Saturday, August 18, 2018

Why Change is Hard

All of us realize that change is hard. It is especially hard when people have developed rituals and habits that seem to have extraordinary meaning to their members. For example, when I first went to Russia I met many people who proudly proclaimed they were Russian Orthodox. However, after some discussion it was clear they were also atheists who were born and reared in the days of atheist USSR when actually believing in God was dangerous.

Many Russians are very proud of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church was founded over 1000 years ago! That, my friend, is a long time! So, the Russian people felt great pride in their history and culture. As a result, many agnostics and atheists proclaimed their heart felt allegiance.

Several years ago I was pretty optimistic about being a change agent. I had gone to school and learned to be a change agent with kids in school: I thought every kid could learn and wanted to learn. Even more optimistically, I thought I could motivate parents to insist that their kids try to learn! It is hard for "leaders" to lead change.

I attended Graduate School and learned about psychology and motivation. I got a position in a college at the same time kids wanted to have free sex, free drugs, and engage in riots. I tried to foster change, but Change is hard! 

I went into to ministry and sought the Holy Spirit as I tried to motivate people to come to Christ and live a holy life. Change is hard!

In order to be a success as a change agent we must pray, be patient, and humble! God alone is the only real change agent. Do you know why? Change is hard!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Innocent Until Proven Guilty By Gossip in the Media

It is difficult to keep your job and your reputation if you are famous and accused of a crime. There are individuals and special interest groups that will destroy us if we seem to be a vulnerable target. 

Men accused of "sexual harassment" are especially vulnerable. If they are in college the hanging will very likely be swift and filled with hysterical accusations but little if any right to a fair trial. There are numerous cases of false chargers against male groups that ended with complete exoneration weeks after the organization and its members were hounded, publicly scorned, and punished academically. 

A fraternity at the University of Virginia was accused of sexual attacks against a young woman in Rolling Stone Magazine. The group was sanctioned by the President and the members attacked by the President. The fraternity and all men were found to be innocent and the magazine and woman who charged them to found to be lying. The president of Virginia attacked the organization and the men and yet was never held accountable. She recently retired with no regrets. 

When I serve as Associate Dean of Students at Cincinnati we were always careful to give every student due process if he or she was accused of wrongdoing. But with great pressure from the Obama administration due process was not applied and many schools are now having to pay millions of dollars for following the DC demands. 

We cannot afford to allow the mantra of "Innocent until proven guilty" to become "Innocent until accused by gossipy liars, and social media". 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Are Dads Important to Healthy Kids?

New MUHC research highlights the value of fathers in both neurobiology and behaviour of offspring

Published: 4 Dec 2013

Even with today’s technology, it still takes both a male and a female to make a baby. But is it important for both parents to raise that child? Many studies have outlined the value of a mother, but few have clearly defined the importance of a father, until now. New findings from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) show that the absence of a father during critical growth periods, leads to impaired social and behavioural abilities in adults. This research, which was conducted using mice, was published today in the journal Cerebral Cortex. It is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain.

“Although we used mice, the findings are extremely relevant to humans,” says senior author Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a researcher of the Mental Illness and Addiction Axis at the RI-MUHC and an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. “We used California mice which, like in some human populations, are monogamous and raise their offspring together.”

“Because we can control their environment, we can equalize factors that differ between them,” adds first author, Francis Bambico, a former student of Dr. Gobbi at McGill and now a post-doc at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. “Mice studies in the laboratory may therefore be clearer to interpret than human ones, where it is impossible to control all the influences during development.”

Dr. Gobbi and her colleagues compared the social behaviour and brain anatomy of mice that had been raised with both parents to those that had been raised only by their mothers. Mice raised without a father had abnormal social interactions and were more aggressive than counterparts raised with both parents. These effects were stronger for female offspring than for their brothers. Females raised without fathers also had a greater sensitivity to the stimulant drug, amphetamine.

“The behavioural deficits we observed are consistent with human studies of children raised without a father,” says Dr. Gobbi, who is also a psychiatrist at the MUHC. “These children have been shown to have an increased risk for deviant behaviour and in particular, girls have been shown to be at risk for substance abuse. This suggests that these mice are a good model for understanding how these effects arise in humans.”

In pups deprived of fathers, Dr. Gobbi’s team also identified defects in the mouse prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that helps control social and cognitive activity, which is linked to the behaviourial deficits.

“This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring,” says Dr. Gobbi. These results should incite researchers to look more deeply into the role of fathers during critical stages of growth and suggest that both parents are important in children’s mental health development.

About the study 

The paper in the journal Cerebral Cortex entitled Father absence in the monogamous California mouse impairs social behavior and modifies dopamine and glutamate synapses in the medial prefrontal cortex, was authored by Francis Bambico (First author) from the Behavioral Neurobiology Laboratory, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto; Baptiste Lacoste, Patrick Hattan and Gabriella Gobbi from the Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal. Cerebral Cortex is published by Oxford University Press.

This work was supported by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ), and fellowships from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and from the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How to Draw People to Church

                         We can treat everyone like royalty!

It seems that it is harder and harder to draw new people to church. As I study the reasons why one thing continually jumps out to me. People are afraid of being attacked for being bad, wrong, or sinful. Of course all of us are imperfect but the church seems to have a reputation for showing disrespect for imperfect people.

This short video speaks to the importance of showing RESPECT to everyone. And, we don't have to say it as nicely as The Queen of Soul!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Let My People Go and Grow

I woke up this morning thinking about the wonderful people we had at College Hill Pres. The staff there was a great team that worked hard and attempted to listen to God as best we could. However, it was the congregation that really made us into a fantastic place.

As I read Twitter, Facebook, and blogs I am struck by the emphasis on elite Preachers, Pastors, and Leaders. I think we need great theologians and preachers. But the emphasis in scripture and in my experience as an Organizational Consultant is really on the ordinary, non titled people in the pew.

Some of the very best Bible teachers I know were Laity. They were great at Practical Theology and application. They knew how to walk the talk. Members of our church rans P&G and GE and many other organizations. If they can run a billion dollar organization they can do ministry.

We had a large church with several terrific Ministers but our congregation was filled with energized men and women that were encouraged to try new things. We had a policy of giving permission to anyone in the church that believed they had a Call from the Lord to start a ministry. The Call had to be consistent with our Mission and Vision and cost the church nothing. If a person had a sense of call they had 3 minutes on Sunday morning to tell the congregation what they were doing. 1. They wrote out their 3 minute announcement. 2. They gave their call to join. 3. If people responded, they had a ministry. If no one was interested, it did not go anywhere. The church did not control the ministry.

When Laity are liberated, then innovation will grow and the church will grow.

Let my people go and grow!

Monday, July 2, 2018

My Triple By Pass and Prayer

                                                                  God still Heals

It has been six weeks since Dr. Griffin and his team of people at The Christ Hospital took care of the three arteries that were blocked. I am reminded of the scripture that says, "All good gifts are from God." As a Social Scientist I have taken that truth very seriously by constantly examining scripture, research on how the brain and body work and mixed in prayer to keep God engaged in the process.

My recovery has gone well. The most important person is Karen who is the Chief Nurse, gatekeeper, schedule keeper, medicine regulator and emotional supporter.

For the past two weeks I have been attending Cardiac Rehab at Christ Hospital in Liberty Twp. Before that Karen and I had the distinct pleasure of getting home health care from some wonderful Nurses.

The Medical Staff at Christ and at home were extremely pleased with my progress since it was faster than most. Especially those who like me are 80 years old. One Doctor said, "You do not look 80, or act 80 but every organ in your body IS 80! So, take care of yourself and allow the healing to be complete."

I was able to share with several of my Medical Team at Christ that my improvement was due in large part to their great treatment as well as having so many people praying for me. Thank God for great friends that pray.

I am slowly reentering my office to write and plan so this note is one result. I tire VERY easily so I am certainly taking naps and slowing down even though I feel OK I am 80.

I am so thankful for Ron Peake, Andrea Bowsher, Jim Donovan, and Randy Creamer for taking the reins of our ministry and keeping it going so I can rest and recover.

I have some way to go before I can be fully operational so thanks for your prayers for me and the ministry.

Blessings and Peace!

Gary Sweeten

Monday, May 14, 2018

Update on My Heart Treatment

Thanks so much for the encouragement and prayers. 

After the angiogram last Friday, Dr. Kereiakes came into my room to explain the results. He said although my heart was beating strongly and looked healthy there were three arteries that were seriously occluded. They were to long to fix with stents so he recommended bypass surgery. 

Dr. Kereiakes had his colleague, Dr. Griffin come in and explain the procedure of taking vessels from other places and putting them to bypass the occluded ones. 

Today his office called to give me the schedule:
1. Tuesday at Christ Hospital for pretesting and instructions.
2. Thursday arrive at The Christ Hospital at 8:00 AM for preparation.
3. Surgery scheduled for 12:00 Noon Thursday.
4. Surgery will likely last about 4 hours.
5. Recovery in the hospital for 6 days with exercise and instructions. 
6. Return home on about May 23 for recovery for two months. 
7. Dance in the Spirit to thank God for His love, power, and provision of surgeons, nurses and medical personnel as well as great technology. 

Post Script: I am rereading the old book Healing and Christianity by Morton Kelsey. He traces the healing of body, mind, and spirit by prayers and physicians. He notes that some of the greatest names in Christian history promoted healing by multiple means. Prayers, Fasting, Anointing, Medicine, Dreams, ETC. One of the very first free hospitals in the world was set up by St. Gregory in Caesarea in the 4th Century, AD. 

I want to receive everything God has for me so pray all you can whenever you can. There are no bad side effects or fear of an overdose!

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