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Majora’s Mask 20th Anniversary: Changing The Future – The Young Folks

Posted: October 24, 2020 at 4:54 am


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Prelude The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask Nintendo

In replaying Majoras Mask for its 20th anniversary, I wanted to make this retrospective into something more than just Hey, Zelda fans, remember this game that we talk about all the time? Its 20 years old now! In doing so, I was trying to find new subtexts, and reasons to continue picking it apart, quickly realizing that this particular Zelda title has reflected so much of what the players want to see in it over the years, but not very often considered the people behind the games code. Weve spent years dissecting its themes, but we often forget how it may reflect its two lead directors: Eiji Aonuma and Yoshiaki Koizumi. For the countless articles on Majoras Mask out there that dig into its motifs, story beats, characters, color pallets, and remake changes, there is a deep, human connection to the player coming from this game more than any other first-party Nintendo title. When we consider this games directors, we see their ambitions to try something new and having the courage to make it weird. As a result, this piece has taken the form of observing their influences on the final product and seeing how their drive for staying creative made one of the most ambitious and experimental action RPGs of its era, and where it got them today.

Firstly, I think its important to address the work of the late Satoru Iwata, the iconic president of Nintendo with a heart of gold who tragically passed in 2015. He was a man far ahead of his time, but in my research for this piece, I have developed a new layer of love for his timeless Iwata Asks interviews. For a company as elusive and secretive as Nintendo, Iwata was always trying to pull the curtain back to let fans in on their conversations. If you didnt follow them as they were being published in the early 2010s, I hope you seek them out to read about your favorite games, because I believe they create a beautiful capsule of the legacy in these last 20 years of Nintendo. I think itd be nice to know the people who make the games we love a little better, and see how pieces of their souls find their way into this software that we connect with, especially in something as inherently spiritual as Zelda. So thats what this article is about, and it wouldnt exist the way it does if not for the incredible depth of resources at DidYouKnowGaming. Their work of archiving articles and interviews across the internet on beloved games in an accessible way for people to start making their own findings is an immeasurable resource in an era where retaining media literacy is an important thing to retain in gaming culture.

The flow of time is always cruel Its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it A thing that doesnt change with time is a memory of younger days

Humans are infinitely obsessed with time. Obsessed with optimizing it, remembering it, and tracking how much of it weve lost. Looking back and forward, our minds become lost in a spiral of what has become or what could be, whilst our bodies stay grafted to the present. Some spend most of their lives in this hypnotic state. Time is the only thing truly out of a persons control. Even if our emotional states, proficiencies, and relationships cause our experience of it to ebb and flow, time marches on despite us.

This is the curse of having a childhood with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at your side. The Nintendo 64 gave players one of the most revolutionary experiences in a 3D video game, and echoes of its final product can still be seen in almost every 3D action RPG today. Ocarina of Time is still lauded by many as the greatest game of all time. The semantics of this could be argued for its blueprinting the direction of the industry, its ubiquitous fantasy adventure, or our rose-tinted glasses, but its shadow is undoubtedly large. When Eiji Aonuma was asked to make a follow up to one of the most successful games of the 1990s, maybe ever, he gambled away his time to get it done in order to stoke the fires of creativity. At the time, a direct sequel to a Zelda game was unheard of, but he and the Zelda team were brave enough to give it a try, albeit with pressure to turn some quick extra profit with the success of Ocarina.

From a fans perspective, its easy to lose sight of the fact that the greatest enjoyment of Majoras Mask comes from experiencing Ocarinas legendary adventure first. Its jarring nature is made only more complex when gameplay, visuals, songs, and details are stripped from Ocarinas legend and distorted into something completely new. Majoras Mask, compared to its predecessor, was born of a need for simplicity, efficiency, and strong time management. When discussing the original game upon the release of 2015s The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask 3D, a remake for the Nintendo 3DS, Aonuma considered Majoras original version a literal challenge to returning and devoted players, especially in regards to the lack of tutorials for the basics of platforming, puzzles, and combat, thrusting players into the new scenario.

Iwata: We never worked on a remake for Majoras Mask until now, so we did go in thinking that the reactions would be somewhat positive. But to be honest, the reactions we received were much stronger than we had anticipated. Why do you think that was the case?

Aonuma: I think thats because Majoras Mask is the kind of game that presents players with a challenge.

Iwata: What? Its a challenge to our customers? (laughs)

Aonuma: When we talked about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in a previous Iwata Asks, we talked about hospitality but Majoras Mask isnt like that. Its all a challenge to our players. Its like were saying to them can you clear this?

Iwata: It shifted from hospitality to a challenge.

Aonuma: It was something like until then you were welcomed with open arms being invited to come in, and now youre being told at the door to go home if you dont have what it takes! (laughs)

Iwata: That might be true. When I played the game when it came out, it was like the game itself was screaming out to me, questioning me whether I had the dedication to play forward.

Aonuma: Thats because we didnt put in any kind of elements where we show people how to play this game. The game was made for those who have played Ocarina of Time, so I felt like there wasnt a need for step-by-step instructions.

Iwata: It was like clear it if you can.

Aonuma: So those who have played it still strongly remember how the game felt like it was a challenge

Iwata Asks Majoras Mask 3D 2. From Hospitality to a Challenge 2015

For the folks who never played Ocarina of Time, Link was a child in the land of Hyrule, blessed with great purpose and guided by a fairy to help Princess Zelda save the kingdom from the lord of evil by collecting spiritual relics and taking a weapon that would transport him seven years into the future to conquer Ganon. When his long coming of age tale was completed, Zelda played one last song on the Ocarina of Time to send Link back to his past so he could regain his lost childhood. However, he would live this life cursed with the consciousness of an adult war hero. His companion fairy Navi, a symbol of that youth he carried with him, leaves in the final shots of the game.

Majoras Mask dares to ask what happens after this. What happens when a child suddenly thrown into being a time-traveling hero of the goddesses and is thrust back into his old life? Links path in this game sees him resisting that flow, as he searches for Navi across unknown worlds to recapture the friend who was alongside him as he literally and emotionally grew up. Its deep in the woods where he is attacked by Skull Kid wearing the evil Majoras Mask, after which his horse, his strength, and his weapons are stolen, and he is cursed into a childish Deku Scrub. When Link explores the world of Termina on the other side of the woods, he encounters a town preparing for a Carnival of Time, and a foreboding apocalyptic moon hanging overhead that will collide with the earth in three days. There is a distinct contrast to his heroics in Ocarina when addressed by inhabitants of Clock Town, as though he is a kid with no understanding of how dire the state of the world is. When Link regains his human form, the very song Zelda used to send him back to his past becomes the games primary mechanic to save and reset the clock to 72 hours before the moon crashes down. These townspeople, most of whom are familiar faces from his past journey in Hyrule, begin their routine once again, none the wiser. Their set paths are reset and, save for the masks that Link collects as mementos of new friendships, there is no evidence that Link had ever helped them.

Just like much of the games music, townsfolk, collectibles, and items, even the masks originated from Ocarina of Time, but much like all the other things carried over, their purpose and power are distorted into something strange. With them followed the Happy Mask Salesman: a foolish yet foreboding harbinger who begs Link to complete his quest in recovering the haunted Majoras Mask. Aonuma has addressed the masks being carried over from Ocarina to Majora and evolving as a natural necessity with their limitations.

Aonuma: As a basis of Zelda games, youre able to use items to do all sorts of different things, and we felt it would be a lot of fun if Link would acquire all these abilities by putting on these different masks. We felt that would expand the gameplay. So we made the game so Link could transform into Deku Link to fly in the air, Goron Link to roll across the land, and Zora Link so that he could swim underwater. We also gave each of them a storyline.

Iwata Asks Majoras Mask 3D 2. From Hospitality to a Challenge 2015

Whenever there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow. However, that parting need not last forever Whether a parting be forever or merely for a short time That is up to you.

Three of the games masks are essential transformation totems. Through them, Link embodies the forms of characters who have gone beyond the land of the living. He takes on the form of the Deku Butlers Son, the Gorons war hero Darmani and the Zora bands lead guitarist Mikau. All three stories filled with themes of regret for what they havent been able to do for the people they care about, and on their graves are instructions, leaving behind simple tutorials for players to control their forms through gameplay. Reminiscing the development of Ocarina of Time after spending even more time as a producer on the two games remakes than their original Nintendo 64 versions, Aonuma notes regrets of his own as a designer:

Aonuma: there was a sense of unfulfillment among the staff, where a lot of us wanted to do things differently with certain elements from Ocarina of Time, and also wanting to do things they werent able to before. If we gathered all new staff to work on it, it would have been impossible to make it in only one year.

Iwata: You were fueled by your regrets of what you made but werent able to fully use to fruition. Because you were fueled by it, you were able to put on a bunch of new ideas on top of the Three-Days System and they all fit together nicely. Thats why you were able to make something with so much content in only a year.

Aonuma: I suppose so. AlsoI was younger back then.

Iwata Asks Majoras Mask 3D 2. From Hospitality to a Challenge 2015

People have spent years deconstructing the themes of Majoras story content, but its purpose was to make a new Zelda adventure using all the years of hard work from creating the journey before. While Zelda is known for its many dungeons, Majora only has four. However, the side quests and mini-dungeons before and after them are so complex and rich with character and atmosphere, and all with a distinct style of level design of their own that made exceptional use of 3D space, that their relationship with the temples in Ocarina feels like an evolutionary one. Additionally, the scenarios in Clown Town and its surrounding regions feel like dungeon gauntlets of their own, despite mostly being fetch quests. Combined with four temples that make a step beyond A Link to the Past with a Z-axis, and creative use of the space to build a weaving complexity to their labyrinthian layouts, this title would give Zelda its greatest content density yet. While it didnt sell like its predecessor, it made the most of what the Nintendo 64 was capable of, and has become a cult classic ever since; the black sheep of the Zelda franchise.

When asked about it while consulting the 3DS remake of Majoras Mask, Zeldas director and producer Eiji Aonuma treated the game from 2000 as a frightful memory from much younger days. When giving the remaster team, Grezzo, notes on the work to be done, he would remark on his past choices.

At the time, I think there was something wrong with me I knew I didnt want to open the lid from the get-go, and it turned out that my instincts were correct.

Iwata Asks Majoras Mask 3D 3. The What In The World List

This is typical of a creative mind looking back at work over a decade old, and yet, its easy to forget the circumstances under which The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask was created, and its a miracle that the game exists as it does. Naturally, a player can see the rough edges from such a limited production time in some of the games choices, such as backtracking, repeated tasks for different scenarios, and egregiously using the same Wizrobe mini-boss four times throughout the game. If anything, these faults should make it clear how incredible it is that the best things in the game were made under such limiting circumstances.

It was the terrifying first step Aonuma and his peers would make to use Shigeru Miyamotos baby to transform it into something of their own with it. Twenty years later, that risk of sticking to their instincts still holds for fans and has seen wild success in both their careers in the years following the moody little Zelda sequel.

In 2020, we take for granted that video games evoke themes beyond the routine of players reflexively tapping buttons. Once upon a time, it was a marvel to simply see 3-D games like Super Mario 64. So many things that weve come to take for granted in modern video games had been established rapidly over a small amount of time in the late 1990s. When games took their first steps into 3-D, they were at first mere expansions on the design fundamentals of 2-D games with an added axis. It was games like Carmack and Romeros Doom and Miyamotos experimenting with the Super FX chip and StarFox on SNES that would lay the groundwork for 3-D perspectives as a fundamental component of traversing labyrinthian level design and combat navigation well before the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation ever hit the market. This is essential to clarify because its often easy to forget how revolutionary it felt to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Eiji Aonumas first project under a directorial position.

When compared to modern action-adventure RPGs, Ocarina hasnt aged the greatest. However, the first 3-D Zelda adventure brought with it a substantial upgrade to the world and dungeon layouts blueprinted by A Link to The Past in 1991. Ocarina of Time provided just as many rich and densely populated open spaces to explore as it did tight corridors with obstacles. Although the dungeons often reflected ALttPs map layout, awareness puzzles, switch and block puzzles, and similarly moving enemy varieties, exploring all these components on a Z-axis brought new life to their usefulness. Combined with this depth was a mechanic just for navigating combat in these new spaces, Z Targeting, what we now fundamentally understand as a lock-on system. It was used for battle engagement, turning the slashing your sword into a rhythmic bout with enemies, an idea brought on board by Super Mario 64s Assistant Director, Yoshiaki Koizumi. He revealed in a 2011 Iwata Asks interview that the concept came one summer from seeing a circular battle choreography in a ninja and samurai showdown at Toei Kyoto Studio Park. This ended up setting the standard for the majority of action-based gameplay to this day and demonstrated the innovative skills of Koizumi and Nintendos staff as they began reworking their franchises and wild new ideas into 3-D.

I was a designer, so I didnt want to use such a simple marker. I wanted to make something else, so I came up with a fairy. After all, it was The Legend of Zelda.

Yoshiaki Koizumi, 2011 Iwata Asks 4 Where The Name Navi Comes From

The sometimes overlooked Master Quest expansion disc for the Nintendo 64DD was released as a GameCube port for Wind Waker pre-orders in the west and was an important stepping stone following the explosive success of Ocarina of Time. With that release came a completely redesigned dungeon layout to provide more of a puzzling and combative challenge; an immense paradigm shift for players who knew the games dungeon layout. Master Quest often asks players to rethink how to solve puzzles entirely, using all the same room layouts and item acquisitions but with a higher density of foes, alternate paths, and unique physics not often asked of people in the base game. Eiji Aonuma, who had his first directorial experience alongside Miyamoto on Ocarina of Time, wanted to force the series staple to evolve.

The Master Quest expansion paved the way for Zelda Teams next task. Fans often recall the story of Ocarina of Time Second Quest, or Zelda Gaiden, and how that turned into an entirely new game in Majora based on an argument between series pioneer Shigeru Miyamoto and Aonuma, who would be tasked with directing alone this time around. For years, even Iwata didnt know of this origin story, but this infamous gamble of a deadline to make an entirely new Zelda title would work its way into the games core mechanic and shaped how iterative game design would be seen forever: The game would be a standalone release, using the assets, engine and audiovisual leftover from Ocarina, and they had one year to do it.

The Nintendo 64 marked the beginning of the company no longer having complete domination over the industry as Sega was still in the race, Sony was about to launch its hotly anticipated PlayStation 2, and Microsoft was entering the ring to release the Xbox. This second Zelda for the Nintendo 64 had a lot riding on it now that Ocarina had placed Zelda firmly as a top priority for Nintendo, and as Satoru Iwata was moving up the ranks to the role of president, Miyamoto would also be taking a step back directly designing games for the first time in his beloved fantasy franchise. Aonuma and Koizumi had a lot of pressure on them but shared enough experience between themselves and the rest of the Zelda Team to get Majora completed on time. The task would force Aonuma to work closely with the team he already had on the previous title to get the work done efficiently, but that still carried great weight, even in his dreams.

Aonuma: I had a dream about it.

Iwata: What kind of a dream was it?

Aonuma: It was a dream about being chased by a Deku.

Iwata: Oh, a dream where you were being chased around? (laughs)

Aonuma: I was thinking about an event for the Deku, and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. I thought of it at home, and Dekus appeared in my dream. I woke up screaming! I went to work the next day and thats when (Takumi) Kawagoe-san [Cinematics Designer] told me that he finished making a movie for the Dekus, so I had him show it to me.and that movie was exactly like my dream!

Iwata: (laughs)

Aonuma: I even told him how do you know my dream? (laughs) Thats how put up against the edge I was back then.

Iwata: Perhaps you were possessed by something.

Aonuma: Possibly.

Iwata Asks Majoras Mask 3D 2. From Hospitality to a Challenge

Aonuma, who was new to video games when hired by Nintendo in the late 1980s had researched different genres and found himself engaging with text-based adventures and puzzle games early in his career. So it came as no surprise that his work on Ocarina under Myamotos direction would result in some of the most story-driven games to date, and the most iconic RPG dungeons in gaming history, particularly and perhaps most notoriously, the Water Temple. Therefore, while Master Quest is a fascinating experiment, it made sense that he would want to stretch the boundaries of what they could do with Zelda. Thankfully, after a plea for help, Aonuma found a co-director in Yoshiaki Koizumi, the story architect of A Link to the Past, Assistant Director on Super Mario 64, and one of those innovators of Z-Targeting in Ocarina. This pairing was pivotal because these two creators were operating in a wildly uncertain era of Nintendos history, and the sands of time were shifting around them when the industry and the company were changing.

Aonuma: Even when I was making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I was still designing different kinds of demo movies and was working on the fieldwork at the end. In the next work, The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask, I was going to be in charge of designing the dungeons, but somehow, I became the director. I felt anxious about being the only director, so I called in Yoshiaki Koizumi, who was the 3D director for Ocarina When I asked him to join us, he said, Id go only if you let me do whatever I want to do. And the result was the Three-Day System.

Talk: Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed[Nintendo Eiji Aonuma x SQEX Jin Fujisawa]

The unique design and directing styles of these two creators would come to fruition during Majoras production; Aonumas efforts and passions would result in four of the franchises most puzzling and thematically unique dungeons to date for the series. Koizumi, on the other hand, focused on the design of the layout, characters, and quests inside of Clock Town: the hub at the center of the games map. These innovations came after coming up with the mechanic to build a restrictive time loop as a core function of the game; an idea that came to him after seeing the film Run Lola Run from 1998, and spun from his attempt at building a Cops and Robbers concept with interweaving schedule mechanics. This became the Three-Day Cycle, along with tracking the people of Termina in the Bombers Notebook, would take the puzzle fundamentals of Zeldas dungeons, and inject them into conversational text quests which weaved simultaneously with the games larger narrative.

Do you want to play with me? OK, lets play good guys against bad guys Ill be the good guy, and you be the bad guy, and when youre the bad guy, you just run.

Time loops worked to Aonuma and Koizumis advantage when making Majora in such a small amount of time. Game designers program spaces with selectively few characters, music, weather conditions, paths, and dialogue, in a way that is limiting what the player can experience while keeping those limits invisible to the player. Majoras Mask manages to use those limitations to its advantage. While Terminas map was significantly smaller than Ocarinas Hyrule, its regions would have a variety of states depending on when the player arrives or if its in a poisoned or restored state. Additionally, the characters behaviors change based on their schedule. The result is a lived-in quality for a lean, richly populated environment, incentivizing players to do every side quest they can manage to reap the rewards in the form of masks, tools, and pieces of heart.

The game functions uniquely by having characters with a finite routine, and are expected to do so as the players experience the same three days over and over again in their task to stop Skull Kid from crashing the moon down upon them. On the first day, people mind their own business about town. On the second day, they begin to grow dreadful, angry, and divided as the moon lurches closer to the earth. On the third day, people flee, hide, become fearful, regretful, or mourning events that had no savior. Unless Link interferes in time, they meet their demise and the clock resets.

Thanks to his Ocarina, Link has the power to turn back time in the game, but it comes at a cost. Majoras Mask, whether intentionally or accidentally, deconstructs the heroism of Link. He begins the game clinging to his past after hes been through hell and back to defeat Ganon, searching for his childhood companion, Navi. He instead meets a fairy who is the opposite of her in Tattle, who is brash, stubborn, and a little nihilistic. However, their goals are similar as she is separated from her dear brother Tale. Stripped of his humanity and locked in a strange nexus of the universe, Link is surrounded by familiar circumstances, faces, and goals, but all with a nightmarish quality cycling itself in a veil of dream logic.

With only three days to save everyone from a brutal end and a garish moon constantly threatening to obliterate the world, Link is forced to run around doing errands and getting to know characters in Clock Town and Termina. Sometimes the tasks are big, like restoring a poisoned swamp or saving a mountain from an eternal winter, but others are as simple as reuniting a married couple, listening to a long story, or passing on a dancers dream to a new generation. Link is a conduit for the people who are suffering a loss or are close to death and regretting things in their lives. Even if he needs to reset the clock and restore everyone to their miserable state on the first day, he carries totems signifying their memory in the form of collectible masks.

By reusing characters, items, music, and sounds, with a purposefully restrictive mechanic, Majoras Mask shows a dense complexity with a meaningful, thematic purpose to every side quest, and many of them come with interlinked consequences over the three days. As a result, the themes of selfless heroism and grief routinely find a way of growing beyond what the characters say, and change is made out of what the player does to catalyze the characters routine. As a result, the people you see on screen become more than NPCs and are suddenly characters playing their role in the story, and the items you collect suddenly have more meaning.

A key example of this is best demonstrated in a secondary character, a young red-haired woman named Anju. When you meet her in Ocarina of Time, she stands beside a chicken pen in a small village and asks you to gather her Cuccos for her. When you return the chickens, she gifts you a bottle, and then thats it, her role is fulfilled.

When you meet her doppelganger in Majoras Mask, however, she is the clerk of a hotel. She is worried about her fiance who has gone missing three days before their wedding and Link can follow her, discovering her relationship with her mother and other patrons and is sometimes rewarded for doing so. Alternatively, Link can knowingly manipulate events he knows will happen to learn more about her, and when he does, the routines of many people will be disrupted as a result. This weaving complexity combines both the charming writing and puzzle-solving of Aonumas designs and Koizumis unconventional event design into a marriage of sorts. The Anji and Kafei quest in particular ends as they reunite at the eleventh hour while the moon falls and gift a mask to Link as their witness in matrimony. Aonuma once recalled them having particular anxiety over a Taepodong missile crisis coming from North Korea:

Aonuma: We were attending a wedding of a staff member and were talking with Koizumi and the others: Come to think of it, its somewhat strange to come to a wedding in a situation when missiles may fall down today. The discussion progressed into noting how it would also fit the setting of a falling moon and whether to do a wedding in the game. Now that I think of it, no matter where we go, we always talk about work (laughs). However, I didnt mind it at the time!

via NintendoEverything

Aonuma would reminisce much later in an interview on Majoras Mask as his favorite game in the franchise, in large part due to his love for the Couples Mask quest alone.

The scene was based on my generations perception of marriage but was meant to be solved at the end to make the players feel dramatic. So the waiting process was put in intentionally. We dragged [it out] till the very end.

Denfaminicogamer

Game designers often strive for players empathizing with main characters and NPCs are the afterthought, and yet Majoras Masks secondary characters drive the heart of the story tangential to Links quest. The rewards resulting from these specially crafted diversions come in the form of 25 collectible masks. These quests can be introspective personal problems or monstrous external threats, and yet they all have emotional weight. Link can make a very distinct impact on most of the townsfolks lives, at least to the best of his ability. A player feels the same pressure of the clock as Link, and make the conscious choice of hitting reset themselves. Many over the years have attempted to save every character before the moon crashes by strategizing tasks and optimizing time. Of course, its not possible by design. No one is perfect, we cant predict the future, and the flow of time is unrelenting. Even though many of the masks have only a couple of use cases in gameplay, they are often pivotal to changing the fate of another character, with Link as the conduit. It is a tone that resonates with the humanity in the players, but often overlooked is its clashing and emulsifying of tones and ideas, as demonstrated in this interview between Aonuma, Koizumi, and Miyamoto in 2012:

Aonuma: To put it simply, I was responsible for the fairy-tale sections, and Koizumi was responsible for creating realistic depictions of the lives of the townspeople. I tried to emulate the fantasy atmosphere we had in Ocarina of Time

Koizumi: And I created realistic lives for the characters.

Aonuma: You could say that Koizumi slapped his worldview on the whole thing. [Laughs]

Koizumi: I put in everything Ive seen in my 30-something years on this earth.

Miyamoto: Its a very serious game. [Laughs]

Koizumi: Aonuma was in charge of the outdoors, and when he saw how serious my town was, he made his areas of the game more light-hearted.

Glitterberri 2012 Zelda is Always Bringing Something New To the Table

Of course, Aonuma and Koizumi were simply keeping their heads down and grinding their way to the finish line, unable to know that their efforts would see them as the lead directors of Nintendos two biggest franchises in the years to come, and as Majoras Mask was the platform they first stepped upon to prove themselves, seeds of this game could be seen throughout Nintendos library of first-party titles even to this day.

The two would work together on the controversial The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the GameCube, achieving a timeless cel-shaded look that puts aging, sensitive fans on the defense as the franchise leaned a little more appealing to children. Koizumi would take his wild ideas and give us a water jetpack in Super Mario Sunshine, repurpose the DK Bongos into an action platformer with Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and has constantly reinvented Super Mario with installments like Galaxy, 3-D Land, and Odyssey, all with the wild level design density and unique mechanical upending that hes demonstrated throughout his career at Nintendo, few more iconic than the Three Day Cycle in Majoras Mask.

Aonuma, following the release of Majoras Mask, would continue being the producer at the head of the Zelda ship, and while he would leave his love for puzzles and text-based adventures scattered throughout, what he loves in the series often clashed with the status of other popular video games like oil and water. On the eve of the Switch and Breath of the Wild launching, an interview with Gameinformer asked him to name his favorite three games in the series. Ocarina, for the chance to build in 3-D, Twilight Princess to supersede Ocarina, and controversially names Phantom Hourglass and Tri Force Heroes for new styles of gameplay, and his wifes enjoyment of them.

His design fundamentals come from a place of building, and it comes as no surprise that his love for making games comes from a desire to upend convention, always looking to reinvent what a Zelda game is at every chance he gets. When he first started playing games, he didnt even care for the original Zelda all that much because he found he was bad at fast, twitchy combat. Naturally, under his supervision, combat became more of a puzzle-solving scenario.

But it is in Breath of the Wild that his desire to reinvent Zelda met with the needs of its audience, as the most successful game in the series to date, and also the one he had the most fun producing:

Ive been making Zelda titles for almost my entire career, and the memories start to pile up. I start to forget things, but I think one thing Ive always been proud of is the fact that Zelda games have always been about new surprises and thinking about different things to try, yet still maintain that Zeldaness, or whatever it is.

Breath of the Wild, it was really fun to develop maybe the most fun Ive ever had making a game. It was because of the staff. They took so much initiative and were always looking at everything in the game with this eye to improve I could see it every day. As a producer, it gave me a lot of courage

via NintendoEverything

For Aonuma, his continued work and the way he speaks demonstrates that no matter how big The Legend of Zelda gets, hes always looking to change it, and always keeps it very personally close to his heart.

It is because Aonuma and Koizumi stayed true to their passion for directing that Majoras Mask is the way it is, and seeing the game that way makes it feel even more alive than it did before. The success and life long fans created of this game speak to people because it was a product, as many sequels are, to appease a corporate need for sales after a resounding success. Majoras Mask exists despite that. The spark that created Majoras Mask the way it existed at that moment is hard to pinpoint, even to the degree that Aonuma and his staff agree that the game was incomparable to others at the time, and in the 20 years since.

Aonuma: I heard that hardcore players love The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask more, so its kind of ironic for me. To be honest with you, I could only get approval for development because I made a game of that size [of Ocarina] back then. If you ask me [to make] that kind of game again, I cant do it.

https://news.denfaminicogamer.jp/english/170609b/4 June 2017

Part of that spark may have been the uncertain energy in the company at the time or cultivating talent in the young staff, but Majoras Mask is the only instance a full adventure was allowed to be made out of the assets already built for a Zelda game. For a couple of years, a sequel to Wind Waker was being planned for GameCube, and because of the low enthusiasm from the fanbase on the game at the time, the plans shifted to creating the more realistic Twilight Princess. Similarly. Aonuma and Zelda team desperately wanted to create a proper direct sequel adventure in Twilight Princess engine as well and were unable due to strict instruction from Shigeru Miyamoto to make it a Wii Zapper tie in with no story and barely any boss fights. Of course, that game became Links Crossbow Training. The opportunity for a direct sequel to a Zelda game of Majoras ilk has yet to turn up. It hasnt been until now, after the success of Breath of the Wild, that the Zelda team has been able to use their hard work rebuilding a Legend of Zelda engine from scratch for one extra game to tell a complex, moody adventure with the current unnamed sequel, whose single teaser trailer has fans reminiscing their love of Majora 20 years later. Whether that game will get to be anything like it is yet to be discovered.

Majoras Masks legacy has left a great impact over the years because of its tone, its themes, and its unique nature apart from its sister software in the Zelda franchise. However, its spirit is carried in small details throughout Aonuma and Koizumis careers. It is a game that is more personal to the fundamentals of these two mens passion for designing games, but also, in a stressful and uncertain time, they managed to turn it into a work of art by injecting it with their personalities, and their fears. While so many players over the years connect with Majora for its atmosphere, performing countless autopsies to pull deeper meaning, Nintendos productions always have a mystique about them, and the game spoke for itself. Now, when coming away with an understanding of their artistic flourishes, it feels human in the way it presents its world to players: Despair, grief, pain, sorrow, salvation, legacy, and hope. Link entered Termina looking for one friend and, provided it exists in some semblance of reality, departed with many. Link sees a bit of himself in every individual who gifts him a mask throughout this journey, and in turn, that allows the games architects to convey their experiences and musings to the player. The humanity of Majoras strange world just might be something that causes it to overshadow even Ocarina of Times revolutionary status the further we get from its release, but only time will tell.

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October 24th, 2020 at 4:54 am

Who was Carlo Acutis? Get to know the tech whiz on his way to becoming a saint – Manila Bulletin

Posted: October 17, 2020 at 10:53 am


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Lifestyle / Leisure / Who was Carlo Acutis? Get to know the tech whiz on his way to becoming a saint Who was Carlo Acutis? Get to know the tech whiz on his way to becoming a saint Five things you should know about the first millennial saint-to-be

Carlo Acutis, a Catholic Italian teenager who passed away in 2006, was beatified recently in Assisi. A gamer and computer programmer who loved soccer and the Eucharist, he has been the subject of interest around the world. So who was Carlo Acutis? Heres what you need to know:

Carlo, dubbed the cyber apostle of the Eucharist, was born in London to Italian parents, and moved to Milan with them as a young boy. From a tender age, Carlo seemed to have a special love for God, even though his parents werent especially devout. He loved to pray the rosary.

While his peers spent their spare time hanging out with friends, Carlo utilized his time by drawing closer to God. He attended daily Mass and asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages.

Skilled in film editing and computer programming, Carlo set up a website where he researched and documented miracles attributed to the Eucharist. The millennial, whose body lies in state in Assisi, dressed in a tracksuit and trainers, also warned his contemporaries that the internet could be a curse as well as a blessing.

An inspiration to so many, including young children and teens, Carlo died a young boy at the age of 15 after a brief battle with leukemia. He offered his sufferings forPope Benedict XVIand the Church, and was buried in Assisi, at his request, because of his love for St.Francis of Assisi.

His console of choice was a Playstation, or a PS2, which was released in 2000, when Carlo was nine. Reports say he only allowed himself to play games for an hour a week, as a penance and a spiritual discipline.

He was designated Venerable after the Pope approved a miracle involving the healing of a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease. The boy came into contact with an Acutis relic, a piece of one of his T-shirts.

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Who was Carlo Acutis? Get to know the tech whiz on his way to becoming a saint - Manila Bulletin

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October 17th, 2020 at 10:53 am

Facing Disinformation In Teaching And Learning | Armenian American Reporter – Armenian Reporter

Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm


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A check out how the education and training systems in Europe can try to manage the rise of false information and disinformation.

The De Facto effort is a non-profit undertaking that was currently in the advancement pipeline 5 years earlier. See, many efforts in attempting to comprehend the damage that disinformation causes upon all social systems are fixated media and politics. True, the news cycle is the most lively part of the disinformation community. The research study for De Facto acknowledged the work of the folks behind First Draft, later on the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation, and couple of efforts such as the SOMA and EDMO observatories, and the plethora of fact-checkers turning up online, all specifically concentrated on media and day-to-day chatter.

With De Facto, we developed that an essential piece of the disinformation puzzle was still missing out on. Various spread media literacy efforts at schools and universities are primarily connected to important believing abilities, which our company believe just scratches the surface area. We wished to examine in comprehensive information the affecting procedure and the damaging effect of mis- and disinformation on teaching and learning. Therefore we began with establishing a full-blown Disinformation Framework for Education and Training Contexts, supported by loads of case research studies, attentively curated eLearning resources and brand-new tools. This is available in several languages already, devoid of any charge. Yet it is just a start, a structural structure upon which we wish to keep establishing a strong practically-oriented technique and tool kit for teachers and students.

We based our deal with long-held clinical postulates from the world of neuroscience, cognitive science, and cognitive linguistics, however in some cases needed to turn to digressive clinical paths (e.g., human evolutionary biology, in order to make certain we are on the ideal track). Though we are not researchers, we are respectable at reading, and dealing with science.

Frames are deep cognitive structures which we construct and enhance continuously. Frames assist us browse in a complicated environment by offering important details of what aspects, stars, and activities come from an offered frame (e.g. a school frame would usually consist of a structure, instructors, training spaces with chairs and desk, online platform, multimedia projectors, interactive screens, students, books, examinations, term documents, tuition, tutoring, and so on). When the brain satisfies a brand-new circumstances of a recognized frame, this leads to a physical support of the neural paths for this frame, similar to a muscle grows if you train it over and over again. The brain normally chooses to send out details down bigger paths as vehicles choose highways to smaller sized roadways. However, when the brain satisfies a circumstances of the frame where there is a conflicting component or an aspect not belonging there based upon previous experience, then this brand-new and dissonant details is primarily disposed of. This is how we dismiss details that does not work together with our recognized beliefs.

Motivated cognition is another intriguing phenomenon. In easy terms, it supplies a description to a series of scenarios: we tend to put more rely on those near us (household and buddies), in stars, political or spiritual leaders, we respond much better to images than to text and much better to video than to still images; we dismiss our own incompetence and characteristic failures to external aspects, however we provide ourselves credit for favorable results. No physician or legal representative considers themselves a bad physician or legal representative, a minimum of not in public admission. Motivated cognition works by injecting incentive aspects into a scenario, which is then thought about in a various light.

Systemic causality is a term which explains intricate chains of domino effect, leading to a single result. By meaning, the intricate chain is not observable, which supplies sufficient premises for simplification on truly elaborate matters such as environment modification. Now, we understand that our brain is not wired to gain from things it can not observe a minimum of till later on in life where the prefrontal cortex is totally established. But this is not adequate, the brain needs to be taught to actively seek for those concealed links, and take them into factor to consider. We generally like to exhibit systemic causality with an Ishikawa fishbone diagram, where great deals of aspects add to a concrete occasion. The great news is that the brain can certainly be taught to do this. The brain requires to be put in a scenario where systemic causality exists, this circumstance requires discussing and unraveling and as an outcome, the brain ends up being more knowledgeable about the presence of concealed, not straight observable cause-and-effect chains.

Equivalency and focus frames are 2 unique kinds of frames. With equivalency, we have 2 declarations that equal rationally and mathematically. The specific phrasing of the declarations nevertheless has the ability to alter viewpoints or choices. People choose a course of action which conserves 50% of an offered group of 100 individuals from particular death however hesitate to provide approval for an action which will eliminate 1/2 of the group, though this is mathematically similar. With focus frames, individuals put focus on particular words or other details aspects (e.g., a red circle marking an item on a CCTV video), and when focus exists, it takes cognitive precedence and ends up being the primary message, typically causing the brain outright declining other aspects which are not on focus.

We were fortunate to be able to check out the topic. We are now even better, as we see how schools begin to execute our technique and structured training interventions to fight disinformation in teaching and learning. We supply assistance to investigative reporters by including insights into the specific system of adjustment or disinformation, hence raising fact-checking and source-checking to a brand-new level. Now the next actions for us will be to adjust the technique, which is now targeted at 16+ and grownups, for students aged 11-12. We establish a brand-new effort on cognitive predispositions and their possible management and mitigation by teachers. We support the science. And we see outcomes.

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Facing Disinformation In Teaching And Learning | Armenian American Reporter - Armenian Reporter

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September 28th, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Pastor Bob Cottrill on Christianity, Faith, and Intuition – News Intervention

Posted: September 26, 2020 at 9:52 am


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Pastor Bob Cottrill is the Pastor at Port Kells Church in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Here we talk about the Christian faith.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is your family background?

Pastor Bob Cottrill: My folks were working class folks from British background. It was 100% Caucasian. I, often, think about the elementary school that I grew up in, which was about 500 kids with only a couple Japanese students or students of Japanese ancestry. The interesting thing, my sister stayed in the community, in the suburb of Toronto. When the children went through the same school a generation later. It was 80% ethnic. People from South Asia. People from Africa. It is so interesting how the face of Canada has changed. Their experience, completely different from mine. We were completely isolated from the world, this bubble. My parents and the social structures that we were involved were very closed, Christian, conservative. I would even say, perhaps, fundamentalist. In this sense, the narrative that we experienced was probably more connected to a North American narrative of the 40s and 50s, of fundamentalist, isolationist view. Our particular read of the King James Version of the Bible was the only historical one given by Jesus and the Apostles. Everyone from Catholicism through to liberal Christianity, even elements of Evangelical movement. These were all aberrant expressions, but the true Christian faith was held by our small little church. One of the really informative moments for me. It was in high school.

There was a Christian club [Laughing]. I went to it. At the club, I met these other students from my high school. I thought I was the only other Christian in the high school. I met a guy on the hockey team, musicians. These were just normal kids who were experiencing and living out Christian faith in their life, in a real and vibrant way. We werent alone. I thought that we were huddled in the basement. I went back to my church, of course, of 80 or 100 people, who held this fundamentalist view. I thought, Wow! Wait until they hear this, other Christian people. [Laughing] I was very nave, as you can tell. They werent impressed at all. When I graduated from school, I looked for an opportunity to broaden my experience of people who were wrestling with and living out the Christian experience. This idea of integrating the reality of God and Jesus with culture and relationships in this world. I asked my high school counsellor, I would like to go to a Christian university. He said, That doesnt exist in Canada. You cant go to the U.S. because it is too complicated. A couple of weeks later in Grade 12, he saw me in the halls. He said, Hey! Are you the kid who was asking about Christian universities? I said, Yes. He said, I got this package of information about this place in B.C. I was about o throw it out, but then I thought of you.

It was a formative time for me. I got exposure to people from across the culture and around the world who came from societal and denominational different structures, but had the common idea of God at work in culture and in society. The ethos and presence of Jesus were real. It really expanded my mind. I left behind a lot of the confines that I grew up with. I am blathering on. Does this give an inkling? [Laughing]

Jacobsen: Yes, your time at Trinity Western University. Your degree, what was it? Were there further studies?

Cottrill: I enrolled in Business Studies. A lot of my original intent in coming to university as a young person was more social than it was educational. So, when I enrolled in Business Studies, it was a lot of interaction. I enjoyed it. I think somewhere along the way. I thought about being an accountant. It seemed like a good career. I did all my accounting studies. I graduated with a degree in Business Administration. When I first graduated, I pursued some business interests for about 3 or 4 years. My heart drew me into more traditional pastoral work. Because I think I have always been committed to community, to relationships, to understanding the experience of God and values and a deep love of that whole experience. So, inadvertently, I was drawn to that. It wasnt intentional. Certainly, I never had that intention through early education. I graduated and worked in the business world for 4 or 5 years. I was very involved in volunteer work through church and youth work. A church leader challenged me with an opportunity. So, I enrolled in seminary. I took a full-time position at a church as a pastoral leader, eventually. I have been doing that for 30 years or more.

Jacobsen: Same church?

Cottrill: No, I served for 7 or 8 years as a youth pastor at one church, providing leadership to high school students. Then I was, for 5 years, serving as a pastor in a Mennonite church in Mission. Even though, I have no cultural background with the Mennonite. I served as an associated pastor at a number of larger churches overseeing public services. For the past 4 years, I have been back here at Port Kells Church, which is a non-denominational, independent church. It has been in the community since 1888. Interesting story, it started in 1888 on 88th avenue, not far from where it is now. It was Methodist settlers who came to participate in the founding of Port Kells, which was originally meant to rival Vancouver as a seaport. I think in about the early 1900s, after about a decade or two; they constructed a building that was right by the corner of where 176th street meets the freeway. You know the historic schoolhouse there. They met there and built a church there, which they eventually disassembled and moved to the corner of Harvey Rd. and 88th Ave.

Eventually, in 1941, someone gave them a piece of property. They put it in rollers and rolled it down the street.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Cottrill: That particular structure burned down years ago, but it has been rebuilt. We are on the same property. Like many Methodists, in 1925, the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists rolled together to become the United Church. The Port Kells Church was part of that, until about 1985 when, in the face of changing politics and direction, a number of churches departed the United Church. Port Kells Church being one of them. For a while, it was part of a group that left the Congregational Church of Canada. That partnership has fragmented a bit. The churches didnt have a lot in common. Many departed for theology. Others were traditionalists and didnt like new things. Others were mad about other stuff. It was hard to build a coalition. It is diminished, but still exists. The Port Kells Church hasnt participated in that for many years. It is a rally independent church and holds to a historic Christian understanding of faith. So, there we are; a little country church right in the heart of Surrey that has been there since 1888.

Jacobsen: When youre there since 2016, what are you seeing in terms of some of the differences between non-denominational church service and your example of pastoring to youth, or in a Mennonite context?

Cottrill: There are fewer differences among denominational churches. There are some broad differences. Liturgical type churches, Catholic, Anglican churches, some Presbyterian, Lutheran, churches, they would share a lot more in common in terms of the life of the congregation than evangelical or charismatic churches regardless of the name on the door. They would have a similar experience of congregational life. So, our particular church experience, of our congregation, is more connected with an Evangelical or Charismatic, or independent, thing. If you were to move from here in B.C. from a Baptist to a Mennonite to a Non-Denominational to an Alliance church, many of the big flagship churches or even some of the little ones. The differences would be more about the size and proficiency of the people leading it, as opposed to the ethics or the intent of it. Theres been a real breaking down of a lot of barriers. You notice the newest churches do not have a non-denominational label. It may be in the fine print, maybe on a back page, or in one of the dusty corners of the pastors mind. But, as far as the people in the pews, theres a real uniformity to most of the Evangelical churches or the non-liturgical churches.

Jacobsen: A lot of online resources exist online for modern Christians, especially young singles and couples. So, I do note when watching some of these. There will be the presentation. But before that, stating, Dont forget, this is only supplementary to the church that youre with, stay plugged in with your local church and your local pastor. Do some of your congregation take advantage of some of these resources?

Cottrill: Thats a good question. I dont really know. For about 13 years, I was part of a megachurch, as you would call here in Canada. It would get 2,000 a week in multiple services. We had a radio show. You have people coming to take advantage of your resources. We realized along the way. The people who attended on a weekly basis also belonged to a small church, committed to the small church, but would chime up. It may be a thing. Im not sure it is a particularly healthy or helpful model. A lot of the value of having churches is that it is a community; it is a family; it is a commitment. It is people who walk alongside you and love you, and work together with you, even when youre not doing well. Even in the kind of relationship people have with an online resource, an online church, it is, essentially, in the end, artificial. It is like watching porn. You dont have a relationship; theyre not going to be there in the morning. An online church thing may be all airbrushed. They may be incredibly talented. They may be right and smarter than your local teacher or leader, but they are not going to be there when you are in a crisis. In the end, I think it is an artificial relationship. A couple of years ago, I had a medical issue. I looked online. I figured, I am done for. My doctor said, No, its really nothing. Go buy this over the counter thing, youll be good in a couple of days. He was right. We had the same information. But my doctor had the information and knew my need, environment, symptoms, and was able to make sense of that in a way that I cant. It is not just restricted to Christian belief but applicable to all elements of life. There is this artificial element to information technology, which I think is leading people astray. In the same way, I am very committed to educated in a structured environment. Essentially, you could probably build a nuclear bomb based on information that you find in the internet, in theory. Nobody is because theres something about the structure. Thats a terrible example [Laughing]. Theres something about the structure of caring, mentoring, and personalizing and understanding people that cant be done online.

Jacobsen: It sounds like taking into account human beings are living organisms and the brain is a part of the living organism and requires an environment built around it.

Cottrill: I think it is more than it is a living organism.Although, that is one way of expressing it. There is something more to being human. There is this element of consciousness. Maybe, it is the image of God. There is this social aspect, which is, maybe, more important than facts.

Jacobsen: Take some of the comments of some Christian educators, they will not focus on the education alone, but on a level above. The education as a means by which to inculcate virtuous ideas, and virtuous habits, to then have virtue. It is a character form of education rather than knowledge-based education.

Cottrill: As you said, holding out this idea that theres virtue, theres morality. There are universal values that transcend just facts and figures. It is, again, an indication of believing that there is something bigger in the universe. This is really outdated. When I went to Trinity Western University, one of their bylines was Turning out fully developed students or something.

Jacobsen: How vague is that?

Cottrill: I know. There was this idea not just educated students. It was this idea of students who maturity and development in all aspects of life, whether a spiritual element, emotional growth, as well as academic. I think one of the big challenges coming full circle again to what you began the question with; the kind of relationship that you have with information technology is not real. It is information, but it is not relational. I think the churches. I think of even little church like mine, 100 people. It is a community; it is a family. Together, we experience the hurts and the successes. We experience the presence of God in the community. As part of that, it impacts us, as people.

Jacobsen: How are you differentiating community, family, as terms?

Cottrill: I am seeing them as descriptive terms to describe the types of relationships that we have. We are like an extended family. As with family, we have people who are sometimes not happy, who are introverted, who find it difficult to participate as fully. It is people who are connected.

Jacobsen: What are some of the difficulties in church life?

Cottrill: Difficulties in church life are people, who are people. You have people who struggle with emotional crises. You have people who struggle with mental issues. You have a lot of different views on peripheral issues. Politics is a great example. I know for a lot of Americans. Coming through the Christmas season and Thanksgiving, you will see a lot of news feeds, How to talk politics at the Thanksgiving table?

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Cottrill: We have a lot of the same things. There are a lot of ways to thoroughly address Christian issues in society. I am one person who believes how to deal with economic issues is trickle-down economics is through wealth redistribution. Others say the government should intrude. I may personal favour one or the other, but those views have integrity in and of themselves. It is the same in a dinner table chat or a church environment. Like any social structure, we have to work through those challenges. So, those are some of the challenges that we face. Also, I think a big issue for a lot of churches in the Lower Mainland is the cost of real estate. We have been in the same place in 1941 and the church structure was built well and a lot by volunteers, which has given us a leg up on a lot of folks. It is still a leg up to pay staff in the community. There are other pressures as well.

Jacobsen: What brings individuals and families to church?

Cottrill: There are probably a couple of different reasons. I think would like you to think it is a deep need to connect with their Creator with this internal spiritual need. Ill come back to that. Realistically, I think people want community, are lonely, have social expectations still. So, theres some of that. But I would say that for an awful lot of folks. The things that keep them there are that many people, and I say this from my own experience, have this compelling sense, intuitive sense even; we try to rationalize and justify it, and rightfully so. The intuitive core of a lot of people and I dont know if I can say it is universal, but this sense of there being more to life than what we see on the surface. That communities and resources like churches explore the whole idea. It gives a framework to try and understand not just power here, and not just what were needing today, but why we are here. Why we exist? Why we have a consciousness going beyond instinctual reactions to what we do? It is this sense that theres something more. Were trying to make sense of it. Churches and Christians in particular feel that the best explanation or the explanation, perhaps, is that there is a Creator behind this; that there is a presence behind this beyond molecules, which is out there. We understand it as being a god. It is not only a presence, but a benevolent presence and a personal presence. Our expressions of worship and community and study are in trying to make sense of it, making connections, with that part of us, which calls us out. It is almost clich now. Augustine or someone talked about this missing part of our heart. I think it is attributed to Luther along the way, a God-shaped hole. This idea that intuitively we want something more and strive for it. Communally, we work towards that. Of course, we find structure and whatever through Scripture, through mystery and tradition and understandings of theology. But I think the whole thing is driven in the first place and we cant make people come, in our culture at least that we are more than just molecules. Thats, at least, what I attribute it to.

Jacobsen: When we are having the different types of theology on the ground in pastoral life, how does this tie into the trainings. You were at Regent College. Who were prominent people who taught you?

Cottrill: I took courses with Dr. Alistair McGrath. Someone who I deeply admire. It sounds as if I am overwhelmed by his knowledge of things. It was really a profound thing to study under him and realize. It is not just him. It is the whole tradition of deeply understanding and wrestling with and committing yourself to understand a topic. Another professor who I had was Eugene Peterson, who is known in Evangelical circles for his translation of the Bible called The Message. It is a particular translation of the entire Bible from original languages. He passed away, recently. He was a Presbyterian, I believe, who has been uniquely influential in Evangelical circles. I found them very inspiring for different reasons. Regent seminary at UBC is a very inspiring place, actually. I didnt graduate from there. I graduated from Trinity Western Seminary, even though I went to Regent. It is part of the ACTS consortium of seminaries, which are 3 to 5 Evangelical denominations that share some facilities, even share some classroom space and courses together on the campus of Trinity Western University. I graduated with a Master of Theological Studies in 1996.

Jacobsen: As youre working at Port Kells Church, which is non-denominational, and as youre graduating from the ACTS consortium of seminaries in 1996, what is the orientation when you have the Evangelical ACTS consortium training, in terms of seminary, and then translating this into a non-denominational context?

Cottrill: To a large degree, the divisions people see in the popular conception of how Christian faith and churches are divided up; it is artificial and more social constructs or ways that communities come together because I would say within the big picture called historical Christian faith or historic orthodox Christian faith. I am not talking about the Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Church. I am talking about those who adhere to creeds and statements of faith that have been in place since the 2nd century. In the big picture, there would not be a whole lot of difference. If I was to pick up a Baptist confession of faith or a statement of faith, and if I was to actually pick up the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, and discarding all of the cultural paraphernalia, and getting down to what are the key elements of faith, not argue about peripheral stuff, I dont think youd see a whole lot of difference.

Jacobsen: What are the core aspects of faith or Christian religion?

Cottrill: Since 7th century, or so, they have been defined by about 7 or 8 key elements of faith. I dont know if this is a test. I didnt study for this.

Jacobsen: Something impressionistic to provide an idea.

Cottrill: As a non-denominational church, this is what we have tried to define, this is what places us in the stream of Christian faith. We hold to these 7 or 8 things. The others, we arent saying they are not important, but are sort of secondary. One is God exists (primary). He is good, personal, cares about us, and has revealed Himself to us, personally. Two is not only God exists, but the unique form in which he has revealed Himself in three different personalities. We would call this the Trinity. It is always an imperfect way of expressing. The Catholics would call it a mystery. I would call it complicated. But the fact that God has revealed Himself as God the Father, God the Son in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. So, God exists, revealed Himself in these ways, and Jesus has specifically revealed Himself in this world to reveal Himself and connect with people and bring about forgiveness. That would the third and fourth one. Third is Jesus is, in fact, God. Fourth is coming to the world and leading the way to a life that extends beyond that. The fifth one is the Holy Spirit revealed itself in the world. The sixth would have to do with God revealing Himself through Scripture. Seventh would be that God will, at some time, wind up the affairs of this world and bring people to account. There will be a reckoning by God. When I say those 7 points, those creedal doctrines of understanding extend from the most conservative fundamentalist groups right to Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Coptic Church in Egypt, whatever. They would all hold those same 7 or 8 creedal understandings. Now, how they spin out them, the last one, for instance, of God winding things up at The End. Some fundamentalist Americans may adhere to a Dispensationalist view of 70 years, etc. I dont quite understand it, as opposed to a different group. Those would be the distinctive, unique understandings of historic Christian faith that hundreds of millions of people have adhered to since the 7th century.

Jacobsen: Who would be outside of that remit?

Cottrill: I guess whoever doesnt hold to those.

Jacobsen: What denominations would be outside of it?

Cottrill: When we talk about Christian denominations, we talk about people who are within that. There are not denominations per se, but there are other faiths who dont hold to that. I think a lot of groups that sprang up in the 19th century, mid-1850s there seemed to be an explosion of American-based ones. I dont know if this comes out of the entrepreneurial American spirit of right your own ticket. There came the Jehovahs Witnesses who did not hold to the creedal stances of Christi, of how faith in Christ brings about relationship with God, Mormonism, Christian Science. There are some that straddle the line who are mostly in. Depending on what day you catch them

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Cottrill: It doesnt sound like it. This sounds like a tangent now. But Oneness Pentecostalism, they appear to be fully in the mainstream of Christian faith, but they have questions about how we express the identity of Christ or in understanding of those creedal things; you must be baptised in a certain way, in our church, to somehow become right with God. So, those people are mostly in. But you say, How committed are you to these basic understandings? I would say most of them are committed to those basic understandings. So, some people, if you interpret it too tightly, have excluded Catholicism because they would say, Not only do they hold to those creedal things. They have extra parts. I am not sure about those. For example, Catholics would depart from Protestants because they would give authority to apostolic tradition, which finds its expression in the faith. In the sense, the Vatican has this authority in speaking on faith. We just accept scripture, agree on the creedal things, and disagree on a few extra lines on the bottom. It is splitting hairs in the end. Because if we agree on primary things, its like a marriage relationship. If youre on the same page on most things, we can continue for even a lifetime. If there is a disagreement, maybe, we can work it out. Perhaps, it is a little pragmatic.

Jacobsen: What about individual tenets?

Cottrill: I think any of those creedal tenets. If God has revealed Himself in Jesus, if the spiritual realm, if someone was to discard the testimony of Scripture, if someone was to question if we can be in a right relationship with God through Jesus, if someone was to disregard that there is a calling to account for our actions, I think any of those things would remove people from a historic orthodox view of Christian faith. Socially, people can function as Christians, but practically and in a belief structure; they dont believe it. Then I would think that they cant call themselves Christians or a follower of Jesus. You hold to the historic beliefs, the ethos and values of Christ. I dont know why they bother calling themselves Christian.

Jacobsen: When youre pastoring, what is the difference between a youth pastor, a lead pastor, etc.? How can we make distinctions between these labels being thrown around?

Cottrill: Right, I think theyre functional job type things, descriptions. Pastor means shepherd or leader. Somebody who helps makes sense of the community and to guide it. When the community gets bigger, the tendency is needing help for the leader. It is not healthy. It is not practical for one person to do it. It is easier to divide responsibilities. It is saying a leader with emphasis with one particular dimension of emphasis. For instance, when I was a youth pastor, it was that my primary responsibility was with a certain age segment, youth leadership. When my job description was worship pastor, one of my primary roles was to provide structure and support for the communitys public expression of worship. I think it is just recognizing, especially in large environments, that you will have to divide the work to get it done. Right now, when I am in a small environment community, they call me Pastor.

Jacobsen: What are some of the difficulties members of the congregation bring to you?

Cottrill: The most difficult issues, at all, are the human condition. We struggle with disappointment, with hurt, with loss. We have to make sense of that. We have these hurts. We have losses. We want to know why. We want to know how to make it through, make sense of it. Whether someone is going through a divorce, or someone has passed away, or they are lonely, or they are disappointed in something that has happened in their life, those are all big challenges that. Sometimes, people struggle with faith. If all these creedal understandings that God is real, in good, and cares about me, and wants to have a relationship with us, why is my life so bad? Why do I live in despair? These are hard questions. They are the things that we work together to understand, to experience, and to make sense out of it. Specifically, when I was a youth pastor, I remember running these mid-week and Sunday programs. Someone brought this kid. I didnt know the family. He came a couple of times. I said, Can I get your moms phone number and name, and to touch base? To let her know what we do here and to answer any questions. He said, My mom is dead. I said, I am so sorry. I am sorry to heat that. What about your dad? He said, My dads dead. I said, Who do you live with? I would like to talk to her. He said, She is in the hospital, pregnant with twins. She fell and broke her collar bone and is in the hospital. I said, Does she live with the boyfriend or father? He said, No, she doesnt know the father or met him at a bar one time. I said, Well, youre living by yourself? He said, Yes, until she gets out of the hospital. I said, Do you have any siblings? He said, One of them fell over a waterfall and died, and the other committed suicide.

Jacobsen: This is awful.

Cottrill: It sounds like youre making this up.

Jacobsen: It sounds too bad to be true.

Cottrill: In fact, it is true. He came from a First Nations background, which is a complicated, tragic, and seemingly impossible story. That was 30 years ago. I still know him. He is a good friend of mine. I think he has gone on to live a very fulfilled and happy life, married with a happy family, and successful in business. Taking advantage of the resources, finding a reason to live, believing that we were meant for something worthwhile, and in spite of tragedy and sin, and error, there is a reason and a hope for our lives. Thats the challenge of Christian faith.

Jacobsen: What is sin to you?

Cottrill: Traditional theological definition, I hold to it. Sin is anything falling short of Gods standards.

Jacobsen: What are Gods standards?

Cottrill: God is the essence of Good. He is the ultimate moral standard. Anything that falls short of that, whether death, hurt, betrayal, or any of those selfish things like pride. Any of those kinds of things that find expression in this world are sin. So, lying, for example, or hurting somebody or betraying somebody, those are sinful. They are an expression of this departure from this standard of good that somehow God holds to.

Jacobsen: How are the Evangelical ACTS consortium training theologians at the time and potentially now? Within the non-denominational frameworks of modern science, things like evolutionary theory, things like Big Bang cosmology, and so on.

Cottrill: I think that theology like, perhaps, a lot of things in life are a lot different in academic circles than they are at street level. So, for example, I would say, Questions about the origins of the universe. In theological academic circles, I would say may prominent, even Evangelical, seminary settings like Wheaton College in the Eastern United States, the heartland of Evangelicalism. It would have very broad views on the origins of the universe. They would not be confined to or even entertaining 7-day creationism. If you were to go down to street level, the same pastors and seminary professors would be influential in; you would find many people hold those views. It is interesting. If you go around the world, this scientific I dont want to say, Denialism, or this literalism is mainly confined to the U.S. and to a certain flavour of Christian culture in the U.S. So, you have the fun park like Disney.

Jacobsen: The Ken Ham Petersburg, Kentucky, Ark and museum.

Cottrill: You wouldnt find that hardly anywhere else in the world. Many places with a long tradition. The Coptic Church in Egypt is unbroken back to the 2nd century or the Catholic Church understanding, or the Orthodox (Eastern), or the Anglican, or in Australia or Canada. You look across the centuries. It is only a small sliver of culture that has, for some reason, been really fixated on a particular idea. I think it comes out of the American experience of from the 1850s onward strongly influenced by a few strident voices. If you go to key seminaries or teaching focus, whether TWU Seminary or Wheaton, or numerous other places, you wouldnt find a fixation on scientific facts. I think you would find people looking at the biblical text and saying, This is more of an explanation of why things exist and how God has revealed Himself to us and why God has Himself to us. It is not a scientific textbook. It is not descriptive of the geographic events. But I think it was something attributed to C.S. Lewis, who said, I take Scriptures far too seriously to take them literally. Thats a thoroughly Christian thing to understand that these are sacred texts, and not necessarily scientific descriptions of how things happen. There happens to be historical overlaps. In the New Testament account, if you read about certain historical figures or accounts, history does coincide with that. But the story of the intent isnt necessarily to teach science or even history. Its to teach us why we exist. So, I would say coming full circle. In the context of Trinity Western, for example, I think that you would find that the prevailing ethos would not be a commitment to a scientific interpretation of the origins of the world, at least not in their theological training. I dont know about their science department. I dont know how they muddle through origins, whether multiverses, Big Bang, or otherwise. I have no idea. So, I think it is very easy to get bogged down in a very strident, very loud tiny sliver in the expression of American Christian faith and, somehow, think that that is a prevailing thought over the centuries, or even over the world.

Jacobsen: What demographics are at Port Kells Church, even impressionistic?

Cottrill: I would say that we have gone through a transition like many social structures. We tend to be set in certain social patterns that move their way through, which go into sunset and move their way through. I think we are in transition. I would suspect half of the people in the church are 60 and up. But we have intentionally had conversations about that. In the last couple of years, we have transitioned some of the activities of our community to make room for new generations. So, it is a rebalancing and emerging of newer families into our community. For example, getting down to the facts and figures, our Sunday school for children, two years ago, had two kids in it, which [Laughing] is not a good sign for the future. Whereas, we currently have 20 kids. It is an intentional focusing on that and deploying resources to say, Yes, we are not just a club for older adults who are moving into sunset years. Our mission statement talks about being a multigenerational community. So, periodically, you have to rebalance things and say that we are open to those things. We are rebalancing. In two years, I would hope to see a broader representation of the generations in our church.

Jacobsen: How do you plan a service? How do you implement a service?

Cottrill: Our worship service in Sunday are about an hour. An hour and a half of peoples time, what we want to do is make room for people to have community time to connect with each other, to have time to communally express their commitment, we make sure there is a teaching time, a time to explore the Scriptures together. We make sure there are elements of participation for all levels. On a practical level, what happens is that we, usually, have about 20 minutes of singing and musical participation spread across that time, I preach a typical sermon about 30 minutes, which take apart a passage of Scripture and talk about the significance of it, how this impacts our life, how we understand it, what its context is. We have an element where children participate in the service. We make sure that as we gather; we have some element of prayer. This idea that we believe God is present with us, and is interested, and responds to our communication. So, we pray together. Sometimes, it is one person. Also, this year, each time, I am taking five minutes in each service to interview a person. I ask them one of about four questions, Tell us about yourself, How did your life intersect with Christian faith?, How did you understand Jesus? How did you become a part of this community?, What is a significant way God influenced your life in this community? It gives people and opportunity to experience community. About 80 people come on a Sunday morning in our church. Also, we receive an offering each week. We have bills to pay. I am paid a salary. We have a mortgage to pay. We have someone else we pay. We pay our worship director, the person who leads the music, a custodian, and someone who coordinates Family Ministries. He volunteers at the schools and runs childrens programs. We pass an offering plate each week. People voluntarily contribute to the upkeep of the community in that way.

Jacobsen: How do atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethought people of Canadian society not understand, or misrepresent about, Christians and Christian community?

Cottrill: One is, I think they tend to gravitate to the stereotypes to strident voices, which dont necessarily represent a deep, thoughtful experience of Christian faith. It would be like if I engage Islam only in terms of a terrorist who has blown themselves up. Thats the only image. If I engage with Christians of the faith, and people who have not thought it through or who only represent a tiny fragment of what it is, it goes both ways, too. For example, being a Christian, if I paint a picture of an atheist, and immediately go to the most extreme of this is a hateful, hurting person who is only interested in tearing down everything thats good and right, and is probably an extreme socialist-totalitarian Stalinist, Satanist

Jacobsen: [Laughing] I have seen this.

Cottrill: So often, I think people think that they are one thing. Partly, it is that they have not experienced it. The second thing I would protest here. I think a lot of people are looking for an identity. This goes or cuts both ways. It cuts the Christian thing as well. I am looking to get behind something. So, if the atheists get to me before the Christians, then I going to be a Born Again Atheist and will sign onto it. I want to belong to something.

Jacobsen: Is this most people?

Cottrill: A lot of the most strident, obnoxious Christians as well as the strident, obnoxious atheists are people looking for an argument. It is like, Pick your side, I will fight you. I like the fighting. I dont care, actually. It is not because of a deep commitment. It is so funny. I remember being about 14 or 15 years old and being very argumentative. It was a phase in my life. I am the stereotype of the angsty teenager. I am going to get into an argument. I think for a lot of people in life. They are looking for an argument. People take them seriously. Theres a lot of very talented people looking for an argument and who are looking to use the structures of debate and information technology, and whatever else, to create tension and meaning in themselves. I am not always so sure that they are as committed as they might. It is a night like I feel above the fray in one way or another. Maybe, it is a part of discovering who you are and finding truth, which is to argue for positions and realize, Maybe, I am not as committed to these things as I thought. So, the misunderstandings of Christians towards secular people; people assume Christians are anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-human rights, when, in fact, I think it has been, certainly, in the Western world, that these values have been built upon. I think there is a fad of assuming Christians are against human rights or against valuing all aspects of society, whether its women, gender minorities, whatever it might be. That, in fact, Christian values subjugate those people instead of looking at history in a broader sense and realizing it is Christian values that allowed those things to thrive and become a conversation in Western culture. I think there are a lot of popular myths about Western culture in general, in freedoms, in civil discourse, in commitment to intellectualism. It is like Christians arent a part of it, when they are a part of it. I think part of this comes from the fact that the most strident voices in engagement has been with a stratum of popularism, which doesnt necessarily have a lot of intellectual validity. It is like take survey and thinking this is a national trend. As I said, I think it flows both ways. It is anecdotal as opposed to, a great example, in the U.S., when someone wants to get a soundbite of a prominent Christian leader. They go to Franklin Graham, who is an Evangelical, but more represents a fundamentalist 1940s Christian Protestant faith as opposed to a 21st century Evangelical. They go to Joel Osteen.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Cottrill: Or Benny Hinn. I am not even sure if they have a seminary education. They would, certainly, be rejected by the majority of Evangelicals as leaders. It is really easy to stereotype. I understand why. The critique flows both ways. Christianity in general is a kind of fluid target. In this sense, you cant go to the president. It is not like there is one Pope who represents all Christians and then his word is the final deal.

Jacobsen: Even Catholics will ignore and the Pope and Eastern Orthodox will ignore Patriarch Bartholomew.

Cottrill: Absolutely.

Jacobsen: This is obviously a perennial issue that will exist well past our lifetimes because dialogue is such a perennial issue.

Cottrill: I think dialogue, education, and modelling of civil discourse. Because when we converse, earlier, I was talking about how my growing up experience in a very isolated environment lead me to very unhealthy and untrue expectations of people who, for instance, were from different cultures, but when I, actually, came into relationship with them. I realized that all of my expectations were completely wrong or going to the doctor with the things that I read without understanding the context and experience of it. I think it is the same way. When people have dialogue, have civil discourse, a lot of this other stuff gets pushed aside. It doesnt mean that we disagree; it means that we are disagreeing things that do not matter rather than preconceptions that may not even be true.

Jacobsen: So, maybe, an open mind with reaching out to change preconceived notions.

Cottrill: I think any time that youre in discussion. That, in and of itself, exhibits an open mind if it is a discussion. I could preach it without having an open mind.

Jacobsen: [Laughing] We call this rebuking.

Cottrill: Right. If we are having a discussion, hopefully, you will learn something from me. I will learn something from you. Hopefully, it will help us come to a new understanding of truth, the universe, God, and what is happening in this world. Again, we talked about education, including online education, which is one of the challenges anything [Ed. Off-tape discussion over meal.] and is constricted, confined, and doesnt have the room to have the whole vista. If I was only to know you through five interviews that youve written; I wouldnt know you at all. If I were to know you through this one conversation, then I wouldnt you at all. If you research me through the internet, then you wouldnt understand me at all. However, if people have conversations and learn about one another, then they learn about one another and a whole lot more about life. One of the challenges, again, is the political landscape, and everything else, in which everyone retreats to enclosed camps, as you said. Another great example of this is the debate about climate change. It is about how people can have access to the same facts, the same experience; yet, they come to completely opposite conclusions, live in a closed community, where they are bombarded with the same take on things. They dont really evaluate what is actually happening. When I say, Education, it is this idea of being exposed to ideas and information and context, and wisdom. You know when you meet someone. They have been around for a while. They have had the chance to wrestle with things, look at it from a different angle, and understand that, maybe, they are not in it to convince you. They are committed to it because they have found some aspect of truth or hope, or future in it.

Jacobsen: You mentioned central tenets before. What is God to you?

Cottrill: I was thinking about this last night. Not in the context of our conversation, Am I convinced that God exists because of theological or factual, or scientific, reasons? I dont think so. It is this intuitive sense. I dont know if I was born with it or whatever. Somehow, my existence, and my life, and my being here, has a connection thats bigger than just living for 50 or 60 or 80 years. Theres something else out there mystical, and good, and powerful. Something that transcends our human existence. In the Christian faith, the understanding of God is there is this presence in the universe that is good, powerful, and benevolent. Thats God. It transcends our existence in this dimension. I think people have pursued that philosophically and come up with philosophical arguments for the existence of God. There are people who pursue it in terms of the natural realm. They talk about natural theology. There are people who experience that in Charismatic Christianity. God reveals Himself to us in mystical ways. To me, it was this intuitive sense; I was born knowing God exists. I think many, many people have that sense. I would like to think everybody has that sense.

Jacobsen: Most Canadians probably do, given the demographics.

Cottrill: I would say, Most Africans do.

Jacobsen: What do you mean by that?

Cottrill: I would say most Africans have a commitment to the supernatural world. They know from the time that they are born. In fact, most cultures know that there is something greater than the flesh and blood experience. I think only the Christian faith is a refinement, Not only is it true. It makes sense. God has revealed Himself in this Christian structure. Here is the thing, maybe, I am not right in this. I think many people who dispute that: If they are walking by a graveyard at 2 in the morning and the moon shines through the branches, and if they hear a wolf howl in the distance, a shiver runs down their back. Intuitively, something is telling them. There is something more out there. I am not trying to attribute some superstitious presence at that very moment. But something in us tells us that there has got to be more meaning to this world than organic material decaying in the grave; I am just on my way home.

Jacobsen: What about failures of intuition?

Cottrill: Yes, thats the tricky part. Intuition is an indication that something is there. We dont always understand what it is telling us. When intuition fails, it is our interpretation of intuition. In other words, one person has an intuition. This, perhaps, leads them into Satanism. Another person, myself, it has lead me to this deep commitment to the Christian faith. Clearly, one of our intuitions has failed. But I dont think it is the intuition itself. How do you make sense of that? I think that sometimes and I cant speak for atheists or agnostics people arent being complete honest, Yes, in my honest moments with myself, I think there might be something more to this universe. I might disagree with Christians about what it is, but I dont know.

Jacobsen: Would that be the compliment to the idea alluded to before? Christians having moments of serious doubt as per the experience of coming across the First Nations now-friend of yours: the mother is dead, the father is dead, one brother committed suicide, another brother fell and died in an accident, and his sister is pregnant with a back injury on the farm. In this sense, these present serious reasons for further reflection and doubt to the believing Christian as those other moments cause reasons to believe for the non-Christian.

Cottrill: I did get side tracked. I have such an abiding trust of God as a presence in the universe. As to why the Christian expression of faith makes the most sense, those are different questions along the way. I have always had a sense of a deep abiding trust of God in the universe. I attribute it to this intuition. I have studied, to some degree, theology, apologetics, etc., but thats not why I believe in God. I have just always known. I do believe most people do know there is something out there. I do not want to speak for everyone. Even most people who do not agree with me on the Christian view, we do talk about there being more than a naturalism, more than scientific evolution of social mores. There is something else that life is about. Thats what I am about.

Jacobsen: Thank you, Pastor Cottrill.

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially womens and childrens rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email.

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Pastor Bob Cottrill on Christianity, Faith, and Intuition - News Intervention

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September 26th, 2020 at 9:52 am

How To Support Racial Justice, Diversity and Activism This Week In Louisville (8/24) – Louisville Eccentric Observer

Posted: August 27, 2020 at 3:53 am


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MONDAY, Aug. 24

#BreonnaConVarious LocationsFree | Times varyBreonnaCon, by the national social justice organization Until Freedom, continues with a full day, including an Organizing Bootcamp and Breonnas Law Policy Roundtable at Simmons College, starting at 11 a.m. And, a Praise in the Park mass spiritual revival at Waterfront Park at 7 p.m. Tomorrow, Until Freedom is hosting a march on the LMPD Training Academy at 2 p.m., starting at South Central Park. LMPD is aware of the demonstration. Some local organizers and leaders have criticized BreonnaCon. You can read about why there is tension between local and national organizers here.

Lunch with Louisville Evolutionary Ricky Jones ZoomFree | NoonRicky L. Jones, the chair of UofLs Pan-African Studies Department and a former LEO columnist, joins Jud Hendrix, the executive director of Louisvilles Interfaith Paths to Peace for an insightful, lunchtime conversation.

Racial Justice Virtual Programming: Youth Should be Seen AND Heard OnlineFree (or $10 donation) | 5 p.m.I Am America is a new virtual program from the Muhammad Ali Center generating conversations about pressing racial justice challenges. This iteration is about amplifying youth voices and leadership in social movements. Panelists are senior fellow with the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center Jailen Leavall, One Love Louisville Youth Implementation Team member and Youth Coalition Louisville organizer Imani Smith and Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students alum and youth organizer Aubri Stevenson. Registration is required.

Open Air Yoga Bicentennial Park, New Albany$10 | 7 p.m.You might have a case of the 2020s if youre feeling anxious and exhausted by life. Luckily Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center, a Black-owned business in New Albany, has a salve: outdoor, healing yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the month of August. Come restore balance & inner peace with our yoga classes that are designed to reduce anxiety, strengthen your mental wellness and your body, organizers say. On Wednesday, Robin leads a traditional flow yoga class at 7 p.m. at Bicentennial Park.

No Fascist USA! Talk #4 ZoomFree | Noon-1:30 p.m.This is the final of four talks about anti-fascist movements, sponsored by City Lights Booksellers, Carmichaels Bookstore and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice. Hilary Moore and James Tracey, the authors of No Fascist USA!: The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Lessons for Todays Movements, are among those leading the discussion. Susan M. Reverby, the author of Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy and Co-conspirator for Justice: The Revolutionary Life of Dr. Alan Berkman will also be there. Register beforehand to participate.

Reparations Roundtable ZoomFree | 9-11 p.m.Louisvilles Reparations Roundtable group continues to collect donations from and educate white people who want to give back to American descendants of slavery on their own instead of waiting on the government. This is one of the organizations monthly learning meetings.

100 Years Later: The Collective Power of Women Muhammad Ali Center/Facebook LiveFree (or $10 donation) | 10-11 a.m.Every year, the Muhammad Ali Center honors female leaders of social change, activism and pursuits of justice with its Daughters of Greatness program. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (granting women the right to vote), the Ali Center and Metro United Way are hosting this virtual (and in-person) conversation on the collective power of women, the systems that divide us, and the imperative for true unity. A diverse group of past Daughters of Greatness will lead the talk, including founding Daughter Ambassador Shabazz (the oldest daughter of Malcolm X) and Cate Fosl of the Anne Braden Institute.

Black Breastfeeding WeekAnywhereDonation based | Any timeIn celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, the Kentuckiana Lactation Improvement Coalition is collecting donations to help Black women, including for photo sessions for Black mothers, scholarships for Black lactation education and female Black-owned businesses. Black Breastfeeding Week exists because Black infants have higher mortality rates than white babies, and these Black children could especially benefit from the immunity and nutritional benefits of breast milk, organizers say. You can donate via PayPal to info@klicbreastfeeding.org.

Black Market KY AnywhereDonation based | Any timeIf you missed it, Black Market KY, a Black-owned grocery store with plans to open in The West End, raised $10,000 in one day this weekend by asking 100 people to invest $100. But, you can still contribute your share by sending money via CashApp or Venmo.

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How To Support Racial Justice, Diversity and Activism This Week In Louisville (8/24) - Louisville Eccentric Observer

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August 27th, 2020 at 3:53 am

Japan’s office worker struggles to adjust to a ‘new normal’ – The Japan Times

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New normal is an old phrase, traceable to science fiction author Robert Heinleins 1966 novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Its 2075; the moon is a penal colony; the inmates revolt and look forward to a better future, when life can get back to normal, a new normal free of the Authority, free of guards free of passports and searches and arbitrary arrests.

The crisis-ridden 21st century has given the expression new life and a lurid cast. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States; the 2008 Lehman Shock; the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdowns; worldwide weather events of unprecedented violence; and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic, all spawned warnings of a new normal, more sinister by far than the old, in which anything can happen and much that does is ghastly hitherto unthinkable, now commonplace.

A book published in June by investment company CEO Masakazu Mito bears the title, The New Normal: Can You Live in a World in Which the Salaryman is Extinct?

Were going to have to, it seems. COVID-19 didnt kill the distinctive Japanese type known as the salaryman. Its been an endangered species for years. Globalism stunned it, information technology outpaced it, career women challenged its masculine exclusivity even before artificial intelligence threatened it with terminal redundancy. Then came COVID-19, with its frontal assault on the office culture. Social distancing, remote work, officelessness can salarymen breathe this air?

They cannot, Mito argues. Only entrepreneurs can, he fears. Thats good and bad good insofar as the vigorous entrepreneurial spirit is; bad because, after all, the salaryman had his virtues as well, whose extinction would be societys loss.

No figure typifies postwar Japan better than the salaryman. He was born prewar fathered, as it happens, by one of the nations most remarkable entrepreneurs. Konosuke Matsushita (1894-1989) founded Matsushita Electric in 1918. We know it today as Panasonic Corp.

He was a round peg in a square hole, a visionary among realists a realist himself, however, one of whose visions, the salaryman, was realism personified to subsequent generations. When the 1929 depression hit and unemployment soared, Matsushita, spurning conventional wisdom (as journalist Mark Weston tells us in Giants of Japan: The Lives of Japans Most Influential Men and Women), laid no one off. Lifetime employment was his unspoken commitment; company loyalty, the anticipated payoff.

Matsushita didnt stop there. Next came garnishes like the company song, the daily morning assembly eccentricities then and quaint now, but in their time a new normal. It molded the salaryman ethos.

When I joined Matsushita in 1937, I hated the daily ritual of morning assembly, Weston quotes Toshihiko Yamashita as recalling in later years as Matsushita Electrics president, everyone reciting the company creed and singing the company song.

The creed consisted of seven principles: Service to the public; teamwork for the common cause; courtesy and humility; and so on platitudes that smack embarrassingly of a return to nursery school; and yet, Yamashita continues, by daily repetition of these laudable ideas you gradually take them to heart.

You had to. Company officials do their best to reinforce employee identification with the company, wrote scholar Ezra Vogel in his 1979 classic Japan as Number One. They provide elaborate annual ceremonies for inducting the new employees. For spiritual and disciplinary training, the employee may go on retreats, visit temples or endure special hardships. To strengthen the bonds of solidarity, the new employee may be housed in company dorms even if it means being separated from his spouse or parents.

Patronizing? Stifling? Some found it so, but for the rest of the 20th century, lifetime employment in the protective environment provided by major Japanese corporations was what college graduates most aspired to an aspiration far from dead even now. A lost generation now in its 40s and 50s, victims of the hiring freeze of the 1990s and 2000s, have ample reason to envy the prosperous stability their fathers and grandfathers took for granted.

Such stability is gone. Society has moved on, the economy has moved on, technological change demands faster responses than traditional corporate consensus-based decision-making can muster. Men want private lives and family lives; women want out of the kitchen and nursery. And now, COVID-19. Company spirit masked is company spirit smothered.

Mito draws our attention to an emerging phrase: bunsan shakai (the dispersed society) the dissolution, in effect, of the bonds of solidarity. If revolution suggests speed as opposed to evolutionary slowness, COVID-19 is a revolution. What it has given us masks, telework, online socializing, takeout-only ghost restaurants is summed up by two old words newly coupled: social distance. Japan had less of it than other developed societies. Its catching up fast. Not fast enough, if rising infection rates are indicative.

Will we ever relate to each other again as we did pre-COVID-19? If dispersion brings out the latent entrepreneur in us, so much the better, says Mito. The economy will be the richer for it, and so may we all be, in ways not merely economic. It could make us stronger and more self-reliant. It could also, he adds ominously, turn us inward to a degree not necessarily conducive to emotional well-being.

Humans, he points out, are communicating animals. As infants we crave skinship. We grow into words and sentences, simple at first, increasingly complex and nuanced as we mature. Children deprived of communication are prone to development problems, he says, and, as adults, no pleasure is complete and no sorrow unrelieved without telling someone about it.

New communication devices in the 20th and 21st centuries have driven us from one new normal to another, making face-to-face communication less and less necessary, more and more irksome. Before COVID-19, it was already possible to live without ever leaving the house. During COVID-19, we are encouraged to in some places, required to. After COVID-19, what then?

Well know eventually not soon, barring unforeseen sudden good news on the medical front. The longer COVID-19 endures, the farther its new normals are likely to take us from old ones.

Big in Japan is a weekly column that focuses on issues being discussed by domestic media organizations. Michael Hoffmans latest book, now on sale, is Cipangu, Golden Cipangu: Essays in Japanese History.

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Japan's office worker struggles to adjust to a 'new normal' - The Japan Times

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August 27th, 2020 at 3:53 am

The 7 Stages of Spiritual Development | The Chopra Center

Posted: May 17, 2020 at 10:44 pm


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You are a spiritual being and have the potential to fully embrace your spirituality. However, like everything in life, embarking on your spiritual path is a choice.In life you are presented with several choices leading to new stages of development. Initially, most progress along the same path but, at certain points, you have choiceswhether to stay immersed in the status quo world or to explore the splendors of your spiritual journey. These choices can appear at any time during your life; the key is to stay alert and listen to the wisdom of your heart.

You are born into a material world, where your life is dominated by your lower three chakras. You enter the world in a state of innocence and as long as you are healthy and have a loving family, you live in a world of joy and bliss. You still have a strong connection to the Divine and the field of the Absolute from which your consciousness just emerged. The spiritual being is still very much awake. However, for most this memory begins to fade as you are taught how to fit in and you become distracted by the world around you. A rare few manage to maintain their Divine connection and enjoy spiritual greatness.

As you grow, the ego emerges and soon you realize that you are completely at the mercy of all around you. The pure love you have experienced up until now begins to be overshadowed by fear and its corresponding emotions. You find that to get what you want, you have to please those in charge. You develop your personality and begin creating all the stories that will shape and define your life.

In your desire to overcome fear, you create success in your life. You become educated, start your careers and family. You want to have control to eliminate fear. You accumulate things to give you a sense of security.

For many people, further growth and spiritual development ends here. You choose to continue to be consumed with material desires, you seek more and more power and control. Your life becomes self-centered and you remain at Stage 3.

For others, a feeling that there is more to life begins to dawn. Rather than just accumulating possessions and power, you look for a deeper meaning to life. You start to awaken spiritually and continue to Stage 4.

In this stage, you begin to realize that there is more to life than personal power and material gain. You ask yourself how you can help others, how can you serve the world around you. You become comfortable with giving as well as receiving.

However, giving can also create a sense of power. At this stage, giving can often still be ego driven. You give because you expect some form of recognition or because it makes you feel good about yourself.

You can continue to give from the level of ego, always expecting something in return for your giving. This obviously can have a lot of merit, and you can do many good things in the world. However, it leaves a constriction to your full spiritual growth.

The opportunity of your second choice is when you begin to give from the level of love and compassion without any concern for recognition or reward. Your giving becomes selfless and your true spiritual journey begins.

Now you begin your regular spiritual practices. The longing for Enlightenment grows within you. Your decisions now come mostly from the fourth chakra, the heart center.

You begin to look for the deeper meaning of things. You try to understand why you are here and how you can make your life more meaningful. You may study with teachers and gurus. You read books and practice techniques. You have glimpses of the goal that encourages you to remain on the path.

The throat chakra opens as you express the qualities of the heart in your life.

Cosmic Consciousness dawns. Your mind fully awakens. You become the witness of your actions and realize that you are the role player in the multitude of roles you play. The fear of death dissolves as you realize that life is just another role. Simple yogic powers become available to us.However, there is still a separation between the giver and the recipient.

You have now reached another critical junction point in your journey. Your mind is fully awake but some ego is still present. The choice or mistake here is to believe that you are something special. You mistakenly think you have reached the goal and may promote yourself as such. The end is in sight but you have allowed the ego to hide it from view and you remain stuck in a false sense of spiritual attainment.

The alternative choice is to recognize the ego but not succumb to it, to allow it to find its place harmoniously within the whole. You continue your journey with humility and devotion. Giving is done purely for the sake of giving. Whats in it for me becomes How can I serve?

Insight and spiritual inspiration begin to grow, you hear the voice of the inner guru as the sixth chakra opens.

Your heart now fully awakens. You experience Divine and Unity Consciousness.

There is no longer any separation. No giver, given, or giving. No sense of I or me, just an awareness of Oneness. You still live in the world, but are no longer of the world.

Your spiritual practice is Pure Joy. All the chakras are open, spiritual energy flows freely.

When you reach the seventh stage there are no longer choices. You function totally in harmony with nature. Everything is provided exactly as needed, at exactly the right moment. You are the Totality.

As you progress though these stages, the material world seems very attractive at first while the spiritual might seem empty and hard but, if followed, it eventually leads to the experience of the True Self and eternal bliss.

There is nothing lacking in the life of a great yogi. He or she doesnt feel that anything has been given up. In fact, its the reversegreat yogis feel that by not following a spiritual path, eternal bliss has been renounced for the sake of a few passing moments of happiness. The material world is like a dry garden waiting for knowledge of the Divine to make it bloom. In the material world you only have the energy of the body, on the spiritual path you tap into Divine Consciousness, Cosmic Energy. The material world is a prison, the spiritual path leads to unbounded freedom.

You are always at a junction in your path, Truth or illusion, material or eternal. The ego will constantly try to keep its limiting hold on you. Choose wisely. Everything you do is a spiritual act if you do it with awareness. Find your path and inner peace.

Be regular and disciplined with your spiritual practice. Dont be disheartened if you wander off. Ultimately your spiritual journey becomes your way of life, like a lush oasis in the desert of mundane living.

Embark on the path to self-mastery with Deepak Chopra and Roger Gabriel in our Primordial Sound Meditation Online Course. Learn More.

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The 7 Stages of Spiritual Development | The Chopra Center

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May 17th, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Psychics Arent Therapy But They Can be Therapeutic – SF Weekly

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Astrologer Joyce Van Horn might have predicted the novel coronavirus pandemic in vague terms, at least. First it will cause a massive separation, but then it will cause a co-joining, Van Horn says, explaining that she and others in her field saw that a major global event was on the horizon.

But forecasting global catastrophes isnt necessarily in Van Horns wheelhouse. Shes an evolutionary astrologer, someone who reads birth charts for individual souls. And shes one of many psychics in San Francisco, a blanket term used by a 2003 city law to categorize astrologers, along with numerologists, tarot card readers, fortune-tellers, seers, and other such metaphysical practitioners.

In San Francisco, psychics are revered by young startup CEOs seeking their spiritual business acumen, or sought out by believers needing advice about love, family, or their personal crossroads. In troubling times, such as a global pandemic, they can offer comfort in the form of mystic wisdom, or provide tools to help their clients cope with the chaos. Some recognize how the relationship between psychics and their clients can mimic that of therapists and their patients though they arent the same.

Thats what Chris Branson realized when he spoke to Van Horn for the first time. Six years ago, Branson found out his girlfriend, who lived in San Diego, was pregnant.

She planned on moving to San Francisco, Branson says. The promise of a child conjured a vision of their shared future, and motivated his girlfriend to make the move so they could be together.

But just a few weeks before she was set to arrive, the couple found out some troubling news. She wasnt able to keep the baby, Branson says.

Confused, Branson went to Van Horn looking for hope a reason to why things were happening. Van Horn read Bransons birth chart and used a deck of cards to provide some clues. From what Im seeing, Van Horn told him, this is setting you up for the life you really want.

And that was true, as far as Branson is concerned.

We got married, and we had a family, he says. But it wasnt just the prediction that reassured Branson. The conversation itself helped him walk away from the session feeling more confident in his and his partners future together. I didnt see it at the time that it was part of a bigger picture. Years later, while raising a family in Maui with his wife, he would see it as a turning point.

Nicki Bonfilio, a clairvoyant and clairaudient intuitive counselor, hasnt bought into the Zoom frenzy.

Theres that barrier of electricity, says Bonfilio. Shed rather her clients look into themselves, rather than their mirrored image on a laptop screen. Thats why all her pandemic sessions have been conducted over the phone, where she teaches her clients an internal calming monologue.

What Ive been guiding clients through is just to ask some simple questions within themselves, and to create an internal practice, Bonfilio says, which is about telling themselves, I am happy, I am safe, I am secure.

Its particularly useful as shes seen a spike in anxiety and fear in her clients, especially from those who are concerned about the health of their loved ones. Bonfilio says she can see or hear things the average human eye might not. For example, she might be able to tell that youve been eating too much sugar, or that you need to reduce your screen-time, or that youre in need of some fresh air. Once, she saw that her friend had a brain tumor after he fainted. That prediction was what encouraged her to abandon her previous profession accounting to become a full-time psychic.

But Bonfilios gift is most useful when combined with the techniques shes learned from other jobs. I was very much in the birthing community at one point, Bonfilio says. Im actually a certified labor and birth coach, or a certified doula.

One of her long-time clients, Courtney Wilson, believes that Bonfilios breathwork (along with meditation classes and a holistic chiropractor) helped her survive April.

After I do it for ten minutes, Im way more grounded, Wilson says. And I just dont have that anxiety.

Wilson started seeking out psychics after she moved to San Francisco from the Midwest, in Des Moines, Iowa. I grew up Catholic, so it was always super strict, and there were all these rules, Wilson says. And I just knew in my gut that there was more out there a bigger universe, a bigger spiritual realm.

She went to an astrologer and a medium, but none of them were as good, or as accurate, as Bonfilio, who she found on Yelp. That was ten years ago, and shes been seeing Bonfilio four times a year ever since.

Shes like this big sister. She makes you feel that way, Wilson says. Going to her, I ask her questions, she tells me where her intuition lies, how she feels about things, and then I feel better.

Wanugee Kanagaki of Golden Dragon Fortunes has experienced a similar relationship with his 600 clients. Wanugee, who prefers to be addressed by his first name, is a fortune teller who uses mahjong tiles to discern energies.

For Wanugee, its more about appearing as a friend or a trusted confidant perhaps thats the therapeutic aspect people pick up on: You can share your worries and hopes with a person, and theyll listen, and try to offer some guidance.

He emphasizes that he isnt a licensed therapist. His clients are rarely ever deciding between seeing him or a trained mental health provider.

I try to help my clients when I can, Wanugee says. Some people are adapting with the shelter-in-place. Some people deal with it well. Some people dont.

Recently, one of Wanugees clients struggled with social isolation. All her roommates went back home and she was all by herself, Wanugee says. She was in a bad place. I gave her a reading, and offered her some tools.

These tools are available for free on his YouTube channel, where Wanugee sits in front of a green screen upon which he superimposes a looping video of a sunset-painted lake. On his right is a pillow stitched with the words I Love You.

Welcome seekers, he says, raising his hands as geese float in the recorded water behind him.

Theres no reason why you cant continue seeing your astrologer or fortune-teller, Dr. Davina Kotulski, a clinical psychologist and former client of Van Horns says. But if you have a mental health concern, you should go see a therapist.

Dr. Kotulski herself is a believer in astrology and numerology, and Van Horns services have been life-changing for her. But there is still a necessary disclaimer to be made. If youre struggling with mental health and addiction, Dr. Kotulski says you should see a licensed therapist a mental health provider whos trained specifically for this purpose.

Something can be helpful, but it doesnt mean its curative, Kotulski says. Massages can be rejunative, but theyre not the same as physical therapy.

Psychics and therapists may have similar goals to improve the well-being of their clients. But they serve different functions, and psychics wont be covered by your health insurance. (And they can get pretty pricey: Wanugees individual readings range from $77 to $149; Bonfilio charges $210 an hour; and Van Horn is currently working on a sliding scale during the pandemic, though her rate is normally $200 an hour.)

However, there are people who blend the practices. Berkeley-based Dr. Greg Bogart is one of them.

I became an astrologer at age 23, and did that for a number of years, but realized I needed more training to be able to do more emotional process work, to understand family issues, to understand development stages, Dr. Bogart says. Becoming a therapist gave me a whole new set of tools to make astrology beneficial. Sometimes he practices therapy and astrology as separate entities, other times, he blends the practices, depending on what the client wants.

He rejects the term psychic for astrologers, despite San Franciscos umbrella categorization. Astrology, specifically, is about finding life patterns on birth charts to identify present and current issues, recurring themes and relationship and career challenges.

That might offer reassurance and guidance explanations to why transformative events are happening, or illuminations on pivotal pathways.

But Dr. Kotulski wants everyone to know to be on guard when seeking answers.

If you work with healers of any kind be they therapists, psychics, or astrologists make sure that they have your best interests in mind. There are predators out there, Dr. Kotulski says. She cites an example from a client, who had $6,000 extorted from them after they saw a psychic who told them they had been a horrible person in a past life, and now had to pay the price.

If someones trying to scare you into working with them, Dr. Kotulski says. thats a predator.

Wanugee also warns against those who try to frighten emotionally vulnerable people. Theres a neon sign in every neighborhood, Wanugee says. But if the psychics behind them are asking for large sums of money to break a curse, they might not have your best interest in mind.

Aquarius is a wild card, Van Horn says. Thats the sign that Saturn is currently in.

Saturn is saying its time to mature into a new this is the Aquarius part a new way of collectively building something together that will support us as a worldwide community, Van Horn continues.

And if Aquarius is the sign of technology, and Saturn is the planet of innovation, then perhaps this means its time to get creative with connecting while social distancing.

Aquarius is saying this is a collective. Were in a pandemic, were in this together. What is the truth? Van Horn says. How do we liberate ourselves from saying other cultures are wrong? She warns against ethnic or religious discrimination.

Thats what Van Horn has seen in the stars. At ground level, shes noticed that the pandemic might have forced everyone into a mental reset. People are starting to recognize its more about family, and more about connection, and its less about stuff, its less about impressing people, Van Horn says.

Bonfilio, on the other hand, has noticed an environmental reset. Two years ago, she remembered feeling like the city was getting more and more congested. There were more buildings, more traffic, and more tech companies.

I remember recalling back then, that things were going to need to change drastically in San Francisco in order for there to be more harmony and balance and more ease, more peace, Bonfilio says. because things were getting way too aggressive.

But just recently, Bonfilios friend spotted a whale in the Bay, a sign that Bonfilio interpreted as nature returning to spaces where humans use to windsurf or travel.

Were all just little specks here on the earth. Were just one person on the earth with billions of people and so many other natural animals, fish, birds, bees, trees, everything, Bonfilio says. With humans mostly inside and sheltered in place, its given a chance for the earth to come back into balance.

Now the challenge is to keep it that way, even after the shelter-in-place is lifted.

Be afraid, Van Horn says. But dont get paralyzed by the fear.

Astrology is a practice that a lot of people dont believe in, Van Horn says. The same can be said of fortunetelling or clairvoyance. Skeptics like to poke holes in their practices, citing vague predictions or personality measures as tricks psychics use to fool naive participants.

But believers have found solace in looking for celestial or otherworldly guidance. I think what a lot of psychics and fortune-tellers can do [is] help you see things that are coming up and possibilities, Dr. Kotulski says. That doesnt mean you dont have free choice and you cant change some of the things that can happen. You always have free choice.

The goal of a psychics prediction isnt to prescribe, its to guide. They may not be able to help their clients work through cognitive distortions or substance abuse disorders that is work for trained mental health providers. But they can certainly provide some comfort in times of trouble.

Its like Hey, theres a divine plan going on, says Branson, who was raised in a religious household and finds some similarities between the way one feels walking out of a session with a psychic and heading home after church. Its not saying this is going to happen or thats going to happen. Its about getting better insight and clarity, so you can make decisions.

For some, its about finding hope. For others, its about talking to a friend.

She knows so much about my family. She knows so much about the things Ive been through. No ones seen my growth like her, Wilson says of Bonfilio. Going to a therapist, I would have to start all over.

Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture, and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at gli@sfweekly.com or follow her on Twitter at @gracezhali.

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Psychics Arent Therapy But They Can be Therapeutic - SF Weekly

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May 17th, 2020 at 10:44 pm

1 thought on Freethought for the Small Towns: Case Study – News Intervention

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Liberty University in the United States closed down its philosophy department, recently. The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy over sex abuse lawsuits. Nones became part of common academic discourse. Movement atheism rose, failed, has begun to change, to adapt internal pressures, and incorporate wider needs and represents another part of a common trend in the hobby-ing of religion in our societies. Canada comes out no different. The fear discourse towards the formally, institutionally non-religious continues apace and the surrounding magical thinking, gullibility, superstition, pseudoscience, fake medicine, and more, co-exists with us, nonetheless. I note a mutual reinforcement, too. If magic can happen from the pulpit, why not from a local clinic or a home remedy sold on the shelf? It would harbour more a sensibility of humour if not for the tragically awful impacts derived in some domains on so many peoples lives. Liberty Universitys replica, in part, can be found in the largest fundamentalist Evangelical Christian university in Canada called Trinity Western University with some controversy in its history and in the formulation of community culture in the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Those students live in its surrounding Fort Langley environment in reasonable numbers. Some times falsely advertised by Trinity Western University marketing as the Trinity Western University village or town, as if an official designation, as in the YouTube clip entitled This is Fort Langley TWUs university town. Thats a lie. Its a National Historic Site.

Small towns all over Canada mirror many of the dynamics, magical thinking, and reliance on false or pseudo-medicines in place of (actual) or efficacious medicine. Among the local churches in the area, (e.g., Fort LangleyEvangelical Free Church, Living Waters Church, Fraser Point Church Meeting Place, St Georges AnglicanChurch, United Churches ofLangley St. Andrews Chapel, Vineyard ChristianFellowship, Fraser Point ChurchOffices, Jubilee Church, and Fellowship Pacific) different interpretations of the Gospels may be taught, but the community retains its Christian spirit in spite of a scuffed, mind you, rainbow crosswalk one can find the in the town business center with many of the 100+ local businesses hiring many, many Trinity Western University students. The economy is integrated with the institution, in other words. Its an expensive private Evangelical Christian university with extensive fees, where students pay international student prices as domestic students. Students need to make their way through education without substantial governmental assistance, somehow. In this context, highly educated and well-to-do fundamentalist Christian culture and a local town converge into a strange admixture. A town with a large number of community organizations including Kwantlen First Nations,Seyem Qwantlen Business Group,Fort Langley Youth Rowing Society,Fort Langley Community Rowing Club,Fort Langley Canoe Club,History of Fort Langley,History of the Albion Ferry, The BEST of Fort Langley,Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild Biodegradeables ~ Organic Recycling,Fort Langley Community Association, Langley Heritage Association, andFort Langley BIA. Indeed, many towns across the country replicate this with different inputs and similar outcomes.

In its recent history, as a starter example, there has been some predictable commentary flowing in the pens and notifications. One from Derek Bisset exhibited a particularly interesting article entitled There Are Atheists in the Church as recent as August 4, 2015. Not necessarily a rare view, its more a common sentiment based on the trend line of history and the adaptations for the modern world with Liberal Theology and the tenuous status of some foundational tenets with the continual onslaughts of modern empiricism. This was formulated around a somewhat critical commentary about the welcoming-everyone attitude of the church to the general membership of The United Church of Canada. He stated:

It shouldnt come as much of a surprise that after years of saying All are welcome in this place that the result is a range of views within the church about the existence of God, especially as we seem to live in a society becoming ever more secular and inclining to require evidence for what we are willing to believe.

I suppose a space journey through emptiness four and a half hours away at the speed of light should have some bearing in putting early concepts of the Heavens to rest. Now I think we will have to stick with a range of ideas about a Godwho is here on Earth, interventionist or metaphorical, according to our personal views about what we need as individuals or what is needed to make the world a better place for all.

These amount to intriguing propositions about the reasons in which evolution for the church ideology become necessities within a secularizing/de-churching culture rather than true rebukes. The reason for the theological changes come from the empirical revolutions and educational improvements with the churches harbouring less tenable propositions about the nature of the world. Many propositions some deem outmoded, comical, or equivalent to others requiring fewer personal sacrifices of individual and communal wellbeing. The implication of a rejection of the modern views would be a return to more primitive mental constructs, models of the world. Is the concern the truth or the retaining of members? As it turns out, the most worrying development came not from a more reality-based church, but the loss of a member to a rival church. This tells the tale of the tribe.

Indeed, the reasons provided for leaving the local church from the member who left: the hot-wax nature of the beliefs rather than the rigid stone pillar faith. Probably, a rigid faith where men have a defined active role. Women have a defined passive role. God intervenes in the world. Prayer can aid in healing ailments. Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is the literal truth, God-breathed Word of the Lord. And Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days. And evolution is the work of He down Below. If one wants to move back the civilizational lens in the West several centuries, I suppose one could upgrade or, rather, retrograde the theology and the worldview. Of course, the personality focus for the critical examination of a local United Church of Canada congregation came around some of the beginning of the controversy for Rev. Gretta Vosper. Bisset continued:

When a minister of the United Church of Canada declares herself for atheism in the Church and still retains her position with her own church and a sizeable congregation things appear to be coming to a head. That Gretta Vosper has changed the practicing of religion in her church drastically and has been on a personal speaking crusade to persuade Christians that more change is needed has brought her into conflict with those responsible for allowing her to act as a United Church minister. She may require to be defrocked and no longer allowed to preach her heretical doctrine

A woman on a personal speaking crusade to persuade Christians who has been brought into conflict and may require to be defrocked and no longer allowed to preach her heretical doctrine. Although, the bias is obvious. The larger, more interesting point is the focus on having to snuff out dissent and retain membership. Its not about the ideas, except as derivative, inasmuch as it is about the numbers of the followers, the flock, for which the local church is bound to shepherd. This is relatively marginal and isolated talk or idle public conversation within an individual church. Behind the closed doors of home & hearth, and church on Sundays, the discussions, rumours, and insinuation & innuendo will be much the same. Only some retain the gumption to speak in this manner in public. He leaves off a nice skeptical note, After all, if you cant have a good argument about religious beliefs within the Church, where is there a better place to have it, and deserves kudos for it. In general, though, the undercurrent probably replicates in events with different churches and similar phenomena. Demographic decline and theological liberalization seen as watering down concern significant sections of 2/3rds of the population of Canada.

As noted in Issue 48 of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church from 2017, they describe an event with The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation. An organization The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, akin to the Templeton Foundation, devoted to strange attempts at bridging religion and science. Although, the Templeton Foundation comes with a huge cash prize. Thats motivation enough for some. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation focuses on science and a life-giving Christian tradition with a statement of faith (common in Christian organizations throughout the country):

As implicitly admitted in the Commission on Creation of the American Scientific Affiliation taken by The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation for presentation to its national public, some members of the affiliation will adhere to a Young-Earth (Recent Creation) View, Old-Earth (Progressive Creation) View, Theistic Evolution (Continuous Creation, Evolutionary Creation) View, or Intelligent Design View. Theres the problem right there. Only one real game in town, evolution via natural selection. This becomes four wrong views plus one right position with the four incorrect views bad in different ways or to different degrees, i.e., four theological views and one scientific view. In other words, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, by its own claims and standards, amounts to a theological affiliation, not a Scientific affiliation. Its false advertising if not outright lying by title and content.

Anyway, the Issue 48 newsletter of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church presented the event entitled Science, Religion, & the New Atheism, by Dr. Stephen Snobelen, who is an Associate Professor of the History of Science and Technology Programme at University of Kings College, Halifax. This is common too. This is, based on extensive research in Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution, the trend for years now. (Any commentary considerations for creationism and Intelligent Design can be considered there, as the rest would be repetition.)[1] In short, the only places, or the vast majority of places, to present these ideas are churches and religious institutions. Outside of those, these theological hypotheses posed as scientific arent taken seriously or, generally, are seen as a hysterical joke when posed as science rather than theology. Some, like Zak Graham in Atheism is simply a lack of belief, get the point published in The Langley Times. That seems like an uncommon stance in the wider community.

As Brad Warner notes in a short confessional post in Fellowship Pacific, he came to the Christian religion in university. Its a sweet confession, which tells a sociological tale. The personalities are landmarks or guideposts, so largely irrelevant, not the main points in this article. Either someone is indoctrinated into faith or religion with specific thou shalts and thou shalt nots before critical thinking becomes a real possibility, or the individuals, typically, attend a Christian or private university and become suffused within a Christian ethos in a vastly dominated-by-Christianity culture in Canadian society with 2/3rds of the general population identifying as Christian. Even in some indications of the counselling professionals in the area, as an individual case study, statements emerge as in Alex Kwee, Ph.D., R.Psych. stating, A distinctive of my approach lies in the fact that I am a Christian. The practice of psychotherapy is never value-neutral; even the most ostensibly objective of counsellors must possess certain irreducible value propositionseven atheism or secular humanism are value systems that cannot be proven right one way or another. Note, he makes Christianity or Christian identity as part of the approach, as I am certain of the same for countless others in the area and around the country. Also, the conflation or dual-linkage between atheism and secular humanism alongside value systems. Its a quaint proposition and half-false. In the instance of atheism, it does not posit values, but it proposes a lack of belief in gods not values. (Hence, half-wrong, Q.E.D.) Coming from a Christian worldview with the good coming from God, the denial of such can only seem as if this. Its not. What does propose values? Secular humanism, certainly, proposes values; Christianity asserts values too. Why bring atheist and secular humanism into the equation? Does this come from a pre-emptive defensive posture for the inevitable conflict of professional ethics and the introduction of theological constructs into psychotherapeutic processes with clients? Indeed, the potentially inevitable, seemingly incurable prejudice and bias in practitioners bringing their religious faiths with supernatural structures may bleed into the therapeutic process. Mr. Kwee states:

As a Christian, I contextualize my approach and strategies within a spiritual and faith-affirming framework, which is important for many of the Christian clients with whom I work. I firmly believe that therapy cannot be done in an existential or spiritual vacuum, but that the most effective therapy contextualizes evidence-based techniques to a clients system of personal meaning to help them to create a life that is rich with meaning and purpose, not just devoid of psychological pain. Because most people are in search of greater meaning and appreciate a more ultimate frame of reference, I find that clients of many walks and backgrounds are comfortable working with me even if they do not share my worldview.

One can come as a non-religious person, but one should be wary as has been commonly reported by prominent secular therapists as Dr. Darrel Ray of Recovering From Religion and the Secular Therapy Project. Furthermore, some of the peer-reviewed research presented on the professional website for Mr. Kwee amounts to assertions of sexual addiction or sex addiction. This is a pseudoscientific view or a theological assertion, not a psychological construct viewpoint. Take a counselling psychologist, Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, in an interview with me entitled Ask Dr. Robertson 13 A Hawks Eye on Counsellors Professional Ethics and Morals, stated:

When an ideology or religion is used to modify terms like psychology, counselling or psychotherapy, I become wary. For example, how does Christian Counselling differ from counselling? Christian counsellors I have talked to define their religion as having certain superior attributes with respect to love and spiritual fulfillment. But a secular counsellor, on finding that a client believed in prayer, for example, might invite the client to pray as part of his or her therapeutic plan. A difference might be that if the prayer does not work to the clients satisfaction, the secular counsellor might be more willing to explore other alternatives while the Christian counsellor might be more prone engage in self-limiting platitudes such as, Maybe God does not want this for you. Counsellors employed by Catholic Family Services are routinely required to sign a statement stating they will respect the Churchs beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. This is regularly interpreted to mean that counsellors in their employ may not explore the option of abortion with pregnant clients, and if a client chooses that option, she will do so without the support of her counsellor or therapist. Counsellors from a variety of Christian denominations actively discourage people who are non-heterosexual. A particularly unethical practice is encapsulated in the oxymoron Conversion Therapy. Conversion implies a template outside of the individual to which the individual converts. It is, therefore, the opposite of therapy where the client defines his own template. Overall, Christian counselling does not add to the professional practice but is subtractive, limiting the options permitted clients.

The notion of limiting psychologys ability to increase to individual choice and volition is pervasive

Scott, you asked me about professional codes of ethics. Codes of ethics are written by those with the power to do so. Conversion Therapy as practiced by some Christian groups has been ruled unethical. The feminist version has not. I believe that freedom of conscience involves a duty to conduct oneself to a higher ethic, and in my case that ethic involves supporting individual volitional empowerment. Individual volition operates within the constraint that there is a reality outside ourselves and if we stray too far from that reality we will harm ourselves and others. We cannot gain empowerment by feeding a delusion.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 or the DSM-5 rejected sex addiction for inclusion in 2013. Theres no such thing as sex addiction as a formal psychological construct; sex addiction is a theological construct, i.e., a pseudoscientific and worldview construct posed as psychological. This seems like bad science and, thus, leading to the potential for a bad theoretical foundation for praxis, for practice. Could purity culture from Christian doctrine and worldview be influencing this particular academic output? Could these views influence the meaning and purpose of those coming to the Kwees of psychotherapy or counselling psychology? Its an open question; I leave this to clientele, while I intend this as a case study of a larger issue within the therapeutic practice culture. As Dr. Darrel Ray in Extensive Interview with Dr. Darrel Ray on Secular Therapy and Recovering From Religion stated:

So, #2 behind the fear of hell are issues around their sexuality and things like, I know its not wrong to masturbate, but I still feel guilty, I am a sex addict because I look at porn. Theres tons of evidence that the most religious people self-identify the most as sex addicts. Not to mind, there is no such thing as sex addiction. Theres no way to define it. I have argued with atheists that have been atheists for 20 years who say that they are sex addicts. Help me understand, how did you get that diagnosis? My mother-in-law diagnosed me [Laughing]. I look at porn once or twice a week. I do not care if you look at porn once or twice an hour. You are still not a sex addict. So, get over that. You may have other issues. You may have some compulsions. You may have some fear of driving the issue. But it almost always comes down to early childhood religious training, as we spoke about earlier. So, people are simply responding to the programming. Even though, they are atheist, secular, agnostic. I do not care what you call yourself. You are still dealing with the programming. Sometimes, you can go an entire lifetime with a guilt, a shame, a fear, rooted in religion.

If you do not believe in the Christian influence on the research and views, please review the articles in the most superficial of ways with articles entitled Theologically-Informed Education about Masturbation: A Male Sexual Health Perspective, Sexual Addiction: Diagnosis and Treatment, Sexual Addiction and Christian College Men: Conceptual, Assessment and Treatment Challenges, Constructing Addiction from Experience and Context: Peele and Brodskys Love and Addiction Revisited, and even a society entitled Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH). Its like this on issue and after issue. Fundamentalist Christian universities and theological beliefs in areas infect towns, attract similarly minded individuals from around the fundamentalist Christian diaspora, and reduce the amount of proper science in professional lives and the critical thinking in the public. People are part of the culture in some framings. Then these connect to academic formalities around pseudoscientific views with societies and groups built around them too, e.g., SASH, as the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) was founded in 1987 by Patrick Carnes, Richard Santorini and Ed Armstrong, SASH began as a membership organization for people concerned with sexual addiction problems. [Emphasis added.]

Again, the point isnt the individuals inasmuch as trends in culture with representative case studies as important for this. In those cases of the Bissets with a marginally skeptical view, its not about factual accounts of the world. It is about maintenance of numbers. In the cases of the Kwees, its not about factual and empirical all the time, but its about selective factual-and-empirical, and buttressed and warped by theological pseudoscience (by the most up-to-date standards of the professional diagnostic and statistical manual for psychologists or the DSM-5 with lack of inclusion on one theological theory of sexual dysfunction in sex addiction). It should be noted. In the United States of America under the American Psychological Association, any imposition by an American-trained counselling psychologist can be called out on ethics violations. Slippery language should not be a basis upon which for a tacit claim for circumnavigation of A.4.b. Personal Values of the ethics code for American counsellors, which stipulates, Counselors are aware ofand avoid imposingtheir own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. Counsellors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants and seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counsellors values are inconsistent with the clients goals or are discriminatory in nature. However, this is in Canada. If one sees presentations crossing the line in an explicit manner in a local or national context, one can express appropriate concerns with formal channels to act on it, whether non-Christians in general or the non-religious in particular. I doubt in this case on some levels, though, as the statements are reasonably carefully worded and is grounded in psychotherapy as opposed to counselling psychology.

Fort Langley culture follows from the culture of Trinity Western University on a number of qualitative-observational metrics. A university that failed to attain a law school status based on the bias and prejudice stemming from a Community Covenant with statements deemed repeatedly and nearly unequivocally as biased and prejudiced against members of the LGBTI community. They overwhelmingly lost the law school case 7-2 in the Supreme Court of Canada with denial of status as a law school as reasonable by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada. It was June 15, 2018; the decision where the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the British Columbia and Ontario law societies in a 7-2 collective decision for Trinity Western University v Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia v Trinity Western University.Shortly thereafter, they retracted the mandatory nature of the Community Covenant for the students, but, as I have been told, not for staff, faculty, and administrators. A faith needing community legislation appears weaker than one strong enough as written on the heart and lived out in ones life. Bearing in mind, Christ never wrote anything down on paper. Perhaps, there has been some wisdom in this fact worth retaining in this case. Dissenting views exist on the campus and in the community. One TWU is one LGBTI community group around campus without formal affiliation (*We are run completely independently from and bare no formal affiliation with Trinity Western University), though small, for individual students who may be struggling on or around campus. While others outside the formal TWU community, and in the extended fundamentalist Christian community, and taking the idea of think differently differently as in think the same, as always, Richard Peachey is as fast as proclaiming the literal Word of God Almighty with homosexuality as an affront to God and fundamentally a sin in His sight. In spite of this, at one time or another, based on Canadian reportage and some names in the current listings, Matthew Wigmore, Bryan Sandberg, and David Evans-Carlson (co-founders of One TWU), and Nate/Nathan Froelich, Kelsey Tiffin, Robynne Healey, and others in the current crop Kieran Wear, Elisabeth Browning, Queenie Rabanes, and Micah Bron stand firm against some former mandatory community covenant standards either as supports for themselves or as allies who have been negatively impacted by the Community Covenant. A minority gender and sexual identity is completely healthy and normal. If the theology rejects this, then the theology is at odds with reality, not the students sense of themselves, who they love, and their identities, or the science. I agree with them and stand far more with them. When the Community Covenant was dropped as a mandatory requirement for students, many were excited and thrilled. Although, some questions arise about the reaction of excitement and thrill about some who left the university and see the change in the mandatory nature of the Community Covenant.

Why excitement? Why thrill? Arent some of these students gone? Wouldnt this leave the concerns behind them? Arent others graduated at this point? Havent others already signed and suffered in the past? In short, isnt it history? Insofar as I can discern, its a grounding of common suffering across academic cohorts at Trinity Western University for compassion and empathy for a sense of no more and not to you, too in the community of the fundamentalist faithful. These students, many of them, went through hell by the attitudes and behaviours reflected in a Community Covenant and selective literalist reading of purported sacred scripture of a larger sex and gender identity majority who, sometimes, treated them with suspicion, pity, or contempt grounded in theology and legislated in the Community Covenant. I feel a similar sentiment around the denial of same-sex marriage by some fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. The proportional response: I dont believe in heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman for those particular fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. It sounds absurd because the former is outlandish, too.

Anyhow, continuing, why make others experience hell here-and-now in the belief of ones personal near guarantee to hypothetical heaven there-and-then when ones corpse is ash, ice, or six feet under, regardless? Does it matter? That is to ask, if God has a Divine Will and is the source of the Moral Law, the Good, and all in, of, and under Creation, why not let Him deal with it, not you? Its obvious as to the implications here. All this is not due to the Devil, to demonic forces, to non-literalist Christians, to secular humanists, to atheists. This is entirely mundane. It is due to community attitudes and beliefs leading to actions making vulnerable members of the community feel wrong by the nature, not of what they believe or their moral character but because, of who they are; that which they cannot change and are born with as human beings with minority sexual and gender identities. Thats bigotry. A nativist sensibility for negative presumption of an individual based on, more or less, inborn characteristics with thin disguises in the form of dont hate the sinner, hate the sin. Does anyone seriously buy this outside of the informational, emotionally, and theologically confined and constricted fundamentalist walls where A Might Fortress Is Our God? These are human, all-too-human, follies and foibles wrought forth on the lives of the few by the many in the hallowed halls of the largest Christian university in the country. The relief felt was less for themselves and more for others who would not have to endure as much next time around. I consider freedom of religion, belief, and conscience important for a secular democratic and pluralistic state. Thus, the students may feel healthier in a non-Christian or public university. However, if they choose a Christian university, or if they are pressured into this by parents, community, friends, church, and theology, then they have personal respect to choose, and in making the choice, to me, because, based on the readings, the reactions, and the sensibilities expressed, theyre entering hostile territory.

Congratulations for making it this far, but freethought extends into other areas too, of the local culture, as with hundreds of towns in this country, whether colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, or simply a culture of praying for help with an ailment (which is one overlap with the religious fundamentalist community and the reduced capacity for critical thought). Colonics/colonhydrotherapy is marginally practiced within some of the town in Fort Langley Colonics. Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D. in Gastrointestinal Quackery: Colonics, Laxatives, and More stated rather starkly:

Colonic irrigation, which also can be expensive, has considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, disease germs from one persons large intestine can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections have been reported, including one in which contaminated equipment caused amebiasis in 36 people, 6 of whom died following bowel perforation. Cases of heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the bloodstream) and electrolyte imbalance have also been reported. Direct rectal perforation has also been reported. Yet no license or training is required to operate a colonic-irrigation device. In 1985, a California judge ruled that colonic irrigation is an invasive medical procedure that may not be performed by chiropractors and the California Health Departments Infectious Disease Branch stated: The practice of colonic irrigation by chiropractors, physical therapists, or physicians should cease. Colonic irrigation can do no good, only harm. The National Council Against Health Fraud agrees.

In 2009, Dr. Edzard Ernst tabulated the therapeutic claims he found on the Web sites of six professional organizations of colonic irrigations. The themes he found included detoxification, normailzation [sic] of intestinal function, treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and weight loss. He also found claims elated to asthma, menstrual irregularities, circulatory disorders, skin problems, and improvements in energy levels. Searching Medline and Embase, he was unable to find a single controlled clinical trial that substantiated [sic] any of these claims.

On aromatherapy, this one is a softball. One can find this in the True Aromatherapy Products and Spa (TAP) store. As William H. London, in an article entitled Essential Considerations About Aromatherapy in Skeptical Inquirer, describes the foundations of aromatherapy as follows, The practice of administering plant-derived essential oils on the skin, via inhalation of vapors, or internally via ingestion for supposed healing power is commonly calledaromatherapy. Theoils for aromatherapy are described as essentialto refer to the volatile, aromatic components that some people describe as the essence of the plant source, which represents the plants life force, spirit, or soul. Aromatherapy is thus rooted in vitalism RationalWiki states:

Like most woo, aromatherapy starts with observable, real effects of smells on humans, and extrapolates and exaggerates into a whole range of treatments from the effective, to the banal, to the outright ridiculous

As well as the inherent problematic practice of wasting money on useless medicine and potentially substituting useless concoctions in place of conventional medicine, the essential oils in aromatherapy may be a skin irritant. It is also poorly regulated, as the claims that scents having any beneficial effects are regulated as a cosmetic claim, and it thus does not require FDA approval. Combined with the lack of evidence it really is a waste, but for you, not for those that sell the products. According to Quackwatch, Health Foods Business estimated that the total of aromatherapy products sold through health-food stores was about $59 million in 1995 and $105 million in 1996.

To chiropractory, it is widely regarded as a pseudoscience with either no efficacy or negative effects on the patient or the client.Fort Family ChiropracticandEvergreen Chiropracticare the two main businesses devoted to some practice of chiropractory. AsScience-Based Medicinein its Chiropractic entry states:

Chiropractic was invented by D. D. Palmer, Sep 18, 1895 when he adjusted the spine of a deaf man and allegedly restored his hearing (a claim that is highly implausible based on what we know of anatomy). Based on this one case, Palmer decided that all disease was due to subluxation: 95% to subluxations of the spine and 5% to subluxations of other bones.

The rationale for chiropractic hinges on three postulates:

There is no credible evidence to support any of these claims

In over a century, chiropractic research has produced no evidence to support the postulates of chiropractic theory and little evidence that chiropractic treatments provide objective benefits. Research on spinal manipulation is inherently difficult, because double blind studies are impossible and even single blind studies are problematic; a placebo response is hard to rule out

There is no acceptable evidence that chiropractic can improve the many other health problems it claims to benefit, from colic to asthma. There is no evidence to support the practice of adjusting the spines of newborns in the delivery room or providing repeated lifelong adjustments to maintain health or prevent disease.

Up to half of patients report short-term adverse effects from manipulation, such as increased local or radiating pain; and there is a rare but devastating complication of neck manipulation: it can injure the vertebrobasilar arteries and cause stroke, paralysis, and death. Some chiropractors do not accept the germ theory of disease and only about half of them support immunization.

Acupuncture is another issue. Hardman Acupuncturist & TCM,Integrated Health Clinic, devote themselves, in part, to this. Dr. Steven Novella ofScience-Based Medicinein Acupuncture Doesnt Work stated:

according to the usual standards of medicine, acupuncture does not work.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Clinical research can never prove that an intervention has an effect size of zero. Rather, clinical research assumes the null hypothesis, that the treatment does not work, and the burden of proof lies with demonstrating adequate evidence to reject the null hypothesis. So, when being technical, researchers will conclude that a negative study fails to reject the null hypothesis.

Further, negative studies do not demonstrate an effect size of zero, but rather that any possible effect is likely to be smaller than the power of existing research to detect. The greater the number and power of such studies, however, the closer this remaining possible effect size gets to zero. At some point the remaining possible effect becomes clinically insignificant.

In other words, clinical research may not be able to detect the difference between zero effect and a tiny effect, but at some point it becomes irrelevant.

What David and I have convincingly argued, in my opinion, is that after decades of research and more than 3000 trials, acupuncture researchers have failed to reject the null hypothesis, and any remaining possible specific effect from acupuncture is so tiny as to be clinically insignificant.

In laymans terms, acupuncture does not work for anything.

This has profound clinical, ethical, scientific, and practical implications. In my opinion humanity should not waste another penny, another moment, another patient any further resources on this dead end. We should consider this a lesson learned, cut our losses, and move on.

Many of these practices are swimming in the, or have a foot in the, waters of pseudoscience practiced as if medically or physiologically feasible, but, in matter of fact, remain a drain on the publics purse based on taking advantage of public confidence in medicine in Canada while having givenzero benefit while failing to reject the null hypothesis.

Another issue practice is reflexology, as seen in Health Roots & Reflexology. Quackwatch concludes, Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness. Done gently, reflexology is a form of foot massage that may help people relax temporarily. Whether that is worth $35 to $100 per session or is more effective than ordinary (noncommercial) foot massage is a matter of individual choice. Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored. Such claims could lead to delay of necessary medical care or to unnecessary medical testing of people who are worried about reflexology findings. Health Roots & Reflexologyappears to be one business devoted to thus. As Dr. Harriet Hall in Modern Reflexology: Still As Bogus As Pre-Modern Reflexology said, Reflexology is an alternative medicine system that claims to treat internal organs by pressing on designated spots on the feet and hands; there is no anatomical connection between those organs and those spots. Systematic reviews in2009and2011found no convincing evidence that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.Quackwatchand theNCAHFagree that reflexology is a form of massage that may help patients relax and feel better temporarily, but that has no other health benefits. Our ownMark Crislipsaid, The great majority of studies demonstrate reflexology had no effects that could not be replicated by picking fleas off your mateAnd it has no anatomic or physiologic justification.

A larger concoction of bad science and medicine comes from the Integrated Health Clinic devoted, largely, to naturopathy/naturopathic medicine (based on a large number of naturopaths on staff) and traditional Chinese medicine with manifestations in IV/chelation therapy, Neural therapy, Detox, Hormone Balancing & Thermography, Anthroposophical medicine, LRHT/hyperthermia, Bowen Technique, among others. Well run through those first two, as the references to them are available in the resources, in the manner before. Scott Gavura in Naturopathy vs. Science: Facts edition stated:

Naturopaths claim that they practice based on scientific principles. Yet examinations of naturopathic literature, practices and statements suggest a more ambivalent attitude. NDhealthfacts.org neatly illustrates the problem with naturopathy itself: Open antagonism to science-based medicine, and the risk of harm from integrating these practices into the practice of medicine. Unfortunately, the trend towards integrating naturopathy into medicine is both real and frightening. Because good medicine isnt based on invented facts and pre-scientific beliefs it must be grounded in science. And naturopathy, despite the claims, is anything but scientific.

The Skeptics Dictionary stated:

Naturopathy is often, if not always, practiced in combination with other forms ofalternative health practices.Bastyr University, a leading school of naturopathy since 1978, offers instruction in such things asacupunctureand spirituality. Much of the advice of naturopaths is sound: exercise, quit smoking, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, practice good nutrition. Claims that these and practices such as colonic irrigation or coffee enemas detoxify the body or enhance the immune system or promote homeostasis, harmony, balance, vitality, and the like are exaggerated and not backed up by sound research.

As Dr. David Gorski, as quoted in RationalWiki, stated, Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost everyquackeryyou can think of. Be ithomeopathy,traditional Chinese medicine,Ayurvedic medicine,applied kinesiology,anthroposophical medicine,reflexology,craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you can imagine, its hard to think of a single form ofpseudoscientificmedicine and quackery that naturopathy doesnt embrace or at least tolerate. The Massachusetts Medical Society stated similar terms, Naturopathic medical school is not a medical school in anything but the appropriation of the word medical. Naturopathy is not a branch of medicine. It is a combination of nutritional advice, home remedies and discredited treatments Naturopathic practices are unchanged by research and remain a large assortment of erroneous and potentially dangerous claims mixed with a sprinkling of non-controversial dietary and lifestyle advice. This is the level of qualifications of most of the practitioners of the IHC or the Integrated Health Clinic.

Now, onto Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, or Chinese Medicine or CM, also coming out of the Integrated Health Clinic, RationalWiki notes some of the dangerous, if not disgusting to a North American and Western European palette, ingredients:

CM ingredients can range from common plants, such as dandelion, persimmon, and mint, to weird or even dangerous stuff. Some of the more revolting (from a Western standpoint) things found in TCM include genitals of various animals (includingdogs, tigers, seals, oxen,goats, and deer), bear bile (commonly obtained by means of slow, inhumane extraction methods), and (genuine)snake oilUrine,feces,placentaand other human-derived medicines were traditionally usedbut some may no longer be in use.

Some of the dangerous ingredients includelead, calomel (mercurouschloride), cinnabar (red mercuric sulfide),asbestos(including asbestiform actinolite, sometimes erroneously called aconite) realgar (arsenic),andbirthwort(Aristolochiaspp.).Bloodlettingis also practiced. Bizarrely, lead oxide, cinnabar, and calomel are said to be good fordetoxification.Lead oxide is also supposed to help with ringworms, skin rashes, rosacea, eczema, sores, ulcers, and intestinal parasites, cinnabar allegedly helps you live longer, and asbestos

Dr. Arthur Grollman, a professor of pharmacological science and medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, in an article entitled Chinese medicine gains WHO acceptance but it has many critics is quoted, on the case of TCM or CM acceptance at the World Health Organization, saying, It will confer legitimacy on unproven therapies and add considerably to the costs of health care Widespread consumption of Chinese herbals of unknown efficacy and potential toxicity will jeopardize the health of unsuspecting consumers worldwide. On case after case, we can find individual practices or collections of practices of dubious effect if not ill-effect in the town. Indeed, this follows from one of the earliest points about the infusion of supernatural thinking or pseudoscientific integration of praxis into the community, whether fear of liberal theology, encouragement of pseudobiology, prejudice and bigotry against the LGBTI members of community, pseudo-psychological diagnoses passed off as real psychological and behavioural issues while simply grounded in theological bias and false assertions as psychological constructs, or in the whole host of bad medical and science practices seen in colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

This isnt a declaration of what to do, but if done, be, at least, informed about bad science, bad medicine, questionable theology, etc. As noted about the right to freedom of belief, religion, and conscience (and expression and opinion), people are free to lose money on dubious treatments or otherwise. Freedom seen throughout Canada on the basis of what people, in fact, do anyway; whereas, at a minimum, the critical thinking of the culture should rise to the bare minimum standard of if done, be, at least, informed about bad science, bad medicine, questionable theology, etc.

[1] Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution states:

Canadian Mennonite University invited Professor Dennis Venema from Trinity Western University as the Scientist in Residence. Venema, at the time, stated, Im thrilled to be invited to be the Scientist in Residence at CMU for 2019. I think its a wonderful opportunity for students, and I am honoured to join a prestigious group of prior participants I hope that these conversations can help students along the path to embracing both Gods word and Gods world as a source of reliable revelation to us. Venema defends the view of evolutionary theory within a framework of evolutionary creationism, which appears more a terminologically diplomatic stance than evolution via natural selection or the code language within some religious commentary as things like or almost identical to atheistic evolution or atheistic evolutionism. He provides education on the range of religious views on offer with a more enticing one directed at evolution via natural selection. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation provides a space for countering some of the young earth geologist and young earth creationist viewpoints, as with the advertisement of the Dr. Jonathan Bakers lecture, or inpamphlets produced on geological (and other) sciences.

He works in a tough area within a community not necessarily accepting of the evolution via natural selection view of human beings with a preference for special creation, creationism, or intelligent design. Much of the problems post-genetics as a proper discipline of scientific study and the discovery of evolution via natural selection comes from the evangelical Christian communities sub-cultures who insist on a literal and, hence, fundamentalist interpretation or reading of their scriptures or purported holy texts. Another small item of note. Other universities have writers in residence. A Mennonite university hosts a scientist in residence. Science becomes the abnorm rather than the norm. The Kings University contains one reference in the search results within a past conference. However, this may be a reference to creation rather than creationism as creation and more creation speaking to the theological interpretations of genesis without an attempt at an explicit scientific justification of mythology.

By far, the largest number of references to creationism came from the largest Christian, and evangelical Christian, university in the country located in Langley, British Columbia, Canada called Trinity Western University, which, given its proximity and student body population compared to the local town, makes Fort Langley in one framing and Trinity Western University the heart of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity in Canada. Trinity Western University teaches a SCS 503 Creationism & Christainity [sic] (Korean) course and a SCS 691 Creationism Field Trip course. They hosted a lecture on Stephen Hawking, science, and creation, as stated:

In light of Steven Hawkings theories, is there enough reason for theists to believe in the existence of God and the creation of the world?

This lecture will respond to Hawkings views and reflect on the relationship between science, philosophy and theology.

Speaker:Dr. Yonghua Ge, Director of Mandarin Theology Program at ACTS Seminaries(Ibid.)

They hosted another event on evolution and young earth creationism:

All are welcome to attend, Public Lecture, hosted by TWUs Science, Faith, and Human Flourishing: Conversations in Community Initiative, supported by Fuller Seminary, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation, Evolutionary and Young-Earth Creationism: Two Separate Lectures (Darrel Falk, Evolution, Creation and the God Who is Love and Todd Wood, The Quest: Understanding Gods Creation in Science and Scripture)

Dirk Bchner, Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University, states an expertise in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac (grammar and syntax), Hellenistic Greek (grammar and lexicography), The Septuagint. Of more popular interest: The Bible and Social Justice, and Creationism, Scientism and the Bible: why there should be no conflict between mainstream science and Christian faith. Professor Bchner holds an expert status in creationism. A non-conflict between mainstream science and the Christian faith would mean the significantly reduced status of the intervention of the divine in the ordinary life of Christians. He remains one locus of creationism in the Trinity Western University environment. Dr. Paul Yangs biography states, Paul Yang has over twenty years teaching experience, lecturing on physics and physics education, as well as Christian worldview and creationism. He has served as the director of the Vancouver Institute for Evangelical Wordlview [Sic] as well as the Director of the Christian. Yang holds memberships or affiliations with the American Scientific Affiliation, Creation Research Society, and Korea Association of Creation Research. Dr. Alister McGrath and Dr. Michael Shermer had a dialogue moderated by a panel with Paul Chamberlain, Ph.D., Jaime Palmer-Hague, Ph.D., and Myron Penner, Ph.D. in 2017 at Trinity Western University.

All exist as probably Christian front organizations with the pretense as scientific and Christian organizations. One can see the patterns repeat themselves over and over again. Christian science amounts to creationism, as noted before. Yang, with more than 20 years, exists as a pillar of creationist teaching, thinking, and researching within Canada and at Trinity Western University

Other cases of the more sophisticated and newer brands of Christianity with a similar theology, but more evolutionary biology proper incorporated into them exist in some of the heart of parts of evangelical Christianity in Canada. Professor Dennis Venema of Trinity Western University and his colleague Dave Navarro (Pastor, South Langley Church) continued a conversation on something entitled evolutionary creation, not creation science or intelligent design as Venemas orientation at Trinity Western University continues to focus on the ways in which the evolutionary science can mix with a more nuanced and informed Christian theological worldview within the Evangelical tradition. One can doubt the fundamental claim, not in the Bible but, about the Bible as the holy God-breathed or divinely inspired book of the creator of the cosmos, but one can understand the doubt about the base claim about the veracity of the Bible leading to doubt about the contents and claims in the Bible fundamental and derivative

A more small-time politician, Dr. Darrell Furgason, ran for public office in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Furgason lectured at Trinity Western University and earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Dr. Furgason claims inclusivity for all while ignoring standard protocol in science, i.e., asserting religious views in written work, Theistic evolution is a wrong view of Genesis, as well as history, and biology. Adam & Eve were real people.who lived in real history.around 6000 years ago...

The main fundamentalist Evangelical Christian postsecondary institution, university, found in Canadian society is Trinity Western University, where Professor Dennis Venema was the prominent individual referenced as the source of progress in the scientific discussions within intellectual and, in particular, formal academic discussions and teaching. Trinity Western University operates near Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada in Langley. The main feature case for Story comes from a city near to Trinity Western University in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Story considers this the single most controversial case of creationism in the entire country

John Sutherland, of Trinity Western University, chaired the Abbotsford school board of the time, which, potentially, shows some relationship between the surrounding areas and the school curriculum and creationism axis as you may recall Trinity Western University sits in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada, next to the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia as an evangelical Christian university. The Minister agreed with Goodman and the Teachers Association and sent a letter requesting assurances from the board that they were adhering to the provincial curriculum, Story explained, The Ministers requests were not directly acknowledged, but Sutherland was vocal about the issue in local media outlets. He accused the Minister of religious prejudice by attempting to remove creationism from the district.

See Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution: https://www.newsintervention.com/creationism-evolution-jacobsen/.

Photo by Krista Joy MontgomeryonUnsplash

Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially womens and childrens rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email, his website, or Twitter.

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