We want to live, and we are dying. We want to be in control of our lives, but life happens to us. We want to be with others, but we are unknown and, in our hearts, alone. We need the justification of our existence, but we are questioned, ignored, condemned. In all these matters our relation to God is at stake, and they can be borne and resolved only in the salvation of God.
-James Mays, The Lord Reigns: A Theological Handbook to the Psalms, 44.
(Thanks to more Feb. Gleanings)
Rivers in the desert (incredible pictures)
How to start a theological revolution (Jim West)
1- Do something which angers the powers that be like eating a sausage at Lent or discounting the Church’s teachings on indulgences.
2- Write. A lot. About every doctrine under the sun.
3- Have friends in high political places.
4- Stir the masses to agree with you by poking fun at the established Church.
5- Be willing to ‘take it on the chin’ and accept contempt.
6- Be willing to make people mad.
7- Be willing to stand by while your enemies are pilloried and if necessary executed.
(I thought he was talking about himself.)
Moses on drugs?!?
A new study says . . .
High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week. Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy. “As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.
On this kind of scholarship, Jim West says: “What an idiot. They must pass out Professorships like crack in the hood these days.”
Michael Barber is a little more nuanced, and adds some insightful observation about “scholarship.”
drugs of a more serious kind – antidepressants
(My MD friend Scott and I were just talking about this last Friday.) An article in the Economist discusses recent studies on anti-depressants.
The full study from the New England Journal of Medicine is here.
The PLOS Medicine articles is here.
So are SSRIs to be shunned or saluted? The controversy will rage on, but Erick Turner, of the Portland VA Medical Centre in Oregon, suggests a third way. As one of the authors of the New England Journal of Medicine paper, he says the study confirms that most antidepressants do not work as well as published reports claim. That suggests many people, especially children, should be more careful about using them. But that does not mean they are pointless. He speculates that, if other therapies fail, “maybe all you need is a minor or mediocre effect in order to reduce suicides overall.” That may be particularly true for those who are closest to the edge of darkness.
I’m sure they are overused, but for the severely depressed, I’m convinced these drugs can be lifesavers. As a psychiatrist friend of mine used to say, the main role of drugs is to help level the playing field, so those who are drowning have a fair shake at dealinlg with the issues that put them under.