Thursday, November 08, 2012


One of the many advantages of blitzing my blog and starting again is that I can repeat old posts with the same names and much of the same content without being caught out! This post will quite possibly be followed by a few on Anosognosia or Alexithymia or other things beginning with "A" but the A word for today is Adiaphora.

I haven't actually seen the word repeated by others recently but it surely can't be long before someone somewhere on the Church blogs and facebook pages I seem to have been drafted into uses it. It probably won't be used on the other sites that I frequent but the concept has been discussed over and over again. What are the REAL issues and what are the less important matters that it is safe to disagree on?

On the Church sites the big news is the appointment of the Archbishop. Of course it hasn't actually happened yet, but in advance there is much discussion as to whether Bishop Justin will be "a good thing" and uphold what is necessary and banish what is harmful. There doesn't seem to be much consensus on what "a good thing" would look like. Is the "churchmanship" of the new Archbishop worrying? Does that matter, or are the gripping social issues that have, according to the press, ripped the CofE apart  (something that the growing Thursday congregations locally, be they of toddlers at 10:15 or the elderly at 11am, seem blissfully unaware of as they contend with the far more weighty issue of whether the verger is around to open the doors to the toilet) much more important. 

It's much the same with commentary on the American election . It's not really that friends are divided on whether the result was a good one. I have few friends who aren't thoroughly relieved that Obama won, but the reasons for that relief and the concerns that the results won't bring perfection are different in each case.

The news item that has struck me most in the last two days isn't about either the Presidency or the Archbishop. It is from the business section of the papers and matters to me because it concerns the NHS and its future, or lack of it. By next year two of the three areas of the local NHS that I care most deeply about could be being run by this private, for profit, company. Maybe the third could too although I really can't imagine any business wanting it. It matters to me, I think it should matter to all citizens that our NHS is being b*&&ered about in the biggest reorganisation since its inception and the politicians aren't even having to say they are sorry for their lies.

BUT while all these issues are worth debating, worth working on, worth prayer and reflection and sweat and tears they are, in the end, adiaphora, yes even the fate of the NHS. Life and death will still go on and we will still try to make sense of it . I rather suspect that the Established Church will plod on, like a mighty tortoise, for centuries to come, but if it doesn't God will still find a way of reaching people without a Church just as he does despite one now. Physicians, whether un-mercenary or not will continue to try to heal our bodies and minds however their payment is organised. Research will go on, politicians will be elected or forgotten. All will be well even if it doesn't look like it at the time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Secret Sins and Much Much Worse

I recently reserved two books from our local library. The first was a light detective novel of no great merit. It was called "Secret Sins". The second was a venerable (28 year old) text book on an important medical subject that I openly campaign about. Naturally on leaving the library and walking onto the main street I tucked the textbook behind the novel and while I have read the novel in public and openly at home, except when reading it in total privacy I have kept the text book pretty well hidden ever since.

I have though, managed to get through quite a bit of it. It is Jill Welbourne and Joan Purgold's "The Eating Sickness" and it IS incredibly dated. There is no talk of randomised controlled trials or evidence based medicine. The clinicians have learned by observation and discussion and hope to impart their wisdom through the medium of case studies and persuasive argument rather than via graphs and statistics. They thought Marjorie and Violet were reasonable names to give their case study patients. The Family Therapy they talk of as being so trumpeted as cure all (which they doubt) was probably Minuchin's rather than Dare and Eisler's. I personally think that, particularly in the case of the anxiety they observe in families, they may have confused correlation with causation and their assertion that this is a disease of the middle classes is frankly laughable. I know that many of my friends would be cross at the slow pace of treatment and recovery suggested and the emphasis on restoring mood before restoring weight and physical health.

All these drawbacks aside, I'm going to be able to finish reading the book in time to get it back to the library without a fine and without getting caught. Unlike other publications it's not going to be found in my bed as I fall asleep  in boredom over chapter 8 AGAIN and I'm not going to be found trying to throw it out of the window in a fit of guilt and shame. All in all I like it. It's readable and despite the addition of poetry the prose isn't as flowery as some. The case vignettes are realistic and detailed rather than simplistic and infuriating and the the observation of both patients and their families is done with care, consideration and compassion. Oh, and yes, this quote resonates in buckets with me "more than one attempt to help families by formal, albeit legitimate, means have in our experience been ineffective because of the additional unhappiness caused in the anorexic by her guilt at being the cause of further trauma for her parents".

I will of course be tucking it firmly behind the detective novel when I go back to the library. I may even deposit them both through the "returns" letter box under cover of darkness.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Place your bets

Learned writers, and journalists for the more serious papers, and those within the Church for whom it really matters, will have been swotting over the writings, musing over the sayings and/or praying hard about who will become the next Archbishop of Canterbury. A few of them may have placed a bet, along with those who like to put a bet on most things.

 I planted sunflowers.

 I have to say that ALL the "Archbishop" sunflowers, i.e. those specifically named after known candidates for the office, got eaten by slugs. Many of those named after other clerics did too, but a faithful few survived. Of those, only one has a name in common with any of the in any way serious candidate for the office. So, based on the preferences of the slugs in my garden, and the fact that on reading I find that we have some things in common, including an incontinent cat, my candidate for AB of C is the Bishop of Bradford.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Starting Again

Technical problems led me to close this blog for a while. I decided to take it as an opportunity to cover my traces and delete the old posts. This has allowed me to open the blog up and make it public again. Mind you, since there's now nothing in it that may be slightly pointless. Oh well. It's a new clean slate. Like my newest little tree it may eventually grow into something