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The 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Primate The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry at his Washington National Cathedral Installation, Sunday, November 1, 2015.

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All Saints’ Day, November 1, 2015
A Sermon Preached by the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
The Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Primate
The Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, Washington, D.C.

In the Name of our loving, liberating and life giving God:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

It really is a joy and blessing to be able to be here and for the church to gather and to ask for God’s blessing.

Allow me a point of personal privilege. I am looking forward to working with my sister the Reverend Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies. We’ve been working with each other a bit over the summer.  And I look forward to working together with her in the years to come.

I want to offer thanks on your behalf for Dick Schori, the spouse of the Presiding Bishop.

In a time when there is often debate and genuine consternation as to whether courageous, effective leadership is even possible anymore, let the record show that The Episcopal Church has had a leader in Katharine Jefferts Schori.

It is an understatement to say we live in a deeply complex and difficult time for our world. Life is not easy.

It is an understatement to say that these are not, and will not be, easy times for people of faith. Churches, religious communities and institutions are being profoundly challenged. You don’t need me to tell you that.

But the realistic social critique of Charles Dickens rings true for us even now. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

But that’s alright. We follow Jesus. Remember what he said at the Last Supper, just hours before he would be arrested and executed? “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 KJV)

As that great biblical scholar has said, borrowing from what might be Bobby McFerrin’s paraphrase of Jesus’ words: Don’t worry. Be happy!

Don’t Worry.  Be Happy.

Let me offer a text from the 17th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. 

When [the angry crowd could not find the Apostle Paul and Silas], they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” (Acts 17:6-7)

What you have there is a First century description of the Jesus movement.  Don’t worry. Be happy!

Many centuries later, Julia Ward Howe, writing in the midst of America’s Civil War, spoke of this same movement, even amidst all the ambiguities and tragedies of history. This is what she wrote:

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in his bosom
that transfigures you and me,
as he died to make folk holy
let us live to set all free,
while God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah,
God’s truth is marching on.

That’s the Jesus movement. What was true in the First Century and true in the 19th Century is equally and more profound in this new 21st Century.

So don’t worry.  Be happy.

God has not given up on the world,

and God is not finished with The Episcopal Church yet.

 I

The truly liberating truth is that Jesus didn’t come into this world to found a religion, though religious faith is important.  Nor did he establish a religious institution or organization, though institutions and organizations can serve his cause. You will not find an organizational table in the New Testament.

Jesus came to continue a movement. Actually, Jesus picked up and took the movement of John the Baptist to a new level. John was part of the movement born out of prophets like Amos and Isaiah and Jeremiah. And prophetic movement was rooted in Moses, who went up to the mountaintop. Jesus crystalized and catalyzed the movement that was serving God’s mission in this world.  God has a passionate dream for this world. 

Jesus came to show us the way.  Out of the darkness into the dream.

That’s what is going on in the passage from the Acts of the Apostles — the movement! The Apostle Paul and Silas, his partner in ministry, have been preaching, teaching and witnessing to the way of Jesus in the city of Thessalonica. While their message finds some resonance with many, it is troublesome to others. A riot breaks out because of the tensions. Our text describes those who are troubled by the teaching about The Way, as the Jesus movement was first called.

Listen to this description of the first followers of Jesus:

These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.  (Acts 17:6b-7)

Notice that the activity of Paul and Silas was seen not as an isolated incident in Thessalonica, but as part of a greater movement of revolution. “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.” Paul and Silas by themselves might not have been of much consequence. But as part of a movement, they posed a problem.

This movement was perceived as somehow reordering the way things were, “turning the world upside down.”

The reason the movement was turning the world upside down was because members of the movement gave their loyalty to someone named Jesus and committed themselves to living and witnessing to his way above all else. “They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” That’s what we did at the beginning of this service when, in the Baptismal Covenant, we reaffirmed our commitment to be disciples, living by and witnessing to the way of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

The Way of Jesus will always turn our worlds and the world upside down, which is really turning it right side up!

That’s what Isaiah was trying to tell us in Isaiah 11. He saw the dream. When God’s way is our way:

The prophet Isaiah saw this. When Gods dream happens, when the world is upside down…..

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them….
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9)

St. John saw in his vision of the world end in the Book of Revelation. Exiled and imprisoned for his witness to the way of Jesus, John was caught up “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation1:10). He lifted up his head, and he saw the dream.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.   And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.(Revelation 21:1-4)

No more war.
No more suffering.
No more injustice.
No more bigotry.
No more violence.
No more hatred.
Every man and woman under their own vine or fig tree.
The rule of love. The way of God. The kingdom. The reign.
The great Shalom, Salaam of God.
The dream.

God’s on a mission to work through “our struggle and confusion,” as the Prayer Book says, to realize God’s dream. [i]

My brothers and sisters,
God has not given up on the world,
and God is not finished with The Episcopal Church yet.
We are the Jesus movement.
So don’t worry, be happy!

II

Now I know we all thought we were coming here today, via the live-stream of the internet or here in the cathedral, for the Installation of our Presiding Bishop. I thought that too until I was on the plane earlier this week, flying from North Carolina to the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

And I kid you not, a thought popped into my head: “You know this is not about you.” It sort of jolted me inside.  A lot was going on.  I was on the way to fill out employment and insurance papers. The movers were coming to Diocesan House in Raleigh. I was going to spend one last day with Bishop Katharine.

The real Michael Curry was frankly scared to death and wondering, “Did you all make a mistake?” I was stuck on a plane, strapped into my seat belt because of turbulence on the flight, and I couldn’t get off. At that moment, and I’m not trying to get mystical or anything, but at that moment something said to me, “Michael Curry, this is not about you.”

I must admit that was a moment of some sweet liberation. Because it’s not about me. It’s about God, and it’s about Jesus. It’s about that sweet, sweet Spirit who will show us the way “into all the truth,” as Jesus promised (John 16:13), who has shown us the way to be who we really were created to be.

The way of Jesus will always turn our lives and the world upside down, but we know that that’s really right side up. Therein is the deepest and fondest hope for all creation and the human family.

Just listen to what Jesus said. What the world calls wretched, Jesus calls blessed, turning the world upside down.

Blessed are the poor and the poor in spirit.
Blessed are the merciful, the compassionate.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, that God’s righteous justice might prevail in all the world.
(Matthew 5:3-9, paraphrased)

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Matthew 7:12)

At home and in the church, do unto others as you would have them do to you. That will turn things upside down. In the boardrooms of the corporate world, in the classrooms of the academic world, in the factories, on the streets, in the halls of legislatures and councils of government, in the courts of the land, in the councils of the nations, wherever human beings are, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That’s a game changer! “Things which were cast down are being raised up. And things which had grown old are being made new.” That will turn things upside down, which is really right side up! That’s what Jesus said and what the Jesus movement is about!

Love is the key

But the key to this turning, which is at the center of the way of Jesus, is love. Later, in the Sermon on the Mount, where our Gospel reading came from, Jesus said this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a)

The liberating love of God is the key to the way of Jesus. Both Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels tell about the lawyer or scribe who came up to Jesus one day. Great teacher, he asked, in all of the massive legal edifice of Moses, what is the greatest law? What is the cardinal principle on which it all stands? What is the goal? What is the point of it all? In other words, what is God really getting at?

Jesus answered, bringing together a teaching of Moses from the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 and a text from Leviticus 19:18. Jesus said to him,

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”(Matthew  22:37-40)

This is really a stunning declaration. On these two — love of God and love of your neighbor— hang, hinge, depend ALL the law and the prophets.

Everything Moses taught.
Everything the prophets thundered forth about justice.
Everything in the Bible.
True religion.
It’s about love of God and the neighbor.
If it’s not about love, then it’s not about God.

This way of love is the way of Jesus. This is the heart of the Jesus movement. And it will turn the world, and the Church, I might add, upside down, which is really right side up.

Let me show you what I mean. In Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, Jesus and a lawyer come to an agreement that love of God and love of neighbor is the standard of all morality. But then the lawyer says (and I paraphrase):

Ok, I’ll grant the point about love for God and neighbor as Moses taught. But we need to carefully define what we mean by neighbor.  Just how expansive or inclusive is this definition? This could have far-reaching impact. So, who exactly is my neighbor?

That’s when Jesus makes up a story, a parable. This guy was walking on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. That road was known to be a pretty dangerous road to travel at night. But this guy needed to go where he was going. As it happened, he got mugged and robbed. He was beaten pretty badly and was lying on the side of the road.  A priest was coming down the same road, saw him lying there, but for whatever reason, walked on by. Another religious leader from the community came by a little later, and probably for fear of his own safety, walked on by, too, leaving the guy on the side of the road. 

Then this Samaritan guy came by. Samaritans were not well-regarded. There was some real animosity toward them that had a long history. But ironically it was that Samaritan who actually stopped, cared for the guy, bound up his wounds, put him on his own donkey and took him into town. Then he paid for his health care and made sure the guy was taken care of until he was well.

Jesus then asks the lawyer, “Now, who was a neighbor to the man?”  Jesus didn’t fall for his question. By asking that question, Jesus reveals to that lawyer – and on down the centuries to us — what the love of God really looks like.

But imagine the same parable with slightly different characters. A Christian was walking the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and she fell among thieves. Another Christian came by, but passed on by. Another did the same. And still another follower of Jesus passed on by. A brother or sister who is Muslim came by and stopped and saw her in need and helped her.  Imagine. Who is the neighbor?

It could be a young black or Hispanic youth who is hurt, and a police officer who helps. Or the police officer hurting and the youth who helps. Imagine.

Do you see where Jesus is going?  He’s talking about turning this world upside down.

God has not given up on the world,
and God is not finished with The Episcopal Church yet.
We are the Jesus movement.
So don’t worry, be happy.

III

Last summer, the 78th General Convention of our Church did a remarkable thing: the General Convention invited us as a church to take this Jesus Movement. We made a commitment to live into being the Jesus movement by committing to evangelism and the work of reconciliation — beginning with racial reconciliation. Across the divides that set us apart.  I believe the Holy Spirit showed up. I was telling someone about this, and they said, “Do you realize this Church has taken on two of the most difficult and important works it could ever embrace?”

Let’s get real. Imagine “Jeopardy” or another television game show. The question asked of the contestants is this: “Name two words that begin with ‘E’ but that are never used at the same time.” And the answer? What is ‘Episcopalian’ and ‘evangelism’ ?

I’m talking about a way of evangelism that is genuine and authentic to us as Episcopalians, not a way that imitates or judges anyone else.  A way of evangelism that is really about sharing good news. A way of evangelism that is deeply grounded in the love of God that we’ve learned from Jesus. A way of evangelism that is as much about listening and learning from the story of who God is in another person’s life as it is about sharing our own story. A way of evangelism that is really about helping others find their way to a relationship with God without our trying to control the outcome. A way of evangelism that’s authentic to us. We can do that.

And this idea of reconciliation, beginning with racial reconciliation — really? 

Racial reconciliation is just the beginning for the hard and holy work of real reconciliation that realizes justice but really across all the borders and boundaries that divide the human family of God.

This is difficult work. But we can do it. It’s about listening and sharing.

It’s about God.

In this work of reconciliation we can join hands with others.

It is as the Jesus movement, following Jesus’ way, that we join hands with brothers and sisters of different Christian communities, with brothers and sisters of other faith and religious traditions and with brothers and sisters who may be atheist or agnostic or just on a journey, but who long for a better world where children do not starve and where is, as the old spiritual says, “plenty good room for all of God’s children.” We can join together to do this work. 

In evangelism and reconciliation has got to be some of the most difficult work possible. But don’t worry.  We can do it. The Holy Spirit has done this work before in The Episcopal Church. And it can be done again for a new day.

It was sometime in the 1940s, when the armed forces had not be desegregated.  Just after the Second World War. In the United States, Jim Crow was alive and well. Segregation and separation of the races was still the law in much of the land and the actual practice in other areas, even if it wasn’t technically the law there.

The armed forces had not yet been desegregated. The Tuskegee Airmen were still a unit. Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas had not yet been issued. Long before Rosa Parks had not yet stood up for Jesus by sitting down on that bus in Montgomery. Long before Jackie Robinson was playing baseball, before Martin Luther King, Jr. was still in seminary.

An African American couple went to an Episcopal church one Sunday morning. They were the only people of color there. The woman had become an Episcopalian after reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, finding the logic of his faith profoundly compelling. Her fiancé was then studying to become ordained as a Baptist preacher.

But there they were on America’s segregated Sabbath, the only couple of color at an Episcopal Church service of Holy Communion according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

When the time came for communion the woman, who was confirmed, went up to receive. The man, who had never been in an Episcopal Church, and who had only vaguely heard of Episcopalians, stayed in his seat. As he watched how communion was done, he realized that everyone was drinking real wine — out of the same cup.

The man looked around the room, then he looked at his fiancée, then he sat back in the pew as if to say, “This ought to be interesting.”

The priest came by uttering these words as each person received the consecrated bread: The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

Would the priest really give his fiancée communion from the common cup? Would the next person at the rail drink from that cup, after she did? Would others on down the line drink after her from the same cup?

The priest came by speaking these words to each person as they drank from the cup: The Blood our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.

The people before her drank from the cup. The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ….  Another person drank.  Preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.   The person right before her drank.  Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee….  Then she drank.  And be thankful.  She drank. Now was the moment her fiancé was waiting for.  Would the next person after her drink from that cup? He watched. The next person drank.  The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee….  And on down the line it went, people drinking from the common cup after his fiancée, like this was the most normal thing in the world.

The man would later say that it was that reconciling experience of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist that brought him into The Episcopal Church and that he had an evangelism. He said, “Any Church in which blacks and whites drink out of the same cup knows something about the Gospel that I want to be a part of.”

That couple later married and gave birth to two children, both of whom are here today, and one of whom is the 27th Presiding Bishop.

We are Gods’ children, all of us.  We are God’s baptized children.   We are here to change the world with the power of love.

God really does love us.  

The Spirit has done evangelism and reconciliation work through us before. And the Spirit of God can do it again, in new ways, now beyond the doors of our church buildings, out in the world, in the sanctuary of the streets, in our 21st-century Galilee where the Risen Christ has already gone ahead of us.

Yes, the way of God’s love turns our world upside down. But that’s really right side up. And in that way, the nightmare of this world will be transfigured into the very dream of God for humanity and all creation.

My brothers and sisters,
God has not given up on God’s world.

And God is not finished with The Episcopal Church yet.
God has work for us to do.

Jesus has work for us to do and it’s the Jesus Movement.
So don’t worry. Be happy!

He’s got the whole world in his hands.
He’s got the whole world in his hands.
He’s got the whole world in his hands.
He’s got the whole world in his hands.

Thanks to Donovan Marks and Danielle Thomas, photographers

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The World’s End

When I was 8 years old, I read in LIFE magazine that in so many millions of years, the sun would burn out and life on earth would cease. This worried me, so I asked my parents, “If the world is going to end, how come we say “world without end” when we pray?” And they told me what the Bible says, that heaven and earth may pass away, but God remains. That relieved some of my anxiety, but I still wasn’t sure I liked the idea of the world ending, even if God was in charge.

Of course the world ends all the time. When I moved from California to Puget Sound in the 1990’s, my first Northwest winter felt like today’s gospel: the sun was darkened and the moon gave no light.

Who among us has not seen their world end? Adolescents exiled from childhood. Black teenagers robbed of their future. Elders deprived of their health. Unemployment …retirement …divorce … the death of a parent, a spouse, a child — in every one of these, a world comes to an end.

For anyone who has known serious loss, this is more than metaphor. The experience of grief can be so total and unrelenting that you can’t see anything beyond it. You can’t imagine the future. It feels like the end of the world.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good. [i]

W.H. Auden was invoking apocalyptic metaphors to express personal loss, but shared, public worlds also come to an end. As in 1789, or 1914. The Holocaust. Hiroshima. 9/11.My Lord, what a morning, when the stars begin to fall.

But why bring up such dreary stuff on this first day of the new Christian year? Shouldn’t we be breaking out the party hats, blowing horns and shouting “Happy New Year?” The wisdom of the Advent season is that it never begins with “A Holy Trinity Production,” or “The Creator of the World Presents.” No, it always opens with “The End.” Advent knows that every beginning involves some kind of ending. In this season’s Scripture, preaching and prayers, the present arrangements of collective and personal life are judged and found wanting. God’s imagination is far too rich and fertile to settle for our barren and diminished versions of human possibility.

Selfishness, greed, consumerism? Fear, racism and violence? Poverty, militarism, war, environmental degradation? That’s the best we can do? Really? God must be saying, “Come on, people. I made you a little lower than the angels, and this is what you came up with?”

George Eliot said “it is never too late to become what you might have been.” But to get to that “might have been” requires an Exodus into the wilderness beyond the way things are; an Exodus beyond even the best we can imagine for ourselves, into a place of unknowing, where only God possesses the language to speak our future into being.

So much of what we hear and pray and sing in Advent is profoundly disruptive. Bob Franke’s great Advent song, “Stir up your power,” gets right to it in the first line: This world may no longer stand. We are meant to be unsettled, to be driven beyond our narrow boundaries, our constricted realities, toward a beckoning horizon. The Christian life is a perpetual series of departures for a better place.

The world as it is – the world of racial hatred and toxic violence and economic injustice and perpetual war and addictive consumerism and pollution for profit and all the other evils which poison our common life – this world has no future in the emergent Kingdom of God.This world may no longer stand.

But the story doesn’t stop there. In my end is my beginning.[ii] Even when we have gone far astray, even when our story seems over, God remains deeply present in the processes of creation, tenderly leading and luring us into newness of life, making a way where there is no way, opening doors that none can shut.

Advent people do not just wring their hands or shake their heads over the latest news from Ferguson or the Middle East. We work and pray for something better. What we can do on our own is limited, but when we offer our priorities and energies to the larger purposes of God, Love will have its way with us.

As the Christian mystic Hadewijch put it in the thirteenth century:

Since I gave myself to Love’s service,
Whether I lose or win,
I am resolved:
I will always give her thanks,
Whether I lose or win;
I will stand in her power. [iii]

It is not always easy to stand in Love’s power and keep the faith. In some situations it is almost unimaginable. Forty years ago the African-American author James Baldwin wrote:

To be an Afro-American, or an American black, is to be in the situation, intolerably exaggerated, of all those who have ever found themselves part of a civilization which they could in no wise honorably defend – which they were compelled, indeed, endlessly to attack and condemn – and who yet spoke out of the most passionate love, hoping to make the kingdom new, to make it honorable and worthy of life. [iv]

This passionate mixture of protest and love sounds a lot like the Old Testament prophets who permeate our Advent lectionary. The very first reading of the season begins with a prophetic plea for history to be broken open by divine justice:

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down …
to make your name known to those who resist you,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence! [v]

Advent is not just a season of quiet waiting. It is also a time of protest and vision. Advent announces an insurgency against the way things are, a revolution to scatter the proud, cast down the mighty, raise the lowly, gather the lost, free the captive, and bind up the brokenhearted. Advent re-imagines the world as paradise restored, a new heaven and new earth suffused with the peace of God.

this is the day of broken sky
this is the space of conflagration-breath
speaking border-trespass
this is the feathered swoop of heaven
on the wing of now …
forking lightning into language …
breaking god into prison …
breaking the truth from jail! …

This is the fire-tongued fork of holy-ghost howl
making love on the tongue …
spitting flames of reconciliation
in the sky of war
making messiah-praise out of the air itself!

this is pentecost in your head
like becoming what you never dared
for the first time and forever

This ecstatic prophecy is from a poem by Jim Perkinson. [vi] He was talking about Pentecost, but his theme fits Advent as well:

“the day of broken sky”
the earth in conflagration
God breaking into the prisons
the truth being set loose at last
and “the fire-tongued fork of holy-ghost howl
making love on the tongue …
making messiah-praise out of the air itself!”

And each of us, all of us, becoming what we never dared.

When Jesus tells us to stay awake, he is warning us not to sleep through the day of God’s coming. Stay alert. Pay attention. Don’t miss it! Become what you never dared. Shake off the sleep of complacency, the sleep of complicity, the sleep of despair. Awake and greet the new dawn.

Jan Richardson describes this dawning reality in her beautiful poem, “Drawing Near.” [vii]

It is difficult to see it from here,
I know,
but trust me when I say
this blessing is inscribed
on the horizon.
Is written on
that far point
you can hardly see…

Richardson accurately expresses the sense of distant horizon that prevents the dominant reality of the moment from closing in on us and locking us in. That reality wants to be believed as fixed and final, permanent and stable. But the horizon calls every finality into question, disrupting its stability with the boundlessness of divine possibility. The horizon draws our attention from what is given to what may yet be. Keeping our eye on the horizon, feeling its pull, is the spiritual practice of Advent. Richardson’s poem expresses the deep longing produced by the distance between the already and the not-yet.

And then the poet discovers what every pilgrim knows: the goal of our long journey is something that has already been inscribed deep within us even before our journey began. Even before the day we were born, we were marked as God’s own forever.

And that is where Advent ultimately leaves us – finding that the thing we have been seeking so long has been with us all the time – within us, and all around us. While we have been walking our Camino to the Promised land, our feet have already been on holy ground, every step of the way. And the God of the far horizon turns out to be the path as well, keeping us company as we stride deeper and deeper into the world.

So when Advent people talk about the end of the world, we are speaking about end in the sense of purpose rather than termination. The word “apocalypse” means “unveiling,” and the apocalypse in our future will not be an annihilation, but a revealing of the world’s ultimate purpose and destiny.

Yes, all the inadequate, incomplete versions of world will come to an end (some of them kicking and screaming!), but creation as it was intended will be restored, not discarded. Like a poet who creates a new language out of old words, Love will remake the ruins and recover the lost. And the Holy One who is the mystery of the world will be its light and its life forever.

This Advent faith is expressed memorably in a short story by British writer Carol Lake, “The Day of Judgment.” On the Last Day of the world, God sails into England aboard a new Ark. But instead of bringing history to a close and pronouncing judgment on everyone, God leaves the Ark to enter the city of Derby. Heading for the run-down inner city neighborhood of Rosehill, he joins the crowd at a local pub, a multi-ethnic mix of the working poor and the unemployed. And there God gets so caught up in being with these people that he loses track of time, and the Ark sails away without him, heading off for the horizon of eternity. As the story describes it:

The Ark is on the edge of the horizon now, its destination the heartlessness of perfection. Most of the inmates already know what they are going to find – endless fruit, endless harmony, endless entropy, endless endless compassion, black and white in endless inane tableaux of equality. It sails off to a perfect world; the sky has turned into rich primary colors and in the distance the Ark bobs about on a bright blue sea.” [viii]

Meanwhile, God is still in that Rosehill pub, in the very heart of imperfection. If you had walked in there, you would have had a hard time picking him out. He blended right in. But if you were paying attention, you might notice that there was now something different about Rosehill. The old non-descript streets and dilapidated buildings had taken on a strange beauty. Maybe it was the warm slant of afternoon light, but people were beginning to see their neighborhood in a new way. And their own faces, too, seemed to glow with an inner radiance, as if they were carrying a wonderful secret, tacitly shared with everyone around them, as if they suddenly knew there was more to life than meets the eye.

They were still poor, the world was still a mess, but something new was in the air, a spirit of change was awakening. And from that day on, the people of Rosehill found themselves becoming what they’d never dared, for the first time and forever.

[i] W.H. Auden, “Twelve Songs (ix)”, Collected Poems, ed. Edward Mendelson (NY: Random House, 1976), 120

[ii] T.S. Eliot, “East Coker,” Collected Poems 1909-1962 (London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 1974), 191

[iii] Hadewijch: The Complete Works, trans. Mother Columba Hart, Classics of Western Spirituality (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), 213

[iv] James Baldwin, No Name in the Street (NY: Dell, 1972), 194

[v] Isaiah 64:1-2

[vi] Jim Perkinson, “tongues-talk,” q. in Catherine Keller, On the Mystery: Discerning God in Process (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008), 157-8

[vii] Jan Richardson, “Drawing Near” (http://adventdoor.com/2012/11/25/advent-1-drawing-near)

[viii] Carol Lake, Rosehill: Portraits from a Midlands City (London: Bloomsbury, 1989), 119

 

Robin Williams: Irrepressible Character

Robin Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived, says film critic A. O. Scott. And the only thing faster than Williams’s mouth was his mind.

Video CreditBy Adam Freelander on Publish Date August 12, 2014. Image CreditABC, via Associated Press

Some years ago, at a party at the Cannes Film Festival, I was leaning against a rail watching a fireworks display when I heard a familiar voice behind me. Or rather, at least a dozen voices, punctuating the offshore explosions with jokes, non sequiturs and off-the-wall pop-cultural, sexual and political references.

There was no need to turn around: The voices were not talking directly to me and they could not have belonged to anyone other than Robin Williams, who was extemporizing a monologue at least as pyrotechnically amazing as what was unfolding against the Mediterranean sky. I’m unable to recall the details now, but you can probably imagine the rapid-fire succession of accents and pitches — macho basso, squeaky girly, French, Spanish, African-American, human, animal and alien — entangling with curlicues of self-conscious commentary about the sheer ridiculousness of anyone trying to narrate explosions of colored gunpowder in real time.

The comedian and actor Robin Williams in 2002.

Very few people would try to upstage fireworks, and probably only Robin Williams could have succeeded. I doubt anyone asked him for his play-by-play, an impromptu performance for a small, captive group, and I can’t say if it arose from inspiration or compulsion. Maybe there’s not really a difference. Whether or not anyone expected him to be, and maybe whether or not he entirely wanted to be, he was on.

Part of the shock of his death on Monday came from the fact that he had been on — ubiquitous, self-reinventing, insistently present — for so long. On Twitter, mourners dated themselves with memories of the first time they had noticed him. For some it was the movie “Aladdin.” For others “Dead Poets Society” or “Mrs. Doubtfire.” I go back even further, to the “Mork and Mindy” television show and an album called “Reality — What a Concept” that blew my eighth-grade mind.

Back then, it was clear that Mr. Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived. The only thing faster than his mouth was his mind, which was capable of breathtaking leaps of free-associative absurdity. Janet Maslin, reviewing his standup act in 1979, cataloged a tumble of riffs that ranged from an impression of Jacques Cousteau to “an evangelist at the Disco Temple of Comedy,” to Truman Capote Jr. at “the Kindergarten of the Stars” (whatever that was). “He acts out the Reader’s Digest condensed version of ‘Roots,’ ” Ms. Maslin wrote, “which lasts 15 seconds in its entirety. He improvises a Shakespearean-sounding epic about the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, playing all the parts himself, including Einstein’s ghost.” (That, or something like it, was a role he would reprise more than 20 years later in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.”)

Photo

Robin Williams was an irrepressible performer, on stage and off. CreditGary Settle

Onstage, Mr. Williams’s speed allowed him to test audience responses and to edit and change direction on the fly. He simultaneously explained and acted out this process in “Come Inside My Mind,” a two-and-a-half-minute tour de force of manic meta — “I’m doing great! I’m improvising like crazy! No you’re not, you fool! You’re just doing pee-pee-ca-ca, no substance!” But if Mr. Williams was often self-aware, commenting on what he was doing as he was doing it, he was rarely arch or insincere. He could, as an actor, succumb to treacliness sometimes — maybe more than sometimes — but his essential persona as an entertainer combined neediness and generosity, intelligence and kindness, in ways that were charming and often unexpectedly moving as well.

That was a role within a role, of course, and Mr. Williams’s best serious movie characters — or maybe we should say the non-silly ones, since an element of playfulness was always there — had a similar doubleness. Watching him acting in earnest, you could not help but be aware of the exuberance, the mischief, that was being held in check, and you couldn’t help but wonder when, how or if it would burst out. That you knew what he was capable of made his feats of self-control all the more exciting. You sometimes felt that he was aware of this, and that he enjoyed the sheer improbability of appearing as the straight man, the heavy, the voice of reason.

He was very good at playing it cool or quiet or restrained as other actors in his movies — Nathan Lane in “The Birdcage,” Robert DeNiro in“Awakenings,” Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” — brought the heat, the noise or the wildness. He was an excellent and disciplined character actor, even as he was also an irrepressible, indelible character, a voice — or voices — that many of us have been hearing for as long as we can remember.

 

Robin Williams: the sadness of a clown that couldn’t be fixed

“Williams, like many others, struggled with addiction and personal demons. Mental illness is a great leveller – but is still too little understood.

All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive. But addictive and depressive illness seems to probe deep into the relations between individuals and those around them. It is the crack in the window that can seem beyond mending. The sadness of the clown goes beyond irony. It is one of the great mysteries of life”

THEGUARDIAN.COM|BY SIMON JENKINS

 

Simon Jenkins
Tuesday 12 August 2014

Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63

Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63
Robin Williams backstage in Virginia in 2009. ‘It seems inexplicable that a celebrity’s addiction should be immune to personal success, the care of a loving family and all the therapies money could buy.’ Photograph: Jay Paul/Getty Images

The sadness of the clown is an old showbusiness irony. The death of the clown is even sadder. But Robin Williams was no ordinary clown, he was a clown in the round, a master of the one-liner, of verbal riff, mimicry, disguise, facial distortion, fury and hilarity. He made them laugh and he made them cry. He had the gift of enhancing the lives of others, yet he could not handle one person’s life, his own. Only last month Williams was admitted back into a rehab centre in Minnesota.

Williams’ presumed suicide is receiving the same scrutiny as the recent deaths of other celebrity addicts such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Peaches Geldof. Addictive substances appeared to be the way in which these well-known people coped with the pressure of life. In that, they are no different from thousands of non-celebrities subject to even greater pressure. Yet it seems inexplicable that their addiction should be immune to personal success, the care of a loving family and all the therapies money could buy.

Physical illness is something the medical profession understands. It knows what to do when the human body malfunctions and what not to do. Mental illness, if illness is the right word, seems lost in some dark age. Otherwise healthy people with every reason to be happy are found wrestling with private demons. Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do.

Williams appeared to have recovered from cocaine addiction but not from alcohol. He had been in and out of rehabilitation. In a remarkably frank interview in the Guardian four years ago, he was eager to discuss his problems lucidly. He was a regular member of probably the most successful therapy in existence, Alcoholics Anonymous, with its emphasis on non-judgmental group support. There was no help that Williams and others like him could not and did not receive. It failed.

All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive. But addictive and depressive illness seems to probe deep into the relations between individuals and those around them. It is the crack in the window that can seem beyond mending. The sadness of the clown goes beyond irony. It is one of the great mysteries of life.

• In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14

Some Comments and Opinions already posted on 8/12/14

Candice Black Robin Williams is proof of the complexity of the illness: the man smiled, laughed and could make millions happy- yet depression plagued his life. Any notion that depression is a case of being “miserable” should be thrown out the window by anyone who still holds that view.

Michael Olaf Engedahl Good bye dear man,who brought more laughter than tears ,but couldn’t find happiness for yourself,today you brought me tears cos I will never see your genius again.Rest in Peace

Joe Hargett “…that couldn’t be fixed.” I call bullshit. We could fix it if we wanted to, but time and again the major countries of the world have swept mental illness under the rug. Depression and other mental illnesses are not “silent killers” or “thieves in the night.” They stare us in the face daily, and we ignore them. We need acceptance and action, not platitudes and cliches.

Lizzie Soden Robin Jenkins. Although you are right about much of what you have written here, you have painted an almost nihilistic picture of therapies, drugs and resources available to help with depression. As someone who experiences depression, I can tell you there are some amazing insightful, positive Drs, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, who are not ‘wandering around aimlessly.’ There is no ‘one size fits all’ or one depressive episode that’s the same, but you get there through trial and error and different combinations. Yes, we need far more research and funding; yes we need to build understanding; yes we need to talk about it more in the public discourse, but you paint a picture that suggests anyone going through depression and addiction ‘ may as well give up now because you won’t get the help you need’ that’s simply not true. By far the majority of people recover and lead active lives, and learn to manage their depressive episodes.

Katya Hernández So much ignorance about depression. It is not about being thankful for what you have, or living in a good place, or having everything: it’s your brain not working properly, it’s a chemical imbalance, and it’s extremely hard to control. You often know that you have no reason to feel sad, but you still cry. Reasoning it out, when you are too deep into it, does not help. “Snap out of it” has to be the most ignorant, insensitive thing you can tell a depressed person. You would not tell that to a schizophrenic, and depression is just not something that you choose, it’s something that your brain does to you.

Brian Lucas “Outside, the day might be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down, through the thickly-muffled glass of the small, iron-barred window beneath which one sits, is grey and niggard.”

Oscar Wilde: “De Profundis”

 

Merita Debbie Marble Blanchet Did you know humor is a coping skill ? A mindset of the brain that helps us hang on.. Being serious is too hard for folks with a great sense of humor because tears lie very closely beneath that smile.. Never forget that We make the world laugh so we don’t have to think of how sad we truly are.

 

Chrystal Andros “Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

Those of us who suffer from chronic depression understand this. For example with me I know that suicide can be inevtiable. It may not happen tomorrow, next week or even next month, but it’s with me and it may kill me at some point.

How do you treat something that comes and goes like bad weather? When it hits it’s a hurricane of twisting emotion.

I see a psychologist and I look at taking meds at the end, but I have been suffering it for a very long time. For now changing my mental state is what is helping.

 

Abigail Mouat Askew It’s part of what happens when our societal values go awry. I wonder how many indigenous tribes not exposed to Western culture have these levels of depression and addiction?

 

Jeremy Williams It annoys me when people say “snap out of it”, when i’m having a low mood, it’s not as simple as that, it’s a hidden illness, you don’t see it on the outside, but on the inside it slowly eats at you.

 

Harmony Aquarian

Three Wishes

You’re leaving on a super moon
But the details are still sketchy
The world is in a state of shock
The background story patchy

The last thing I expected to hear today
Was the news of your departure
And that your life was in disarray
It truly broke my heart, sir

I never cried when Elvis died,
He never touched me, really,
But Robin, you were another case
You were the King of Silly

The medicine of laughter
In world so full of pain
You meted out so selflessly
It all seems so insane

Perhaps we need to stop and think
About what is important
That life is rich when you have love
And though yours has been shortened

You touched our hearts and reached our souls
With no mention of religion
You made me smile so very many times
With a warmth that lacked conditions

The last thing I wanted to do today
Was to write this sad remembrance
But people come, and people go
In this endless song and dance

So here’s to life and here’s to hope
And here’s to fun and laughter
And thank you for the joy you brought
And if there’s a hereafter

I’m sure you will be needed there
As much as here on earth
Such a clever, brilliant man
An icon of infinite worth

So adios amigo
Happy trails and all of that
Life is short for all of us
But if I could bring you back

I’d have but two more wishes
For that genie in the bottle
That you’d have found peace inside yourself
And won that final battle

Kia ora HATU

 

Febe Zylstra  I have been there and hit rock bottom in 2011, and was diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder. (They think the chemical imbalance in my brain was triggered from being pregnant, in hind sight that is when I noticed significant changes for me, but everyone has different extents/experiences from each other)
For me I was hospitalised twice over 4 months, underwent 12 ECTS, was put on a cocktail amount of drugs, most which caused severe side effects, counselling and psych Drs for the next 2 yrs. I was very fortunate to have a supportive family and friends who helped me through it unconditionally, but initially my loved ones often told me to ‘snap out of it’ OR ‘you’ll get over it’ was another frequent comment before they understood the seriousness of my disorder! I can now say I am doing heaps better after finding the right combination of drugs of which I have to take daily for the rest of my life and my art is also a huge part of me staying mentally healthy. But I did loose my unblemished career of 26 years unfairly because of my diagnosis (that’s another long story) and now have learnt to focus on staying stress free as much has I can to remain status quo.
So I do understood someone who has experienced severe crippling depression where some days you can’t even get out of bed, sleep 20 hours in a day, day in day out, you can’t eat and to go too the toilet is a huge effort! Where for 80% of the time you can’t stop crying and you honestly believe dying is the only way you will feel at peace and for the internal pain to go away. I was fortunate I had a daughter and family that even at the depth of my own depression I knew I couldn’t let down. Unfortunately Suicide is a huge risk with someone who has major depression or Bi-polar and unless someone has experienced this, it is extremely hard for someone to totally understand how someone can take their own life. I know it can be seen as a selfish act, but you can get to the point where you feel so worthless, hopeless and guilty about absolutely everything, and also honestly and deeply believe everyone would be better off without you. (It is not always attention seeking behaviour but often a cry for help as feeling there is no other way out of the darkness!) But mostly there is such an intense indescribable ache/ physical pain inside you that just doesn’t go away, which can’t be seen, unlike that of a broken bone! You eventually learn to crack a joke, give a smile, sometimes say what you think people want to hear but it is not always what you feel on the inside, it is a constant battle to stay positive, even now for me and I feel 100% better than I did at my lowest point.
I have chosen not to hide behind my Bi-polar diagnosis as it is the only way to help break down the stigma attached to it and that of all mental illnesses. I hope that people who know me already or get to know me, will see that I am not a ‘Nutter’ OR ‘Aggressive Crazy Person’ running around committing crimes or causing havoc. A lot of people’s fears of the person who has mental health issues are given the wrong impression from TV shows, especially Criminal TV shows that always seem to portray the mental health person in a negative light. Fact is 1 in 5 people in their own life time will experience depression and for most people they will know someone close to them who goes through it.
It’s OK to feel unsure or helpless when you come across a person going through depression etc, but if everyone try’s to understand just a little bit of what that persons obstacles are when they are not well, it will help break down the barriers/stigmas and hopefully more people with depression etc will feel more supported and not so isolated! Just by asking are you OK or offer to listen to them could make all the difference.
Sorry for the long winded rant – but it breaks my heart that someone we all knew to be the funny man who always put on a happy face suffered his whole life with major depression. He hid it well as do a lot of people with severe depression – sometimes the support and help comes too late! RIP Robbin Williams x

Margie Winter And mental health wards are being closed at an alarming rate. Governments have found out that pushing patients out into Care in the Community, they save lots if money! They never publish the suicide rate though!! I suspect it’s higher now than 20 years ago. Alcohol – the medicine of choice for many depressives . So, so sad. RIP Robin.

Alen Kevric He was broken but it is not him that needed to be fixed. It is society that needs to be fixed. RIP

Tim Dixon All we can do is love, I mean really love those in our lives suffering from this, they are are serious, it IS real…..

Alexandra Nielsen Well said, Katya Hernandez…a person cannot snap out of true depression any more than someone can snap out of diabetes. It’s not the same thing as feeling a little down. The brain chemistry changes and there is no way to snap out of it when you are in it. If you think there is, then you have never experienced the hell of depression.

Sam Bino How many of us go out into the world wearing a mask, a disguise, to hide from the world our true selves, how many of us intimately know ourselves are confident to accept ourselves for who we are regardless of the pressure from society to seek it’s ‘approval’

With all of the modern day distractions that occupy our time and fill our minds with junk, with all the choices and dilemmas we face on a daily basis that paralyze us, how do people stand a chance to manage their mental well-being as it becomes buried further and further amidst the rubble of living.

To truly be yourself is to free yourself but this takes time, committment, courage and many other basic needs being in place, and even then this can still be so far out of reach such are the complexities of our minds.

To everyone on this journey, I wish you well with love and compassion.

Lara Naylor Davis Colin, what utter tripe. I have been saved and transformed by medication and therapy. I lived a long time in the darkness with no way out until I was first referred to my psychiatrist 7 years ago. He then placed me in Cognitive Analytical Therapy which helped me gain insight and balance. I think every individual needs to find their own way but therapy and psychopharmesuticals, eventually, worked for me. In the first 6 years of diagnosis I was on a total of five different meds, six times. I didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, I kept plugging away til I found what worked. Looks like I may also have treatment resistant depression as I keep bottoming out on pills. But I keeping looking because I know how catastrophic my life is without them.

Katya Hernández I agree. I can safely say that medication saved my life.

Russ Collins What crap is that about jesus?? an imaginary dead man who was supposed to have lived 2000 years ago of whom there is no evidence of. yeah! I’m sure a man of intellectual genius as such as williams would have given the remotest crap about that

Karen Hoyles It doesn’t take long before b’jesus turns up – any old topic will do.

Mel Myrtle Horstink I just have silent tears running down my face, I have done since I heard. I wish this weren’t true but it is. RIP you funny, gentle, sad man

Julie Allen I can totally relate to this my husband been battling mental illness for years , but doctors just hand him the pils with very little therapy, and support as though its his own fault, so we as a family have to cope with his mood swings on a daily basis, and my husband is a loving man underneath it all , RIP Robin xx

 

Allison Taw hope your not lonely now x RIP

 

Alwyn Green It’s difficult for those who have not experienced depression to understand it. I thank God I had a wife and several colleagues who did understand and supported me.

James David Roberts It’s been such a sad day. I would have hoped that at 63, Robin Williams would have had the “bag of tricks”, the “coping strategies” to deal with his illness. His death makes me realize how vulnerable people are with this diseases.

Edde Beket Robin Williams wasn’t a clown – I hate clowns. He was brilliant, inspiring and a legend. RIP

Cathy Dalton I think that many brilliant people fell that they have to become ‘clowns’ in order to be accepted. It’s the ultimate irony.

Sophie Wintrich Too much taboo on the subject as well, still, sadly. Perhaps mostly from people who deny such issues and desperately try to cover up in other ways. There are ways out, or at least coping strategies, provided you feel you can talk without being judged or criticized. Being able to voice your feelings is half the battle. Don’t bottle it. Big virtual hug to all.

Sam Bino When will God botherers learn that many many people find these views offensive and without any relevance. I’m happy that you have found your own path and truth but it isn’t mine so please keep it to yourselves.
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Wallace Rachel Many of us with a strong belief on God find God botherers irritating as hell too!
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Sharon Moon

Lara Naylor Brett I can’t bw. I have servere anxiety, servere depression and BPD. All of this is in my make up and can’t be cured, it can be controlled and I have spent four snd a half years symptom free only to crash and burn catastrophically agaiin about three …See More
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Jen Peloquin Oddie Agree with so many people who have commented here today.
So complex is this disease…that such a gifted artist and selfless human being continued to struggle in his later years. May he RIP because he’s done the hard yards for sure.
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Idalina Melo It’s very harsh to live your live as an empathic in an un-empathic world, it’s the ill society that leads to mental illness of good souls!!
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Cindy Schneider Mental health care came out of the dark ages when Mennonites did public service instead of going to war in the 40’s…..it went back to the dark ages when Ronald Reagan dumped them into the streets….now mental health care has another name….the prison system. Maybe Robin has one last gift to give us…awareness.
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Dorothy Bogart I was once a very depressed person ,was in my own world and never want to see people or mingle . In fact i was always hiding and it felt as if everybody was against me and i was so far that i almost run away from home. It was something bad that happened to me and i was sorry for an excuse. I always knew that i need serious help and my children kept me sane. I had a DR that treated me with steroids on a monthly basis. It changed my whole body structure,softness is gone and i was strong and still depressed. I went to a different dr and in the surgery i found this book of a depressed person fighting with this dark cloud around her and then i saw me. Its exactly how i feel. I got up and walk out and went home. Since then i understand my illness and everytime i feel depressed i see this d cloud surounds me and i started to climb out and thats how i got healed. Its nothing to try do it. Depression is a very bad thing..

Jane Donaghy What comes first…the addiction or the mental illness….another great lost who tried his best to overcome & couldn’t.

James Turner Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman … And Peaches Geldof?!?!?!? I know it seems natural to list in 3s rather than 2s.. But Peaches fucking Geldof??? How about WW1, WW2 and that time down the pub someone hit someone else? Fucking ludicrous

 

Mark Sykes Why not Peaches Geldof? Why not highlight anyone who was in the public eye who struggled with mental illness – who are you to judge the validity of someones illness? The more that the world knows that even famous and fabulously wealthy individuals can find it incredibly difficult to live a ‘normal’ life, then the better the world can become!

Ce-Ce Ushe He made many people smile when he was ‘high ‘on coccaine .those who take coccaine never have a happy ending,Peaches , Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson etc..

Jay Harper Again with this simplistic statement? Bless you, you just aren’t that bright.

Stephen Bosworth Wow , all these people seem to know why he topped himself. Such a clever bunch.

Jörg Killat Why is it that all great comedians seem to suffer from depression. Is it because of that that they’re great? Is it their way of trying to combat their demons?

Rosalind Mercer The one thing none of us can do, not even the greatest psychiatrist who ever lived, is to literally get into the mind of another. Oh, yes we think we can understand but depression or indeed any type of mental illness is individual and personal to the sufferer. There are two types of depression: reactive and clinical, and inevitably one can lead to the other. Many women after giving birth will get PND, but that usually can be cured as it is caused by hormonal changes. It is illogical to be depressed after having had a baby, but logic has nothing to do with it. Some women feel like hell for a few weeks or even months.
Life’s setback can also cause depression, especially if those setbacks are man-made like a family relationship breaking down, or losing somebody very close but they are reactive. The more setbacks one has, the more likely then that the reactive will turn to clinical because the brain cannot take anymore stress, and then the real unhappiness sets in and medical help is the only way forward. I know nothing of Robin Williams’s life, other than what little I have read, but I suspect like may unhappy people the drugs and alcohol would have exacerbated his depression. To live with a person who suffers deep depression is a horrible experience because you feel helpless. No wonder his poor wife is heartbroken. We cannot judge, or condemn, and evoking the supernatural e.g.”God’ is not at all helpful. All we can do is to support the families or friends of sufferers, and try to be tolerant, which is not always easy.

Liz Munro So sad. A wonderful man taken by a dreadful illness.

Guguyni Slan every suicide is a question to the humans alive , a message to the people alive we have to learn more humanity compassion and empathy to other humans and to the earth we live with . there is always a way .

Robyn Evans It’s like cancer.

Tracey Bourke So very sad to have heard the news after getting off a long haul flight. I absolutely loved Robin Williams. He made me laugh & Cry. He had a beautiful way of portraying all of his movie characters funny, sad, etc…… He was a wonderful soul and brought out every emotion in me through the characters he played so well on TV and in his movies. I will watch a few of his movies this week in his honour.
RIP and thank you for sharing your wonderful and talented life with us.
You will be missed worldwide. My boys will be watching Mrs Doubtfire this weekend. X

Aleli Gomez Es tan raro como no debes de demostrar tu tristeza para poder seguir encajando en este mundo q es el q te puso triste para comenzar aww
See Translation

Robin Waka robin williams not dead shocking video of his house in the link beside
http://v4download.com/download2.php?title=
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Seblewongel Mekonnen Wolde It is possible to b free from any type of mental sickness, depression etc, even from the family line forever: who said it is impossible? it is possible to b free from it. This 2014, not 19th century: there is a solution. There is a new hope for it.
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Farhat Rasheed This world is a test for the pure soul. Only a belief in a loving, just and complete God and a beautiful next life for a perfected morality, whatever that is, is what keep’s ‘people’ alive — this is the truth I believe in. Both mental and physical illness is interlinked but physical illness is more understood because it is ‘physical’ i.e can be touched/seen/held – fixed? The mind is pure consciousness – aware of so much, and the primary way, in which the heart is torn from ideas that take it away from a perfection ‘somewhere’ or take away the ‘hope’ of it all meaning something, and giving purpose to even suffering. If you don’t beleive in an eternal afterlife of levelling off the hardships of this life- you might as well, throw in the towel as soon as you’re born. Many gifted children already ‘know’ we are here transiently– ie. we do not belong here, but in a greater place…whatever you wish to call this – most call it heaven.

Katharine Oliver Sarah Casaneanu

Rebecca Parsley RIP man.. We love you and hope you’re not lonely now

Margaret Spillane It’s true; mental illness is woefully under-funded. There is still too much of the pull yourself together mentality.

Carrie McCarthy Febe Zylstra you might like this xx

Peter Humfrey His death is desperately sad but hopefully it will bring more understanding and cast off the stereotypes people have for sufferers of depression.

Ce-Ce Ushe No matter how many friends ,family, money u can have and surrounded by many people u can die all alone and lonely.

Judge Mental Depression is a slow thief on a long, long night.

 

Tom Broadhurst If you analyse the inherent absurdity of living, some people as a result of that deeply analytical process are going to arrive at a full stop

Sonia Finch when you are a bright light everyone wants a chunk of you. whats left feels soul loss. time to take back your light robin.

Debra Griffin Truehope.com sells EM power plus vitamins that are effective for depression. They saved my son.

Jane Whitmore When some one has to be the main person to make people laugh and have a good time, one day this illness sets in and there never that person they used to be. Such a shame to take your own life but demons talk to u and u forget what the real world is about. Never judge on people who suffers this illness as you never no it could happen to u. Xxx rip

Emma Elizabeth Bogue Febe Zylstra your story and how you wrote it was really powerful. I completely agree, it is easier to place a bandaid on a physical injury than to attempt to do the same with someone suffering deep inside. Please continue to advocate for those with mental illness as gracefully as you just have. Individuals like you will break down the stigma+ will be the making of new interventions. Thank you for sharing you’re story
Like · Reply · 21 mins

今井賢二 高志>『いいね!』? でも、文章の意味が解らない?
意味わかったよ!!!
See Translation

James Warriner Total shock…very sad loss

Muhammad Nadeem Aslam may his soul in peace

Pablo Molina Petrovich Will we ever be able to watch his wonderful movie roles without seeing “the tears in his eyes”? Actually, I hope not, lest we forget we are all vulnerable, in need of each other’s support and care.

Guguyni Slan https://scontent-b-ams.xx.fbcdn.net/…/10391419…

Stephanie Lillian Fletcher I’m African, and not only am I a depressant, I have Bipolar and borderline personality disorder due to trauma. NO ONE is exempt when mental illness strikes. Medication does help, but all mess have bad side effects…. One being weight gain which in turn makes you depressed and causes self loathing due to malicious outbursts from trolls or comments from general public. You are either fat and semi sane or feel good about yourself but depressed about life… it’s just really hard, talking to someone definitely helps. It’s an ongoing condition that needs constant nurturing… many of us hide behind smiles and laughter, if only people could recognize the turmoil within our eyes… RIP RW

 

Phil Brown Ive been a mental health nurse 30 years…twice while driving over The Tyne Bridge …3/32010 and 17/12/2013 ive pulled someone back from the Edge or talked another person down.

Ive acted quickly…each time the person was “very dissociated”
I have to say that as much as the kind sincere and compassionate words are meanindful
WE HAVE TO BECOME “MINDFULL”…BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING WE ALL HAVE TO REMAIN …”ASSOCIATED AND IN RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER”
Unfortunately….despite some of the benefits of social media…
It DANGEROUSLY REMAINS
……..DISSOCIATIVE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Margaret Inglese Just a thought from one who knows it took me 25 years to get on the right meds. Doctor after doctor just took that prescription pad out and keep prescribing the same drugs over and over. Thought process is that your therapist should be talking to you. Good luck with that one. My doc listened and helped me realize what was the problem. Right meds taken consistently are the answer. You can’t self medicate
Like · Reply · 39 mins

Michelle Pitkin So sad, such a waste. What empathic words in this article

Glenda Bogdanovs Research and treatment of mental illness is both under funded and disrespected

Guguyni Slan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbY2iTOUQA

Guguyni Slan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQU3EphIpMY

 

Malika Bouamama Invisible disability

 

Cubey G Funk https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j…

 

Michelle Ho The saddest person in the world is a clown. It’s hard enough making people laugh & be happy. It’s even harder to make oneself  happy

 

Arash Zarchini https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202542680156747…

Cemil Bikmen Cok dogru fakat sahsi fizik ve mental olarak tanima gayreti gosteren isin zorlugunu inkar etmiyen yakin takip ve oz veri gosteren bir psikiatrist yuz sene onceye gore cok daha fazla yardim etme kabiliyetinde.

Angela Lewis RIP Captain My Captain

 

Jack Vanderwyk Bipolarity seldom comes alone.  Many bipolar people also suffer from other diseases, like alcohol and/or drug addictions.  Controlling the one doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to control the other.

 

Cathy Dalton The addictions are the results of trying to self-medicate, to ease the pain….but they are a vicious circle, a downward spiral.

 

Brett Hunter i beg do differ so people cant be fixed? I dont know ? But i wish and hope, so it doesn,t happen to someones sister, my cousin, like me because we have to live for a life time and maybe when times up then maybe we know, but yet asking un answered questions for a life time doesn,t seem fair

 

Marlene Rapich Balanda DAMN THE DARKNESS..

 

Russ Collins know how he feels, I’ll Probably do the same one day

Yul Villanueva Mendoza Guess needed Jesus in his life, could have helped Money isn’t happiness
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Leighan Harkess Yeah the whole religion thing is working wonders in the world right now..
Like · 3 · 2 hrs
Sharon Moon

Mustafa Mahmoud He was awesome , but still sad deep inside , unfortunately he did not find a good friend like Robin Williams to fix his sorrow
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Chethan Bvb we are all save of our brain not mind, it proved mr wiiliams depression is dangerous sickness
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Jan McFarlane Such a sad day
Like · Reply · 2 hrs · Edited

Michael Bender Sagt alles zum Thema Depression.
See Translation
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Nigel Richards Tears of a clown, when there’s no one around…
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Hamxa Siddique DAnish FArooq
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Eve Alexander Ian Johnson
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Amanda Elizabeth Lennon Curious to learn whether or not he had recently been put on the sometimes suicide-provoking Efexor-XR anti-dep …
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Celina Stott
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Ma’aly Al-Marhoon RIP
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

David Wheeler RIP Robin no words can explain how much your humour and yourself will be missed by all.God bless you.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Теди От Наречен https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_huc9In5qY
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Zeny Competente Sanchez
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Explicações de Inglês So So so very true … and sad so sad.
Thank you Mr Robin Williams for having given me and others the privilege and joy of having such great actor during my life time.
May you be happier now.
Nevertheless, I’m so sad, leaving us so much before your time and yet so much to offer still.
U
Like · Reply · 3 hrs · Edited

Traci Sherlock Henrietta Wochnowski
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Carolyne Awino May his soul rest in peace
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Dewan Abdur Rob Raiyan
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Leah Murphy Yes, as it says, the drugs are primitive
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Emilios Koromias Legend!
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

John Mason its called life, he had one, he was on quite a different level.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Eslam Voice https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/…/16010…
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

David Edge Both his family and the world loses a great man!

http://www.healthyplace.com/…/immediate-relief-of…/
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Deniz Helvacıoğlu RIP !
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Elcio Da Silveira Machado https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3kJ0nA6gNw
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Daouda Amirou Ganaba RIP ROBBIE
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Thomas Deeds RIP Robin.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Antoaneta Naydenova RIP
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Sophie Louise Kirkham Shaun
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Kenny Given Rest In Peace and thanks for the laughter and great films!….

Some people are just too good for this world!
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Allysha Nila clown?
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

Alan Willott Depression , the black hole of despair.?A tragic loss to his family Friends and the World of ENTERTAINMENT ? Robin will be missed by so many. R.I.P.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Dolly Nedeva I dont think its you business to comment his illness.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Yves-Henri Morvan It could be. On my point of view. But it’s just my point of view.
Like · Reply · 21 mins

Tris Tan The man looked very unhappy, I doubt I’m the only one who saw that. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
Like · Reply · 29 mins

Phillip Keane Maybe wait for the coroner’s report, eh? you fucking ghouls.
Like · Reply · 39 mins

Kate Burton Love you Robin Williams. We will miss you.

Like · Reply · 45 mins

Freeman Jackson Divorce, Bankruptcy, and Drinking. What a deadly combination!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Daniel Salvia Absolutely true …!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Iain Morrison Leighan…someone else who doesn’t understand what motivates those people. Religion isn’t the issue. Power and greed ARE!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Debra Grace Peri What a half hearted article, of which I can’t take seriously in light of the truth.
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Tatheer Faiq RIP Robin Williams . It is very hard for me to believe someone living away from all the horrors of Middle East can suffer from depression and chose to end his life. Not to mention that he has fame and wealth. So sad!
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Eslam Voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage…
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Nikolai Jimmy Virtanen There is a point seeming idea that psychology and filosefee…is that You wan’t To know how does other People feel,Maybe You Can Never win the Trust.That both Are opstical science.😇😈
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Keith Hancock Such a terrible loss http://www.saigondistricts.com/2014/08/robin-williams/
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Violacolor Futura Tremila rip my captain
Like · Reply · 40 mins

Trev Coleman All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive.

i would disagree with that statement. there’s load of studies taking place on things like psilocybin, DMT, LSD, etc in treating depression. what there is, is a lack of will to use the sort of remedies that are turning people’s lives around in a matter of hours rather than making them go through years of torturous medications and mind numbing analysis that just prolongs the whole process.
while i’m just as gutted as everyone else at the loss of one of my greatest tv and movie idols, one of the staples of my youth, we should take this opportunity to start looking beyond conventional health care and start looking at the alternatives.
RIP. genie, you’re free.

http://reset.me/video/how-psychedelics-are-saving-lives/
Like · Reply · 50 mins

Rob Byrne I’m not going out on a limb here to suggest he had a manic, albeit wonderful and enjoyable personality. Somehow, he seemed in control of his ups and downs and I think that’s why it was such a surprise. In retrospect, I suppose the altitudes of his highs had to be matched by some incredible depths. Such a sad loss.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Darwin Ruan SHOCKING !!!
What a brutal genocide !!!
They killed 50.000 – 60.000 people for their organs and sell it to the World.
Is must be stopped !!!
http://beforeitsnews.com/…/shocking-truth-exclusive…
Like · Reply · 8 mins

Ada M. Ene sad news
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Clau Schwa That’s an unfortunate headline.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Sandra Shevey Did he pay his Hamas subscription tell Cruz to go away???? Not PC Robbie.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Sandra Shevey They are now saying `alleged` suicide. Murder??
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Rumana Asif Zara Serpent
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Rumana Asif Sam Chaudhri
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Rumana Asif Jason Manford.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

True Manchester United fans “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

– Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad (2009)
Like · Reply · 47 · 3 hrs

Sandie Fox Never a truer word said
Like · 3 · 3 hrs

Shu Her Journalists should take time to think before writing about a subject like this.
Like · 2 · 3 hrs

In Honor of Maya Angelou: The Caged Bird Sung and Sung

Maya Angelou was raped as a child. Visiting her aunt and uncle, she was frightened to tell them about the rapist for fear her uncle would hurt this man. She decided to use her voice; she decided to tell. Some time afterwards a sheriff knocked on the door to report that they found the man dead. Maya, at age seven, concluded in her child’s mind that she was responsible.

In response to the “deadliness of her voice” she decided not to speak. She didn’t use her voice for over six years. While I don’t think she killed this man; I do think there was immense power in her voice. Anyone who listened to her couldn’t help but be profoundly moved. The unfolding and life-giving power of that voice would change the course of millions.

In her silence she created an alchemical chamber where the power and absolute beauty of her voice unfolded and flowered. Her grandmother, whom she called “mama” never tried to correct Maya or “heal” her from her wound. Instead, mama kept telling Maya that she would be a great teacher someday. Mama knew something that very few would even consider — that the soul, spirit, and nature of this young girl were transforming and needed to be held in a radical faith and love. Maya suffered great insult not speaking as a youth — she was teased, criticized and mocked as she wrote her words for others to see instead of using her voice. She spent much time under mama’s porch feeding on poetry, both black and white.

One day, six years later, mama said, “You’ll never appreciate those words until you hear them rolling off your own lips.” [1] She took Maya to church to speak before the congregation. Maya let some poetry pass over her lips, but it was not a black poet as most would have expected. Here are her words:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

This is Sonnet 29 from William Shakespeare. When asked why she didn’t recite a black poet, why she recited Shakespeare, she said, “I knew that was written for me.”

Maya knew, as a black girl, a silent child, what it meant to be in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes; I’m sure, often, she “alone bewept her outcast state.” But she also knew that nature made her, even in her trauma, more than a king.

The first time I saw Dr. Angelou she was in her 60s. She told the story of her rape. Some people and counselors thought that she needed to let this part of her story go, but I was inspired that she didn’t ‘heal it away;’ instead, she made it into something. Life, mama, and Maya made that story into something gloriously human with all the potential we all have to make the deepest humanity out of our pain and suffering. I can hear her saying, “I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me.”

The next time I saw her was around 10 years ago; I suppose she was about 76-years-old. She asked to be introduced as Dr. Maya Angelou. She had earned her doctorate, spoke seven languages, and had many honorary doctorates as well. She said something that amazed me — that it was not easy for her to ask others to use the label “doctor” to refer to herself. It was easy for mainstream America to see her as a poet, an author, and a dancer, but to see her as a doctor – many were still having to get over their prejudices to be comfortable calling a black woman “doctor.” I think this is still true. Here was one of the grandest intelligences America had to offer; here was a black woman six-feet-tall, wearing heals and a sleeveless blouse, standing before thousands who came to hear her speak and still she was growing into her full self, her full powers. What a model!

The last time I saw Dr. Angelou she told a story of a white woman who came up to her after one of her talks. The woman thanked her saying that her daughter was suicidal but changed the course of her life after hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak. And then the woman did something unexpected; she said that she was surprised to learn that this influence on her daughter’s life looked like her — a black woman. My eyes teared; my gut cringed; how would this model of humanity respond? I imagined she would see this woman for the ignorant child she was. Instead, Maya said that she went home and cried much of the weekend. She cried; even though we “shouldn’t take people personally,” “Shouldn’t suffer fools,” etc. She cried; that meant that I could also. I was in law school at that time; I was in my early 40s. I cried many evenings after class. Maya told me it was ok.

I remember reading an interview she did with Dr. Cornel West where she told the story of being on the set of the film Poetic Justice. A fight ensued between two men and threatened to become violent. People on the set backed off wanting to protect themselves. She stepped in, put her hands on one of the men, and said, “Let me speak to you. Let me talk to you. Do you know you’re the best we have? Do you know we don’t have anybody better than you? Do you know everybody has paid for you, and they’re all dead?” [2] The man started to cry and she walked him away from others so he would not be ashamed of his tears. She didn’t know at the time that the man was Tupac Shakur. When asked in an interview years later why she did that, Dr. Angelou said sometimes we have to put our hands on another person and remind them how precious they are; to remind them that they are the best we have.

In honor of Dr. Maya Angelou, may I say in my own voice, a voice empowered by hers, you are the best we have; each of us are the best we have.

[1] Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (New York: Bantam Books, 1969).

[2] Cornel West, Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997), 199.

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory