Stop stigmatizing mental-health concerns
May has been Mental Health Awareness Month and many churches have addressed this all-too-common concern among their congregations.
Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people, with symptoms usually starting in adulthood. Happily, schizophrenics are less dangerous than the general population and medication greatly improves their lives. Simple mood disorders, like clinical depression or anxiety, are problematic for 22 percent of those we know in any given year.
Versailles Methodist Church launched a Mental Health Awareness Ministry with outreach events that outgrew their building.
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David Shirey preached at Central Christian Church, where the National Alliance on Mental Illness had an information table, and was invited to repeat his sermon at a Quaker potluck.
Jesus chastised those who neglected him when he was hungry, ill, or in prison, saying what we do for the least of these, we do for him. Spiritually feeding our many brothers and sisters who suffer from bio-chemical imbalances is easy when we offer awareness and understanding instead of ignorance and condemnation.
Mental illness creates prisons of isolation that separate good people when they are not feeling their best.
Christians should be especially exhorted to tear down the walls of outdated stigmas that prevent us all from living together in blessed community of God's kingdom on earth.
Chaplain, Participation Station
Help church, no Sunday business
Many have heard that churches are losing members. What to do? Some members must take jobs in places open 24/7 and cannot attend church regularly so they drop out. Send them something regularly like a bulletin, newsletter or book to keep in touch.
Ask businesses to close on the lord's day or at least not open until noon. Trumpet Chick-Fil-A and ask for one in your town.Compliment those who are closed. Stop eating out and shopping on the lord's day. Eat sandwiches, leftovers or TV dinners. Let businesses know you mean business.
Some church members drop out when they graduate or move away. Emphasize the church covenant, as Baptists have, which calls for members to join another like-minded church when moving.
Appoint people to keep up with graduates, movers, the newly married and divorced. Make them feel important. As retiree numbers increase, harness their abilities. Have brainstorming sessions.
It is a David and Goliath situation. Without church, we finish losing the country.
J. B. Armstrong
Likes expanded health coverage
Before the state expanded Medicaid, every time my husband and I got food stamps, I never could get Medicaid and I could never understand why. I can get it now. And the candidates for governor were talking about dismantling the Kynect system. What will that do for me?
Lost in translation
This paper recently published an article claiming that when Pope Francis met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he called Abbas "an angel of peace." Later, the Associated Press sent a correction claiming he actually said "a bit of an angel of peace." The Vatican translated the pope's words as "May you be an angel of peace."
There is a vast difference between "may you be" and "you are."
Instead of informing the world with facts, the AP is egging on the tensions in the Middle East.
As a result, the West, including the European Union and U.S., find it ever harder to thread their way through the Middle Eastern intricacies. We can make correct life-or-death decisions only if we have the correct facts.
Unfortunately the Palestinians have already been pulled into the Sunni-Shiite fray. ISIL attacked the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Syria. In response, the Palestinians created a new group, the Galilee Forces, now fighting alongside the Assad Syrian regime. Despite this, Israel is trying to stay out of the fighting, thereby safeguarding everybody under their authority, whether Israeli or Palestinian.
So, the AP is now an agent provocateur. May it become an angel of peace.
Rabbi H.D. Uriel Smith
Free speech breaks down barriers
The Lexington Jewish community is represented by the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass and its member organizations.
In Shalom, their community newspaper, there is a struggle with what is acceptable speech and who are acceptable speakers. Influential financial donors are at work to make it uncomfortable to say certain words and promote certain ideas about Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and the quest for peace.
In reality, the Federation's recent letter of apology to the Jewish community represents their surrender, now and into the future, to people, yet unidentified, who threaten directly or by innuendo their very survival by potential withdrawal of financial support.
This is why, we as a Jewish community, need a renewed commitment to free speech. At issue is the censorship of ideas and a presumption of guilt by association that has replaced critical and nuanced judgment.
A renewed commitment to free speech would begin to break down the hypocrisy that often accompanies attempts to decide who is in and who is outside the proverbial communal tent.
In a world as wired and as sophisticated as ours, censorship simply cannot prevail. Jews here and elsewhere must allow critical thinking and controversial conversation.
Where are black fathers?
This paper recently published a column which was more hand wringing and justification of youthful black rioters because they have been abandoned and feel hopeless.
They have been abandoned — by their fathers. Hopelessness springs from a culture that tolerates such.