Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Does Watching TV Depress You?

posted by Linda Mintle

Last night, I was channel surfing on the television. I landed on a show that chronicled the last 24 hours of a death row inmate about to be executed. I couldn’t watch it to the end. The last hour was too graphic and the details of the execution were disturbing. I had to change channels.

Next, I found the TV show, House (a medical show). One of the main characters was taking an extreme chemotherapy treatment that could kill him or save his life. The physical agony of enduring chemotherapy was very well depicted. It was grueling to watch and I found myself praying for everyone I know going through chemotherapy. But in the face of death, there was no talk of God, forgiveness or eternity.

Next, I found one of the many cop shows. This story line was about rape, violence, infidelity and betrayal.

Finally, I just stopped watching. It was all so depressing. During all the horror and crises, there was never any talk about God, or faith as a solution or comfort. People faced death and trauma repeatedly on these shows and no one ever included faith. Yet, in my experience, it is during those times when even the weakest person, considers the possibility of  God and turns to whatever faith he or she might know.

But we rarely see a story line that offers faith as part of the human experience. Instead, we watch the results of secular angst.

So I wonder, are the writers of these shows so completely disengaged from religious faith that they find it impossible to ever insert God into a story line?

Are they reluctant to show people turning to God or in relationship with God? If so, why?

It was depressing to watch people victimized, ill, facing death and suffering with no offer of hope, redemption or spiritual comfort.

It was like watching a grueling marathon –people were bruised and injured, but trying to endure to the end! I know the Christian life can feel this way but at least there is the hope of a better day!

More than depressed, I was sad to note that the peace and comfort offered by a relationship with God is missing in most media programming. Without the faith element, life can be very depressing and that is not a place I want to go.


 

Exciting New Research on Autism

posted by Linda Mintle

Autism is a developmental brain disorder that cannot be medically diagnosed and treatment can be difficult. According to a 2008 CDC study, autism affects 1 in 88 children, a number that is up 78% since 2002.

One of the many challenges has been to find treatments that are effective. Right now, Eastern Virginia Medical School is conducting clinical trials that might bring a break through in treatment. Dr. Stephen Deutsch and Dr. Maria Urbano have been studying a type of mouse that has trouble socializing. These mice have very similar symptoms to humans with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) when it comes to social interaction. The mice do not interact with other mice. But in the clinical trials, the researchers gave these socially challenged mice a drug used in TB treatment called D-Cycloserine. When the drug was administered, the mice became just as social as other mice. Dr. Urbano is developing human trials with teens and young adults (ages 14-25) who qualify for the study. If the drug has the same impact on the teens, it could really improve their social skills and quality of living.

Right now, there are no medications  used to treat social impairment, a common marker of these disorders. So watching this socially impaired strain of mouse respond so positively to the medication brings hope for an effective treatment in this area of functioning. It certainly is a step to unraveling these complicated disorders.

Feeling Flirty? Not So Much If You Are a Dad

posted by Linda Mintle

In our sexually hyped culture, how does a man stay true to his family?

The answers involves a little help from his biology!

Testosterone is a major sex hormone and is responsible for sex drive and reproductive growth. It is present in both men and women and impacts sexual development. Because it is higher in men, it is often blamed for men acting out sexually. But here is what you might not know about the role of testosterone and fatherhood.

Researchers at Northwestern University noted that after a man becomes a parent, his testosterone lowers. And the more involved he is in child care, the lower his testosterone drops. Anthropologist Peter Gray at the University of Nevada Las Vegas thinks that parental care can actually shape a man’s physiology. He believes that the lowered testosterone that comes from parenting helps a man cue into his child and less into the cues of other women. The lowering of testosterone may actually help when it comes to keeping your eye on your family and not on your co-worker. Of course, when testosterone levels drop too low, this can become problematic and men need to see their doctors.

But in terms of men, marriage and parenting, testosterone levels dipping a bit may give a little boost to fidelity. Biology matters and actually works to our advantage when it comes to parenting!

 

 

5 Reasons People Don’t Go to Church (Part 2)

posted by Linda Mintle

Yesterday I posted a blog about the growing trend of not going to church. Here are a few of the reasons I think people stay home:

1) Church people require us to practice what we believe. It is easier to avoid church people and go solo in your faith. But going solo doesn’t test your ability to react to the unlovely, occasionally offensive person. Jesus loved the church and highly values it. He created the body to represent Him and work together.

2) We are lazy and don’t have the discipline to get up every week and go to church. It is easier to sleep in on Sunday, read the paper and have a great breakfast.

3) Church is thought of as a consumer service. There are aspects of it we don’t like, so why consume? So many people say they don’t go based on dislikes for parts of the service.

4) Church seems irrelevant to daily living. Churches need to do a better job addressing the issues of the day and equipping people to live in our culture. Rather than isolate from the culture, the church needs to be a place that engages culture and makes a difference. For example, in preparing for a conference that would address the issue of depression, a pastor said the people in his church were not depressed–clearly he is out of touch with what people are dealing with today. How can the church encourage and help those depressed if the church doesn’t acknowledge the problem?

5) We don’t sacrifice our personal needs for others. Churches often requires participation. It is easier not to go and avoid being asked to do anything. Yet it is when we give of our selves, that we feel better.

These are just 5 of my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.

What are your reasons for not going to church, or why do you think others don’t value church enough to go? Discuss!

 

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