A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 12: Faith & Movies, Bible Translations, and Mental Health & Disasters

May 20, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 12
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 12: Faith & Movies, Bible Translations, and Mental Health & Disasters
Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week: 

  • Have you ever watched a movie or TV show or played a game that unexpectedly challenged how you understand issues of faith and/or justice? I'm not talking about things that are specifically about faith or religion, rather a piece media or art that was focused on something else but ending up touching you or challenging you in some way.
  • Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible? What is it and why?

Special Guest:
Kathy Riley, Associate for Emotional and Spiritual Care, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 

Guest Question:
Do you have any strategies for dealing with anxiety and mental health challenges related to natural or human caused disasters? (ie. hurricanes, gun violence, etc) Are there strategies that are specifically useful for people of faith? 

Resource Roundup:

For Listening Guides, click here!
Got a question for us? Send them to faithpodcast@pcusa.org!
A Matter of Faith website

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith of presby podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,


00:21 – Lee Catoe

whether it be faith in God, faith and others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unfound, the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church, USA. I am your host, Lee Cato,


00:39 – Simon Doong

and I'm your host Simon Doong.


00:41 – Lee Catoe

Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions. 


00:45 - Simon Doong

Hey, everybody, and Hey, Lee, how are you today? 


00:49 - Lee Catoe

I'm good, Simon, how're you doing?


00:52 – Simon Doong

I'm doing all right. I know, the folks at home or in their cars or walking with their phones can't see Lee right now. But he's rocking a really nice hat that I'm a fan of.


01:04 – Lee Catoe

Thanks. Well, when you don't have hair. So if you if you know me out there, and if you don't, my head is buzz. Because you know, at a certain age, some men just lose their hair. And so I wear a lot of hats. And that's kind of my thing. So thanks. It's one of my favorites do. I'm a big fan of it.


01:27 – Simon Doong

Have you ever preached with a with a hat on before? I'm calling back to one of our previous episodes about church attire?


01:35 – Lee Catoe

No, I don't I don't know how that would go. Yeah, I don't I don't know how that would I think I've seen it before. But I haven't I think the short sleeves like when I got the reaction about wearing short sleeves that I don't think they would I don't think people would like a hat especially a hat like this. Maybe like a fancier one. I don't know. Maybe for an outdoor worship service one day. Yeah, I have to protect my head though. I don't want to get sunburned.


02:02 – Simon Doong

Well, speaking of experiences that we may have not expected. Our first question for today is talking about some of those experiences. So it reads, “Have you ever watched a movie or TV show or played a game that unexpectedly challenged how you understand issues of faith and or justice, I'm not talking about things that are specifically about faith or religion, rather, a piece of media or art that was focused on something else, but ended up touching you or challenging you in some way?” Lee, have you ever had any experience like that?


02:42 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I have all the time. I think there's a lot of, of quote secular, you know, media that is out there that really does kind of have an underlying message of faith or justice. And, and that's not very specific. So but I remember, when I was when I was younger, The Lord of the Rings trilogy came out. And I mean, there are all kinds of things about Tolkien and, and things like that, that are written about him. And he was the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But I remember going to the theater, and I'm a big fantasy person. And I haven't really understood why. Until kind of recently, why I'm really obsessed with kind of like fantasy, like sci fi, those kinds of things. But I remember going to see the first movie, and they always came out during Christmas. So it became kind of like a tradition me and a couple of my cousins growing up, would go and watch the Lord of the Rings movie, and it was a big to do for us, like we would go out to dinner. And then we would like, Yeah, get all the popcorn and get the drinks. And so it was kind of a big deal. And these movies were kind of the big deal then because of the production and like, all of the special effects and things like that. And I remember going and seeing it and just really getting just kind of a different, just a different perspective about like this idea that there are like evil forces and like good forces out there. And when they kind of like butt heads or come or like there's like a battle of some sort. And, and I remember watching watching all of those movies and just getting a different perspective about what it meant to you know, like, be a person that is trying to to fight for the good and fight for justice and, and what that looks like and kind of in a different world. And so it just kind of put it in a whole different perspective. That there is Yeah, there there are these kind of forces moving around that key. keep us from being who we were made to be. And it keeps us from, like what we call home or it kind of it also there are these forces that divide us, because in these movies, they, there were, there were kind of like different types of people, they were like, different in some ways, it was just a whole different type of being that we're that we're in kind of the same space together, like elves, and then you have dwarves, and then man, and then all these other kinds of things that were just kind of, like cohabitating together. And then you just saw how like, this, like evil kind of also divided them, like, when we're talking about the rain, like everybody wanted that, and because of the power that it had. And so, I do remember, I do remember that the I remember seeing, like everybody wanted kind of that power that that ring had, and it was they really focused on the the man part like the, the like the human, the humanity part, the ones that didn't have these big long lifespans and, and all this kind of stuff. And, and I just remember, like it just looked, it sounded similar, but it looked different. 


06:29 – Lee Catoe

It put it in a whole nother kind of like a whole nother kind of story that there was this underlying force. And we don't often talk about that in the church, like, in a way that is talking about these forces. And we usually talk about those in systems, but we don't really kind of equate that to being like, these systems of oppression are forces of evil. And this is kind of like a tangible, like a, like a material thing, like these movies kind of show. Like they're like you can see the evil and you can see the like what that looks like. And so it was really interesting. And then kind of on the adjacent that that looking back on the Lord of the Rings series, and noticing, even within that production, the systems that are still pressing, like white supremacy and racism, like within within a trilogy that speaks to like goodwill overcome evil. Even within that movie, there was no diversity. And the actors there were there were hardly any people of color in that movie. And like looking back and like seeing it now it is interesting, just to even think about that, to but but those movies really did kind of just kind of change my idea of of that. And there's been several after that. But what about you, Simon?


08:03 - Lee Catoe

I was laughing to myself, as you mentioned, going to see the Lord of the Rings with your friends and getting dinner beforehand and getting all the popcorn because that was me and a couple of my friends for the Hobbit trilogy. We, we would because it came out while we were in college. So this was with a group of high school friends. And we would we would plan to meet up over the Christmas break Christmas holidays, and we would go to this one restaurant. Before after the movie, we go see the movie and debrief afterwards. And it was like an event unto itself. So just a shout out to those experiences. When I think about films or other works of art that have unexpectedly challenged me, I actually think back to the very first Spider Man film with Tobey Maguire. And the reason that this film means a lot to me, it's actually my favorite movie, I think, just because of nostalgia. But I remember watching that film, and that was the first superhero movie I had ever seen. And before that, I was pretty sure as a young kid that superheroes were not for me. I thought they were overdone. I thought they were just, you know, the good guy always wins. There's not that much to be gained from these films. You know, I don't, I don't really get it. And then I watched the first Spider Man movie and absolutely loved it. I was enthralled. And it set me on this path to liking many more of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and many more superhero movies. But in that particular film, there is a scene in which, by the way, spoilers for the very first spider and movie from like the early 2000s. In case I know, no one has seen it. In in that film, there's a scene where a where Peter Parker is tracking down this thief for criminal who he believes has killed his uncle. And he sort of corners the guy on in sort of like a it's on the roof of a building. And he's, you don't exactly know what he's going to do you just know he's really mad. But he also looks at the face of this person who killed his uncle, who was clearly also is also terrified of this situation. And you don't you're like is, is Peter gonna kill them? I mean, he's he's spider man he has these powers Is this about what's gonna go down? And what ends up happening is the thief is backing away from Peter. And then he trips and falls to his death. And I remember I was watching this scene with my mom and I turned to my mom. And I said, Well, I guess he got what he deserved. And my mom looked at me and said, Simon, no one deserves anything. And my mind was blown in that moment, because I was like, well, he deserved, you know, pewter deserve justice. He deserved revenge. And then I started to think about that answer a bit more. No one deserves anything. And it, it may not be a perfect answer, per se, because people do deserve justice in the sense that if there are any qualities and in justices, they do deserve justice, I'm not saying that. But it what that experience sort of taught me was that you can take something that seems so black and white. And it's not something can seem very simple. And it's not this film, and this sort of genre that I thought was very simple, has a bit more nuance, a bit more complexity to it. And so I always associate the first Spider Man movie with that, that growing of understanding of asking about what is justice? And what is fairness? And what do people deserve? Or don't they deserve? or What does it mean to deserve anything? And so I'm really grateful to the first Spider Man movie for giving me that experience.


12:11 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, who knew the first Spider Man movie would? Yeah, what just change your your whole life? Really? Yeah. And I also think that recently, so in the past three years, it's their last season, but a TV series pose, which is about the New York City ballroom culture and all, during the, the AIDS epidemic here in the US. And that show, when I first watched it, I didn't know a lot about the ballroom scene. And if you don't know much about the ballroom scene, you should look it up, do your research. But it is, it is it was created by people of color, who wanted to be in community and it was created to, to be expressive to, to kind of be your authentic self. And there are like categories, and there are and they call it pose because that's what you did, you posed and that's where voting came from. And that's where all this all this stuff kind of came up came from ballroom culture, and like mainstream and, and within ballroom, there are houses, and people are accepted into these houses many times during this, this time in history, because their parents would kick them out because they were gay, or they were trans and, and so these people, these, they call them mothers, these mothers would approach these queer folk that have been kicked out and accepted them into their home and, and provided for them like any parent would. And that show depicts this time but and it also depicts, like the disparities of people of color getting less treatment for AIDS and HIV than white folk. And just like, I mean, just all these, these nuances about that, and that really opened my eyes to a lot of justice and justice issues. But within that there were elements of fate, specifically in funeral homes and burials and through death. And so if you haven't checked that out, and also it's a sin, it's a show called it's a Sam and is also about the AIDS epidemic in the UK. And that depicts a moment in time where they you just didn't know what was happening. Like there was no diagnosis people that know and so it really does show this like uncertainty and just this like deep, like fear and misunderstanding and mischaracterization and and yeah, even that show really kind of Yeah opened, so many, so opened me up to a whole different type of just like, feeling for humanity, I think. And I just think that's what faith is to is just, I mean, I don't cry very often when TV shows, and I'll tell you, it really gets to you because of the humanity of it. And so I think a lot of times when I am a fantasy type person, but also, if there is something that is that deeply is storytelling, and really gets down to the humanity of people. That's where it really kind of challenges and really changes how I see fate and how I see things and justice too.


15:46 – Simon Doong

Yeah, I think that kind of goes back to some of the previous conversations we've had on the podcast, where the some of the best stories are the best works of art, music, whatever it is, are those that that convey lived experience, or at least something that feels familiar, like it is lived experience, something that you can relate to, and really sink your teeth into and think about. So there's definitely a lot, a lot to be said for that in in film and TV shows and other types of media.


16:19 – Lee Caoe

Yeah, so go out there and watch it, y'all. And if you have any kind of movies or TV shows, let us know. Send us an email faithpodcast@pcsa.org. Well, should we move on to our next question?


16:33 – Simon Doong

Let's do it. 


16:34 – Lee Catoe

This is this is an interesting question. And something people don't really talk about, they'll just to kind of say, but our question, this next question is, “Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible? What is it and why?” So Simon, do you have a favorite translation of the Bible?


16:56 – Simon Doong

So I don't know if I have a favorite translation. But I do have favorite pairings of translations, if that makes sense. The Bible Study Group I'm a part of, we like to read the same passage across three different translations, usually, which is an IV, the New International Version, version nrsv, the New Revised Standard Version. And then we also like to read from the message, which is put together by Eugene Peterson. And I always look forward to hearing what is in the message, because we like to say in that group, that that is where Jesus is often very sassy in the message. And it's also interesting, because for people who are not familiar with the message, it's it's sort of a take on trying to make the Bible's language more approachable, more modern, for lack of a better word more hip, sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn't. But it so I don't know if I would ever use it as the only translation that I would read. But as a companion to one of the more traditional translations, I think it's an excellent, excellent way to try to experience scripture in a in a different way and from a different lens. And so I would recommend that to folks, if they haven't already read the message or consulted the message. Occasionally, we're not sponsored. But I am also going to give a throw out a shout out to Bible gateway, because you can put multiple translations of a passage side by side next to each other on your screen. So people might want to check that out as well. What about you, Lee? Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible?


18:45 – Lee Catoe

I will concur and say that I also do not have a favorite translation. And the reason behind that is because no translation is perfect. And when we think about translations of the Bible, we have to start going all the way back to when the Bible was written. And in many times the Bible was written by scribes. So it was, it was written by hand and by humanity. And many times, it's really interesting to see some of the manuscripts because like, scribes would get tired or they would repeat lines, or they would like, leave something out because like, if you're writing all day, of course, you're gonna, you know, there's gonna be some mistakes in there. And so and then it's in like, either Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. And, and so like and to define, the word is so hard to do like in different languages, and so translations are within themselves, not perfect whatsoever. And we have to remember that whenever these the story rays of the Bible, were were caught were originating and things like that, like they were spoken most of the time. And, and they were also performed some of the time. And which is very interesting to think about. If you read the Bible, and you think of it as a performance, or you can imagine someone reading it, like, what emphasis would they put on a certain word or a certain character? Or, like, I just think about it as that in some ways. So that is kind of like how I approach translations a lot of the time, it's like, you approach it like, Yeah, we do. We do think it's, it's like, the spirit is within that, but we also know humanity is within that. And there's like, there's just not a perfect translation whatsoever. And so yeah, like Simon was saying, having a multiple multitude of, of translations there. And, and so when I was in seminary, and we've talked about or the ordination process on this podcast, you have to take, you know, Greek and Hebrew, and then you learn, you know, like, a lot of the translations in English do not necessarily translate and Hebrew or Greek, they have a, they have a more holistic, meaning. I think English is very defined, you know, so so these languages are very, like a more holistic, a broader definition of what these words can mean, I've used the nrsv a lot, because it is, it is a more academic translation, I would say. And then and then pairing that with a common English Bible has been really helpful, but and I would also plug another website called step bible.org. And, and step Bible is also a platform that you can kind of compare, but it also has, like ancient, it has like the Hebrew translations and the Greek in there, if that's something you're interested in. And so it can kind of give you a whole different view of, of what the scripture can be. And just to see how different each one is, I mean, we can talk about the King James Version. And there are some things in there that didn't even exist in the original domain, new scripts, you know. And so I do think it's important that we talk about it, maybe not in like a favorite language, but really just kind of nuancing what translation is, and I hope people can get somewhat excited about it to kind of like delve into that a little bit and, and really have like, a foundation or like history of what did the How did that even happen? You know, like, and it happened with a lot of people, mostly man, let's just say that with a lot of power that got together, look through these manuscripts and said this is that this one's here. I also like many also like translations and Bibles that have the Apocrypha in it. So it's like all the books that didn't make it into the original. Now that's interesting. Have you ever read some of those Simon?


23:09 – Simon Doong

I have not. I only know the name of one book in the Apocrypha. And I didn't even know the Apocrypha existed until probably think, sometime in middle school was the first time I'd heard that, oh, there were books of the Bible that aren't in the Bible. And one of the reasons I found out was because I think I was at a Lutheran Church. And they had a Bible in the back of the Pew, as churches tend to have. And it said something like, the Bible with the Apocrypha or something like that. And I remember being like, what is that? I was like, did they add extra books? And so then that went on, that required a whole explanation about it's not adding, but it is adding and the status the complex status of the books in the Apocrypha.


24:00 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, it's amazing. And not a lot of people know that that exists, like there. I mean, there are Hebrew texts that aren't in the, the canon, which is what we call the by the books of the Bible that made it into the Bible. And there's like the Gospel of Thomas, which norm A lot of people don't ever read, like Jesus, there's a story in the Gospel of Thomas where Jesus like, made birds out of play, and then they came to life. And it kind of depicts Jesus as a toddler and an infant, the years that we don't really get and the Gospels and so it is. It is interesting to also have those conversations about translations like why did some make it and some didn't. And there is a discussion about they were, they were like these Gnostic Gospels, which, if we're on talking about gnostic, it's more of like mystical mysticism. More A lot more spiritual. And there are a lot of people that are very against Gnosticism. And some of it is very problematic. You should look it up, look up Gnosticism and read about it is interesting. But yeah, the translations that try to be, I tend to go for the translations that are a little more truer to the original language. But I do know that it that having other translations that are kind of moving into the, to more modern vernacular languages that I mean, that's what the Bible was then it was like the vernacular and the common language. And so I do think that's important to to, to kind of hold it all up. And as we're reading the Bible, and not just not just take it as just a book, because it is way more than that. 


25:52 – Simon Doong

Yeah, I appreciate all of that context you just gave. And I think it just goes to show the, the complexity, not only with translation and interpretation, but also with biblical literacy, and accessibility, I'm not theologically trained, I don't know, Greek or Hebrew. But I have tried reading the Bible in Spanish before. And it's always interesting, because for me, because Spanish is not my first language, I am now translating in my head, Spanish to English. And I don't know if that Spanish translation is based on an English Trina's an English translation initially, or from a Hebrew and Greek translation directly to Spanish. So yeah, there are so many levels and layers to which nuance and complexity can be lost or changed. And so that's just something to keep in mind, as we're looking at, at really any text that that has been translated in so many different ways as the Bible.


26:50 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, it's, it is very, I can talk about this all day long, if you can't tell. But um, someone said, like, the Bible is like the best selling book in the world, but is the least read. And to read the by, I mean, just read it. And maybe not even approach it as like a Bible study. But just approach it as like a like a book, like to just read it, and, and not necessarily just yet try to, like interpret or anything, but just in reading it, like how wonderful it is. But also, like, there's a lot of problematic stuff in there. But at the same time, it is a book that is that kind of holds and expand like it holds humanity like and that's why we still read it. That's how we're talking about it. Now. it's it's a it's such a book that just kind of it shows that that history can repeat itself. And many, many times. But yeah, if you're looking at a translation, yeah, just remember, it's, it's a lot more than just the words on the page. And and we haven't talked about this much on the podcast, but like, we're talking about, like, the inherent word, you know, like some and some people may think that those words are the exact, you know, words of God. But I do think thinking deeper than just the words on the page is a lot is very powerful. And it's very meaningful to just have that context to, to delve into it because the Bible is it took a lot to get that book. And that book has done so many things that we can't just take it as just that book. Do the research and the history and step Bible comm step apple.org. And then what and Bible and Simon said, Bible gateway, right? Yep, Bible gateway. Yeah, look those up, and we might even put the link in the show notes.


29:08 – Lee Catoe

So today for our special guests and our question for our special guests, we have Kathy Riley, who is the Associate for emotional and spiritual care for the Presbyterian disaster assistance. And Kathy, thank you for being here with us today. We're so glad to have you. So the question that we have received, that we would invite you to respond to is, “Do you have any strategies for dealing with anxiety and mental health challenges related to natural or human caused disasters like hurricanes or gun violence? Are their strategies that are specifically used for people of faith?” So what do you say Kathy?


29:57 – Kathy Riley

Well, first, I want to say thank you for having me on. Happy to help present Presbyterian disaster assistance on this podcast. So you know, the good news is there are many things that we can do. So many resources to help us if we are anticipating are actually experiencing some kind of disaster. And I'm going to focus mostly on natural and human caused disasters. There are so many faith based resources as well as general resources out there. And I'm going to just hit on some high points in our time together and know that you'll be getting links to many other resources that Liam and Simon will provide. So I think the first place I would start is to say that we can all be working to learn and develop and practice tools and habits that will build our own resilience. And by resilience, I really just mean, the ability to get through to manage to live with stress, with trauma, in this case, from disasters, in ways that are as healthy and functional as possible. We want to be as flexible and resilient as we can. And we can have habits and practices both that we can use in the moment when stress is high. And just overall as part of our lifestyle that will help us cope ahead with the kinds of disasters that we know we're going to happen if not to us, then to others about whom we care or in the world in general. lots of ways to, to do what we call self regulation. So when we noticed that stress is high, we can take some steps to kind of interrupt that stress response, bring ourselves back to a place of more calm, and just self regulate, we need to know, what does stress look like in our cells? Where does it live in the US? Do we tend to get physically stress physical symptoms? Is it more emotional reactivity or responses, maybe our thinking changes slows down speeds up. That's one of the first steps in coping ahead. And in dealing with these kinds of events is to know what it feels like for us, and to know what techniques work to help bring us back to a better state of calm. Another component, I think, when we're thinking about disasters, human caused or natural is to know our own personal history to be aware of our sensitive areas, to be fully aware of the kind of traumas we might have experienced. And if there's still some work to do on things that have happened in the past, what we call blue sky time and PDA when there's not a disaster occurring, there's not a huge stress in our lives in the moment, is to maybe do some extra work on that people of faith may want to meet with pastoral counselors, or a pastor, you might want to look to a therapist or a counselor just to do your best to work through what's already happened. So that when things happen again, or a little more prepared, a little more resilient. So might be that I personally have some things in my life, we all may have experienced trauma, hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes may have happened to us in our lives. And those are going to happen again, not necessarily in my community, but somewhere. And so just being self aware, and having worked through as much as we can, is going to be important. And be aware also that those stresses and traumas and events may not have happened to us personally, but they've happened in our family, or in our culture, or in our community. And when they strike again, even if it's somewhere else at some other time, that's likely to have an effect on us on our own mental health and well being. And if we can be prepared and be ready, and have some coping strategies, and some resilience building techniques, then when those do strike and the news comes up with those events, we'll be better able to handle What does come our way. That really takes me to the next area that I want to mention that I think most of us in this field have been talking about a lot in the last year, especially since COVID began. And that is to be intentional about when we expose ourselves to news and to social media. And also to limit the amount of time and the times the day when we do expose ourselves to that. Because we all know that we might intentionally go read in a New York Times or some new service to learn about news. But trauma and events are gonna pop up on our Instagram and Facebook feeds and whatever other social media we're looking at Twitter. And so knowing that those events are out there, they're happening all the time and they can crop up in our social media is just something that's that we know is true. And I've said this, we're all saying it a lot. 


34:51 – Kathy Riley

I'm gonna say it again: working really hard not to start or end our day with news and social media. As tempting as that is. So For people of faith, really helpful to start and end our day with time and prayer. For some, it's meditation. For some it's simple scripture reading, but, but not starting off with email, not starting off with social media, certainly not with news, starting and ending our day in a way that's positive and uplifting, sound simple, but is really, really a good habit to practice whenever possible. And I would say, daily. And then when you do expose yourself to social media or to news, do it intentionally, tell yourself, I'm going to spend 20 minutes or whatever it is, and then and then go back out and go do something different. And if there is a lot going on in the world, as there always is right now, but if it's particularly salient to you, if it's fire season, or tornado season, or it's COVID, or it's, it's gun violence and other issues that are happening, before you go in and read about those events, take a moment, do some self regulation, do some relaxation, so that you're going in more relaxed, and then maybe take a moment at the end, to do the same thing. So there's kind of some bookmarks on your day, when you're when you're reading and learning and, and, and focusing on the things that are challenging out there. Talking about natural disasters, specifically, there are a lot of things we can do to be prepared, and to cope ahead. We know that not all of us are living in an area of the country where all of the natural disasters might ever happen. Are we in a hurricane zone? Are we in tornado is it floods is it fires, just kind of knowing what's what we're at risk for learning about when those seasons are and being prepared is helpful. And reminding ourselves they're not all going to strike us. You know, here in Kentucky. Mostly, we're dealing with floods or tornadoes. Obviously, other areas are going to deal with other disasters, but knowing what they are knowing when they're most likely to happen. And having a plan both to keep ourselves as safe as possible to keep our homes as safe as possible. And having a plan to be able to get in touch with people. If disaster does strike. I know that the Red Cross Facebook, other social media kinds of opportunities exist to really get a notice out quickly. If you've got any kind of internet to say I'm safe, I'm okay. So just thinking through some of those things, having a plan can really be helpful, it makes it feel a little less out of our control. So the last piece that I want to talk about that I've already touched on is just a couple specific areas, both with self care and self regulation in the moment when stress is high, and then lifestyle. So I've mentioned breathing as an important area of relaxation and self regulation. I'm not going to teach those tools in the segment, but I will in a minute. You can also in addition to breathing, you can do some grounding, you can touch something if you're feeling really stressed, maybe a little spaced out, touch a pen cap, touch a paperclip, use your eyes to look around your room and focus on what you see. You might focus on what you can smell, just interrupting the stress response. And grounding yourself back in the moment can mean that whatever's coming next year just a little bit better equipped to deal with. I know that for many people of faith, we use a breath prayer, a very simple phrase that will come to mind when you're feeling stress. For me, it's usually God be with me. If I know something's coming, or I'm in the midst of it, I'll take a breath. And I'll pray that breath prayer for you and might be a different phrase might be a really short scripture verse. Sometimes what comes to my mind is For God so loved the world. And it reminds me, God is here in this world, whatever's happening. So a breath prayer can be a really helpful in the moment way of coping. When anxiety is high, when we're anticipating something might happen. I grew up in in Missouri, and we went in the basement more times than I can count with tornado warnings. If I were in that state now i'd be using these in the moment techniques to help myself cope.


39:16 – Kathy Riley

And the other is the lifestyle practices, resilience techniques and tools, which you can get from the handout that Simon and we have, you can learn lots of those for yourselves. I think one of the things I'll mention just kind of in closing is to really be sure that you've got some people in your life with whom you can talk on a regular basis and on short notice. We call that an intentional listening partner. It might be a pastor, it might be a friend might be a counselor might be a therapist that you can call them within a day or two. You can set up a time to have a conversation about whatever's going on. And know that that person is going to be someone you trust and someone that will listen when you need it. Making sure those positive relationships in your life are first and foremost and ready and at your disposal, so that you've got someone to talk through, not necessarily in the moment prices, but maybe anticipating that something might happen. A tornado is on its way floods might be happening, whatever it might be. And then when they do strike against them, they're not in our own lives, being able to say, you know, I see those fires happening out in Oregon, and it's reminding me of when I went through it, and I just need to kind of talk through it, I just don't need advice, I just need to vent and, and share. So having positive personal relationship, people that will listen, really, really important. And for some of us, that's going to be a person of faith who shares our faith perspectives, and will help us with our own resilience and with our own response. So I want to close now just by saying, you know, videos, catchphrases, kind of out of chaos, hope, there is always hope, God is always with us. And there are people around us and so many resources that we can rely on and use ahead of time and, and in stressful moments. So thank you for having me. And if there's anything that I can do, I'm sure you'll be able to get in touch with me through some links that Simon Lee provide.


41:21 – Lee Catoe

Thank you. Yeah, thanks, Kathy. Um, that was really helpful for me, I live in an area where there are tornadoes, and I'm constantly stressed about them. And yeah, to take a moment and center myself, that's a good reminder. So thank you for that. Yeah.


41:40 – Kathy Riley

You're welcome.


41:46 – Simon Doong

We're gonna go to our resource roundup section next. And we're going to give Kathy a chance to highlight a couple of resources from Presbyterian disaster assistance, which will help people implement some of the tips and ideas that she shared.


42:01 – Kathy Riley

Thanks, Simon, I do want to share specific Presbyterian disaster assistance resources. And I also want to say in this moment, that the Presbyterian pcusa mental health ministries is an incredible resource been working closely with them since their inception, and lots and lots of resources there. So I'm really, really happy to have them providing so much help in mental health issues. So as I mentioned, we do have a handout that you can have access to that's got tips, tools, techniques, things we teach all the time, you can read that handout, you can choose the ones that make the most sense to you try some on and find some that you can make your own. I want to say also that on the PTA website, there's a specific link to the section where we have pre recorded a webinar called building resilience. It's an hour long. It's two of our team members in the English one, and it's also in Spanish. And that is available pre recorded, you can do that anytime you want the handouts also on that same link. And as you go through the one hour webinar, there are places where where we kind of pause and ask you to write some things down. So you're really creating your own kind of mini self care and resilience building plan without webinar. So I encourage you to take a look at that website. We've had people I've had people email me and say they did it at two in the morning or six at night. It's available anytime you like. So that building resilience webinars, one that we teach live, but also is available to you at any point, I want to offer a couple just samples of what we we teach two things that you'll find in our webinar and our handout I mentioned breathing a little earlier in the podcast, just observing your breath. I want to teach you one tool that is one that I use all the time. It's just automatic. It's called the 478 breathing technique. It's very common, it's been out there a long time we didn't make it up. I'm going to take you through it once just so you get a feel for what it's like. And then you can always get more details in our handouts are and others. It usually what you do for breast cycles, I'll take you through one. And so the way it works is you close your mouth and breathe in through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. And then exhale with your mouth open for a count of eight. The pacing will be your own. The idea is that you exhale for longer than you inhaled and held. So I'm going to take you through one cycle and and then you'll have a feel for what it's like. So inhale 234 hold 234567 exhale, two 2345678. So that's 478. Practice it, anytime you got a spare minute, do it four cycles, make it do something, you've gotten your pocket all the time, I use it a lot, especially at nine, if I wake up, and I've got too many thoughts going around in my head, I do a few cycles of 478. Before I know, if I'm not asleep, I'm much more relaxed. So that's, that's one of the breathing techniques. I mentioned a little earlier about listening partners. And I just want to say that if a listening partner is something you don't really have in your life, but you've got friends, you trust people, you know, call them up, talk to them, text them, however, communicate and talk to them about this, and make a covenant make a contract with that person to say, I really like this from time to time in my life, would you be in a naturalistic partner for me? Could there be times when you would just be able to give me 20 minutes or so or half an hour that we can talk and then they kind of know ahead of time, that you might ask them for that. And you let them know, if I call one of my friends, and I've got three or four of these. And I say this week, could we talk, I just need to say things out loud to another human, I don't need advice, I don't need next steps, I just need to say these things. Having people who will we can tell our stories to is really, really, really helpful. And the last area I just want to mention as a tool that we all have in spirituality is whatever is important to us in our own spiritual lives to make sure we're doing his practices, if they're not working, if they've fallen by the wayside. Try again, pick some new ones up. And gratitude in particular is one that we know is incredibly important for building resilience, for increasing happiness, for helping us with stress. So find a practice of gratitude for yourself that works. I've got an app that reminds me at eight in the morning and 10 at night, I picked those times to think about something specific to be grateful for. And I would encourage you to think about that as a tool. Again, all of these are in our resources that you'll find on our website. So thank you


47:11 – Lee Catoe

Thanks, Kathy, for all that great stuff. And again, you will find the links to everything that Kathy mentioned in our show notes. And so it'd be very easy for you to click on those and it'll take you straight to them. So thanks again, Kathy.


47:31 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

This has been the matter of faith podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion, you can do so at faith podcast at Pc usa.org. We look forward to hearing from you see you next time. See you next time, y'all.


48:08 – Simon Doong

Hey, everyone, thanks for listening to Episode 12 of a matter of faith a Presby podcast. Don't forget to subscribe.


48:15 – Lee Catoe

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