many helpful things here, including a hole in a bucket analogy
- Adrian Warnock @ Patheos – Psychiatrist and Christian, Adrian asks, What can we do to reduce risk of suicide? – I liked this for the encouragement to ask people about their suicidal thoughts, without shying away.
- Ann Voskamp @ A holy experience – What Christians need to know about mental health. “That — depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to jump straight out of the burning building.”
- Addie Zierman has a book deal! I actually cried when I read this – I have been following Addie’s journey for so long, and just waiting and waiting for this to happen for her. Every week, she writes my heart. And I CANNOT WAIT for this book. It’s coming out in the autumn/fall. Put a big fat ring around your diary for that whole season so you dont miss it. It’s gonna be good.
- Preston Yancey also has a book deal! It’s on the silences of God. I so need to read this book – and maybe you do, too. Keep an eye out for this one.
- Sarah Bessey for DL Mayfield – In which i am (not much of a) war photographer – on storytelling and friendship –
- Elora Nicole – what she has learnt from publishing series – especially this
This month in the papers:
- Jake Wallis Simons for Telegraph – It’s the end of the legal system as we know it – most people don’t realise how our UK legal system is being secretly taken apart.
- Susan Vdovichenko for Liz Boltz Ranfeld – The Boston marathon bombers are Caucasian, not white – and why this matters
- Giles Fraser for The Guardian – How to bury Margaret Thatcher
At the beginning of April, the world felt a very dismal place. Here in the UK, the severe cuts are just beginning to take hold, and many vulnerable people are all the more vulnerable. And we are still in a recession. And it was snowing and cold:
On disability and welfare cuts
- Ricky Tomlinson for Guardian’s Comment is Free – 10 lies we’re told about welfare – some much-needed myth-busting here
- Zoe Williams for The Guardian’s Comment is Free – This disability ruling reveals new depths of political dishonesty. “Nobody said, in any of the parties’ manifestos, that they would claw money back from the severely disabled”. Think that the changes to welfare won’t affect the most severely disabled? Think again.
- Grace Dent for Independent Voices – Mrs Justice Thirlwell, the one woman Philpott couldn’t defeat – on the brilliant summary by the female judge in the Mick Philpott case – it’s not about benefits, but domestic violence. And then read Polly Neate on how the government is cutting resources for victims of domestic violence. These cuts to welfare will not result in fewer Mick Philpotts, but many, many more.
- Cort Johnson – Could oxygen-starved tissues be causing pain and fatigue in patients with ME/CFS? – long but helpful
- In the UK, there is a new research initiative launched for CFS/ME. I am tentatively pleased about this: there are reservations that it includes psychiatric research rather than exclusively focusing on much-needed bio-medical research, but almost all of the main M.E. charities are involved, so that looks promising. Most exciting is a biobank, with the hope that we can begin to gather enough data to search for biomarkers in the illness.
- Harlow boy with CFS denied home tuition – This is STILL going on. There is a common assumption, fed by the NICE guidelines and certain quarters of the medical community, that ME in children is nothing more than truancy and school phobia. As a result, sick children are being deprived of the resources they need.
Phew! Bit of a bumper edition, this month. Hope you find the links helpful.
Over to you:
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