Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Guest Blog by Chuck Stephens


The Four Gospels of Our Time
By Chuck Stephens, South Africa
There are many variations of this tale, but four exemplary church leaders come to mind from the past century:
1.     Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s stand against the Holocaust
2.     Martin Luther King’s stand against Segregation
3.     John-Paul II’s stand against Communism
4.     Desmond Tutu’s stand against Apartheid
Bonhoeffer was born into a well-to-do aristocratic family before World War I.  As a teenager he decided to become a theologian, although his siblings were eminent scientists and lawyers - like so many of his relatives were.  After completing his doctorate at age 21, he spent periods of time working in Spain, the USA and England, so he was able to see Fascism for what it truly was, when it emerged between the two World Wars.  His ecumenical and global contacts provided a counter-balance to run-away German nationalism.
The dark side of Hitler promoting an Arian super-race was that he singled out a minority for genocide.  These ideas were somewhat in line with social Darwinism, the scientific trending of that era.  But they did not align with historical Christian values and beliefs.  This did not deter Hitler and his inner circle from their plans to corrupt theology, systematically absorb the church, and then redeploy it.  For example, in 1933 the new “Reich Church” was told to merge ALL church youth groups with the Hitler Youth movement.  The state church was to become a cultural institution to support the Third Reich.  The philosopher Nietzsche became its prophet (e.g. “Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual”).  The contrast to Martin Luther’s theology was shocking – instead of Grace, the Reich Church worshipped Power.  Its bishop was a former Navy chaplain.
Bonhoeffer opposed this hijacking of the Protestant church and declared the Reich Church’s theology to be heretical.  First he started a Pastors Emergency Council and later the underground Confessional Church.  In due course, during World War II, this led him to get personally involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler - as the extent of Nazi Anti-Semitism with its death camps and extermination of the mentally ill became clearer.  But for his role in this failed attempt at regime change, he was sentenced to death for treason.
All the same, he is truly revered by churches everywhere as a Protestant saint – for coming to the rescue of the Jews in the face of state sanctioned genocide.

Martin Luther King was also a pastor, but not a Lutheran in spite of his middle name!  He was a great orator – like Bonhoeffer.  In the mid-1950s, he took up a political cause – the segregation of schools, buses and restaurants, and the practice of not allowing blacks to vote that prevailed in some southern states.
Like Bonhoeffer, he was well-known to the authorities.  By the time Lyndon Johnson became President, King was on a roll.  He visited the Oval office more than once.  He took his mission to Selma, Alabama, to march to the state capital and demanded to register black voters.  The march across the bridge at Selma in 1965 turned into a Sharpeville scenario – 5 years after the incident in South Africa.  Covered by the media - on national TV - this encounter galvanized support from other states and countries.  Effectively, the federal government had to intervene and tell the state government to “correct” its ways.
Unlike the Jews in Germany, African-Americans were an underclass.  German Jews were well-to-do and well-educated.  Names like Freud and Einstein come to mind.  But African Americans – even a century after the Civil War ended slavery – were still a marginalized majority.  The Civil Rights Movement gradually changed all that.  Of course there are still nasty attitudes that linger, but they are not prevalent.  The election and re-election of President Obama was evidence of that.

Karol Wojtyla grew up in Communist Poland.  It was part of the “East Bloc” namely eastern Europe which was controlled by the Soviet Union.
Poland had a proud history of being independent and of course resented its occupation by Russia.  It was and is a devoutly Roman Catholic country, and had put forth great heroes like Marie Curie, who won two Nobel prizes - in two distinct disciplines.  Wojtyla stayed true to his faith, his role-models, and decided to go to Seminary even though the church was experiencing persecution in all of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Every “struggle” can put forward secular heroes as well as church leaders.  In Germany one thinks of courageous citizens like Sophie Scholl.  In America, musicians like Woodie Guthrie and Peter Seeger.  In South Africa, a lawyer and activist called Nelson Mandela.  In Poland, it was a plumber in the trade union Solidarity, called Lech Walesa.  When he climbed over a fence to come over and speak to the media, it was clear that the fear of oppression was waning.  Holes were rusting through the iron curtain!  That was in 1980.  The Berlin Wall came down in 1989.  Between these two dates there was Glasnost first, then Perestroika in Russia.  Walesa went on to become President of Poland!
One factor may have sparked Solidarity’s courage in 1980 – the election of a Polish Pope in 1978.  This was a prophetic act, if there ever was one.  The Curia’s strategy in electing Karol Wojtyla to be Pope John Paul II may have been unspoken, but he did not miss his cue.  John Paul II was a man on a mission, and that political objective came to pass – on his watch.  The “Second World” all but disappeared, leaving only the First World and the Third World to trundle on under a single superpower.  Except for its vestiges in Cuba and North Korea, Communism crashed. 
Apartheid was able to hang on as long as it did because of its shared anti-Communist position.  However, by the time Mandela was moved from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in 1982 it was clear that even the Boers were hatching a contingency plan.  Winds of change were blowing.
The question of sanctions was vexing.  In the 1980s, many including the UK’s Maggie Thatcher argued that sanctions would actually hurt blacks in South Africa more than they would help their cause, because of the negative impact it would have on the economy.  Commonwealth leaders kept up the pressure on her and the UK to relent and impose economic sanctions.
At the time, the South Africa Council of Churches had a general secretary named Desmond Tutu.  He was invited to visit Demark, and while there, he was interviewed on TV.  Although he was a pastor and a theologian, he signaled his support (for sanctions) to help end Apartheid.  Upon his arrival back in Johannesburg, he was visited by the secret police.  They gave him 24 hours to publicly retract his statement, which had made the world news.
That night, as he agonized over what to do, his wife Leah said that she would rather see him happy on Robben Island, than miserable at home in Soweto!  Women of influence include Bonhoeffer’s mother and of course Coretta King, who never remarried after her husband was assassinated in 1968.  The year that oppressed people in Sharpeville re-lived the nightmare of Selma, Alabama in 1963.
Tutu did not recant his view.  But he was not arrested after all, because of the ecumenical and international support that he commanded.  It was just more of the intimidation church leaders get from speaking truth to power.

These vignettes of four gospels – to the Jews, the African American, the Poles living under Russian domination, and the blacks of South Africa – are related for a reason...
How can a President say – at a church conference yet! – that the church should stay out of public life?!
Does he want our churches to become like the Reich Church?  Heretical in its absolution of government crimes?  There has been no genocide in South Africa, but there has been xenophobia, patronage, corruption and waste.  And there was an African genocide – in Rwanda – during the years of Mandela’s presidency.
No, the church has a mission.  The gospel is told and re-told in different settings, situationally.  South Africa is well evangelized and deeply religious.  Its greatest leaders are churchmen like John Dube and Albert Luthuli.  The light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness will never put it out.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said that "if you get on the wrong train, you can’t fix it by running down the center aisle of the carriages in the opposite direction that the train is moving."
The point is to get off the train at the next station, and start moving in the right direction.
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Very Sound Advice For Generations X, Y, and Millenials


Unemployable:
How To Be Successfully Unemployed Your Entire Life
Author: David Thomas Roberts
Publisher: Self-published, Texas, 2016                                                                     
                              


Very Sound Advice For Generations X, Y, and Millennials
This book is not for those who want to play it safe, have a steady income (when they have a job), or go home and watch TV after a day’s work. It is for risk-takers, people who value freedom over money (but who know they can do better), and like to be responsible for others as well as the bottom line.
David T. Roberts tried working for others and knew that wasn’t for him. And then he went to town trying to set up his own business or two. In the process, he learned some valuable lessons that he shares candidly with his readers. He tells people to not just wish “for toys” that others have but to do something about being able to afford them – and to do it now, not sometime, not tomorrow. He concluded early in life, that “Everyone is created with an equal opportunity to become unequal.” If the reader’s behavior is changed by that statement alone, it’s worth the money he/she paid for the book.
The author believes that if anyone can bring “value to an idea” then he/she is an entrepreneur. The early chapters of the book describe how you can detect if you should work for someone else, or if you should be your own boss. Once that is determined, he then uses a chapter to communicate the pros and cons of education but ultimately ends up saying that whether we like it or not, today’s education systems are geared to teaching us “how to work for someone else, period” and likely turning a person into “a little communist”.
The rest of the book gives us the tools we need to work for ourselves and be “unemployed”.  He starts with the need for us to become financially literate. I love his “Here’s a tidbit: If you make a million dollars this year and you spend one million and one dollars this year, you are broke!” Duh. How much simpler can it get? To this he adds great advice on mortgages and acquiring things for the sake of status.
He throws in some history on the growth of “micro-businesses”, the importance and advantages of “sales” jobs, and from personal experience, teaches us much about networking marketing.  There’s also great and detailed advice for anyone considering a franchise; when a business plan is necessary and when it’s not; why you need to avoid those who would discourage you; where to get valuable personal advice; and where and when to raise money and when not to.
There’s a whole chapter on two important rules in business and ten most common mistakes that result in failure. He tackles the issues of partnership as well as the family business, identifying pitfalls to be avoided. Next he talks about “Renegade Marketing” and social media – but that’s material you’ll need to discover for yourself in Roberts’ book. His last chapter deals with the “taxman” and the role we all have to keep government in check to preserve free enterprise.
The “bonus” is a twenty-six-page glossary of terms which should become second nature to all pursuing the exciting world of being “unemployed”. I’m seriously thinking of giving the book to my grandchildren long before they finish high school.  And even for this baby boomer, the book provided advice that is most critical to success and could be applied to my own “un”-employment as a consultant, long after I retired from working for those other guys.
·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, December 22, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com

Get the book here: http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20

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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Good Ideas That Would Benefit From a Good Editor

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Human Origins and the Bible:
A Bold New Theory Relating Genesis Origins to Science
Author: Myron G. Heavin
Publisher: Redemption Press, Enumclaw, WA, 2016 



Okay, I better come clean at the beginning of this review. I am an evangelical Christian with, up to now at least, some very traditional views on the origin of mankind. Second, I did get this book free for purposes of reviewing it. Third, the author is a solid Christian to the best of my knowledge, but he is also an engineer (with 50 years’ experience at Boeing) who, using his graduate degree in Christian Apologetics, now teaches and leads Bible studies. These were the facts under which I commenced my reading and hence my review of this book.
The book is all about how “humans came to be” and Myron Heavin does a great job of presenting the alternatives. He takes both Scripture and nature seriously, because he believes that God wrote both ‘books’. For the most part he does not get into the debate on creation (Genesis chapter 1) but focuses on the origin of man (Genesis chapters 2 – 5).  There’s an excellent treatise of various types of Scriptural writing, their differences, and their best uses, in order to best deal with problems that arise from text to text. Being a Bible study leader, at the end of each chapter he provides thought-provoking discussion questions.
To help us best understand Scripture, he calls for our study of it, to the extent possible, in its original languages, Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New. Doing so, he believes we will soon learn that it “is wrong to take poetry and treat it as scientific literature, for poetry is totally true images too vivid to be expressed as scientific fact.”
Heavin takes particular issue with those (usually Christians) who add things to Scripture that Scripture does not say. And throughout the book, he cites several examples of people doing just that.
It’s at about the one-quarter way through the book, that the author starts to lose me – or at least where I start to take issue with some of his comments and style.  For example, he is so excited about his arguments (being an engineer) that he jumps around from thought to thought without being careful to take his reader with him.  This often results in his making sound conclusions in his mind, but not ones easily seen or followed by the rest of us.
He too easily adopts the position that science “totally supports” the claim that the scientific Eve (the one woman that science believes we all came from) lived from 50,000 to 150,000 years ago. The Bible seems to point to an Eve that lived 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. He justifies the difference between the two by saying people existed longer, but only the Biblical Adam and Eve “became aware of good and evil” and thus it was then that “men started to call upon the Lord.” It is at this time that “culture” truly began according to Heavin and thus sin could be conceived and eventually had to be dealt with.
His solution is rather simple, “Scripture and nature” cannot disagree as God wrote both of them. Where we have differences, he implies, it must be because we are reading Scriptural poetry (e.g. parables) as scientific fact.  Then he carries that argument just a little far (although perhaps justifiably) by arguing that if we don’t take that position, our “children” will laugh at us or discredit us when our belief system (based on our interpretation of Scripture) does not fall in line with the science that they learn. That is assuming, of course, that not having our children discredit us is the sole basis on which to form our own beliefs.
Heavin’s book is greatly in need of a good editor.  For starters he uses acronyms like MT, SP, and LXX without explaining what they are – just assumes we all know.  [MT stands for the Hebrew Masoretic Text; SP stands for the Samaritan Pentateuch; and LXX stands for the Greek Septuagint – I actually had to look them up.]  He argues that because two records of genealogy differ, we can assume that Scripture genealogies have “literary features” rather than factual ones. Not sure all scientists would arrive at that conclusion in an unbiased fashion, unless they were trying to prove a premise with which they were starting. In fact, he calls those who make science and Scripture agree, the “mature” Christians. Doesn’t say much for the others – those who have Scripture trump science, or those who say, “we don’t have all the answers yet; I’m sure one day we will; and we just might all be surprised.” Heavin seems to be preferring “compromise” over other approaches.
Another reason, albeit minor (but very annoying), I believe the book could have benefited from better editing, is that throughout the book there are many grammatical and/or spelling errors.  I ignored them for the first half of the book, but started keeping track in the second. There is also the use of some diagrams and charts that are referred to but their content is not fully explained. Perhaps scientists (not the target audience) may be able to fill the mental gaps that he seems to expect us to leap across.
Finally, Heavin’s style leaves me at best very confused. I never knew if he was sincerely asking a question, or if he was being facetious. Maybe that’s my naivety, but it certainly does not win me over. Throughout the book it is difficult to know sometimes whether he supports a position held by others or he is just representing their viewpoints, only to knock them down, or so it seems, in the next paragraph, often without telling us he is doing so.
He ends chapter 6, entitled, Fossil Hominid Record, by writing, “Scripture clearly states, we were designed in the image of God. The sure scriptural statements seem to be in sharp contrasts to scientific speculation.” Great. Now where does that leave us, or, his solution of fully reconciling scripture with science? He never really lingers there long enough to tell us – at least not this reader.
Lest you may think I have little use for the book, let me say that the author makes some great theological points with which I fully agree. For example, “Whether there was a literal Adam or not, the main point is Christ died for our sins, not that Adam sinned.” While we can argue on the existence of the Biblical Adam, we can’t argue on the need, as the author says, for Christ’s death to save us from sin. And it is true that we often make too much of the fact that “Adam sinned”.
In conclusion, Heavin examines and rates various alternative theories and positions. He ends his book with, “See how each of the various viewpoints were ‘somewhat true’. This book suggests taking the best of all of them, assembling them together, so now the larger picture makes sense and better fits together.” If you can benefit from that kind of conclusion, and can “assemble” the best of the lot together, for what you believe, then this is a great book and you need to read it.
As for me, because I believe he has much to offer, I would love to see the well-meaning author take another crack at this – with a great editor and testing each chapter with a small group of non-scientific readers. Nevertheless, having said that I found myself filtering much of what was said in church today through Heavin’s ideas having just read the book.  That alone made it all worth it, even if I don’t buy all of his thinking hook, link, and sinker.

by:  Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, December 11, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

God Responds To Moses’ Plea (and to ours)


Exodus 34:10-17:
10 Then God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles, which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you. 11 “Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. 17 You shall make for yourself no molten gods. . ..”
Moses has just pleaded with God that He remain in their midst to lead them and God responds by saying He’ll make a covenant. No matter how you define it, a covenant is a serious and formal document. It can be described as a contract, agreement, undertaking, commitment, guarantee, warrant, pledge, promise, bond, indenture, pact, deal, settlement, arrangement, or understanding.
And God tells Moses He will perform new miracles that have not been “produced” before anywhere. Some readers of this text may think this implies that “others” may have been able to perform miracles, not just God. It’s just that they haven’t performed ‘these’ ones or this caliber of miracles before. Again, we must be careful not to project from a text what is not there.  This text says nothing about others performing miracles – either their ability to do so, or the quality of their work.
What we do know is that these miracles would be such that all who live among the Israelites will see God’s power being displayed because of the fearful awesomeness of these miraculous works.
And then God turns His comments back to the “covenant” that He was establishing with Moses, telling him to make sure to observe what God was commanding that day.  For His part, He’ll drive out the enemies of the Israelites (and He lists them), but for their part, the Israelites must be sure they don’t make any covenant with the inhabitants of the land(s) they were entering (because that would trap them or hinder them later on). [This reminds me of the pacts that western settlers made with Native Indians in North America, especially in Canada, when they first enter their lands; these treaties are now coming back to haunt them as Native Indians are claiming their land rights, even to the point that they believe the land the Canadian Capital buildings sit on is their land, causing a huge headache not to mention a massive financial and legal liability for the Canadian government at the time of writing.]
And God tells them what they are to do as well, once He has helped them defeat them. They are to tear down altars and smash their idols because the occupied land is to allow no other worship than towards the Lord, who is indeed a Jealous God. [This command has some great implications not only for what happened at that time, but also what happened with western settlers and Native Indians in North America. In Canada, we somehow interpreted this in a way which regrettably resulted in ‘residential schools’ for young native children, dragging them away from their reservations and parents, and forcing them to adopt the white man’s culture. This misinterpretation also has come back to haunt us.  The direction also has implications for Jewish people’s governing of Israel today – just how much of the non-Hebraic culture should be allowed? And of course, that has turned into probably one of the most contentious world issues of the last century.]
There is no doubt that God’s instructions to His people, can cause great angst for them, if not carried out in the spirit with which God intended for us to carry them out in. Of course, discerning that exact spirit is not an easy task, requiring much self-examination, wisdom, prayer, and even fasting in some cases.
The downside of failing here for the Israelites was that if a covenant were made with the enemies God helped them defeat, allowing them to continue in their merry ways, they would slowly influence His people to join them in their practices, even to the point of inter-marriage (something that goes on today) with the result being less and less adherence to one’s own faith. That’s a situation that God cannot bless. So, the bottom line is this -- God allows no room for molten gods as idols of worship, period.
Let’s remember this is God’s response to the plea of Moses. So, God sets the rules. And the same is true for us.  If we want God to be with us; if we want His blessings, we have to meet His requirements for life. As a teenager, I was a big fan of President John F. Kennedy – I think now that it was the way he spoke that charmed me the most.  I had memorized many of his lines or those attributed to him by comedians. I remember one line in particular when he was supposedly playing football with his young son, Little John as he was known, on the front lawn of the White House.  Kennedy said to his son, “Little John, if we’re going to play football together, we’re going to have to play by my rules.  Do you know why, Little John?  Because it’s MY BALL!” So, it is with us. He sets the rules – take them or leave them.  It’s our choice.
[We note here that God’s requirements for His blessings do not end in this passage but continue for another eleven verses which we study below.]
 

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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

I Hope You Can Sit This Dance Out

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My Tango With Cancer: My Perilous Dance With Healthcare & Healing
Author: Apryl Allen
Publisher: Oray Publishing, 2016
                                                                     
                            
                     



My Hope Is That You Sit This Dance Out
I was attracted to this book for two reasons: First, I am a cancer survivor and second, I always wished I could dance, but never really mastered it. I hoped Apryl Allen’s book would help me to better understand how much more so many others suffer when they first hear the dreaded “you have cancer” diagnosis. I’m also glad that my own dancing skills were so poor that the Cancer dude decided not to spend a lot of time with me. Sometimes it pays to be a wallflower.
This author was anything but.
She believes in ‘fate’ playing a role in everyone’s life, but unfortunately she never gives us a good handle on exactly what ‘fate’ is or how it works. For her, it just seems to be what happens.
The book is full of what I call “gems” partly because they are so true and partly because they are so obvious. One example is “Happiness is the best medicine when you’re sick.” Another is “No doctor calls with good news.” With each one, a reader can relate to some of his/her own experience. For me, this latter one reminded me of the day I had met my son for lunch and we were sitting in the patio of a Greek restaurant on Avenue Road in Toronto when my doctor “called” with the news that I had cancer.
There is much to learn from a book like this as well. For example, I learned MRI’s are sometimes undertaken when they can’t find the problematic nodule through a mammogram.  Or, that some doctors say having had breast implants is not a cause of breast cancer based on the fact that those are the very things they insert after a woman has had a mastectomy and wants reconstruction surgery. [Whether you buy that argument or not is up to you, but it reminds me of what much of the medical community says about abortions, i.e., “It’s a very simple and safe procedure.” Just ask many of the women that will tell you otherwise.] She provides us with solid information on specific tests that study the genes and behavior of a cancerous tumor to predict the risk factor of its return by uncovering its hidden biology. And much more.
We identify with Apryl’s search for a way to ask a doctor which option of treatment he/she would pursue if the patient were his wife or his daughter, without making them liable for any choice they give you.  Good luck on that.  We realize with the author (partly because she keeps reminding us) that cancer is indeed “as individual as the person themselves”.  We also have to content ourselves with the fact that even practitioners tell us, “there’s no such thing as ‘the best doctor in a field’” but rather it’s all about who you feel more comfortable with. Add to that the fact that so many good doctors in the same field can disagree so readily with each other on not only the diagnosis but also the treatment even when the diagnosis is the same. How alarming.
Allen communicates her story as a narrative in the present tense giving us sometimes moment by moment, other times day by day or month by month accounts of what she experienced and how she felt. With that, she is able to convey the high demands that are imposed on a cancer patient (or their advocate) if they are to beat the disease. There’s an excellent ‘sidebar’ on how difficult it is to tell various people about what you’re going through as a cancer patient. She has a wonderful handle of the different type of listeners (or non-listeners) that one encounters when embarking on such communication.
Throughout the book, the author praises her husband for his commitment to her and his willingness to be there for her whenever and wherever. There is no doubt that one’s chance of victory here is greatly enhanced by the presence of such a partner and/or close friend.  Her accounts of what irritates her (and sometimes her husband) when under this kind of stress is most honest and serves to point out how we change under such circumstances.
She saves a good deal of her disgust with the medical system as a whole, for incompetent administrative staff, inconsiderate professionals, uncaring insurance companies, and processes that are designed with anything but the patient in mind. She wonders, as I have for years, how on earth those who don’t speak the language, or have no one to advocate for them, ever have a chance of navigating the troublesome waters of our medical system. The very thought of what can go wrong and often does is enough to give one cancer!
Time and time again she comes to grip with the fact that although we have taken all the measures we possibly can to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, we ultimately can only resort to praying for the impossible. Perhaps because she is a Native American (Comanche) she resorts to more than prayer as we normally think of it and involves herself somewhat with the occult, where she attempts to be, and actually believes she is, in contact with her deceased mother.
In conclusion, she wrote the book because nothing she had read when she was a cancer patient, ever came close to describing how one actually feels and what one actually thinks throughout the whole process. This book accomplished that with great success. 
--- Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, December 6, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com

--- you can order the book right here:  http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Want The Women In My Family To Know This


Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story
Author: Jacqueline A. Eubany, MD, FACC, FHRS
Self-Published in: Mission Viejo, California, 2016


Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, an American cardiologist, starts out to write a straight-forward, easy to understand, comprehensive, all you need to know “before you have a heart attack” book for women. And she succeeds with honors. In the process, I am sure she has helped hundreds of men.
With well-placed simple diagrams and short sections on key topics, this book is very well organized. And she gives us facts that are easy to remember such as “Heart disease is the number one killer of American women”. She explains why women often get misdiagnosed or diagnosed late, reducing the chance of full recovery. Her bottom line messages to each of us are: 1. Unhealthy lifestyles contribute to heart disease bigtime and 2. Time is tissue which she explains fully. She taught me, very effectively, about four different categories of heart disease and their risks and the symptoms to look for in myself and the women I love.
Then she deals with each of the lifestyles (using real examples from her practice) and showing us how these contribute to the disease.  She addresses: cigarette smoking, physical inactivity [simple lesson here: duration beats intensity and frequency], diet [here she tells you what’s good, what’s not so good, and then she discusses four modern diet plans including the Mediterranean, the DASH, the TLC, and the low carbohydrate], alcohol, weight, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. From there she discusses hormone replacement therapy, aspirin as preventative measure, and antioxidants (sorry, supplements won’t cut it).
Highly recommended for women, and for the men that love them. In fact, I hope the author finds a cardiologist of like mind that can follow her formula and write a book for men. (In fact, if there is one, please let me know.)
When I finished reading her book, I felt much more informed than I was two years ago when my own wife had a heart attack. And I even felt better about recognizing one in myself.
Whenever Christmas rolls around again, this book makes a great stocking stuffer.

Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, November 19, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com


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Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Did She Jump? Looking For Answers To Suicide Questions Can Be Devastating


Why Did She Jump? My Daughter’s Battle with Bipolar Disorder
Author: Joan E. Childs, LCSW
Published by: Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 2014



Looking For Answers To Suicide Questions Can Be Devastating
I wanted to learn more about suicide, especially, suicide resulting from a bipolar disorder. I also wanted to read a detailed account of what a parent felt like burying their child when, all else being equal, we expect things to turn out the other way around – a child burying an older parent. I also had skin in this, as just over three years ago we buried our infant grandson.
This book provided what I was looking for, but I must admit that this review was one of the hardest for me to write. So, let me come clean. To accomplish my task, I had to separate in my mind Joan Childs the author of this book (who was easily liked and even admired) from Joan Childs, the mother of Pamela, who committed suicide by jumping out of a 15-storey window at age 34. The latter Joan was more difficult for me to embrace.
The title of the book is a misnomer. While we learn a lot about Pam and her life and death, we learn as much, if not more about her mother’s life. Joan Childs intended very much to focus on Pam, and perhaps she has. She certainly gives us some food for thought as we read helpful gems like, “Perhaps the best we can do is to remember what we had and not what we lost.” I am not so sure those two are mutually exclusive but I get her point. But then time and time again the focus returns to her (or us, as readers – and maybe that’s the saving grace in her style) when she writes, “The emotional scars stay forever. As time passes, we must make a choice between being a victim or being a survivor. The decision may determine how you live the rest of your life.
Like a loving mother searching for answers Joan blames many others (and to be fair that includes herself) for Pam’s death – but clearly the number one culprit in her mind is the “ineffective, dysfunctional health system”. A close second is Pam’s father who refused to believe she was sick until it was too late and who pushed her to get her Ph.D.
Childs has taken great pain to educate us about the statistics regarding mental health suicides in our society. But she has also given us lots of ‘stats’ with respect to her own life – perhaps stats we didn’t really need to know. She talks about her four husbands and others who never were officially given the title with great details about their relationship, the places they bought and lived in together, their tenure, their fights, and how they died or why they left. One can only ask “Why Joan? Were all these details necessary in telling us about your daughter’s death?”
There is no doubt in this reader’s mind that Joan, the mother, tried her very best to be all that she could be for Pamela and her other children. One gets the feeling though she may have been trying too hard in some areas. Or not hard enough in others. While she made all the sacrifices she felt necessary – there were areas where she chose to put herself first. These included her education and her love life. She sees others as being “too-dependent and complaining” (her son’s wife) and fails to see how some of her own choices may have impacted Pamela. And while one could say I’m being too hard on her for “look at her other four children, they all turned out just fine, thank you”, I could only respond in the way she responds to the topic of medication. Childs writes:
“. . . some medications will work effectively with some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”
Likewise, some of the choices Joan may have made may have had no impact on four of the children, but may well have impacted Pamela in ways we will never know. But then again as a single-mom with five children, who could blame her. However, at one point in the book, Joan writes,
“Nearly twenty-four years after my daughter Pam was born, I started to realize how much closeness she was inadvertently denied.” And later, “I always wanted a healthy relationship [in reference to her own love life]. My history is not good. I experienced many painful breakups, many disappointments.”
Those are major admissions. And Childs has to be given full marks plus for them. Although she never comes to grips with how she lived and in the very end tells us, in reference to a dream piece of property she once had,
“Giving up that cabin is perhaps the only regret in my life.”
Throughout the book, one can see the many parallels between mother and daughter, not only in their dysfunctional relationships with men, but also in their education (both were successful therapists and even worked together). One wonders how much their own profession impacted how they viewed what was going on with each of them. As strange as it may sound, sometimes those outside the profession have a better chance of surviving mental disorders because they know so much less and thus aren’t impacted by that knowledge.
Joan and her family are Jewish and in many respects, most aware of God’s role in their lives. Combine that knowledge though with the field of social work or clinical psychotherapy and you get anger towards the Almighty and questions like “Where was God?” which leads to some very candid comments on her feelings towards Him. Unfortunately, in her search for answers, she augments her talks with God by dabbling in the occult, seeking messages from her departed loved one.
Perhaps I’ve been too hard on Joan Childs, but I felt that to be honest was what she would have expected of me. Having said that, this is a book I would strongly recommend to anyone who believes a loved one may have now, or is beginning to show, the signs of a mental illness called bipolar disorder. The author has poured herself out unreservedly in writing it and while she would be happy with just one person being helped, I am convinced her efforts will help hundreds.

-- Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, November 17, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com


Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.