Friday, October 20, 2017

Disabled Children

Almost 10 years ago we were told we could receive a large grant from the Hatton Foundation to do research about the needs of children with a delay or disability.  We discussed this issue with the Hatton Foundation leaders and agreed to alter the focus of the grant. 

Why would we want to alter the focus of a grant to do research on children with a disability? Do we think these kids don't have great, unmet needs? 

No, absolutely not. 

We know the kids have deep and ongoing needs! So why not do in-depth research? Because numerous, brilliant, caring, insightful people are already doing such research. Consider for a moment the fantastic hospitals and research institutes in America and Europe that focus almost exclusively on discovering the causes and cures of sick children. 

Here in Cincinnati we have a huge, highly regarded Children's Hospital staffed by some of the most brilliant Physicians and Medical professionals in the world, and similar places can be found elsewhere. But there is at least one glaring and discouraging topic that desperately needs research. The needs and importance of Parents and Caregivers. 

So, we agreed with the Hatton Board to take a plunge into doing in-depth research on what Caregivers and Families want and need. In the next few weeks we will launch a powerful and practical new web presence designed to give those who love and care for these kids the insights, wisdom, and knowledge they need to reduce their stress and flourish personally and as a family. 


Marketing 101

The codfish lays a thousand eggs
The homely hen but one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you when she’s done.
And so we scorn the codfish
While the humble hen we prize,
Which only goes to show you;

That it pays to advertise.

Kurlansky, M. “Cod: A biography of the fish that changed the world” p. 29

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why is it Taking Me so Long to Get Better?

The Apostles and Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers that began the new churches after the resurrection of Jesus were just ordinary men and women with an extraordinary God!  They faced personal and interpersonal conflicts that came from and added to the anger and bitterness that dominated the ancient world. In my opinion, St. Paul the Apostle that was so wise and influential, had to deal with his own personal, anger and bitterness. 

In the history of Saul/Paul, we see he was a angry and bitter man. He suffered from a thorn in his flesh that I think was anger and bitterness. He writes in 2 CO 12:

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, lest I be exalted above measure. I asked the Lord three times that this thing might depart from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in hardships, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In Galatians 5 Paul wrote that the Fruit of the flesh included, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, dissensions, anger and murders. He knew what he was talking about because he was an angry, hateful, man who murdered people with whom he disagreed. 

Before Saul was converted, he was a bad dude. Now that he was reborn, was all his rage gone? It seems he still struggled with deep issues of his flesh. Like everyone I know and have ever known the Christian life is marked by what can only be called, a need for constant "Pilgrim's Progress". 

We need to assist each other in order to progress. I need you. Do you need me? Paul needed his friends. May God show us how to get better and better at "One Anothering". 

Sweeten Life is dedicated to supporting that task in many nations and we are seeing great progress. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Do We Get So Upset?

The current polarization of people in the USA has me wondering why we so easily act as if we were facing WWIII. In fact, Senator Bob Corker said the President was on a track to take us into WWIII. That is what we in Counseling and Psychology call "Catastrophic Thinking and Feeling". 

There is no question that President Trump has been making fun of Senator Corker and refused to support him in a reelection battle, but that is hardly WWII, even if the Senator thinks leaving the Senate is a catastrophe. Every Bulletin on TV is announced as though it was going to snow, and THAT is a CRISIS!!!!

Every visit by a Russian to Washington, DC is expressed as a huge, unique crisis by breathless TV talking heads. Every Democrat that is challenged for reelection is offered in a TV BULLETIN! 

But, North Korea has been acting up since Truman. So, breathe deeply and stop screaming about it on Facebook. 

Take the peace that Jesus offers us. Get my book, Power Christian Thinking, a PDF eBook that can be read or printed. 

A New Prayer for Sleeping

Do you have nightmares or bad dreams? Here is a prayer I wrote for parents to teach their children to pray each evening. It recognizes the presences of God with us all night long. Feel free to copy and print it out for your family. 

A New Prayer for Sleeping

Now I lay me down to sleep
I thank the Lord my soul will keep.

No fear of night, He will provide-
His angels near, my sleeping side.

At morning's dawn, I will awake,
To live again for Jesus' sake.

He gives me strength, the whole night rest,
Enough each day to give my best

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bitterness Kills

The polarization in America has gotten worse over the past few years. There are many theories but no proofs showing why, but I have an idea as a result of 40 years of counseling.

In a word: BITTERNESS, a desire for revenge and a refusal to forgive. It says, "I demand that ______ be punished."

 Hebrews 12: 14 Pursue peace with all people and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord

15 watching diligently so that no one falls short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up to cause trouble, and many become defiled by it

Peace and harmony can arrive only as a result of grace. Grace is the opposite of revenge and justice. revenge and a lack of grace can focus on ourselves and others. It can be focused on individuals or groups. 

When focused inwardly it leads to depression and anxiety and even suicide. Rage and bitterness is very destructive to the carrier and those around them. 

When focused outward it can be directed at one person or at a group or leader. A political party, a President, a nation. In some cases a church or religion. Karl Marx was the son of a Jewish father that converted to Christianity for protection and business.  His resentment led him to despise all religions and even God which he severely punished. 

The people that explode and act out tend to be outwardly timid, passive, and weak.  They will often have powerful fantasy filled  lives who may play violent games or write violent stories, but act passively and mild mannered. 

It is the weak and timid that blow up and get revenge. It is rarely the strong, independent, hunters that go out with their buddies to sit in a duck blind or stalk a deer. the bearded men of Duck Dynasty are as safe as a nursery worker. Barney Fife was a danger to anyone that scared him. 

If you want to heal your inner hurts and bitterness, go to the Sweeten Life web store and download the PDF for Breaking Free.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Anger and Polarization Reduction

I wrote a response today to a great joke posted by my friend Dennis Cole. It tells how a lowly private stopped a car driven by a private  that forgot the password. He was driving a general who also forgot the password. The General told the guard to let him through and the young man's response was a beautiful for us as Christians. He said, "General, I am new at this guarding thing. Who do I shoot, you or the driver?" 

The country is more openly divided now than any time I remember. This makes it easy to get suckered into taking one side or the others of the pole. Everybody asks us, "Who do you think is right, Trump or Hillary"? 

To make things worse, even playing sports is polarized.  "Hey Gary, do you support the right on football players to stand, kneel, sing, sit, etc or do you support the flag, America, and apple pie?"
In other words, whom do I shoot? 

Whomever I shoot, it will have a mob effect. A mob will be on my case, people will unfriend me and my fellow Christians will wonder if I have fallen from grace. (Except my Baptist relatives.)

Polarizing leads to destruction and makes peace almost impossible. Some of us remember the fantastic book and film, Peace Child. The author, Don Richardson, told how he and his family moved to share the gospel with some unreached people. When he was finally able to speak their language, he had to learn to also speak to their culture because when the people heard the story of Jesus they thought Judas was the hero. 

Revenge was their greatest virtue meaning that wars could never cease because every tribal conflict had casualties that must be avenged. Until a way to reconcile the poles is found, the conflicts between identity groups will not cease and Postmodern ideals demand we place everyone into separate Identity Groups that can never be reconciled because it would mean the end of a group 

Can we discover a way to reconcile the Postmodern situation? I think so. 

Russia Bought the Attack Ads on Facebook

Some accounts that Facebook Inc. has said appear to be tied to Russian entities and bought ads around the U.S. election continued to post divisive messages as recently as this past August, according to saved versions of the now-deleted pages.
“Secured Borders,” a Facebook page that the social-media giant told congressional investigators bought ads during the presidential campaign last year, posted messages after the election that called for killing Muslims and that labeled illegal immigrants as “rapists, murderers, child molesters,” according to cached versions of the page. A person with knowledge of the Facebook page confirmed its authenticity as well as that of three others.
The pages expressed extreme views on both sides of the U.S. political and social spectrum, espousing radical ideas that demonized opposing viewpoints. “Blacktivist,” another Facebook page that bought ads during the campaign, posted videos that allegedly showed police violence toward blacks. “We could see that police are totally out of its mind and its actions are no longer correlate with common sense [sic],” said one post from August.
That same month, during the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Secured Borders posted an article from a separate site called The Blacksphere titled “Democrats ARE White Nationalists in Charlottesville.” The article from Blacksphere, a site by conservative black commentator Kevin Jackson, included a photo showing civil-rights leader John Lewis, a representative from Georgia, in a defiant stance. Secured Borders added its own comment: “Charlottesville is a real mess. We’re on the brink of another civil war.”
Four of the accounts that remained active at least until late August—“Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist,” “Heart of Texas” and “Being Patriotic”—collectively had nearly a million followers before Facebook removed the accounts for violating its policies by misrepresenting their identities.