World News

Rev Hayley’s – Cardboard Testimony

Amazing video from Rev Hayley at Hayling Island Baptist Church, for the story behind was covered by The Huffington Post:

A British pastor took the brave step of telling her congregation that she was HIV-positive — and got what she called a “humbling” response from her loving flock.

Rev. Hayley Young, a 28-year-old minister at Hayling Island Baptist Church, told HuffPost she contracted HIV during an attack. It was a shock for her, but she believed that God would give her the strength to deal with it. When her body started showing side-effects from the drugs she was using, her members started asking questions. She said it would have been too “emotional” to tell her church members face to face, so she decided to do it on YouTube.

“I decided to tell the church that I was HIV positive because I tell people every day to be proud of who they are and that God loves them just the way they are – so I had to practise what I preached,” Young told HuffPost in an email.

Read the rest over at The Huffington Post.

For a bit more information, try reading up this piece about misconceptions people have about HIV.

Hillary Clinton Can’t Be President Of The United States Because She’s A Woman… The Bible Says So

Interesting video from Huffington Post:

The Huffington Post reports:

NEW YORK — Should Hillary Clinton be the next president of the United States? There are plenty of sound reasons why not –- an intimacy with Wall Street, dubious achievements as Secretary of State, the need for new blood in the political arena, excessive secrecy and so on. Her gender, however, is not one of them (for some voters the benefit of having the first woman in the White House probably outweighs many of the political objections).

Yet one Texas woman thinks otherwise. Cheryl Rios, a company CEO in Dallas, wrote on Facebook that she’d “move to Canada” if Hillary became President. Why? God, of course… “There’s an old biblical sound reasoning why a woman shouldn’t be president,” Rios told a local news station. Unfortunately, the reporter didn’t ask her where in the book God forbade women from becoming the leader of a country that didn’t yet exist, in a region thousands of miles from the Middle East.

In her initial Facebook post, Rios wrote: “With the hormones we have, there is no way [a woman] should be able to start a war. Yes I run my own business and I love it and I am great at it BUT that is not the same as being the President, that should be left to a man, a good, strong, honorable man.”

Read rest at Huffington Post.

Few questions about this:
Where does it say that a woman shouldn’t be President?
What happens in Canada has a female head of state?

Vicky Beeching, Being Evangelical, and Getting Married

Premierchristianity.com have published an interview with Vicky Beeching, which took place soon after she came out, in which she talks about being evangelical, being gay, and Soul Surivivor:

I’m sitting in a cafe at Broadcasting House with Vicky Beeching. She has just been on BBC London with Vanessa Feltz and is set to go on air with Jeremy Vine on Radio 2. It’s less than 48 hours since she publicly announced she is gay, and the ensuing media whirlwind has generated multiple headlines and hours of radio and TV interviews.

Yet the former worship leader confesses to being more nervous about doing this interview than any of the others. Speaking to the evangelical Christian community about her decision is like ‘talking to family’, she explains. And she does not want to be misunderstood.
Growing up in the evangelical charismatic church, Beeching started writing worship songs aged ten. She became a mainstay of the contemporary Christian music scene in both the US and the UK. With her theological training and musicianship, she produced catchy songs that also have depth. Churches across the country sang ‘Yesterday, Today and Forever’ and ‘The Wonder of the Cross’, and she was a regular worship leader at Spring Harvest and many other Christian events.

Then, a few years ago, she stopped leading worship and writing music, and underwent a transformation of sorts. While pursuing a theology PhD at Durham University, she started to appear regularly as a media commentator on outlets such as Sky News and the BBC. She gained more than 50,000 Twitter followers and began a popular blog. Online, she championed technology and the Church, but also became a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, swapping her doctoral thesis to that subject.

Read more at premierchristianity.com

Suicide and Silence

Read this interesting article from the Guardian over weekend, looking at the link between suicide and men aged between 20 – 49:

Nine months ago, Jake Mills texted his girlfriend one final time to tell her he loved her – and then he tried to kill himself. “I genuinely felt that I was a burden to a lot of people’s lives,” the 25-year-old Liverpool comedian says. “A lot of people say suicide is a selfish act but, in that frame of mind, if you’re about to kill yourself, you just don’t see anything better.”

Although Jake had been visiting a counsellor, he was just telling her what he thought she wanted to hear. “She discharged me and told me that I was healthy and better. But actually I wasn’t better, I was just better at lying.”

Jake was rescued by his girlfriend and has been confronting his depression ever since. But for all too many men, there is no rescue. Last week, millions were shocked by the suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams. The aftermath has provoked a long-neglected debate about mental health and suicide.

A cursory look at the statistics in Britain suggests it is dearly needed. Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 and 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. It is also predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012, an astonishing 4,590 (76%) were men. And yet while Britain has high-profile campaigns on, say, testicular cancer or driving safely, the biggest killer of men under 50 is not getting the attention it deserves.

Jane Powell is the founder and director of Calm, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which specifically deals with male suicide. “If you’re a mum, a dad, a loved one, you want to worry about the biggest threat,” she says. “And yet we worry about assault levels, rather than the real killer – suicide.” She makes a provocative case: that while breast cancer does kill men, we rightly focus on it as a female disease. In the same way, suicide prevention has to focus on men. “We need to name the issue,” she says.

Why are so many more men killing themselves than women? “Is it biologically set in stone that men take their own lives – or is it cultural?” Powell asks. “If you look at how the suicide rates have changed, how they go up and down, you can see that it’s cultural – it’s about what we expect.” And this is what is so troubling about male suicide. Women are actually more likely to suffer from depression, but more likely to seek help whey encounter trouble. The uncomfortable truth is that stereotypical forms of masculinity – stiff upper lips, “laddishness” – are killing men.

Read the rest over at The Guardian website.

Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

After reading one take on suicide and depression online, I found this article on Robin Williams’s death from The Guardian fantastically refreshing:

News broke today that Robin Williams had passed away, due to apparent suicide following severe depression. As the vast majority of people will likely have already said, this was terribly heart-breaking news. Such aniconic, talented and beloved figure will have no shortage of tributes paid to him and his incredible legacy. It’s also worth noting that Robin Williams was open about his mental health issues.

However, despite the tremendous amount of love and admiration for Williams being expressed pretty much everywhere right now, there are still those who can’t seem to resist the opportunity to criticise, as they do these days whenever a celebrated or successful person commits suicide. You may have come across this yourself; people who refer to the suicide as “selfish”. People will utter/post phrases such as “to do that to your family is just selfish”, or “to commit suicide when you’ve got so much going for you is pure selfishness”, or variations thereof.

If you are such a person who has expressed these views or similar for whatever reason, here’s why you’re wrong, or at the very least misinformed, and could be doing more harm in the long run.

Depression IS an illness

Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Depression doesn’t discriminate

How, many seem to wonder, could someone with so much going for them, possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? With all the money/fame/family/success they have, to be depressed makes no sense?

Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of logic to this. But, and this is important, depression (like all mental illnesses) typically doesn’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. We’ve all heard of the “madness” of King George III; if mental illness won’t spare someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful well-bred humans alive, why would it spare someone just because they have a film career?

Granted, those with worse lives are probably going to be exposed to the greater number of risk factors for depression, but that doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider “too successful” to be ill?

Read the rest over at The Guardian website.

Has this whole matter hit home a little hard. Contact The Samaritans, or find someone else to talk to. Please.