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  1. As the cliche goes, you can't make this stuff up. The School of Supernatural Ministry, with about 10,000 members, who cure illness with prayer, has has 137 cases of Covid.



    [S]tate and church officials are asking the student body of more than 1,600 people at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Shasta County to lock down at their homes and apartments after 137 students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The cases represent 10 percent of Shasta County’s total infections so far.



    Some additional info from the story:

    "Late last year, hundreds of church members gathered in an attempt to resurrect a 2-year-old named Olive Heiligenthal, hours after the toddler had stopped breathing and died on Dec. 14. Church members gathered to sing, “Come alive/ Come alive/ Come alive, dry bones/ Awake, arise/ Inhale the light.” Thousands of people posted on Instagram with the hashtag #WakeUpOlive.

    In October 2008, a Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry student moved to Washington and started a “dead-raising team” that worked with members of the local fire department to pray over bodies found on emergency calls, according to the Redding Record Searchlight."

  2. 47 minutes ago, Hierophant said:

    I am just wondering what motivated these authors to write the way they did....what motivated them period.


    I can only speculate but that speculation is that they were trying to explain things for which they had no other way to understand. And they put it into contexts that fit into things they did understand. And some of it may have evolved from pure story telling, sober or otherwise.

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  3. I think Dan's advice above is excellent.


    On 5/19/2020 at 6:26 PM, ZenPaladin said:

    I really just don't want to deal with the inevitable emotional shitstorm that would follow. 


    You are the one who sets the limits for what you are willing to take. And it takes two to have an argument. If you decide that there are topics you do not want to discuss, don't discuss them. Refuse to be drawn in. Don't listen. Turn off the phone, walk out of the room, leave the premises, whatever it takes. Do it calmly (which may be hard) as getting angry feeds their desire to upset you. Don't yell, don't slam the door. Just quietly say you don't want to go down that road so please change the subject. If they don't then calmly leave, closing the door with a gentle click. You won't be the only one who has spent a night or two in his car. And you repeat this as many times as needed until they get the message (and if that takes years, so be it).


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  4. 2 hours ago, Jenni said:

    but what I'm not clear about is that there are all kinds of promises in the bible that require us to essentially be in a transactional relationship with god but where do turn when you figure out that you're the only one participating in the transactions? 


    I think it's like a friendship. What do you do when someone who was a friend stops reciprocating? You realize that it has ended and you find new friends. Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge that what you had is gone but that's the way it is. And sometimes it's hard to make new friends. It takes work but it can be done.

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  5. On 5/15/2020 at 10:36 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

    Secondly, if we are going to deal with the issues Dr. Goodall mentions here (agriculture, deforestation, etc.) and thus prepare ourselves somewhat better for the next pandemic, it is my considered opinion that we need to move in the direction of resource-based economies, rather than the mass production of uselessness [Older's emphasis] that has driven humanity to this present insanity.


    After reading recent news reports of the collapse of the retail sector it occurred to me that perhaps people don't need all this shit they were buying. Note that in America a person is referred to as a "consumer." In my travels I've noted that people in some countries and cultures use things. We consume things.


    I am reminded of a brief adventure in retail that I had many years ago. I happened make several visits to the wholesale gift mart in Los Angeles, where all the various retail shops went to get their junk. And I was stunned at this six-story building full of absolute shit, and by the fact that this stuff was selling. If that was a reflection on our values, we are in a world of hurt.

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  6. 6 hours ago, Lost said:

    Any advice how to cope with it all?


    So sorry to hear this, Lost. Dan has some excellent advice above. Our family also suffered a tragic, unexpected loss and what I can tell you from that experience is that the panic attacks will subside with time. We also learned that there is no one way to grieve, no right way. Everyone will deal with it in his or her own way. 


    You will also receive unexpected kindnesses and unintentional thoughtlessness. The former will touch you; ignore the latter as those people mean well but simply do not know how to express themselves sensitively. Thank them all regardless.


    A grief support group might be helpful when the time is right. Walks in the forest and watching the sun rise also helps.

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  7. Thanks for your comments, TruthSeeker0. The key phrase for me was the advice columnist writing, "unnecessary risks." While I was agonizing over risk, and how life is full of risk and should I take this one or not, I had not realized that there are necessary risks and unnecessary ones. And there are risks that may not be necessary but are ones for which we have some metric for decision making. But this virus is so different from anything the world has experienced in the last 100 years. There is no matrix for risk analysis for COVID-19. The trip to the pharmacy or the grocery store is a necessary risk but a play date with children is not.

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  8. Well, I have come to peace. I want to see my grandchildren and their family. As I wrote above, you cannot understand the pain of separation from loved ones until you experience it for yourself. But I have decided that hugging them, having them over for an overnight, going to a party at their house, will have to wait. I woke up last night thinking about masks, and how wearing a mask in public shows concern for others, while not wearing one is a sign of selfishness. And that led me to think about selfishness and why I want to have the children for an overnight. And the reason is that I want to. It would be for me. For my pleasure. And under the circumstances that is selfishness. 


    It is selfish because I cannot absolutely, positively, guarantee that I don't have the virus. Neither can they. The last thing I would want to do is to give it to them. And I know that they feel the same about giving it to me. So bringing them here would be selfish. Getting the virus puts everyone else at risk: the rest of the family, those who will have to care for the sick, and the entire system that will suffer, however slight, from one more case. And that would be due to selfishness.


    Then this afternoon I was reading an advice column wherein a writer was dealing with a similar issue. The columnist ended her advice with a sentence that provided for me the end cap of the issue: "Please don’t take unnecessary risks, no matter how sad it makes you to do the things you need to do to keep safe."


    Finally my stomach has stopped churning.

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  9. I'm with you, Prof. I've thought a lot about this during the last three weeks or so. Many years ago I worked with a woman who, when we were discussing some conflict or issue that had arisen in our large institution, would frequently say, "It all comes down to money." And I think that phrase could be applied to every aspect of our current problems. We have everything we need to solve the problems. We could have stopped the virus, we could care for the sick, feed the hungry, and correct every other problem that we face. There is no excuse for someone to go hungry; no excuse for someone to die because they don't have money for health care. But in the end, my friend was right. Right down the road from here there are dairies that are dumping milk, while some folks not 60 miles away are standing in charity lines to get something to eat. And it's because money stands between the hungry and the food.


    As I think more about it, money is just the vehicle for greed. From what I understand about some cultures, the individual is subordinate to the group. I've heard that in some places, in response to the virus, they have over 90 percent compliance with mask wearing. People realize that their individual desires are secondary to what is best for the group. Yet the American experience is based on the concept of "rugged individualism." The self is primary; the group is only for affirming the self.


    I'm reminded of the Indian chief who went back to Washington with Lewis and Clark. He was shocked to see poor people in the street, and said, "In our culture no one goes hungry." And I'm also reminded of the tribe in the American southwest where the accumulation of personal possessions was looked down upon as a sign of greed. Yet here we have a dysfunctional system that is rotting and being picked away like the possum carcass down the road from my house.


    And what can I do? Damn. Escape? Not possible. Fix it? Not possible. Ignore it like so many are doing? No. The only thing I think I can do is to be the nail in the horseshoe from the fable of how the war was lost. Perhaps, by doing what little I can do, I can keep the shoe on the horse and there will be a collective result. Will there be a perfect solution? I don't think so. Will it be better? I don't know. I think this is the end of the American empire. One thing is for sure. In November I plan to vote.

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  10. Thinking about the posts above from Florduh and the Prof., I read an interesting piece the other day about freedom. The freedom to vs. the freedom from. And part of the piece was that sometimes the freedom to results in a selfish action or response, without consideration of other people's freedom from. For some things the answer is clear but for others it is a conundrum.


    But back to the o.p., my doc ordered an antibody test for me and the results came back with so many disclaimers that the test is essentially meaningless.

  11. 8 hours ago, WalterP said:

    Unless she's some kind of unregistered, self-taught practitioner, surely any university-educated, properly-qualified mental health worker should be able to write well, have a proper understanding of the basics of science and be able to tell a conspiracy theory from a bona fide scientific theory?


    Looking at this from an employer's p.o.v., would you take on someone who writes as poorly as Georgia, who has such a poor grasp of science and who genuinely believes that the government of the UK is being controlled by Satan?


    Well, I taught at a four-year state university and I saw a handout from a history professor that looked like it was written by a second-grade student. And this was NOT an issue of English as a second language. (Frankly, many of the foreign students I encountered had stronger English skills than some of the native speakers.) And, having seen the application letters from PhDs seeking employment with us, nothing surprises me. Anyone who has worked at a university knows that there is no shortage of nut cases on the payroll. Twenty minutes at a faculty committee meeting will confirm this. 


    A little thing I used to put as my email sig line:

    They don't call

    This place

    An institution

    For nothing.

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  12. 22 hours ago, Larryd said:

    The freedom I feel from walking away is amazing.


     ^  ^  ^   Best part of the whole program. And welcome. Stick around and contribute to the discussions.  And be sure to navigate your way to Citsonga's cartoon collection over in the humor section of the clubs department.

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  13. 15 minutes ago, MOHO said:

    At this point, I'm guessing, most of them realize that my lack of belief in things that cannot be proven is really all that separates us.


    This reminds me of a discussion I once overheard in a professional context. One of them finally said, "We may disagree but we can still remain friends." 

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  14. TruthSeeker0 writes:

    I've been assuming this isn't going anywhere quickly. It is sobering hearing from people whose parents died, and others who are in hospital fighting for their lives. And of healthcare workers and people in their prime of life who had it, barely made it through, or didn't make it. I'd rather look at my walls and be here at the end of all this. 



    And Florduh writes:

    But..... the rest of us need to be pragmatic and realize we can't stay at home indefinitely. We need to slowly and judiciously start living again because it could be years before we have vaccines and cures for this. 

     For most people, hibernating is not a long term option.



    Two divergent positions. I’m stuck in the middle.


    This is the most difficult issue I have ever faced. At what point to accept the risk? I have family on the other side of town. We have not seen them but for a few front porch visits since the end of February. And we are a close, huggy family. It is near impossible to be with them and not hold hands or wrap our arms around each other. The little kids want to have another sleepover. They want to climb in my lap and be read to. When you love someone you don’t really understand the pain of separation until you have to deal with it.


    On the one hand, my user name will tell you that I’m already in the demographic that would be seriously affected by this. Add to that a serious underlying condition that has compromised my immune system, and the odds of surviving an infection are against me. More on the negative side is that while our community case numbers are low compared to many other areas, the number of new cases per day is increasing. And a significant number of community members are ignoring the safety recommendations; the closures will end soon. One more is that a member of our family is working in a place with high public contact and the owner apparently is not concerned about the virus and has not provided a shield between customers and staff, and apparently does not require staff to wear masks. So even if that family member is careful, he could pick up the virus from a coworker and bring it home. And if we visit we would be exposed.


    On the other hand, however you crunch the numbers our community is not as bad as many others. Mrs. Older and I are not venturing out beyond the market and a few necessary medical visits. Our contact is limited to our family. But our family is young and they cannot modify their life for us. At some point they may rejoin their wider community. They have to move on and we do not expect otherwise. So do we remove ourselves from their life, and them from ours, for the year or two that it might take before this situation subsides? How long do we wait? A month? Six months? We’d like to be able to see our family today, tomorrow and for as many years forward as we can. I could certainly enjoy another ten. And life is full of risk. A stroke could take me out in a heartbeat. We get in our car and chance getting wiped out by a drunk driver. The list is endless.


    Yes, we want to see every sunrise we can. And we also get up each morning knowing that our lives are one more day closer to the end than to the beginning — the drunk driver could take us out tomorrow. A couple of the kids are tweens. And in a year a couple more will be there. And too soon they will have moved on from overnights with Nana and Grampa, won’t be entertained by me squirting whipped cream into their mouths, won’t giggle when I tickle them, and won’t be interested in sitting with us on the couch to watch a movie.


    So do we roll the dice, take an increased risk of death, and enjoy life today, or do we hold back and miss out on important parts of our family’s lives now to increase by an unknown amount the chance that we’ll be able to be in their lives later?


    Mrs. Older is willing to take the chance. But I’m the one with two strikes on the board, so the decision rests with me.


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  15. Dan makes an excellent point. If you peruse the Lion's Den, you'll see that the debates with the Christians who come here really do little more than exercise the debate skills of the participants. No one really concedes much and no minds are changed. And in many of those cases what starts out as a respectful back-and-forth descends into something less than that.


    What I find most useful instead is to engage the person in conversation by asking them questions about their position, doing it in a respectful way, even if you don't respect them. I tell them that I really want to have a better understanding of where they are coming from. This forces them to think about their position and to verbalize it. And sometimes they realize that they can't verbalize it and they volunteer that the position is not a strong one. Of course, this does not work with Christians. Debating them is futile.

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  16. You deserve a raise, too, Freedwoman. Hazardous duty pay for sure.  Seriously. And I hope your boss has put in some safety devices.


    I just checked where one of my grandsons works, at a snow cone stand in a remodeled old style gas station. Folks come to a walk-up window to order. The college-age woman behind the window was unmasked and there was no glass or plex barrier between her and the customers, none of whom were wearing masks while ordering. And they were not three feet away from each other. But  I should not be surprised; this place could have been named Redneckville.

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  17. Two headlines just popped up on my Google news feed:


    New York Post: New Mutation Indicates that Coronavirus Might Be Weakening

    Los Angeles Times: Study Reports Mutant Coronavirus. It May Be More Contagious


    Which validates the article Webmdave posted above: Nobody knows what the hell is going on.

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  18. 19 minutes ago, freedwoman said:

    Update. That biatch who coughed on me at the gas station does not have COVID19. I took the advice to find out who he was. The police admonished him. He is banned from going to the gas station where I work for a few months. I decided not to press assault charges because he doesn't have it. I'm still angry at him for not apologizing to me though. I'm still angry at him for taking advantage of my short small framed body size. If I'd have been some tall strong bad ass looking man that fat  sloppy biatch wouldn't have coughed on me to begin with. 🤬 That's it. I'm strength training from now on! 💪 Next time that happens I probably will bust his balls. I can kick pretty hard. 


    Thanks for the update. Glad you pursued this. Let's hope that he is at least a little bit chastened. I'm surprised that he's only banned for a few months. If I was the boss, he'd never be coming back. Stay safe.

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  19. Just got back from the supermarket. They had most stuff; we got everything we needed. No shortage of beer! :D


    And most everyone was masked. I view the mask thing this way: Because the virus is so unpredictable, no one can absolutely, positively, guarantee that they don't have it. So wearing a mask shows consideration for other people. Not wearing a mask shows selfishness.

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