It’s been over seven long months since the last time I just dropped in here to try to explain my absence from my own blog. In a word, depression.
I must preface the following remarks in this paragraph by saying that I regard psychiatry as a pseudoscience. I regard psychiatrists in general with contempt. Nonetheless, depression is classified as a psychiatric illness. I suffer from it myself (see link above). Regardless of the true nature of the beast, it truly is a beast. It is a life-threatening condition. Up to 10% of people who are diagnosed with clinical depression (aka major depressive disorder) take their own lives, sooner or later. Over 50% of all people who die by suicide suffer from clinical depression. In fact, 90% of all people who die by suicide suffer from depression, alcoholism, or some other diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their deaths. Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.
Of course, all of the above has just been brought home to me yet again after I read yesterday’s blog post by my co-blogger Tim on the tragic death of his friend Bruce Davies. May he rest in peace.
I’d now like to turn to something more positive.
The whole truth is that my prolonged break from blogging has been due to more than just my mental malaise. Several other factors have also contributed to the decline in my blogging output over the last couple of years. And one of them is that over the past year and a bit I’ve been spending rather too much of my spare time learning to play the bass guitar! It’s become my obsession. In fact, I’ve gotten good enough at it that I’m now in a punk rock three-piece called Headcase. I’m on bass, Bill the drummer’s on drums, and Simon’s on guitar and vocals.
Sure, so far we’ve had only one actual band practice, but it’s early days yet. We’re going to attempt a few covers to begin with, starting with a song called Submission by the Sex Pistols, and then we’ll take it from there. Watch this space.
But as well as becoming a rock star in my spare time I really want to get back into blogging on a regular basis. I’ve missed it. I’m out of practice. And I have writer’s block. So I thought I’d warm up with an album review. And a controversial opinion, viz., that The Endless River is Pink Floyd’s best album since Wish You Were Here.
But it’s been a hell of a day, it’s getting late, so my review will have to wait. There are only so many spoons in a day.
Meanwhile, I’m very much still alive, still here, and, furthermore, I’m back. 🙂
I just dropped in to proffer an explanation of my absence from this blog for the past 18 months or so.
In a word, depression. I have been beset with mental health problems my entire adult life. I have at least four diagnosed DSM-5 disorders. Of these, depression is the worst. It is, quite literally, a life-threatening illness. Fortunately, amongst other things, my life is not mine to take. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Things took a turn for the worse about 18 months ago. Amongst other things, the full implications of having recently been belatedly diagnosed with adult ADHD were sinking in, winter was coming, and my usual coping strategies of injudicious drug use and abnegation of personal responsibility were failing me. But what really got me in a tailspin was when the state started bankruptcy proceedings against me, for alleged failure to pay taxes. I saw my GP about my predicament and he had no hesitation in giving me a medical certificate for WINZ. The upshot is that, since last autumn, I’ve been on the sickness benefit. Yes, that’s right. I’m a ward of the welfare state. So you can see what condition my condition is in.
But that’s enough about me, I don’t want to make this post all about my personal woes. In time-honoured fashion, I want to make it about this country’s political woes. This post will be about the government’s role in providing mental health services and, in particular, it’s role in NZ’s high rates of depression and suicide.
Straightaway, let’s get one thing straight. The government doesn’t actually care. The present National government doesn’t even want to know. Why else would it re-brand what was formerly the sickness benefit as “job seeker support”? A sickness beneficiary already has a job, and they know it! Their job is to get well. Well enough to seek, find, and then hold down a permanent paid position. All of which is easier said than done for the chronically mentally ill. Some of whom should, and do, end up on the invalid’s benefit.
The government doesn’t actually care. Certainly, the neoliberal government we’ve had in this country since 1984 doesn’t give a damn. To begin with, take the fact that the suicide rate for New Zealand males aged 15-19 doubled in the course of three years from 16 per 100,000 in 1985 to 32 per 100,000 in 1988. While trustworthy statistics aren’t easy to find, it would appear that this alarming increase in NZ’s youth suicide rate has held up. I see no reason to dispute the claim that NZ now has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.
Former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall makes a couple of especially pertinent points (notwithstanding his dubious analogy to climate change).
The critical fact is that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. This excess of young people’s deaths in New Zealand when compared with other OECD countries must be a result of local factors.
The statistics show that whatever these factors were, they began to operate from 1985 to 1988. That was a time of social turmoil in New Zealand. The economic restructuring that was sweeping the world was imposed faster and deeper in New Zealand than elsewhere.
“No pain, no gain” was the catchphrase of Rogernomics. What it meant was that it was expected that the structural changes would be painful but they would be worth it in creating a more robust economy.
For young people, the changes were rapid and painful indeed. Suddenly, finding a job was not guaranteed and bright future prospects dimmed for many. A reduced welfare safety net meant that many were not sufficiently helped and inequality widened.
I don’t think that we can say for sure what aspect of neoliberalism is to blame, or even that we can definitively blame neoliberalism in the first place for the sustained rise in youth suicides. But it’s certainly a prime suspect.
As ever: what is to be done?
Officially New Zealand has focussed on mental health and mental health services as a means of dealing with the problem. Mental ill-health and lack of mental health services cannot explain the sudden doubling of youth suicide from 1985 to 1988.
Not surprisingly, then, this approach has failed. Mental ill-health undoubtedly has a part to play in many youth suicides, but there is no reason that this should be more of a problem in New Zealand than in other countries.
It is comforting to believe that young people will be safer if our mental health services are improved but it is largely a false hope. Saying so will, no doubt make me unpopular, but so be it.
So be it, and I agree.
Sadly, throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to help much, if at all. In fact, I submit that a big part of NZ’s current mental health crisis is down to excessive reliance on the state to fix the problem. A bigger part is due to state intervention in the first place. It is completely wrong, for example, that the state treats the simple administration of a proven cure for depression as a greater crime than rape or armed robbery, and instead busies itself funding a lolly scramble of often worse than useless placebos.
Whereas I don’t think more government money is going to fix the problem, I do think it’s downright criminal to cut funding to mental health services in a time of mental health crisis. And that’s what this National government has done. My point is that where the state has taken on responsibility for the provision of mental health services, it must honour that commitment in the meantime. Until such time as we can successfully devolve this responsibility to families, friends and support at the local community level. Faceless bureaucracy never made anyone happy.
At a time like this, it is utterly appalling that the government saw fit to cut funding to Lifeline, one of NZs biggest and long-established suicide counselling lines. And instead, allocate that funding to a “new, preferred supplier” called LaVey. All very well, perhaps, except for the six-month hiatus between Lifeline’s funding being cut and the new provider stepping in. Oh, and the fact that Bill English’s wife is on the board of LaVey! Nepotism doesn’t get much uglier. (LeVa, LaVey. Whatever.)
Wait just a moment! Take another look at take the load off. What on earth is that woman friend using to get her mate Dan out of his pit of depression? That’s right, it’s a hangman’s noose.
Sure, it’s supposed to be a lasso. But seriously, what sort of subliminal message are they sending to the suicidal? The people at the agency that created this plagiaristic monstrosity sure have a sick sense of humour. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same outfit responsible for Colin Craig’s election campaign material last election.)
I’m glad that I also have a sick sense of humour and can appreciate it. I hope you do too. To all my depressed friends out there, I say, life is very much worth living, no matter if it seems like a sack of shit right now. Hang on in there!
Today is the 10th anniversary of my Grand Father, John Steele Clark’s death.
He was a wonderful and inspirational person.
The Greatest human being I have ever known.
I was blessed beyond measure to have him as my Granddad.
I have not seen my own father since I was 5 years old and yet this loss was greatly mitigated by my Grandfathers Love and guidance.
I miss him, and still reverence his memory.
When I knew his time was short I did something a tad different.
I wrote a Tribute to his Life and death and sent it to him before he died so he could read with his own eyes what his Grandson thought! 🙂
My tribute was very controversial as it was *My take* *My perspective* rather than simply a concise record of his exact doings and faith.
That was another reason I sent it to him… to see if he would discuss what I had written.
We never did discuss it, and so I took that as a Tacit endorsement! 🙂 And this was important to me because I expected some of my family members to not be that impressed with my Rendition of things.
Thus with my Granddad’s anniversary in mind I have typed out my Tribute to him and posted it below.
I hope to post more about this wonderful man in the future.
I also hope my tribute is of benefit to people struggling with the Pains, trials, and tribulations of Life as this is not just the story of an individual’s life but about Hope and happiness in the face of death and loss.
Love You Heaps Granddad! XOX
I have started a Facebook page in memory of Him >>>Here<<<
I hope everyone who knew him visits, enjoys, and contributes to this memorial.
My Granddad. (Left) Married Me to my Wife Joy at Mclarens Falls Tauranga. March 2002.
Tribute to Reverend John Steel Clark. (Re-post)
Thames/ Coromandal Peninsular.
Man of Faith and Reason.
A Christian view of Life and Death.
By his eldest Grandson.
“For the Invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse;”
St Paul. Romans 1vs 20
“I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…”
Jesus Christ: John 11vs 25
“for by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast”
St Paul: Ephesians 2vs8,
After an exemplary life, and a heroic fight against cancer, by beloved Grandfather has passed on.
There is not enough time today to fully express what he means to me, I therefore shall leave much out of this tribute for others to share.
I have chosen to focus on the most precious values that I personally treasure… that I see as the Greater part of his legacy.
My Grandfather was the Abraham of our family!
When I was growing up his word was Law.
He set the standards for manhood and he always stuck to his word.
His glory as a faithful husband to my Nana and as a father to his children (and Grandchildren) gave me such assurance that life makes perfect sense, and that all is well in the world.
Rev Clark was a man of Reason and a man of Faith.
He was a Christian minister, which is a huge testimony to the value of that religion.
Those who knew him and loved him, yet are not Christians ought to pause and contemplate the huge implications that such a man of great wisdom and integrity was not ashamed to wear the garb of a Man of God!
It is this truth that I hold dearest about my Grandfather, and it is in honour of his principled faith in God that I wish to write to you about life, religion, and death.
This is a fitting time to talk about religion and death.
If it’s not cool to talk about religion and death at the funeral of a preacher, then I ask when?
For many Death is the hardest most frightening reality we face.
How are we to deal with it?
We all must face our own mortality sooner or later and worse still we must face the mortality of those we hold dear.
Some like my Grandfather, live full term and death becomes a sort of mercy, yet many tragically die before their time and it seems a truism to say “Life’s not fair!”
Should we die from our own immorality or foolishness we may find small solace in seeing such deaths as justly ‘reaping what we have sown’, yet often death comes to the virtuous and innocent…at the hands of some evil, and so this rule appears violated.
The Soul that looses a loved one in such a way, or they find themselves facing an early death by some evil is in danger of becoming bitter and twisted, and a hater of God, even if they don’t believe in him!
Indeed they choose not to believe in him simply because they see life as unjust!
It is for this reason that a positive philosophy about death is essential for every one of us if we are to truly enjoy life.
Without a sure reasoned faith powerful enough to overcome these sorts of pain… bitterness and hatred of God are almost as sure to consume your soul as the sun will rise tomorrow!
Perhaps some may delude themselves into being happy by such base notions that ultimately ‘Nothing really matters’, but this can never suffice the deep hearted.
This can only leave you cold.
I therefore say True Religion is essential for the survival and happiness of everyone of us, and not to have such a faith is a disaster!
Pain bitterness, hopelessness, and hatred are the lot for the lost soul without true religion.
Rev Clark Knew this, and this was one reason he was a minister of God.
Peace, hope, and a clear sense of justice are only possible for the man of reason that has reason enough to have faith that ultimately all is well and that life has real meaning and value.
It is my testimony, and that of my Grandfather that reason enough does indeed exist for hope and belief in Divine Justice.
Tears. Knowing time was short. Me and Granddad shortly before his death.
Let me now share with you a tiny fraction of the logic for faith in God, faith in his goodness, and faith in Christ by a few self-evident truths.
What lies in that box is not my Grandfather!
That dead body is but the house he lived in.
Science tells us that we replace every cell in our body every seven years.
This being so, most of us have had many bodies in our lifetime already!
They are miraculous things that were designed by incredible genius, but they are not the essence of who we are.
What is missing from that corpse is the *Real Granddad* whom we all love!
A great portion of Mankind are suffering from the delusion that we are but soul-less matter.
This is a great inhuman and evil superstition that has the most evil consequences for those under it’s spell.
The fruit of it is nihilism and this lowers man down to the level of a germ.
Granddad knew this truth and was a minister of men’s *souls*.
Now think about love… what is the chemical formula for that?
Can chemicals love?
Can rocks feel?
Can robots be conscious of their own existence and care about the existence of other robots?
The man of reason and science, who holds that good and evil have objective reality must say no!
There is no Atheistic science that can accommodate the facts of reality or human experience!
All human invention is childlike when compared to such marvels as the human mind, brain, and hands.
The scripture that declares we are made in God’s image is the most rational statement pertaining to our existence!
I say that if the Earth was like the moon, and there was no such thing as mankind… then it might be rational to think ‘there is no God’ or that whatever is responsible for existence is dead not living.
But we live!… and science has proven that Life only comes from life.
It therefore follows that whatever is primary in reality must not only be alive, but also of supreme intelligence.
We call this Supreme being God…. who is before all temporal Laws and things.
The scripture wisely declares “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God”, and that mankind must beware ‘science falsely so-called’.
Don’t be deceived by *Fake Science* like Darwinism.
Understand the difference between science proper, and poor speculations that are contrary to it.
Darwinism is fatally flawed and already fading away, yet Christianity stands fast and ready for you to embrace.
It alone accounts for cause and effect, both Physical and Moral.
The foolish man builds his house upon the sands of man’s ever changing myths.
The wise man builds his house upon the rock of God’s sure word of truth, The King James Bible.
This article appeared in the Waikato Times.
Why must we embrace Christ?
It is because this is how God has declared as his only acceptable way of salvation, and it is God who sets the terms for such a thing… not us.
To be so vain as to believe God must accept us on *our terms* is to hang reality on our whim, and to Deify our pea-sized intellect!
Socrates, who believed in life after death, said it ought to be a man’s chief concern to ‘Know thyself’, and that the unexamined life is not worth living.
I say that if we dare to examine ourselves our need for Christ and God’s forgiveness becomes as clear as day!
What is wondrous about God’s salvation through Christ is that he has managed to satisfy both Justice and Mercy, and to reveal his loving grace towards us.
He has achieved this by giving us freewill, and the liberty to choose to or reject him.
For us to choose Christ we must recognize we are sinful and lost.
Do not hide behind such foolish cliché, as ‘Religion is the cause of all mankind’s woes… such as war.”
Sin and Evil are the cause of these and knowing this ought to convince us all of the need for salvation and God’s government!
The good news is “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Salvation is a free Gift!
The Bible says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.
Rev Clark believed in God and was a minister of this truth.
Was he an irrational superstitious Fool?
He was a man of Reason and a true Humanitarian.
This is what Christianity is all about!
I don’t ask you to become a pew warmer.
I implore you all to ask Christ to be your savior!
Let us maintain our faith in justice in the face of every hardship.
Let us play the hand we have been dealt with dignity to the very end.
Let us love one another and cherish every moment we have!
I thank God for my Grandfather and trust his soul is now in a much better place.
And I expect to see him again!
Thank you Granddad for everything.
You are an inspiration to us all.
I cannot finish without giving recognition to my Nana who is the best wife any man could have.
Thank you Nana for loving and caring for my Granddad.
We all love you so much!
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved: it is the power of God”
St Paul. 1 Corinthians 1vs18.
Now I am going to say some things that will upset some folk… yet It must be said… It keeps getting swept under the carpet… so that the party can carry on.
Though an indisputable Icon of Grunge, Scott was a tragically lost soul…. a Train wreak of a person.
Scott was the same age as me… 48.
His music is an essential part of the soundtrack of my life, yet his death… like so many others is a testament to the fact that he was a follower of unbelievably disastrous values, and yet sadly millions of other lost souls worship these Musical loose wheels… and dance their way down the road to destruction.
Scott Weiland’s tragic story is but one track on a stuck record that keeps repeating…
We could talk about Alice in Chains frontman Layne Stanley, or the miserable fate of Kurt Corbain.> April 5 Sux.
Next week I’ll be going to AC DC… yet sadly Bon Scott wont be singing… he’s on that Highway to hell.
It does not have to end like this!!!!
On a much more positive note… Many Rockers survive long enough to wake up from their Drunken stupor and see the light.
Alice Cooper… Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Nek Minnit!
What about Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix,John Bonham, Keith Moon,Brian Jones, or Amy Winehouse?
Rehab could not save her.
The list is endless.
How long will Miley Cyrus last?
Many of you now are parents… how can you raise your kids yet leave them without direction… without hope?
You cast them out into open waters without a compass.
It does not have to be that way.
Seek and ye shall find!
Dont be fools unto the end.
Teach your Kids the lessons of the Survivors!
Those great and fortunate souls who realised in time that even being among the God’s of Rock is nothing but death without Jesus Christ.
The Bible is wonderfully true to those who learn the Truth in time…. terribly true who learn it too late.
It is my hearts desire to help anyone who seeks answers to their questions… to their perceived critisisms of the Bible, yet only a truly open mind and heart is fit to receive the truth.
Closed minds and hard hearts are beyond reach.
To anyone disturbed by the carnage of Rock and Roll, and it’s effects on their youths… Seek!
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
Jesus Christ. John 8vs 32.
End note: Of course raising your children with biblical faith does not guarantee they wont wander off out into the world… yet even so they will have that lighthouse back in the distance…
They may have to learn what the lost world is like the hard way… yet like Blackie Lawless… they can return home.
Scott Weiland’s ex-wife has penned a candid, poignant essay on the deceased Stone Temple Pilots singer on behalf of his two children
“December 3rd, 2015 is not the day Scott Weiland died. It is the official day the public will use to mourn him, and it was the last day he could be propped up in front of a microphone for the financial benefit or enjoyment of others. The outpouring of condolences and prayers offered to our children, Noah and Lucy, has been overwhelming, appreciated and even comforting. But the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3rd was hope.”
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/scott-weiland-s-family-dont-glorify-this-tragedy-20151207#ixzz3tnAG1lNh
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“Theistic Faith is Optimistic and springs from a Possiblity Thinker, whereas Atheistic doubt is Pessimistic and springs from an Impossiblity thinker”. Robert Schuller Senior.
It is with both sadness and pleasant memories, that I and my wife joy say good bye to a wise old Christian, whose ‘Hour of Power’ brought inspiration and faith into our Non-Churchgoing lives.
Dr Robert H Schuller
For years his ‘Hour of Power’ was our TV church.
Now Dr Schuller was not a 1611 King James Guy.
He was not an exponent of Dispensationalism.
He was even lacking in preaching the Gospel of grace… yet still I say he was a Great Christian man, and one of my Spiritual Fathers.
He reminded me very much of my own Grandfather… John Steel Clark… and that is how millions of people around the world saw him, as a Caring and Wise Christian Elder.
God creates Individuals each with specific contributions to make, so that all knowledge, all truth, all the godliness and virtues of Christ do not reside in any one person/ sect.
We are all single members of the Body of Christ.
I Add Dr Shullers personal contributions to Christian Thought as one of the necessary pillars in my Ideological Fortress.
His is an ideology to help us master our Psychology, and steer us towards bold action and positive outlook.
To his credit Dr Schuller was very Libertarian in his Political Ideals and beliefs about Voluntary action in the pursuit of values.
He taught Pragmatism….
His Ministry brought many Great testimonies of faith from Achievers, and people with amazing stories,
His Sermons were inspirational calls to action… to pursue your God-given visions and dreams.
He wrote about how to rally back from personal loss… ” Tuff times never last, Tuff people do…”
We wrote about the psychology of the ‘Impossibility thinker’… “..trapped in the tiger cage of their own mind.”
For the Bi-centenary of The Birth of America, Schullers Message ‘I am the American Flag’, was an Epic on Freedom and prosperity… as long as the Morals of the people do not themselves ‘flag’.
Freedom is only fit for a people of strong Personal values and Self governing Self reliant ethics.
Unfortunately Later deliveries of that great speech have been trimmed down to the extent that they do not do justice to the Libertarian theology in the original.
Years Before facebook, … Joy and I would share with our Battling Kin… positive insights we had picked up from watching Hour of power on Sunday morning, or comment on what fantastic musicians, Choirs, etc… we enjoyed very much.
Robert Schuller built his ministry from the ground up into a global audience.
I do not know the details of the eventual collapse of his TV ministry, so I wont make any comment on that.
What I will say is that irrespective of that unfortunate end to his ministry, his character, example, and intellectual contribution to the faith building self reliance , tolerance, Christian thinking of his day is secure.
I believe his greatest legacy will be found in his Children and Grand children.
The Schuller family are and have always been Exemplary.
They were a Pillars of strength in America’s darkest hours after 911, and no doubt we can continue expect great things from them.
Robert A Shculler’s Hour of Power message “God’s truth is Marching on” is an Inspirational call to America to Keep Strong in faith, esp in Religious liberty.
I pray God’s grace and providence remains upon them.
Dr Scheuller in New Zealand.
A great orator like Dr Schuller must have been used to having a few Zealots in the crowd… and so it would be when he came Down under.
I have my own Robert Schuller story.
I met Dr Schuller very briefly in about 2002.
Joy and I travelled up to Auckland to see him at a large Central City Church.
Several 1000 people in attendance.
Joy and I are Big fans of the Schuller family, Though we have always thought Dr Schuller needed some ‘encouragement’ regarding The Gospel of Grace, The King James Bible Issue, Dispensationalism, and Libertarianism, and I would not let this opportunity pass….so I had packed a small pile of pamphlets and small ‘tracks’, etc to give to him.
The question remained as to exactly how I was going to achieve ‘the drop’.
This was post 911.
GW Bush era.
War pending in Iraq.
The Schullers had been a source of Moral Spiritual support for the American people directly after 911, and in the War years that have followed.
Back then there were Anti-American terrorists and Jihadists, hiding on every grassy knoll.
The Program we had been given told everyone to remain seated when Dr Schuller exited.
Well…. the moment was fast arising, and Joy ribbed me saying that if I was going to give him the package that I had better do something fast… and Being a subscriber to ‘Possibility thinking’… I decided I would simply break the rule of remaining seated, and walked up out of the Auditorium over to the exit.
There I met him for a few seconds, and gave him my ‘present.’
I called on God to bless him, and America as he was getting into his car.
Possibility thinking may involve some risk, yet can get spectacular results!
I got to shake Dr Schullers hand.
I Figure he would forgive me for being cheeky enough to ignore the Rules.
I was ‘Optimistic’ and opportunistic.
What he did with my gift, I have no idea.
I had Fulfilled *my Part*… my moral duty to put the goods into his hands.
It was now up to God to inspire him to read it.
Insignificant as this tale is it actually is descriptive of how his teachings have moulded my thinking and motivated me to action and activism.
Dr Schuller is one of my Mentors whom has been helping me get out of my seat for the last 15 years.
Robert Schuller’s legacy will continue through his Children, and Grandchildren whom in many ways exemplify Enlightened Christian character, and through his fans as they continue to share his Humanity, His wisdom, his Possibility thinking.
He will continue to be a source of my own resolve to always be an optimistic chaser of of big ideas and visions.
His Son Robert Jnr says on Facebook “My Father is now in Heaven with Mum”.
Thank you Robert H Schuller.
Update: Schuller’s Funeral …
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will be glad and rejoice in it.”
Bobby Schuller lifted up his chest and enunciated those words in a booming voice – exactly as his illustrious grandfather had done for more than half a century opening the “Hour of Power” program every Sunday, beamed across the globe to millions.
The more than 2,000 attendees at Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller’s memorial service Monday morning, who packed the Christ Cathedral plaza in the shadow of the gleaming glass tower and sanctuary, burst into laughter, tears and thunderous applause….