Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.12.16

December 17, 2013


6 Ways to Love a Depressed Person – So, so much wisdom here, although different people, circumstances, and paradigms will inevitably call for different applications.

“Two things aren’t easy: pimping and loving a depressed person. Whether you’re depressed and want to passive aggressively send this to some friends, or whether you have a friend who’s depressed and are about to throw your hands in the air like you just don’t know how to care, here are six tips that might help you love a depressed person a little better:

1. Keep the pin in the shame grenade.

Depressed people feel tremendous amounts of shame. The voice they hear most often in their head is like the anti-Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting: “It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault.” The problem is not that they don’t know what they should do. The problem is finding the strength to do it. They’re carrying a heavy load. Don’t be the kind of friend who adds to it. Be the kind of friend who helps lighten it. Don’t patronize, empathize. In the words of Brene Brown, “Shame cannot survive empathy.”

6. Give them grace by giving them space.

Depressed people need the space to be alone, yet the security that you’re not going anywhere. Don’t get all up in their grill. Be content to hang out on their back porch while they’re inside on the couch watching their seventh episode of New Girl in a row. They need the space of you leaving them alone, with the grace of knowing you’ll never leave them. It’s the Lord saying he won’t “break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax” (Isaiah 42:3) Even though our depression is hard, he’ll be gentle. Even though our depression may never go away, he promises he’s not going anywhere.”

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors – I always enjoy book lists like this!

“Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list — so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point.

In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:

If you’re putting together a list of ‘the greatest books,’ you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word ‘great’ means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of ‘greatness’ might look like this:

1. ‘Great’ means ‘books that have been greatest for me.’
2. ‘Great’ means ‘books that would be considered great by the most people over time.’
3. ‘Great’ has nothing to do with you or me — or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime.
4. ‘Great’? I like Tom Clancy.

From David Foster Wallace (#1: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis) toStephen King (#1: The Golden Argosy, a 1955 anthology of the best short stories in the English language), the collection offers a rare glimpse of the building blocks of great creators’ combinatorial creativity — because, as Austin Kleon put it, “you are a mashup of what you let into your life.”

Keeping Black Christians at Arm’s Length – While we wish to believe ourselves a post-racial society, it seems that in both the official news outlets and newsfeeds of friends, race is an issue increasingly on the front page and in front of our faces, perhaps becoming even more predominant than it has been in the past few years. This article shares the perspective of how white Christians often fail to misunderstand their black brothers.

“Recently, for example, we witnessed the dust up from the unfortunate and incendiary remarks by a few Reformed men at a Worship Conference sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches. The men on the panel in unison condemned Christian, even Reformed, hip-hop as cowardice, unbiblical, immature, and ungodly. Some of their remarks even came across as vitriolic and venomous. While I don’t think their remarks were meant to be racially aggravating, they should have been aware that to speak of the culture out of which Christian hip-hop and rap arises is to speak of a culture predominantly populated by black artists and advocates. Therefore, to speak so disparagingly and dismissively concerning hip-hop is also to project that disparaging and dismissive tone toward your black brothers and sisters involved and supportive of Christian hip-hop.”

“Similarly, with the death of Nelson Mandela, some men in the Reformed community have suddenly found it necessary to speak what they believe is “the truth” about Mr. Mandela and to offer what they believe is a more accurate view of him as opposed to the one they believe is proffered by the “liberal media.”  As the world, and many African-Americans celebrate the life and sacrifices of Nelson Mandela, some of my Reformed white brothers insist on pointing out on the day of his death that when Mr. Mandela went to prison, he was a leader in the so-called “terrorist” group, the ANC (African National Congress). Because of this association, some of my Reformed brothers vilify him and his comrades for violently resisting the insidious and evil apartheid regime of South Africa at the time.”

“Understand, I am not seeking to bring reproach upon the men and churches mentioned above. I only want to make the point that Mr. Mandela did not have the corner on violence. Therefore, some in Reformed white America should be careful of throwing bricks, because many of their Reformed heroes lived in glass houses.

I have great respect for Nelson Mandela, just as I have for George Whitefield. I respect them as men with clay feet, who gave their lives in service to others, while at the same time holding to and advocating some positions that others could deem terrorism. I would not say that it should define either of their legacies, for they both were more than the pragmatism that drove them at times.”

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  • Tracy Penwell December 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Weeping, my friend at the first link. Oh, how I wish I could have been treated like this while I was struggling. I am no longer there now, but I hope this is my heart for others. My heart breaks to see how many are treated as second class Christians (or worse) simply because we are going through a time of suffering and strugging.