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Issue 15-8

Recovering From PTED (Post-Traumatic Election Disorder)

Running a self-diagnostic on November 9, I discovered I was suffering from PTED (Post-Traumatic Election Disorder)—as opposed to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). The symptoms of PTED differ from those of PTSD; they have more to do with disaffection, a profound loss of trust in our leaders, in our American systems, and in the kind of people who put themselves forth to endure the numbing electoral, money-grubbing, personality-slandering marathon we call “the race for the presidency.”

I sent out a FB post early, early on November 9:

Oh what a relief it is! The election is over. I have been continually embarrassed and distressed by the foolishness of it all. David stayed up to watch the national returns until I went to fetch him at 2 a.m. Are you still watching?” My deductive capacities had concluded around 10:30 that Clinton could not possibly overcome the voting momentum on the map that the news analysts were charting. I find myself singularly unaffected by the Trump landslide. I’m just glad the whole ordeal is over. But now that I am up and writing a FB post at 3:39 a.m., I find myself longing for that Peaceable Kingdom, for that benign Promised Land of What Will Be and Is Not Yet. For that realm where justice and equality and kindness are realities. For right now, however, I must be content to live with liminality, that state where what I hope for has not come but is close, closer than we know—‘The Kingdom is within you…’ No politician has the power to bring that Mighty Majesty among us, around us, or upon us. So we wait, wait (and pray and work) for that Day.

This PTED disaffection displays itself as profound disappointment—not in the loss of a certain candidate’s run for the highest post in our land, but in the way everyone has conducted themselves during this past year-and-half of primaries and party conventions and the dismaying presidential campaign itself where our worst qualities as an American citizenry were activated, encouraged, hyped, then magnified in the press.

2016 presidential election results map, including electoral votes

As for the media press, the coverage was often disgusting, veering grotesquely from reportage to gossip magazine-style pandering. This of course, did not hurt the three top cable channels’ bottom line.
Variety, the weekly entertainment and trade magazine, reported the three major cable-news bastions—Fox News, CNN and MSNBC—have seen their total daily ratings skyrocket 79% from last year. The article goes on to report, “And while all three have experienced this growth, CNN was in for a real October surprise: The Turner network has emerged the victor in the 25-54 demographic for the month of October for the first time in 15 years.” If you don’t know, and most of us don’t, the 25-54 demographic is the one from which cable news assess their advertisement revenue. Variety continues, “In that 25-54 demo, CNN pulled in 334,00 viewers for the today day, and 703,000 during primetime; for the month of October Fox News drew 327,000 total day viewers in the demo, and 663,000 in prime.”

Skepticism, a raging symptom of PTED, insists loudly to me that the pandering to gossip in sheepskin disguise masquerading as “news” only hides the unholy wolf that loves to gorge on advertising dollars and television ratings. My prediction for the future (despite the shocked “what-did-we-do-wrong” self-analysis going on among much of the media right now) is not going to change. Altruism in a capitalist system will always win over ideals. The viewer, in order to be informed in the days ahead, is going to have to establish rigorous standards of self-education.

However, some of that soon-to-be-discarded self analysis could stand many of the rest of us in good stead. Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of The Nation, the periodical matron of the progressive movement, wrote after the election: “We knew this was an election about change and a revolt against political elites. Yet it is also a revolt against what elites in both parties have done or accepted—global trade and tax deals of, by, and for the corporations; Wall Street bailouts; big-money politics and crony capitalism; decades of promises not kept. It is time for great reflection and an even greater reformation—of the Democratic Party, of our politics, of our society.” Elitism—that’s the trending word of the day. Let us as Christians not forget it.

OK. OK. OK. Enough of this ranting (and thank you for letting me vent). Down to practicalities. What is the cure for a raging case of PTED? I’m going to run down just a few of the things I am doing to help me recover from this nasty malady.

First, I am reminding myself that because of my Christian commitment, I am not of this world. We are not of this world. We belong to another country, another place, another way of looking at history. Hebrews 11:13 beautifully reminds us of our precedents, the ones who have gone before: “These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has repaired for them a city.”

Treatment for PTED Disease: I am conducting a personal audit to examine the ways I have become too attached to this earthly system and the consequent ways I have forgotten that I am a stranger and an exile in this world.

Second, I am resting in the reality that the Church corporate has the means and powers to begin healing the breaches in our society. We are the ones who are familiar with meaning of the word reconciliation. It is a touchstone of our theology. What business do we Christians have descending to name-calling, to incendiary language, to hate-filled disgust, to arguments over disagreements? Hebrews again, a post-election curative: “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that ‘no root of bitterness’ spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled.”

Treatment for PTED Disease: Answer these questions:
• Is there anyone I have offended and from whom I need to beg forgiveness?
• Have I aligned myself with a political system and absorbed its values and forgotten Kingdom of Heaven ways of thinking, feeling and behaving?
• Do I harbor hatred in my heart toward any of the candidates, the one who has won or the one who has lost?
• Am I praying for the candidates or am I praying against one of them? (Isn’t this a kind of curse—forbidden to the Christ-follower—?)

I will confess (and this is true penitential confession) I couldn’t stand Donald Trump even before he won the nomination of his party. His path to the presidency, personal style, and hate-mongering approach worked in me a visceral nausea—I could feel an actual clutch of negative reaction to him in my gut. However … however, one night I had a dream. It was very clear in that dream that my role was to pray for him, to work alongside him, to be concerned for him and for his family. Re…luc…tant…ly—feet dragging reluctance, believe me—I obeyed. I began to pray for the man, not very gracefully to be sure, but out of dogged obedience. (DRAT! DRAT! DRAT!) My attitude toward him has changed. Without meaning to be condescending, I can now feel empathy with the wounds in his nature. Obviously, if you voted for Trump and disdain Clinton, your role is to do the same for her.

Daily, since the election, I am reminding myself that the Church corporate is the only real answer to this nation’s ills.

Thirdly, I am praying for the Lord to move me into a community of faith where believers understand that with committed devotion, a people endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can impact our earthly societies (even as we set our faces toward that true homeland, that better country, that heavenly one).

Treatment for PTED Disease: Focus on successful models that have been framed by faith-based communities. Face it, the Enemy delights (rejoices, hoops and hollers) when we turn our attention to the dark side. When we wallow in negativity. When we focus on the obscene or morose. When we write off the positive possibilities. Do not do this.

Recently, while doing research for a book I’m framing for the health organization Medical Ambassadors International, I came across a document released by the World Health Organization. Despite traditional past scorn toward medical missionaries, recent comprehensive research (and a change in understanding) credited medical missions with a 40% impact (in Africa, the focus of the study) on changing positive health indices. In addition, the report stated that medical missions—because of its local community placement, church relationships, and understanding of treating not just the physical ailments of patients, but of working with the whole self (including the spiritual self)—was ideally situated (because African have essentially spiritual worldviews) to collaborate with WHO millennial goal achievements. YEAH! Believe me, massive doses of information like this swallowed several times a day are miracle treatments for those of us ailing from PTED. We can, as a body of Christ, make radical changes for the better.

Let me end with this benediction, another reminder from Hebrews:

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

If you are suffering from PTED, take your medicine.

Karen Mains


2016 Advent Retreat of Silence

If your soul is longing to bask in the presence of Divine love, please consider joining us for our intimate 2016 Advent Retreat of Silence. This year's theme will be "The Gift of Divine Love Made Alive in Me." This guided 8-hour retreat will be held at Turtle Creek Acres--a fully renovated 1920s dairy barn home in a peaceful farm setting. For more information and/or to register, click the link below. Know that space is limited to only 20 guests per retreat. Would love to have you join us!

LAST CHANCE: Memoir-Writing Class Sign-Up

In January 2017 I will offer two memoir-writing courses going forward for seven months to this Soulish Food list and to my “friends” of some 5000 folk on my Facebook page.

Opportunity 1: Teleconference Memoir Class
One will be a teleconference course so people from all over the States can participate. (Heads-up: We had trouble during last year’s cycle plugging Canadians in remote geographic areas into the teleconference system. If you want to join, we’ll do a teleconference test to see if you are in a compatible zone.)

There is room for eight people, time for me to coach two groups—four participants per group, and we will continue through August 2017. I must know your intentions by November 15 (before the holidays). At that time, a payment of $500 for the course must be made or a payment plan defined. To register, email Heather Ann Martinez, If you have further questions, contact me at Somehow, we find compatible meeting times and days after everyone has joined! This class will begin in January 2017.

Opportunity 2: Face-to-Face Memoir-Writing Class (November 2016 – July 2017)
The second class will be face-to-face meetings for those in the West Chicago, IL, area who would like to work on a memoir project they’ve had in mind, either outlined, or for which they’ve written some pieces.

This group will meet twice a month in my home. I will need a written description of your idea, or if you’ve read a memoir by someone who has stimulated your concept. I’d like to have an initial meeting in November, at which time you’ll make a written covenant with me, then convene twice a month starting in February. The fee for this will also be $500, to be paid in October. Register your intentions with Heather Ann Martinez, If you have questions, contact me at

Life being what it is, we will, of course, refund payments if unforeseen contingencies prevent you from participating. Usually, there is a waiting list, and we can advance someone else into the class to take a vacated spot.

Global Bag Project Christmas Donations


Would you (or your family, or your small group) consider making a Christmas gift this year of $100 toward the women in the bag-making cooperative in Nairobi, Kenya, who have been our partners in this micro-enterprise venture? Some 30 gifts of this size will enable us to underwrite the New Year capitalization of the purchasing and sewing cycles so that our friends will have work and we will have stateside products to sell.

Due to the use of volunteer hours, we attempt to return all margins from bag sales to the seamstresses who work to support their families through this bag-making cooperative. The Global Bag Project has its own Kenyan board and directs its own enterprise. Our approach is to support them in their efforts through bag parties, direct sales, the GBP Web sites and an annual fundraising campaign to underwrite capitalization.

Donations to Mainstay Ministries and directed to the Global Bag Project are fully tax-deductible and will be receipted.

If you’d like to arrange a holiday bag-party—a gift-buying two-hour venture with a social enterprise goal—email Heather Ann Martinez at For Chicagoland-area parties, we can arrange for a Global Bag Project “friend” to lead the party, or we can mail out a Party In A Box to those who are at other points in the country.


The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to

Hungry Souls Contact Information

ADDRESS: 29W377 Hawthorne Lane
West Chicago, IL 60185
PHONE: 630-293-4500

Karen Mains

Karen Mains

I am praying for the Lord to move me into a community of faith where believers understand that with committed devotion, a people endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can impact our earthly societies (even as we set our faces toward that true homeland, that better country, that heavenly one).
by Sebastian Junger

Sebastian Junger, prize-winning journalist and best-selling author of War and The Perfect Storm, has written this extraordinary small book, TRIBE, that includes an analysis of how returning veterans heal from PTSD. Some of this analysis may be appropriate to our attempt to heal from PTED.

Back-Cover Copy
“There are three excellent reasons to read Sebastian Junger’s new book: clarity of his thought, the elegance of his prose, and the provocativeness of his chosen subject. Within a compact the sheer range of his inquiry is astounding.” — S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon.

“Sebastian Junger has turned the multifaceted problem of returning veterans on its head. It’s not so much about what’s wrong with the veterans but what’s wrong with us. If we made the changes suggested in TRIBE all of us would be happier and healthier. Please read this book.” — Karl Marnantes, author of Matterhorn.

Flap Copy
“Combining history, psychology and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal quest for meaning. It explains the irony that—for many veterans as well as civilians—war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.”

Quote From the Book
“There are many costs to modern society, starting with its toll on the global ecosystem and working one’s way down to its toll on the human psyche, but the most dangerous loss may be to community. If the human race is under threat in some way that we don’t yet understand, it will probably be at the community level that we either solve the problem or fail to. If the future of the planet depends on, say, rationing water communities of neighbors will be able to enforce new rules far more effectively than even local governments. It’s how we evolved to exist, and it obviously works.”

Sebastian Junger is a self-avowed atheist, but his words about the necessity of re-establishing supportive and effective local communities are words the Christian establishment needs to heed. This book is highly recommended by Hungry Souls.

MOVIE of the Month

Hacksaw Ridge
directed by Mel Gibson

Gibson, despite all his vagaries and the continued disapprobation of the Hollywood conglomerate, has achieved his métier as a director in this war film. Drawn from a true life story, set on the island of Okinawa in the Second World War, this work has Christian moral meaning rare in anything coming from the film establishment.

A conscientious objector named Desmond T. Doss joins the war with the sole purpose of working as a medic. To say the least, beginning in boot camp, obstacles—not the least of which is a court-martial hearing because he refuses to obey orders and pick up a rifle—are piled in his way. The film follows his moral purpose, shows the integrity and authentic faith of a man determined to follow God and serve man. The culmination of the film is the bloody battle (and it is bloody—be prepared to close your eyes) on Hacksaw Ridge, where Doss singlehandedly lowers 75 severely wounded comrades over the ridge by lowering jerry-rigging a rope and tying it around a tree that serves as a pulley. “They just keep coming,” said the remnant of medics waiting at the bottom of the incline while up above, the weary and almost shell-shocked Doss keeps praying, “Lord, help me to save just one more man.”

The moral meaning of this film well outweighs the carnage. The viewers in our audience clapped, and David and I (we had stood in line for an offer of free tickets) came away marveling at the deep Christian meaning in this film.


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