America’s Drug Problem Isn’t An Opioid Epidemic, It’s A Misery Epidemic

“What is the person getting from the addiction? What are they getting that otherwise they don’t have? What addicts get is relief from pain, what they get is a sense of peace, a sense of control, a sense of calmness, very, very temporarily. And the question is, why are these qualities missing from their lives? What happened to them? If you look at drugs like heroin, like morphine, like codeine, if you look at cocaine, if you look at alcohol, these are all painkillers.”

Dr. Gabor Maté, TEDxRio 2015

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The Parable of the Healthy Splagchnon

“We come to understand that the story is not an illustration of moral “ought-to” but rather a depiction of the power of, to borrow a phrase that NT Wright uses extensively in his work, genuine humanness. The Samaritan, most likely to be viewed by first century Jews as sub-human, illustrates genuine humanness in allowing himself to be moved by splagchnizomai, and in offering his help affirms the genuine humanness of the beaten man. It is their piety, ironically, that prevents the priest and Levite from realizing this truth.”

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The Gift of Heresy

“What I’m getting is that as Christians, heresy is in our blood. It’s an integral part of our genealogy. You don’t have to like it, you don’t even have to reconcile with it, but like Tamar’s place in the genealogy of Jesus you can’t do anything about it. Despising it or denouncing it does not render it invisible. It is nothing if not a reminder that when it comes to “correct belief” we could at any moment be completely wrong — which is the source of real humility.”

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The Purity Movement Isn’t Just Failing, It’s Backfiring

The story we hear in church so often is that Christianity is being assailed on all sides by the demoralizing principalities and powers of promiscuity in secular culture, and yet by these measures it seems that Christians are having more trouble with sexual purity than anyone else. Put another way, Christian moral alarmists are right to say there’s an epidemic of sexual demoralization happening right now in America, but perhaps the only reason it feels so imminent is because the worst of it is happening right under their noses in their own Christian circles. Could the purity movement actually be backfiring?

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Hacking the Kardashian Effect

The super-famous do not rise to power on waves of total support or total disgust. Like a metal ball caught between two mutually repelling magnets, they are instead rocketed to power by the polarization between total support and total disgust. The best thing that can happen to you as a person looking to become super-famous is to polarize everyone… your path to fame will literally pave itself. When this happens you no longer have “a demographic,” your demographic is everyone. This is what I call, with a bitter sense of irony, the Kardashian effect.

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