Professor reflects on personal faith journey

first_imgProfessor Daniel Lapsley, professor and chair of the department of psychology, reflected on his faith journey for the second event in the Fr. Ted Talk series held in honor of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.In the talk in Reckers on Thursday night, Lapsley said the journey of faith forces people to confront two fundamental questions.“The journey of faith, as I understand it, is an attempt to answer two really important questions. The first is: Who am I? This is the great identity question. This is the question that becomes especially compelling to adolescents and adults,” he said. “The second question was actually asked by Jesus: Who is the son of man?”Lapsley said these questions can’t be fully answered until one’s journey of faith is fully developed into a narrative.“I want to elevate the category of narrative and story to equal footing with the metaphor of journey,” he said. “Coming to grips with faith is not just a journey, it’s being able to tell a narrative. It’s being able to tell a story. It’s an attempt to find interweaving of the two great questions I posed. … Our journey does not make sense until we develop it into a narrative that makes sense.”A person’s narrative is constantly evolving and tries to make sense of the past, present and future, Lapsley said.“You’re trying to make sense of what your life has been prior to coming to Notre Dame, trying to wrestle with what life is like now and what you promise to be in the future,” he said. “In the decades ahead of you, you’re going to try to keep the narrative going. The story you’ve constructed for yourself from childhood through adolescence is not going to be the same story when you’re 30, and 40, and 50 and beyond.”Lapsley said his narrative changed drastically when he reached middle school and faltered in his religious beliefs.“I was a religious boy, very pious. I took ritual and pietism seriously,” he said. “But [in middle school] I’m sort of trying to figure out who I am. I’m trying to answer the identity question. … I was pushing back against borrowed ideas. I’m trying to carve out a sense of self, I’m trying to write my own narrative.”This sudden decrease in faith, Lapsley said, is very common among adolescents.“From early adolescence to late adolescence, ritual observance, religiosity among adolescents, declines into the university years — religiosity declines, but spirituality increases,” he said. “Answering the question who am I and who do you say I am are going to be interwoven … but sometimes this bumps up against developmental challenges, which kind of breaks the story apart, as you try to write a better narrative.”Part of his journey of faith was reconciling the different storylines of his narrative, Lapsley said.“As I struggle to keep the narrative going, a couple of other storylines come into my story,” he said. “One storyline is that as a scientist — I’m committed to naturalism in ethics and in science. So that means that transcendental or metaphysical or supernatural things kind of bump in. It’s hard to make that fit into a narrative. … I take solace in the fact that empiricism has it’s home in Catholicism.”Lapsley said being a member of the Notre Dame community helped him to reconnect with his faith.“I felt like it was the hand of God. I felt like this was not an accident, that somehow it was providential that I was here,” he said. “I began to reflect on this. I began to go to daily mass at the Basilica, I began to get in touch with my faith life again. … I just felt a deeper connection to the faith community here.”Tags: Faith, faith narrative, Fr. Ted Talks, journeylast_img read more

Britain ranks flu pandemic among top threats

first_img The document is part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s overhaul of homeland security strategy, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. It said Brown ordered the drafting of a list of threats shortly after he replaced Tony Blair in June 2007, arguing that previously classified assessments should be made public. See also: Calling itself “a first attempt to inform the public more fully of the types of risks that we face,” the report invites readers to provide feedback for consideration in future updates. The report is described as “an assessment of the most significant emergencies which the United Kingdom and its citizens could face over the next five years,” including accidents, natural events, and malicious attacks. The National Risk Register, prepared by Britain’s Cabinet Office, depicts pandemic flu as the biggest threat in terms of potential impact on the country, well above such risks as terrorist attacks, coastal flooding, and major industrial accidents. It says a pandemic could infect as much as half of the British population and kill as many as 750,000. Noting that 228,000 Britons died in the flu pandemic of 1918-19, the document says that history, scientific evidence, and modeling suggest that up to half the UK population could contract the flu and between 50,000 and 750,000 people could die of it. Previous government assessments also have mentioned the possibility of 750,000 deaths, the AP story said. “Experts agree that there is a high probability of another influenza pandemic occurring, but it is impossible to forecast its exact timing or the precise nature of its impact,” the report states. Aug 8, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A new report from the British government ranks pandemic influenza very high on the list of major security threats to the United Kingdom. The government also has “advanced supply agreements” to buy enough doses of pandemic-specific vaccine for the whole population, if needed, but delivery of the first doses would not start until 4 to 6 months after the emergence of the pandemic, according to the report. Full text of report “Normal life is likely to face wider social and economic disruption, significant threats to the continuity of essential services, lower production levels, shortages and distribution difficulties,” the document states. The document also discusses the threat of other new and emerging infectious diseases. It says the risk that a major new disease will arise in or spread to Britain is low. However, the emergence of a flu pandemic or other widespread infectious disease abroad could cause some of the 12 million British nationals living abroad to return home, which would have “a short term but significant impact” on the areas where they settle. The Register is intended to help people improve their own preparedness for the various threats. It lists further information resources, discusses business continuity planning, and offers suggestions for individual, family, or community-based preparations. The 52-page report portrays a pandemic as somewhat less likely than terrorist attacks on transport and crowded places but just slightly less likely than severe weather. The report does not suggest a numeric probability for any given event, but it portrays the comparative likelihood and impacts of various threats on a graph. Although the report does not rank threats in order of overall seriousness, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said it does indicate that a pandemic is considered the most pressing concern, the AP reported. British Cabinet Office page with introductory information and links to the reporthttp://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reports/national_risk_register.aspx Concerning preparations, it says the government has stockpiled enough oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to treat up to 25% of the population. “This should be sufficient to treat all those who fall ill in a pandemic of similar proportions to those that occurred in the 20th century,” it states.last_img read more