Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Taking A Stand Against the Sport World's 'Turning a Blind Eye' to Physical Abuse



A friend of my recently wrote this letter and gave me permission to use it on social media.  It's a great read for those who love their women, daughters, nieces, granddaughters.  And who also love sports. Especially baseball.  Take a read and share

July 24, 2018

Mr. J. Natale
President  CEO
Rogers Communications Inc.
333 Bloor Street East
Toronto, OntarioM4W 1G9


Dear Mr. Natale

I'm writing to request that you review the Blue Jays' announced policy to essentially treat Roberto Osuna as if nothing had happened when he returns from his suspension.

I'm also writing as someone who owns Blue Jay season tickets that were originally purchased in 1977 and who attends 35 games a year and who is a long time subscriber of Rogers cable.

I will not re-articulate the argument against the Jay's policy since it was so effectively outlined in Marissa Stapley's July 14 opinion piece in the Globe.

I'm sure that Rogers and the Jays are following their HR policies, but I believe that in Mr. Osuna's case both need to be held to a higher, much higher, standard. Boys and young men see Mr. Osuna and his teammates as role models. You have the opportunity to impress on them that beating women is not acceptable. Please take that opportunity and not simply allow him to return as if he had not paid a few parking tickets.

Rogers should not allow John Gibbon's attitude that "I love the kid" and "I won't do anything to punish him" stand. He is not a kid. He is an adult employee of Rogers Communications and I find it hard to love, much less watch pitch, anyone who beats women. Nor should Ross Atkins' contention that "we are running a baseball team and our goal is to win championships" be allowed to stand. It would be a very hollow championship, if celebrating men who beat women is the price of winning it.

Rogers should turn its corporate presence and communications machine (including SportsNet) and the Blue Jays' visibility among boys and young men to send a very strong message that beating women is far, far from appropriate.

(Yes, I'm assuming his guilt based on the fact that it took nanoseconds for a restraining order to be issued; MLB took slightly longer, but suspended him and, as I understand it, he plans to plead guilty.)

I do not know yet how I will protest when I’m at a game if the Jays do not reverse their current position, but I do know that I will be switching my television service from Rogers to Bell should the Jays play Mr. Osuna before he is found innocent or if Rogers and the Jays do not do more, much more, than hang out a "Welcome back" sign, if he is found guilty. 

I will be equally angry at the criminal justice system if he is let off with "community service". This is not a man I want servicing my community until I know for sure that he is truly repentant, understands the seriousness of what he did and willingly speaks emphatically and frequently to boys and young men about the errors of his past ways.

I only met Ted Rogers a couple of times and then many years ago, but last night as I left the ROGERS Centre; walked past Ted ROGERS' statue and passed by the Ted ROGERS Centre for Heart Research, I could only wonder what Mr. Rogers would do to ensure it was clear to all boys, young men and even older ones that it was very, very wrong to beat women. 

Yours.


[Signed Bill S.]

cc:     Edward S. Rogers, Chairman, Toronto Blue Jays
         R. Brace, President, Rogers Media
            M. Shapiro, President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

These Authors Know Their Stuff When It Comes To Marriage

Prayer, Marriage, and the Leadership Roles
of the Husband and Wife

Authors: Bishop Ken Giles and Pastor Sheila Giles
Publisher:Self-published, 2016


In many respects this is a book that has a lot of the same advice and guidance that many other books on the topic of Christian marriage have. And yet, it presents that advice from a perspective that nicely surprised (and pleased) an experienced counsellor, marriage mediator, and marriage mentor coach like me.  Let me explain.
The aims of authors Ken and Sheila Giles are two-fold and clear: First, that prayer becomes the highest priority in the lives of those who read it.  Second, that readers understand how the proper working of the husband and wife in their respective leadership roles secures the blessings of God in the marriage, family and broader society.
The book has some zingers in it and one of my favorites is “If more believers prayed about whether or not to get into marriage, there would be far fewer looking to get out of marriage.” Another one is, “Blanket apologies (those lacking in details) often serve the purpose of covering up sin as well.”There’s no pulling the wool over their eyes. 
Marriages, they say, that are conceived in prayer have a greater likelihood of remaining so. Through the many short chapters, the authors explain how the “lack of prayer” impacts a multitude of outcomes.  These include: covering up or hiding sin in the marriage; blame in the marriage; negative actions with negative consequences; listening to the wrong voice; lost peace; and averting blessings and advancing curses.
In part two of their book, Ken and Sheila spell out the God-given roles of a righteous man and righteous woman, and the importance of positioning ourselves well in that role while we exist in a fallen society. They have a very unique way of getting their points across. One example is their contention that the worldly wisdom that “all men are dogs” is false. Why? Because we need to “remember that a male dog needs a female dog to make pups.”
Where we may part company (to a certain extent only) with the authors is their interpretation of I Corinthians 3:13 and the meaning of ‘the fire’ in that verse.  They see the fire that reveals a man’s true work is ‘the woman’.  It’s a fascinating concept and well worth the read. I checked four prominent Bible commentators, and none even came close to agreeing with them. In context, and with some literary license, I can identify to a certain extent with what they are trying to say – clearly figuratively.  You’ll need to read their arguments and find out for yourself. In any case, their conclusions about our separate roles are bang on.
There is an interesting section where they compare the role of a godly woman to the superhero character in the cartoon, “The Incredibles”.
There are numerous spiritual gems throughout the material. Here is a quote from one I really liked: “The man who is not in pursuit of God’s will for his life will perceive, view, and treat the woman of God negatively and devalue her true qualifications. In some cases, her true value will go ignored and uncultivated.”
There’s also a great chapter on what Satan, through society and entertainment, is doing today.  It’s got some incredible statistics in it as well as some actions for believers.
Here is another quote, tying things all together for us: “The man of God must stay in the word of God, stay on his knees and seek God’s guidance and direction at all times. The man of God must love and honor the woman of God, minister to her, care for and nurture her.”
Their closing point in the main part of the book is most refreshing, as they write: “In case you missed the exchange above [on the topic of God’s covenant with Abraham],Abraham’s destiny was tied to Sarah’s destiny [she needed to have the heir through which the blessing would come]. The same is true with every married man who has a God-given vison for his home.  Women: we (men) need you.
Part three provides the reader with a copy of the 25-question “Christian Marriage and Family Structure Assessment Inventory” complete with the questions, the scoring guide, scoring outcomes and the associated Scripture references for each of the questions. A most helpful resource for singles who want to check their “values” compatibility prior to getting married, for married couples who want to improve their marriages by encouraging dialogue on these issues, and for ministry leaders in the area of marriage counselling and mentoring.
This little book (only 72 pages) is a gem.

n Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, July 22, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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Blogging through a Loved One’s Life, Death, and Beyond

Ordinary Magic: Promises I Kept To My Mother
Through Life, Illness, and a Very Long Walk

Author: Cameron Powell
Publisher:Self-published, 2018


This is a book about living at any cost, and a 65-year-old woman (Inge) who completes a 500-mile walking trail in search of a cure for her ovarian cancer (the ‘emperor’). The terrain is none other than the famous Camino de Santiago range of Spain, a world-known pilgrimage for centuries. Her recently divorced son, the author, accompanies her  (reluctant to agree, but incapable of denying her request) as the “expedition videographer, not to mention its chief biographer, photographer, legal counsel, and acting podiatrist.”
In the book, Cameron Powell tackles many of the issues people face in life, using his blog as a record of his thoughts. In writing the book, his blog is augmented by quotations from his mother’s own blog, as well as writings from Inge’s ‘niece’ Carrie, who accompanied mother-and-son on the journey – with her principal’s permission who indicated “You might learn more on this trip than you will here [at school].”
As we join them, we are let in on the hope that Inge and her son have – the fact that “About one of every five diagnoses [of cancer] is wrong or tardy.”
The book not only delves into the events that made Inge who she was, but also what made Cameron who he was. And in the process, we are introduced to an almost love-dislike relationship between the two. Needless to say, we all carry baggage in proportion to the amount of dysfunction our early family had.
Most enjoyable throughout the book was the feeling I got as I seemed to be reading a serious version of Seinfeld where very common truths are brought to light in a way that jolts us into realizing their impact on us. An example early in the book is when Inge is complaining (in a condescending way) about the rudeness of a text a contractor had sent her. Cameron snaps, “That tone isn’t in the text you just read me, Mom. You supplied it.” And she responds, “Oh, so I’m always the one who’s wrong.” It just gets better from there.
Then there are jabs thrown in at no extra charge like, “everyone in Europe know(s) that a large majority of Americans take the car to go from the kitchen to the bathroom.”
Because the trial has many stopping points in Spain, the book is also an opportunity to educate the reader on history with respect to the over 1,200-year-old tradition of pilgrims walking the Camino, the origin of words and names, and many other facts of interest.
The account Powell provides us is also one bordering on “new ageism” with advice from some of the characters like, “Ask for what you need. The universe will give you whatever energy you need, but if you don’t ask, nothing will happen.”  That slant, along with some regular rather strong language is not my cup of tea, but clearly not worth throwing the book out over them.
Powell keeps us happy with his own humor. At one point he writes, “The fiesta is a pleasant surprise, probably because fiestaandsiestashare the same root, iesta, which is Latin for ‘let’s stop working again.’”.  Or, “where there are golf clubs there will be yellow Porsche Caymans and unsuccessful plastic surgery.”
His retelling of a number of characters’ snoring is worth the price of the book. He writes, “Mom, a serious snorer in her own right, is running a manufacturing facility in her sleep. When she stops, one of the Japanese [a pilgrim] takes over, turning in an impressive performance on behalf of his countrymen.  I definitely see him in the medals when all this is over, certainly on the podium.”
The physical pains and the feelings that a cancer patient experiences in their journey from life to death after diagnosis are well expressed by the author as he shares his mother’s thoughts and descriptions of every impact on the mind, body, and soul that both treatments and relapses bring.
Clearly, not a big fan of religion or faith, the author still manages to raise some serious thoughts or questions about life in the book. One example is “I am wondering if pure peace is possible.” Then he reflects how by our heartfelt talk of ‘next time’ when saying good-bye, we take some of the sting out of parting. At the same time, he suggests that we can replace a belief in God by not resisting [whatever will be], “And thus do we arrive at the lessons of both Buddhist psychology and recent science.” You pay your money and you take your choice, I guess.
As his mother is dying, Cameron shares his feelings about her and about them. He writes, “I’m not ready to lose my mother.” Then, “No one is ever ready.” And then he offers us some great quotes, like that of Ram Dass who said, “We are all just walking each other home.”  The author writes, “I am ferrying my mother to the other side.”  For Powell, life does not “begin again” at some point after a calamity. To him that’s a “false construct, [as] your life is going on right now, before your very eyes.”
Near the end of the book, his thoughts about what life will be like without his mother emerge stronger than ever as he writes, “Would I remember this time when she was gone? Would I miss that life in her, which I had so often taken for granted?” We all need to stop long enough to value the ‘life’ of someone we deeply love, while they are still alive.
The book is also an account of how Inge, in her desire to try every possible cure, becomes what Powell calls “a marijuana partisan and she had no patience for resistance from the unenlightened.” At the same time, as her days were numbered, Inge did not want to go to hospice either, for “Hospice meant you had given up.” And she wasn’t ready to admit that.
Near the end of the book, Powell battles with his love for his mom and doing all he can to help her, but at the same time not wanting to give false hope as she starts to lose it mentally. Still the insights continue with talk about one’s perception (and often fear) of God the Father in childhood vs. at the time of death; or Inge’s belief that “a parent is only as happy as her unhappiest child” – perhaps my favorite.
Powell, through his knowledge of how his parents’ troubles went, has his thoughts about how money can trump justice. On his own divorce, and after seeing his ex when she came to visit his mother in her last days, looking beautiful and well dressed, he writes, “I had never once held the desire that we resume [our relationship], but I did hold too long to the wish that she would, in a sense, return as recognizably [as] the person I thought I knew. But we can’t always choose whom we recognize after a breach.” That’s profound.
He makes a comment, perhaps unintentionally, on the differences in gender when he notes who has been visiting his mother in her dying days, and writes, “Where were my mother’s male friends?” He had seen them for they had eaten like kings at her dining table or from paper plates on their laps in her backyard.
Waiting for Inge to die, Powell reflects how at times we sound like characters in a work by Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.Meanwhile his mother utters that she just feels like “bits and pieces” and wonders if they’re ever going to come back together, to which he replies (although I’m not sure on what basis given his views of faith as well as not wanting to give false hope) “Yes, Mom. They will come back together. And you’ll be much happier.”
Near the end of the book we have another of Inge’s great sayings on being “sad”. I’ll let you discover that one for yourself. It’s probably the best advice you can give someone, including yourself.
I recommend this book if you love life and fear death. I recommend this book if you love someone so much you never want to lose them. You will learn you are not alone.

Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, July 22, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

It's Never Too Late To Learn About Death

The Blessing of Sorrow: Turning Grief into Healing

Author: Rabbi Ben Kamin
Publisher:Central Recovery Press, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2018


I really needed to have read this book last year in order to have been better prepared for the high number of deaths in my family and close circle of friends that I experienced in the last six months.  Although I have actually participated in many, and overseen a number of, funerals in my life, I believe this book has added volumes to the limited knowledge my unstructured experiences had taught me.
Rabbi Ben Kamin is well qualified to speak on the topic of death and sorrow – having experienced it over 40-plus years first-hand with the loss of his father and then hundreds, if not more, times in his various roles as a clergyman, teacher, counselor, friend, and just ordinary human being.
Kamin starts his very well written book with the ‘Ten Commandments of Grief’ and then offers chapters on deferring sorrow, understanding grief’s uniqueness, what the dying teach us about life, what to do and say to the dying and the bereaved, what to do after the funeral and in the first year of loss, understanding what funeral directors do and why, and even sensing relief after a death. Two other chapters deal with ‘communicating’ with those we’ve lost (not as far out as one may think at face value) and the value of faith and hope in the process.  Each chapter has much to commend it to us.
The book is not religious in any true sense of the word, except that while an author may prefer to avoid the topic, people who face death or the loss of a loved one, can’t and don’t. Having said that, it is difficult for him to steer clear of his own pet peeves with religion. At one point, he takes issue with how we’ve moved towards “celebrations of life” in place of memorials and funerals and he cautions us about it. Kamin also draws on some interesting Jewish traditions to get across a number of salient points on grief. He calls for caution in our eagerness to rush to the conclusion that the deceased is “in a better place”.  Not necessarily because he/she is not, but because doing so “creates a distraction from the hard facts of a death and impede[s] people from the grieving process. Most interesting. 
Rabbi Ben has some striking ideas. Here’s one: “The death of a loved one is a potential assault on one’s mental health.”  He then proceeds to explain just why.  He concludes, “In short, mortality and the dead themselves, implore[s] us to ask: What is important?” Observing a gathering after a funeral, he reflects, “Alas, death is indifferent to shoes, purses, lipstick, double-breasted suits, and turbo-charged automobiles.”
Kamin provides wise advice on how we speak around those who are dying. He quotes one of them: “I’m not stupid. I know my situation. People come in here and act like they’re talking to a dead person. But I’m still alive! While I’m still here, I wish people would not whisper in my presence like I’m some kind of defunct cow.”  And there’s much more. Like, the dying “want to be sure they are remembered.” And, “[H]ow does one talk to the grieving? Let’s start with this idea: less is more.” Frank, direct, interesting.
And then there are some great contributions on how to answer a dying person’s questions on “why God is allowing this to happen” to them. There are also interesting thoughts on John F. Kennedy’s own thinking on death that add to the value of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed his many pages on funeral homes and the work that funeral directors do, both in the burial and the cremation processes. Very informative.
Kamin shares a most personal event retelling his experience of what occurred as he was alone with a 16-year old girl that had just died. Let me just give you one line from that account: “I don’t believe in ghosts; I believe in souls.” You’ll have to get the book to read more.
His quotes from other sources are most relevant including that of an unknown philosopher: “Life asked Death, ‘Why do people love me but hate you?’” The answer will astound you. And then there’s a quote from Seneca: “The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” As a person of faith, and a Christian, I can identify with that. 
He deals with guilt as he tells in some detail what happened to his mother after his dad died.  Needless to say, it did not go well.  He deals with the idea that sometimes we can feel relief in the death of a person.   
And finally, he introduces us to a theme that he repeats throughout the book – perhaps the highlight of the teaching for me. It’s a quote from a rabbinical prayer book: “Grief is a great teacher, if it sends us back to serve [and bless] the living.” That was powerful.
I strongly recommend the book for anyone who is still alive and will one day have to deal either with their own impending death or the death of a loved one.  Pastors, priests, rabbis, and lay leaders whose job it is to serve the dying and grieving would gain much. As a minimum, the level of confidence in their work of service would be enhanced greatly.

n Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, July 12, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Get Transformed, Then Preach – That’s the Message

Thoughtful Proclaimer

Author: Elizabeth Wright Anderson
Publisher:WestBow Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2017


This ‘manual’ is a detailed guide to preparing Bible sermons that first transform the proclaimer. Central to its message is that at all times the proclaimer is proclaiming God’s purposes for His Word as a whole, as a book of the Bible, and in the very specific passage under consideration. The author calls this the “Commander’s Intent” – a term taken from the military world. The focus of the approach is that Scriptures should transform the proclaimer while he/she prepares transformative messages for others.
Elizabeth Anderson incorporates much of what many learn in their theology classes when it comes to ‘how to preach’ – classical Bible study style techniques, time-honored spiritual disciplines, step-by-step exegesis, as well as new practices in teaching and sermon planning.
High value is placed on the proclaimer preparing a message asking questions – lots of them as he/she works on the message.  These include questions for picking passages, contextual questions, cultural questions, and many more. There is an excellent Glossary defining terms (e.g. canon, exegesis, hermeneutics, and homiletics) in a way that makes sense to a layperson.
The word ‘Thoughtful’ in the title comes from the book’s goal of convincing the proclaimer that it is “just as important for us to allow the Word we preach and teach to transform us.”
I gained many insights from Anderson’s treatment of the subject of preaching. One that I particularly liked was her view that “The Bible is Not a Fortune Cookie”. Well worth taking heed of her position.
The book is full of hints that make sense and are well explained. For example, “Preaching Sequentially Lends More Accuracy of Meaning” and “Look for Christ in Every Passage”. It also goes deeply into what Anderson calls “Tear(ing) the Passage Down to the Studs” with step-by-step instructions on things such as the general principles of interpretation, word structure (including semantic range which I found fascinating), and more.
Anderson reminds us that when we preach ‘redemptively’, we have two audiences – those who have run away from God and those who “have stayed home and kept the faith but whose lives are not victorious.” Keeping both in mind is critical to reaching your audiences effectively.
There are several excellent Appendices as further helps including a “Thoughtful Proclaimer Message Preparation Worksheet” and “Sample of Planning a Biblical Series.”  Finally, the book is full of comical one-frame cartoons that drive home the ideas Anderson is hoping we’ll see. 
Who is this book for? Well, for starters, anyone who preaches periodically and hasn’t attended bible school will gain much from reading the book. I’m a prime example.  But I also think it can be a handy reference to pastors and ministers who need a refresher on the topic. But the most important audience may well be those that are missing out on the personal value of preaching to others.  I have always told my audiences, and you hear other speakers say the same, that “no one learns or gets more out of any public talk than the person who researched the material and prepared the message.”  Well, this book takes that concept one step further – the Thoughtful Proclaimernot only does that, but it helps the tired, in a rut, proclaimer come alive.  Well worth having on your personal shelf as well as in your church library.

Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, July 7, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Not A Self-Help At All -- It’s A Complete Detailed Manual to Managing Change

Conquer Change and Win

Author: Ralph Masengill, Jr.
Publisher:self-published, 2016


I’m writing this review on July 4thfrom my southern “office” on the coast in South Carolina. I mention that because today I experienced “unexpected” change in my life immediately after I finished reading Ralph Masengill, Jr.’s book this morning. Heading to our car, my wife got something in her eye. She was experiencing considerable pain and we tried all the ‘home’ type treatments we knew of.  Three hours later we were in Emergency. Diagnosis was a scratched eye near her cornea.  After a tetanus shot, numbing drops, two prescriptions that needed filling right away, orders to see a local ophthalmologist in two days, and lots of time on the phone with our insurance provider, we finally returned to our party destination – me and my one-eyed (due to patch) wife. Thanks to Masengill’s book, I handled it all very well.
The author is indeed an expert in the field of change. His book is about “understanding change” and how it “makes you and others feel”. A formidable task, but he accomplishes it with honors. His introduction promises a lot and he delivers it.
The book is also full of great quotations beginning with Helen Keller’s “Security is mostly a superstition.” Here’s another, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” (W. Edward Deming)
Early on he tells us about the 30 percent of the group we’re trying to change who will be “resisters” and flatly tells to ignore them. He gives some very detailed and very practical advice to some real problems – like how to deal with difficult people. 
He distinguishes between the ‘actual change’ and the “stress, anxiety, or fear (we) experience anticipating the coming change”.  A fascinating concept which he builds on.  There’s also a whole chapter on the importance of having the right attitude. Both positive and negative change is discussed, along with the different ways it impacts different people.
The book is sprinkled well with example from his own life, both personal and work-related. Fear is attacked vigorously, and he tells us that it does not go away on its own – it needs to be pursued aggressively at the highest level.
For the business manager, he provides some practical tips that are critical to being successful. For example, deadlines must be clear and unambiguous – give a person a time, not just a date. And he explains why that’s so important. He explains what “grey decisions” are and you need to know about that.  Failure to identify the real problem you are trying to solve will garner you irrelevant suggestions.
Two-thirds of the way through the book, the author focuses on the ins and outs of great negotiations. The lists of advice on how to ‘win’ are priceless and well worth the price you’ll pay to read the book.
The advice on any topic (and there are many of them) is top-notch.  For example, on team-building, “The best possible action in team building is to choose your own team members.”
There’s also a complete list of how organizations should introduce change using a change plan and how to make changes to a change plan. Fascinating material.
Many of us know about developing Vision Statements and Mission Statements (and yes, he’s got the order right).  But before you do either of those, Masengill says you need to develop your “Current Reality”.  That was new to me and it adds much to the Strategic Planning process I often use with my own clients.
Do I have anything against the book?  Just a couple of minor points.  First, his lists are way too long to be absorbed on first reading, but they’re also invaluable if one were actually implementing the processes they were intended to cover.  Secondly, some of his examples, especially his funny anecdotes, we’ve heard before, but one can easily forgive him as they serve his points extremely well.
This book is highly recommended for those who want to conquer and not just survive, but actually win, in a life experience full of unavoidable change.  That includes individuals, managers, and negotiators.


n Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, July 4, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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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.