Emotional Freedom Technique?

Should Christians employ acupuncture, yoga, and other “alternative medicine” treatments whose theoretical foundations come out of Eastern or New Age religions?  All of those energy meridians, chakras, and the like are far removed from a Christian worldview, much less the worldview of modern science. And yet they seem to “work” for many people, as if there might be an innocently secular physiological explanation.  (Notice how being “secular” in the sense of non-religious can be a good thing from a Christian perspective, much better than “pagan” or “teaching a false religion.”)

I bring this up because a reader wrote me about a kind of psychological acupuncture technique that is going around called the “Emotional Freedom Technique.”  Here is what she said:

Do you think that the Emotional Freedom Technique, psychological acupressure based on energy meridians, is dangerous for Christians? It appears to be successful with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] patients. It involves simple tapping with fingertips to input kinetic energy into specific meridians while you think of a specific problem and make a positive statement. It seems harmless enough, yet is close to the Word Faith, name it and claim it, positive confession movement.

She says a number of Christian therapists are using it.

She referred me to this website:  EFT | Dr. Mercola’s Emotional Freedom Technique.

What you do is tap your body at various points–yes, you do it yourself, which will make you look very silly if you do it in public.  And while you are hitting yourself, you say the following:  “Even though I have this [name your problem],  I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Now this strikes me as ludicrous.  And with the telling yourself how much you accept yourself, it can’t be completely physical.  I consider it on the order of that great new wonder drug called “placebo.”

But what’s the attraction for Christians?  They don’t believe in energy meridians, do they?  If so, on what basis?  Taoism?

Inflation remains low–thanks to Bernanke?

One of the Republican candidate’s favorite whipping boys is Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve.  They have been accusing him of employing monetary policies that produce inflation.  But it turns out, inflation rates continue to be low:

Bernanke didn’t need to rebut his critics; the facts already have. Earlier Wednesday, the Fed reported that expectations are inflation will remain between 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent for 2012 and between 1.5 percent and 2 percent through 2014. The exceptionally low inflation rate proves false the complaints about Bernanke’s aggressive — and successful — actions to avert an economic depression after the 2008 financial crisis.

Former candidate Rick Perry has been the worst of the critics, calling Bernanke’s behavior “almost treasonous” and declaring that Bernanke would face an “ugly” greeting in Texas if he injected more monetary stimulus into the economy. “It’s a travesty that young people in America are seeing their dollars devalued,” Perry complained.

Newt Gingrich called Bernanke “the most inflationary, dangerous and power-centered chairman of the Fed in the history of the Fed.” Ron Paul accused Bernanke of “inflating twice as fast as Greenspan.” Mitt Romney joined the others in saying he wouldn’t reappoint Bernanke, who was first appointed by President George W. Bush.

On Wednesday, Bernanke allowed himself just a passing reference to such critics. “The low level of inflation is a validation,” he said. “There are some who were very concerned that our balance-sheet policies and the like would lead to high inflation. There’s certainly no sign of that yet.”

via Ben Bernanke smiles in the face of critics – The Washington Post.

Could someone explain Ron Paul’s and Newt Gingrich’s criticism of the Federal Reserve?  My understanding is that Paul is against the institution on principle–what’s the principle?  The need to go back to the gold standard?  Is that feasible?

Put a bird on it, but not a real bird

More Portlandia. . . .

This is more than a satire of artsiness.  It cuts to the human condition:   how we idealize nature while also loathing and fearing actual nature.

HT:  Joanna

Navy Seals do it again

Another example of the prowess of the U. S. military:

Around 2 a.m. Wednesday, elders in the Somali village of Galkayo said they began hearing an unusual sound: the whirl of helicopters.

It was the culmination of a daring and risky mission by about two dozen members of the Navy Seals to rescue two hostages — an American aid worker and her Danish colleague — held by Somali pirates since October. The commandos had dropped down in parachutes under a cloak of darkness while 8,000 miles away President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. The commandos hiked two miles from where they landed, grabbed the hostages and flew them to safety.

For the American military, the mission was characterized by the same ruthless efficiency — and possibly good luck — as the raid on Osama bin Laden in May, which was carried out by commandos from the same elite unit. Nine Somali gunmen were killed; not a single member of the Seals was hurt.

via U.S. Commandos Free 2 Hostages From Somali Pirates – NYTimes.com.

Those of you who object to American military involvement in other countries, do you agree that rescuing American citizens from pirates is a legitimate use of military force??

Newt vs. Reagan

Newt Gingrich is always wrapping himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan, but at the time, when Newt was a Congressman, he was best known for criticizing Reagan’s policies and for putting down the president.  So says Reagan administration official Elliott Abrams, who was there:

Here at home, we faced vicious criticism from leading Democrats — Ted Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, Jim Wright, Tip O’Neill, and many more — who used every trick in the book to stop Reagan by denying authorities and funds to these efforts. On whom did we rely up on Capitol Hill? There were many stalwarts: Henry Hyde, elected in 1974; Dick Cheney, elected in 1978, the same year as Gingrich; Dan Burton and Connie Mack, elected in 1982; and Tom DeLay, elected in 1984, were among the leaders.

But not Newt Gingrich. He voted with the caucus, but his words should be remembered, for at the height of the bitter struggle with the Democratic leadership Gingrich chose to attack . . . Reagan.

The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”

Gingrich scorned Reagan’s speeches, which moved a party and then a nation, because “the president of the United States cannot discipline himself to use the correct language.” In Afghanistan, Reagan’s policy was marked by “impotence [and] incompetence.” Thus Gingrich concluded as he surveyed five years of Reagan in power that “we have been losing the struggle with the Soviet empire.” Reagan did not know what he was doing, and “it is precisely at the vision and strategy levels that the Soviet empire today is superior to the free world.”

There are two things to be said about these remarks. The first is that as a visionary, Gingrich does not have a very impressive record. The Soviet Union was beginning to collapse, just as Reagan had believed it must. The expansion of its empire had been thwarted. The policies Gingrich thought so weak and indeed “pathetic” worked, and Ronald Reagan turned out to be a far better student of history and politics than Gingrich.

The second point to make is that Gingrich made these assaults on the Reagan administration just as Democratic attacks were heating up unmercifully. Far from becoming a reliable voice for Reagan policy and the struggle against the Soviets, Gingrich took on Reagan and his administration.

via Gingrich and Reagan – Elliott Abrams – National Review Online.

The rise of American emotionalism

In the context of discussing an embarrassing video in which a hysterical fan blames the playoff loss of the Green Bay Packers on the fact that she wore sparkly nail polish, Ed Driscoll quotes a passage from David Frum’s  How We Got Here: The ‘70s: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life — For Better Or Worse:

What an amazing turn of events. Only a generation before, the United States had been the homeland of efficiency and practicality, a country so uncongenial to dreamers, artists, and poets that they fled for Europe as soon as they could scrape together the boat-fare. And yet, if we cast our mind back only a little further, the turn of events might not seem so amazing after all. The “Oprah-ization” of public life is usually talked of as it were a brand-new thing. It is in reality the return of something antique. A hundred years ago, middle-class life in Britain and America was bathed in the gush of emotions. Reread the poetry of Swinburne or the orations of Daniel Webster, glance at the paintings of Frederick Leighton or old photographs of the obsequies of General Grant if you doubt it. The wry, laconic anti-emotionalism of a Jimmy Stewart or a Prince Philip is a last relic of the early-twentieth-century reaction against the overwrought romanticism of the Victorians. Bob Dole brought to his political speeches the same sensibility that Ernest Hemingway brought to his novels. Hemingway’s generation had learned in the fire and slaughter of the First World War to mistrust the man who put his hand on his heart while wiping a tear from his eye. Frederick Lewis Allen recalled the terse manners of his contemporaries: “During the whole three years and eight months that the United States fought [the Second World War], there was no antiwar faction, no organized pacifist element, no objection to huge appropriations, no noticeable opposition to the draft. Yet there was also a minimum of crusading spirit…. They”—the men and women of the 1940s—“didn’t want to be victims of ‘hysteria.’ They felt uncomfortable about flag-waving. They preferred to be matter-of-fact about the job ahead…. These people were unstintedly loyal, and went to battle—or saw their brothers and sons go—without reservation; yet they remained emotionally on guard…. disillusioned and deadpan. …”

We think now of the dislike of emotional fuss and show as generically old-fashioned. It is probably truer to say that the laconic style we associate with the GI generation came into fashion in the 1920s and went out in the 1970s, to be replaced by a style reminiscent of the moist, voluptuous sentimentality of a hundred years ago, with the teary television interview replacing black crepe. This was the style of the two party conventions in 1996. It is the style of the most-talked-about mass movement of the 1990s, the evangelical Promise Keepers, who brought stadiums full of middle-aged husbands and fathers together to weep and hug. It is the style of contemporary American evangelicalism. And it is the style of the most successful politicians of the age—the Bill Clintons and the Tony Blairs—as they explain how this or that policy will “save the life of a child.” The gurus of the 1970s taught, and we today still seem to believe, that to delve honestly into one’s feelings requires one to shut down the analytical lobes of the mind. “People often talk about wanting to be spontaneous, to live out of their feelings,” reported the authors of How to Be Your Own Best Friend. “They have locked themselves into intellectual boxes, where they hardly know what they feel any more. They become desperate to experience plain, simple emotion. They think if they could throw away their minds, they would be free.”

via PJ Lifestyle » How Sparkly Nail Polish Doomed the Green Bay Packers.


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