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Today’s Top Tweet – Can you petition the Lord with prayer?

I was happy to see this (tweeted) web page today. We need more talk about parapsychology. Awareness and intelligent debate about parapsychology and its link to spirituality (and nuttiness) could help those overly invested in the medical perspective on self and others.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-psychiatry. Far from it. Medications can help, short and maybe even long term. But anyone concerned with their overall health would be wise to consider alternatives. Different approaches might enable some to discontinue their meds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but over the long haul. And that would be a good thing. Not only would their bodies like it. Others on our planet would be happier too (see Drugs in the Water).

Glancing over the articles in today’s tweet, I see a problem that often crops up with parapsychology research: The method does not match the madness, if you’ll pardon my pun.

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakur...

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakura shrine. from original to remove black space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take, for example, intercessory prayer. One article concludes that intercessory prayer has no verifiable effect on health. But this begs at least two questions:

  • What kind of intercessory prayer?
  • What kind of health?

Intercessory prayer takes different forms. One is vocal (or internally vocal) and the other is more contemplative and quiet.

For me, the latter is more effective. I often liken vocal prayer to using a squirt gun to put out a fire, while contemplative prayer is more like rolling out a heavy duty fire hose. Kids play with squirt guns. Adults risk their lives with fire hoses.

Mind you, all prayer is good and we’re all different. At the same time, I think there are differences in power between vocal and contemplative prayer.

But I could be wrong. Only God knows for sure.

The second question – What type of health? – is actually related to the first.

Intercession may not be visible to everyone. But I believe it helps us, psychologically and spiritually. And contrary to what some religious people say (especially those who pass themselves off as saints while behaving more like angry nuts), I believe intercession is a multi-directional interpersonal dynamic. It’s not just one-way.

Intercession may involve degrees of effectiveness but my analogy of squirt guns and fire hoses is only that. An analogy.  Life is far more nuanced than putting out a fire.

And it takes all types to make life complete. 🙂


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Today’s Punchiest Pin – Close to the edge… but not over

Image via Pinterest

Variety is the spice of life. Instead of Today’s Top Tweet we’ll look at Today’s Punchiest Pin.

David Bowie passed just over a year ago. I didn’t mark the day because, well, I busy doing other stuff. But I knew it was either coming up, around, or had just passed by.

This morning I read this excellent (pinned) article and found a surprising fact:

The World of David Bowie

The World of David Bowie (Photo: Wikipedia)

Bowie got really paranoid at one stage of the game.

But he also got out of it.

How many artists, creatives and seekers have gone a little too close to the edge but luckily pulled back just in time? My guess is a few more than most of us are willing to admit.

The funny thing about paranoia, in my opinion, is that it might sometimes be based on a very loose, distorted or misunderstood truth. The drug user or imbalanced person senses something dark and scary in their social and perhaps spiritual environment but egregiously misinterprets what they’re picking up.

When paranoid, a person lacks the usual analytical skills for assessing unpleasant or frightening impressions. Fear feeds on fear, so sometimes things escalate. This can lead to the emergency room or, better, chilling out on a friend’s comfy sofa. Sometimes I think it just depends on whether we have a good support group or not. Other times, we might have a life path and undergo difficult, challenging experiences for some greater, good reason.

Only God knows for sure. But in my view a little insight and care can go a long way in prevention.


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Today’s Top Tweet – What makes you happy?

Human beings are all so different I don’t think we can generalize. We all have our own yardsticks for measuring happiness. But for me, knowing that this life is short… well, life without spirituality at this stage of the game would not only be depressing but also quite meaningless. But again, that’s me.

What makes you happy?


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Today’s Top Tweet X2 – Do we need a new game for a new era?

The Human Use of Human Beings

The Human Use of Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I first discovered The Conversation I was excited. I’m always looking for fresh material at Earthpages.org, and The Conversation seemed to be a cornucopia of Creative Commons material.

However, only researchers actively employed or funded are allowed to contribute. So that means any second- or third-rate thinker who gets their job or funding through a potentially corrupt system of patronage can write there. But smart people who don’t get academic jobs or funding – because they’re too clean or different – can’t write there.

This shortcoming is pretty evident in these two tweeted articles. Sure, the articles contain a reasonable amount of fairly well written material. Academics, be they cronies, stooges or not, need to perform to some degree. But also present is the usual constriction of thought that most academic game players must adhere to or simply exhibit. And it’s that very constriction of thought that earthpages.org and earthpages.ca intends to surpass.

Comment – I don’t believe we’ve ever had nonpartisan news. Different papers have always appealed to different markets.

Comment – Gosh. Back in high school we learned about checking sources and evaluating arguments. Just because someone uses the magical word “algorithm” doesn’t mean that it points to truth. This word is so common today. But it seems to mystify more than explain. Another case of human beings being duped by scientism?


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Today’s Top Tweet – Muslim youth in US reaching out to Toronto for help

Okay look. America is a great country, we all know that. The nation has an impressive store of achievements. It dominates many aspects of global culture. And Anderson Cooper is the best newsperson, anywhere. Supergirl is pretty amazing too.  😉

But I have to laugh when I hear those long-winded speeches about how America is the greatest country on Earth. Put simply, Canada is decades ahead in terms of cultural integration. Some Americans might cringe at that notion. In fact, some visitors from the US have. When faced with the multicultural reality of downtown Toronto, some of our sheltered US acquaintances have been visibly rattled.

My family had Chinese/Australian neighbors in the 1960s and 70s. Best neighbors we could have hoped for. Friendly, fun to hang out with. But they also minded their own business. So as a kid I got a good introduction to living with people who look different and who hold beliefs distinct from our own (there was a big seated Buddha in their front hall, which I found intriguing). In fact, we didn’t even think about it. We just had a good time playing ball hockey, basketball, ping pong, badminton, you name it.

And driving to the nearest mall, back then called Thorncliffe, we were introduced to a wide range of peoples. Even in the 1970s.

So the next time I hear that America is “the greatest place on Earth,” I’ll chuckle again. And hope that next year, less Muslim youth feel compelled to call Toronto for the help they’re not getting from their fellow Americans.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Undoing that silly stereotype about Western “materialism”

Almost an Angel

Almost an Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s top tweet relates to the silly and insulting idea that the West is a spiritual desert while Eastern or Middle Eastern countries are an oasis of spirituality.

I heard this propaganda a lot in India during the mid-to-late 1980s. Hopefully the Indian people have changed for the better since then. Last time I was there it was the early 1990s, so I can’t be sure. But my guess is that India, with its tech explosion, is also undergoing a self-reflective renaissance. Not just navel gazing and playing “guru of the world” but rather, a real, honest hard look at itself.

I have no idea about Middle Eastern countries. I have never had much interest in them. Even as a kid, I remember skipping over the news about the Middle East. To me, it mostly seemed dark and depressing.

As for spirituality in the West, all I have to do is walk about 10 minutes to my nearest Catholic parish and I am filled with the Holy Spirit and the heavenly joy of the Eucharist. For those unable to appreciate that, the Mass might just seem like so much sitting and standing. But for me and literally billions of others around the world – to include Western countries – it’s so much more.

So I do take objection to this man’s claim that the West is a spiritual desert. To draw an analogy, a fish underwater cannot see nor appreciate birds in flight.


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Flip that tired old New Year’s resolution thing

Big Red Carpet Nursing

shutterstock_378935893-1

New Year’s Day: it’s that magical time when people traditionally make grandiose promises, set ambitious new goals that soon fall by the wayside.

Again.

How many failed diets, how many unused gym memberships and dusty pieces of “miracle” exercise equipment result from this tradition?

Enough, I say. Enough!

Unless it’s sustainable, and sustainable in reality – not just in your impulsive imagination – such “resolutions” are huge wastes of time and energy. They’re also soul-killers. They set you up for failure. They teach you that goals and failure are one and the same. Bad, bad, bad!

So here’s your choice. You can slog along with all the other lemmings and endure yet another round of such futile, annual self-flagellation, OR you can try something different. A new approach is just the thing when an old one fails you. Learn and adapt! That’s how life gets better and better is, well…

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