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Jade Goody and the recession

And he [John, a preacher in Israel circa 30 AD] preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”      Mark 1: 7-8


From just over two years (starting in January 2007 during Big Brother on Channel Four) Jade Goody’s celebrity staus turned sour. Now she is to die. From terminal cervical cancer. Aged 27.


There is something in this sad story that makes minds connect the global (as it were) outcry against Jade for racism towards an Indian actress on Big Brother with her untimely fatal illness. Severe stress.


Often doctors cannot provide the answer to a patient who asks, “What caused this?” But in conversation with others and aside from the patient doctors often connect illnesses of many kinds with such stress.


Stress is intangible and totally non-material. How can it, how does it produce ‘real’ physical illness and even death?


In the sentences in bold above the closing word is “spirit” (there are no capital letters in the original Greek) – and that word is pneuma. It means “intangible and totally non-material”. The English word ‘pneumatic’ is derived from it – one can’t see the air that inflates car tyres – but they’re hard. Pneuma is “intangible and invisible wind” or “intangible and invisible breath”.


We now know, of course, that neither wind nor breath is really “intangible” – they’re made up of gases. But in AD 65, when Mark wrote his biography of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the word pneuma was so suitable as a noun that meant anything that was intangible and invisible that it was used (as here) as a substitute for the word “life”. A baby with pneuma was alive and the difference between a dead baby and a live one was, solely, the invisible, intangible pneuma whose weight is always 0 grams.


Jade Goody’s pneuma? Was it affected by the hate campaign (justified or not) against her for ‘racism’? Sure. But did this invisible, intangible part – the most important part of dear Jane – then affect her body and bring about her (forthcoming) death?


And do our pneumas – our spirits - when subjected to stress also bring about our illnesses? Are our pneumas a matter of life and death? Are they the vital element enlivening (or otherwise) every human being?


First, what’s the connection between Jade Goody and the recession?


Well, Barack Obama this week signed a cheque for nearly $800,000,000,000 to be spent on restoring ‘confidence’ amongst America’s 300 million people. And Jersey’s Ministers are making similar attempts.


Public confidence has been destroyed by facts. Those facts have affected millions of intangible pneumas. Is confidence to be restored by persuasion (carrots) when everything other than carrots seems to spell trouble ahead? Surely I shall only change when the facts change and are “good for me”.


“When it’s ‘good for me”.........? The main (only?) motivator amongst humans is self-benefit – self-benefit is assessed by each using the intangible, invisible part of each: my pneuma.


Oh, yes. Our pneumas are self-orientated and when that self-orientation is challenged by others (back to Jade) stress results, stress that kills.


Faced as I am every day with competition (to the death?) from every other person in the family, at work, even from the poor in the third world, my pneuma reacts – and, like Jade, I am physically affected.......for ill.


 What, then, is this “Holy Spirit” (see above)? The Greek for ‘holy’ is hagios – an adjective meaning pure, see-through-pure, crystal-pure. Such a pneuma will outlast my own pneuma.  I need that hagios pneuma. Tell me from whom it can be obtained. Please.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ (Part of a prayer of King David of Israel and Judah, c. 1000 BC)
‘...the hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in pneuma and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is pneuma, and those who worship him must worship in pneuma and in truth. (Jesus Christ AD 30)
Richard Syvret

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