Saturday Supplement

Just a few headings this week, because each of the items is big in itself:

FEMALE ROLE MODELS: this is one of those weeks when I am glad I have 2 sons - although, as I have discussed with a number of people this week the model of masculinity we offer, particularly within NI and within the church, leaves much to be desired... But the unpleasant public spat between Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor left a lot to be desired... Why did Ms. O'Connor do this via public letter if it was out of concern for Miley? And what was going through Miley Cyrus' head when she dragged up the mental health of Sinead and Amanda Bynes? Annie Lennox also weighed in, without naming names. There are worrying things about the eroticizing of female self-image. There are those who would say that this is part of a trend in society that includes the body image that girls are exposed to in Barbies and Disney Princesses - leading to the controversy over the makeover for Brave's Princess Merida, which led to a climbdown by Disney. However, on the positive side was this wonderful photo-essay by Jaime Moore, that I posted on FB earlier in the week, with her daughter Emma made up as 5 inspiring women - and Miley Cyrus wasn't one of them.

MENTAL HEALTH: The Miley Cyrus piece raises the issue of mental health, as does the appalling Sun headline earlier in the week... And again I ask what were they thinking? A few weeks after Asda and Tesco are forced to withdraw their "Psycho-Killer" halloween costumes? In the same week as "Mental Health Awareness Day"? Was it simply a cynical exercise in "This headline will get them talking about us and no publicity is bad publicity?" Whatever was going through their tiny minds, this piece by Amy Simpson points to problems in the attitude to mental illness within the church, not just within US evangelicalism, but far more widely than that...

AND FINALLY: Some advice from different contexts:
First, Richard Osman, the originator and thinking giant behind the quiz-show "Pointless" encourages us to revise our bucket lists...
Second Stephen Mattson offers some ways to "survive" Christian culture on Sojourners.
Third, Kim Fabricius, offers some advice to his congregation on his retirement (though I do hope this won't be the last we hear from him...
And finally, an address at a graduation ceremony in his alma mater by musician and comedian Tim Minchin - don't agree with all of it, but there is plenty of worth within it... I'll have to go through it again and steal from it liberally:



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