Seasonal Links: Warmth, Restlessness, Depression, Imitating Christ

Warm Rooms for Warm Friends. Another example of embodied cognition, where metaphors aren’t just metaphors (e.g., something being ‘heavy’ makes it feel more important to us): A study indicates that warmer rooms make people feel closer to each other emotionally and it “makes us think about the relationships between things as opposed to their individual nature. ” (In this case, cool = about 60F and warm = about 73F.)

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9 Things I Learned in 2009: Living with a Person with Depression, by Jordon Cooper, about his experience of living with his wife, Wendy, who has depression. Powerfully real, because they are still in the midst of a tense, consequential struggle.

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An Irritable Restlessness by Richard Beck at Experimental Theology, considers the Christian’s experience of the world as one of irritable restlessness, because of the dehumanizing powers and principalities of human culture, and he suggests that we might each intentionally and daily refuse “to treat people as strangers, as obstacles, as blank faces in the crowd.”

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Obama, Gandhi, Jesus: Realism and Nonviolence by Francis Clooney SJ on the ‘In All Things blog’ at America magazine, is a radical call to non-violent action, emerging from Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize speech defending his own violent actions (and by extension, ours).  Clooney says:

“We, who are not politicians, can dare to be more radically non-violent, drawing on a greater realism and deeper Truth (in satya-agraha), to face down the lies, cowardice, concealed systemic oppressions that are the perfect breeding ground for the overt violence that gains headlines only once in a while.  The inconvenience with Gandhi’s position [referenced by Obama], of course, is that it is not radical merely at the moment when violence erupts, but long before that. If we wish to be nonviolent, we need to find ways to live radically truthfully, without security, rejecting the comfortable ways in which societies such as ours hide injustice and oppression.”

Clooney suggests that to be non-violent in our ordinary lives, we imitate the model of Jesus:

“Jesus, the ultimate realist, would not drop bombs on Al Qaeda hideouts; would not have gone to war against Hitler; would not shoot someone breaking into his house; would not, did not, fight even to save his own life. He would, however, keep confronting violence close-up, letting the truth be known and secret systems of wickedness be uncovered; he would keep turning the other cheek, and when necessary die again, in vulnerable love, in the face of violence. Such is Life: imitatio Christi.”

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Merry — and peaceful — and restless — Christmas to all.

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