Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Sin of Pride

On 25th April 2012, 4Thought showed a piece on "mental illness from a faith perspective" from Malcolm Bowden. I did not see the piece but am grateful to eChurch Blog for providing a transcript (and initial thoughts). I am sure many people will be challenging Mr Bowden's specific views on mental illness, far better than I can; I would however like to chip in a bit on the issue of the sin of pride, which he seems to consider the primary cause of such problems.

The sin of pride is considered the oldest sin, see Gen 3:5, when Adam and Eve ate the apple, recognised their nakedness, felt shame, hid, etc. Ironically this also seemed to lead to them conceiving children, thus starting the human race, so it is difficult to work out how life was supposed to go without 'the fall'.  

Pride turns up elsewhere (Prov 6:17, where "a proud look" is one of seven 'abominations' listed) and is one of the seven 'deadly' sins (different from the seven abominations, which include several variants on lying, amongst other things).  The countering cardinal virtue is humility.

With the greatest respect, Mr Bowden seems quite proud himself. This is the natural tension of the hardline evangelical movement, perhaps; submit humbly to God, order other people around.  

It is seen in the demonstrations of anti-abortion campaigners, those opposed to equal rights for gay people, opponents of female ordination, and doorstep evangelists in general.  What is believing yourself to be 'saved' when your neighbour is damned, but pride? Whenever the JWs turn up at my front door, urging me to 'open myself to new possibilities', I am very tempted to say 'OK then - you first'.

Mr Bowden thinks people with depression should be less proud.  Maybe it would be more humble to accept centuries of scientific knowledge relating to evolution and heliocentricity than insist that they are wrong 'just because'.  Arguably young-earth creationism and geocentricity are by their nature full of pride - mankind as the most important thing in the universe, both in terms of place, and how we got here.

Mr Bowden thinks "a Christian, a TRUE Christian, should not ever be depressed", which again shows pride; who is he to decide who is a 'TRUE' (watch those caps, worrying sign) Christian? That is usually for the person in question to decide - or, for the theistically-minded reader, for God.  In that Genesis story, God warned Adam and Even against eating the fruit, or "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" - claiming to know the will of God, and brooking no argument, is a difficult position to reconcile with 'humility'.

"I'm right, you're wrong, ner-ner-ne-ner-nerrrr" is a fairly common debating approach in any field, and each specific issue debated will of course have its own characteristics, but the common characteristic of the dogmatic approach is, well, pride, and Mr Bowden is just one of very many demonstrating that.

As am I by writing this, of course, but then I'm not depressed at the moment.  Were I depressed, I would not be by any means 'proud' - I would not have the self-confidence to put this argument forward, I probably would not have the energy to write it up.  

I'm not particularly proud of the paintings used in this post, but they may demonstrate something useful; as the eChurch blog observes "shame, not pride, is the currency of mental illness", and that's what I felt when depressed. A desperate, clawing need to hide myself; I was not trying to be perfect to impress people, I was terrified of letting them down; I was a failure, unworthy.  That's how I felt when I painted these.

I now think they are awful. Go me. 8-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Classic TV Detective XI

Holmes – Banacek – Mason – Petrocelli
Quincy – Columbo
Marple – Morse – Fletcher

GK: Mark Sloan
A tall, athletic and mobile performer, although prone to the occasional embarrassing gaff in his early career (particularly his accent in Mary Poppins). His dancing on the line to put off penalty takers has been criticised, but is undoubtedly effective.

RB: Sherlock Holmes
A cerebral, impulsive player, prone to go missing in big games, and who failed a number of drugs tests during his career, but a massively influential figure who cannot be left off the list.

CB: Banacek (c)
Showed real leadership qualities in his previous team, ‘A’, although looked a little out of his depth in the more challenging formation at Tiffany’s Breakfast (where, to be fair, he was partnered by a cat). A muscular presence.

CB: Perry Mason
The pivot of the defence, although later in his career reliant on team-mates to do some of the work, he was also influential in the opposition box, where he could really make a difference.

LB: Petrocelli
A superb defender, who gave up a top-flight career to play for San Remo United, where he was under-rated but impressive, bamboozling opponents with ease and skill.

DM: Quincy
A solid battler, also interested in the science of the beautiful game. Often in open confrontation with the authorities.

DM: Columbo
Tenacious, to the point of being annoying, he later was accused of ‘playing himself’ at Himmel Berlin, but is fondly remembered for his dominance of the game in the 1970s.

RW: Marple
To be clear, we are talking about the original Brazilian Marple here (or ‘Fat Marple’, as she is sometimes unkindly known), real name Margaret Rutherford, who put in some classic performances throughout the years. Marpleinho (Joan Hicks) later astonished with her skill, leading some to consider her the better player, but for students of the game, the original is best. The later Marple (also known as JM7) is also a popular player, but her plots are often wide of the mark and her game arguably involves much unnecessary embellishment (lesbian affairs, etc).

CM: Morse
One of the old-school, perhaps too fond of a drink for the modern game, he would puzzle out defences and always endeavoured to find the goal. Replaced at Oxford by Lewis, on the bench today, who, while solid, did not quite have the character of his predecessor.

LW: Jessica Fletcher
Fletcher’s career has been varied, most lately demonstrating with Murder She Wrote that she was not afraid to take risks, but even at an early stage for Dagenham & Broomsticks showing a good turn of pace, and with Manchurian United, disconcerting movement.

CF: Inspector Barnaby
The striker, who started his career with Bergerac (an amateur team currently in the fourth tier of the French league) but later moved to Midsomer Wanderers where he found great success. An unfortunate race row notwithstanding, he has a great conversion rate.

Manager: Poirot
The former Belgian international takes a very technical approach, preferring analysis to coaching, which he leaves to his assistant, Hastings.

Subs: Jonathan Hart , Jennifer Hart (bit of a passenger), Watson, Nestor Burma (the Frenchman has really struggled to make an impact outside his domestic league), Lewis.

Ballboy: Hathaway.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some thoughts before OM v MHSC

Montpellier v Sochaux, 7 April 2012.

Montpellier are currently top of the table on goal difference, equal with PSG on 63 pts, but with a game in hand. That game will be played today at 5pm BST / 6pm CEST, against Marseille at the Velodrome.

OM have not been having a good time of things recently, with no league wins in two months, and going out of the CdF and the Champions League. Their performance against PSG at the weekend, although they lost, looked a bit more lively, but with the CdlL final coming up this Saturday, they may be focussed on that.

Montpellier are performing very well, but one slight concern for this match is the difference in form home and away; at Mosson they are imperious (14W, 1D, 1L v 5W, 5D, 4L away) but away their only win against top half opposition was at Lille back in August. OM are still in the top half, despite the worst run since 1962 (merci, L'Equipe) but they have to pull themselves together at some point - and there were bright indicators for them on Sunday.

So, a few notes from recent matches - Montpellier have a great deal of skill and power at their disposal, but perhaps not much speed. Bedimo can storm out of defence, Utaka can power his way up the left wing, but the efficiency of Belhanda, and similarly Cabella when deployed in a central role, is more jinky and sneaky than breaking at speed. At home to Sochaux at the weekend, Camara on the right pounced on a rebound to score the winning goal, but otherwise was a fairly quiet presence.

This relative lack of speed could be key - against Bayern, OM struggled massively with the runs of Ribery on the left and Lahm and Muller on the right; however, they also left Kroos with far too much space in the middle - leave Belhanda free in a similar way and he will be very dangerous. If Bedimo can do on the left what Jallet did on the right on Sunday, that would be helpful, but Montpellier can be a bit predictable at times - up the wing, cross, Giroud. Not a bad plan to have, but putting more through the middle could be useful - Nkoulou was solid for OM on Sunday, but his colleague in central defence Mbia seemed more concerned with attacking than defending, and could leaves gaps to be exploited.

A note of concern for MHSC, given their still interesting disciplinary record - Valbuena is a battling bulldog type, and how they deal with him will be key. Against Bayern, Alaba had him covered in a very matter-of-fact way (assisted by a two-goal cushion which meant they were often double-marking him) which led to him being dispossessed several times - and the referee was having none of it as he repeatedly hit the deck. Against PSG, he charged around and won several freekicks (although got booked himself early on, which perhaps reined him in a bit). How Montpellier's backline handle him could be a key issue - their propensity for rash challenges and getting sent off would point that up as an area of concern.

On Saturday, Montpellier looked a little tight - they largely bossed the game against Sochaux, particularly in the second half, but didn't capitalise on the chances they made (17 shots, 11 on target, 2 goals) and with Modibo Maiga pulling off a beautiful goal for the visitors, it was very tense at the end. They held on for the win, but cannot afford to be so profligate against Marseille, who are a much greater threat, although their accuracy is also lacking (16 shots v PSG, only 3 on target).

This is a key game for the Ligue 1 standings, and likely to be very tight; the OM ultras are urging their team to lose to damage PSG's title chances, Remy and Azpi are out (Andre Ayew also doubtful) through injury, and there is some internal strife at the club, but Marseille can never be written off, and Montpellier can be worryingly inconsistent away from home.

Damnit, now I've made myself even more nervous...

MHSC Squad:
Jourdren, Pionnier - Bocaly, Yanga-Mbiwa, Hilton, Bedimo, El Kaoutari, Stambouli, Deplagne, Jeunechamp - Belhanda, Lacombe, Estrada, Pitau, Cabella, Aït-Fana, Lacombe, Saïhi - Giroud, Camara, Utaka