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Thought For The Day


The Days After: A Few Thoughts On Robin Williams And Suicide.

New ‘Walking on The Abyss’ blog post: The Days After: A Few Thoughts On Robin Williams And Suicide. #mentalhealth


I was shocked and saddened by the news of Robin Williams’ suicide. He was a fine actor and a fantastically funny man. He will be missed.

Ever since the news broke of William’s suicide, I have been struggling: the word suicidefuels my own depressions demons. As I’ve watched the news coverage and read the tributes, several things occurred to me: fame and fortune are not the universal panaceas that…

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So John, What Have You Been Learning In School?

So John, What Have You Been Learning In School?

Cleaning Up

I am just finishing the first of the three poetry writing classes for my degree program. It was … an experience. I should step back and correct myself — I didn’t take a poetry writing class, I was part of a poetry writing workshop. There is a class element to it — discussing things like “what is poetry?” and “does poetry have to have meaning?” There is also a writing aspect of the class. We had…

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The truth is…


The truth is…

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Jürgen Moltmann on Responding to Suicide

The purpose of the biblical prohibition of killing is to protect life. Does the prohibition also serve to protect one’s own life from one’s own intervention? From the beginning, Christianity has viewed suicide as contravening reverence for the life which no one has given himself and which therefore no one is allowed to take away. But exceptions have always been respected, for example in persecution and in martyrdom. The Christian churches condemned suicide as ‘self-murder’; suicides were buried without the rites of the church, and their graves were ate the edge of the graveyard. In the case of ‘self-murder’ the murderer escapes punishment because of his own death, but his reputation can nevertheless be damaged by the the word ‘suicide’. In the meantime, however, the Catholic Church too has moved away from the rigorous description of suicide as ‘murder’. We do not call the Protestant writer Jochen Klepper a murderer although he committed suicide in 1942 together with his Jewish wife and her Jewish daughter because the daughter was threatened with deportation to a death camp. We do not call Hannelore Kohl, the wife of the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, a murderer when she took her own life because of incurable photosensitivity. When I was a young student pastor in Bremen, I had to take the funeral of two students who had taken their own lives. I did not bury them as ‘murderers’ or ‘self-murderers’, but I did not penetrate their motives either. Such a decision often brings us up against an insoluble riddle, and we must respect the mystery these people take with them into the grave, probably intentionally. But we must be all the more attentive to warning signs, which are often unconscious cries for help.

When we dispense with the term ‘self-murder’, as we must do, that does not mean that we have to view suicide as normal. Like all killing, it is directed against life, and life is in all circumstances deserving of protection. As Kant said, suicide is also directed against the dignity of a human being. We do not kill anyone because in his person we respect the image of God, in our own person too. So the description ‘voluntary death’ is not correct either. No one kills himself as a supreme act of freedom. Suicide is generally the outcome of a lack of freedom which sees no way out. The notion that it is the supreme act if freedom of an independent person comes from the ancient world. The Platonists saw death as the separation of the divine soul from the wearisome body, and celebrated it as ‘the feast of freedom’. In the post-Christian world, this description of self-killing as ‘freely chosen death’ emerged again, and was considered to be the supreme act of a person’s self-determination. But in the modern world as well the autonomous individual does not live solely in relation to himself, but in many social relationships too; so he does not belong merely to himself either. There are parents, wives and husbands, children and friends who are plunged into deep grief by a suicide.

How then do we experience death? ‘One’s own death one only dies. / With the death of others one has to live’, wrote Mascha Kaléko in a poem, and it is true. We shall experience dying but not our death, for we shall not survive in order to experience it. But we do experience death in the people we love. Their death leaves us behind, as those who have to come to terms with he loss. Life is good, but to be a survivor is hard. We receive our life out of love, and die into the mourning. Is suicide a ‘voluntary death’ if we view death in the real social relationships of a human being? Is ‘voluntary death’ the acquisition of freedom, if I lose that freedom immediately in the act of self-destruction?

If we cannot interpret suicide as either ‘self-murder’ or ‘voluntary death’ we can perhaps understand it in many cases as a matter of self-defense. In order to avert a calamity inflicted on his family, General Henning von Tresckow took his own life after the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. Persons with depression take their own lives in order to avert unendurable psychological pressure from within, but in most cases we have to reckon with the ‘impenetrable character of the final decision’ and must respect the person’s decision to take his or her own life without reproaches and accusations.

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Source - https://twitter.com/AntonioFrench

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"Ill Be Rested (When The Roll Is Called)" by Mavis Staples

“Ill Be Rested (When The Roll Is Called)” by Mavis Staples


With all that has gone on in Ferguson, MO this past week, I kept thinking that there was a song I’d heard that seemed appropriate. It took me awhile, but I finally found it in my playlist– a song by Mavis Staples, from her 2007 album We’ll Never Turn Back,an album of both old and new songs about protest, equality, love. The album is both moving and comforting. Everyone should take a listen.

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might be the rawest pic I ever seen. and he got a bag of chips in his hand


With his dreads and his american flag shirt, this is everything

Can this become the next revolutionary icon?

Return that shit to the sender