Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Explaining the Rationale Behind Trump’s Success

Trump Aftershock:
The President's Seismic Impact on Culture and Faith in America



Author: Stephen E. Strang
Publisher: Frontline, Charisma Media/House Book Group, Lake Mary, Florida, 2018

Full disclosure: I am a big supporter of President Trump and I am a person of faith. This book covers both the President and his impact on faith.  Stephen E. Strang is no stranger to both book publishing and book writing.  He knows his craft well. He has a slew of editors and researchers that help make his books most informative. I noted that this one included no fewer than 536 reference notes backing up his comments and quotations.
For me, Trump Aftershock read like a “this was your radio and TV life” account covering the period from June 16, 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy up to the middle of August 2018 when Strang sent his book to print.
The list of topics covered is very extensive.  And Strang knows how to give you the background to the issue as well as how it was or is being resolved. But he goes beyond that, explaining how we got to where we are and why, and then clearly provides the possible implications.
There is considerable information on the matter of how Trump’s administration was impacted by conservative religious America and also how the two camps (his and theirs) are getting along, or not. The book will definitely please conservatives and Christians, but I contend (although I hate to admit it here) it’s a must read for liberals, atheists, and Democrats if they really want to know why Clinton lost in 2016, and why over 80% of Evangelicals are sticking with Donald Trump. Strang explains very convincingly (with his team’s research) the political, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of just what went down and why.
This book will round out any reader’s knowledge with respect to American politics. Here are just a few examples of what I learned. Strang writes:
·     “the faithful have not sold their souls; rather, they have taken a calculated position based on the political alternatives and their understanding that all men are sinners” in a great section explaining how and why people of faith can vote for a so-called sinner like Trump.

·     Typically, “America’s policymakers tend to respond more to their activist base than to the voters who elected them” in explaining why Trump, doing the opposite, is maintaining his support.

·     “The terms Left and Right, and the institutional divide between parties, actually date back to the French Revolution of 1789, when members of the anti-royalist faction, including the Jacobins, in the French Assemblée Nationale moved to the left side of the chamber to express disdain for the loyalist defenders of the king, who were seated on the right.”

·     “Dennis Prager recently observed that the number one fear in America today is the fear of violence from the Left.”

·     There are most interesting sections on:
o  the Christian upbringing of Kim Il-Sung, the grandfather of the current dictator Kim Jong-Un
o  the national debt and Trump’s incredible gamble
o  the Davos meeting(s)
o  George Soros – his upbringing, organizations he funds, his hatred of anything Godly, and his impact
o  the most liberal investment portfolio of Warren Buffett, not to mention the foundation in memory of his wife (discover that one – it’s worth the purchase of the book)
o  the battle for Jerusalem and the Iran Nuclear Deal
o  and many more

·     Policymakers say, “weak productivity remains a major concern for economies with aging populations and a need to provide higher levels of support for seniors and other segments of society.”

·     “Some of the battles that would have been settled with a Clinton win will now continue for the next four to twenty years.”

·     On the issue of a split America: “There is no question that the United States is engaged in a war of worldviews. . .. Many conservatives . . . are convinced America has gone off the tracks and may be headed for a major split, or possibly even a civil war. . .. Why? For one thing. . .liberals no longer believe in the Constitution. . . the idea of a ‘living Constitution’ is all about . . . (making) it up as you go.”

·     “The secular media only seems interested in Evangelicals if they can find evidence of hypocrisy or bigotry.”
Strang is convinced that God is using Donald Trump today for America as He did Winston Churchill and General George Patton to keep the Nazis from taking control of Europe and possibly, ultimately the world. You can decide for yourself. Highly recommended.


·     Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, January 29, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why Achieving Trump’s “Ultimate Deal” Remains Elusive

Trump and the Jews

Author: David Rubin
Publisher: Shiloh Israel Press, USA, 2018


Full disclosure: I am a big supporter of President Trump and I have high regard for Israel and its people. Nevertheless, as much hope as this book attempts to convey, and it does so with excellence, it also, perhaps unwittingly, paints the canvas depicting why achieving the President’s “ultimate deal” is such a grueling and feasibly impossible task.
David Rubin is a former mayor in Israel and founder of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He has written several other books focusing on Israel and her challenges – all well-received by those who are interested in what is going on with God’s chosen people.  This current book brings the battlefield right to our front door as it relates what is going on in the Middle East to what is happening in Washington.
Rubin provides a historical background to Jews in America and how former leaders from Washington up the present President have regarded the Jews. That’s a fascinating read in itself. He shares how the relationship went from a strong one to a difficult one and what Presidents caused it to go south. There’s a chapter reserved for the Obama years alone clearly showing how the 44thAmerican President was not just neutral towards Israel but became the first one to be blatantly pro-Islamic and Palestinian in his policies, actions, and comments. The write-up on Obama’s “shoe for Israel” is well worth the price of the book.
The book goes on to describe Trump (one of its two main characters) in some pretty detailed accounts about his life prior to becoming a Presidential candidate and then the incredible campaign that he ran. That’s followed by a chapter on the other key categorical ‘character’ of the book – the ‘American Jews’ – telling us who they really were and are. The history is fascinating. What comes out time and time again is the fact that there is no doubt that “American Jews (as immigrants). . . totally threw themselves into American life and culture.” While at the same time, they did not try to change it – instead they changed themselves. That is a contrast we often forget when considering other people groups. Throughout the book, solid statistics are presented on many of Rubin’s arguments from reliable sources.
But not all America’s Jews are fans of President Trump. Rubin explains which ones are not and why. He explains the challenges that go along with that for conservatives and Republicans like Trump.
With the background of what’s going on in America as it relates to Judaism, Rubin then steers his readers to the Middle East. He starts with a chapter on the “Far Left And Far Right” describing their two poles of intolerance. As with the rest of his book, this chapter too is filled with great examples as well as photographs and illustrations. Unfortunately, the polarization seems to be getting worse.
The author then takes us to the “land” itself – Israel and her search for peace. He takes us back to 63 AD (although he calls it CE for ‘Current Era’) and explains the original source of the term “Palestinian”.  This is done exceptionally well.  I’m sure you’ll be as surprised as I was. In this chapter, he also touches on the links between Arab leaders and Hitler, and their requests of the latter.
From there, we are ushered into the world of modern leaders of the opposing sides – Israeli, and Arab or Palestinian, as well as the role the current American administration must play.  There’s a chapter reserved for Iran and how it views the American-Israeli relationship entitled “Big and Little Satans”.  In it, he also delves into the Iranian nuclear deal and why Trump had to cancel it.
To the ordinary reader who watched most of this unfold on television news over the decades, this book was not only a reminder of what they may have experienced, but it also filled in all the gaps in my mind as to why certain things happened. It’s a must-read for those who want to understand what has occurred to date and what may be in store.
Rubin’s last chapter contains “Eleven Suggestions For Trump (From the Jews)”.  I think Trump would do well to follow as many as possible.  And as far as the “ultimate deal” is concerned, Rubin’s book, at least for this reader, does much to convince me that the real Dealmaker won’t be anyone less than the very God that had called Israel “His people” thousands of years ago.
Highly recommended.


·     Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, January 22, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Q: What is your relationship with Cancer? A: It’s Complicated.

Reducing Your Cancer Risk
(A Holistic Appraoch)

Author: Carl O. Helvie, R.N., Dr. P.H.
Publisher: BookLocker.com, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2017

I am, at least to this point, a cancer survivor.  When they told me that for future preventative reasons, I needed to have a good portion of my colon removed, I refused. Instead, I decided to change my diet and my lifestyle.  And I left the rest to God and was even ready to meet Him.
This work by Carl O. Helvie helps to explain what exactly may have been happening in my world of cancer and why I was fortunate enough to survive. But the author also makes sure that each reader understands all the variables involved – you are not me or anyone else for that matter.  Neither do you live a life, or in an environment exactly the same as anyone else. He shows how timing is important – not only when one decides to prevent cancer to the extent possible, to reduce its impact, or to totally eliminate it from one’s life – but also how long one works at these goals, and furthermore, how far research in the field of cancer has advanced.
What Helvie has done in what he calls his “booklet” (152 pages including his index) is to take each aspect of prevention he and others could think of, and reviewed all the available research on it, then explained how to use that information to prevent cancer, and often included a link to an interview with an expert associated with that aspect.  All in all, most valuable. The problem arises, at least for me, in that there are way too many aspects to consider.
I do like his clear definitions on primary prevention (to stop the disease from occurring) vs. secondary prevention (or early intervention once individuals have ‘interacted’ with the disease) vs. tertiary preventive interventions (treatment to contain the disease or to prevent the problem from returning after it has been treated).
Also, of interest to me was Helvie’s identification of the various problems associated with research. Well worth knowing. His advice is that we need to review conflicting research results to our satisfaction before making decisions using various products based on research.
Another aspect of his writing that I find refreshing is his invitation to the reader to notify him if he/she finds glaring omissions in this overview of holistic cancer-causing factors.  He’ll do the research and make changes as necessary. We need more writers doing that.
The main portion of the book is divided into three parts:
In Part 1 – Environmental Factors (Reducing Environment/Agent Impact) – Helvie takes a close look at EMF Waves (extreme users of technology may not like what he has to say), toxic chemicals, toxic metals, and ultraviolet rays (UV).
In Part 2 – Individual Factors-Physical Aspects (Lifestyle Choices to Increase Your Resistance) – he looks at physical activity, fluids (water and milk), nutrition, supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs), immune builders, sleep, smoking cessation, and sound (music).
In Part 3 – Individual Factors-Mental/Spiritual Aspects – the author covers affirmations, compassion, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, meditation, optimism/positive attitude-behavior, prayer, relaxation exercises, serving others, social support/isolation, stress reduction/management, visualization, and pre-cancer testing and lifestyle changes for prevention.
For these, in all three parts, he identifies the research and gives you the results, indicating conflicts. Then he makes recommendations in mini sections called “What to do”.  Very helpful.
Because there are so many topics covered, I found Helvie’s Index of great value. Using it allows the reader to look up a topic or aspect or concern and zero right in on the related research, the author’s thoughts, and some ideas as to “What to do”.
This is a great reference to have around for reassurance that your lifestyle and diet changes do matter or to verify what changes are required. His online references as well as his own websites as provided in the book are also valuable tools for future reference.
This is a book for the healthy as well as those that have had some early diagnosis of cancer. There are gems in it that could make a difference to how you live the rest of your life.  Well worth the price and the time and plus, all proceeds go towards a cancer foundation.
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·     Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, January 13, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Spiritual Challenges Bonhoeffer Style

Mornings With Bonhoeffer
100 Reflections on the Christian Life

Author: Donald K. McKim
Publisher: Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 2018


Spiritual Challenges Bonhoeffer Style
I agreed to review this book because I am a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his writing. But it turned out to be much more for me.  Although I read it in just a few sittings, I realized what a wonderful morning devotional it makes – good for 100 days. I also couldn’t believe how much Bonhoeffer had packed in the one or two simple statements he used as the basis for each day’s reading. Not only did each statement or quote have a truth in it, but each came with two challenges: First, an intellectual challenge that required one to stop reading and then to reflect, to think, about what was being said about God, about being a Christian, about living in community, and so much more.  Second, each quote presents its reader with a challenge of obedience as to how then we should think, feel, and most importantly, act based on that truth.
Donald K. McKim, who spent time as executive editor for Westminister John Knox Press, as academic dean and professor of theology at Memphis Theological Seminary, and as professor at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, brings all the threads together as he unpacks Bonhoeffer’s quote and its practical implications. McKim’s experience as an author or editor of over thirty books serves him excellently in his task.
The book is divided into two major sections.  The first is titled Believing as a Christian. It covers some of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts on our key beliefs, Jesus Christ, the Church, and the Christian Life.
The second part is titled Living as a Christian.  It covers areas like Following Jesus, Living Before God, Our Lives with Others, Love, and Living in the Word.
Each page is filled with ideas you’ll want to underline and memorize. Let me just give you a few to whet your appetite:
·     “The meaning of the Eastermessage is that God is the death of death.” (Do you see what I mean about the challenge that each quote presents?)

·     “The Lord of the ages is God. The turning point of the ages is Christ. The true spirit of the age is the Holy Spirit.”

·     “No priest, no theologian stood at the cradle of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology finds its origin in the miracle of miracles, that God became human.”

·     “Not the path to God, but rather God’s path to human beings, that is the sum total of Christianity.”

·     The church of successis truly far from being the church of faith.

·     “God loves our enemies – this is what the cross tells us.”
And many, many more.  The book is an excellent source of discussion for life groups or other Bible studies.  I use it for quick devotionals when called upon to give them at meetings and other occasions. 
Each quotation comes with a citation which provides the specific volume of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Worksby Fortress Press from which it came and the page number in that volume for additional research.
McKim gives us some great suggestions as to how to use the book and its contents for maximum benefit. He also adds a “Timeline of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life”.
I highly recommend it for anyone who wants an introduction to this great man of God. But it’s also for those who want to grow much deeper in their spiritual life.
Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 and after spending considerable time in prison and concentration camps, he was executed in 1945 at 39 years of age because he was accused of participating in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Bonhoeffer, writing from personal experience, can help each one of us cope with what may well lie ahead for the church of Jesus Christ.   


·     Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, January 12, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

“Why My Granddaddy Can Beat Your Granddaddy At Dominoes”

The Aging Brain:
Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind

Author: Timothy R. Jennings, MD
Publisher: Baker Books Grand Rapids, MI, 2018



“Why My Granddaddy Can Beat Your Granddaddy At Dominoes”
This is Tim Jennings’ third book that I’ve read. I must admit he has another winner with this one.  His secret is his formula: explain the problem he’s addressing with science, then translate it for people like me with very understandable illustrations from everyday life, and then back it all up with solid research.
Timothy R. Jennings is a practicing board-certified psychiatrist, a psychopharmacologist, and much more. Oh, one more thing – he’s a practicing believer. At this point you might say, “okay, then, forget it; this book is not for me”.  But wait, what if it is for you and those you love.  What if a faith system does contribute to avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease and particularly, dementia? 
But don’t get me wrong, that aspect of prevention and slowing down of such a condition, is not his main focus. He’s just being totally honest and providing you all the research on what does help.
I found his writing most informative and educational. For example, he explains very clearly the role of the liver in getting intoxicated. And, the role that taking care of our teeth (yes, you got that right) plays in reducing the risk of dementia. 
Jennings looks at how “aging” has been viewed in history; what a healthy brain requires; and how genes are important, but they don’t have to be totally in control. He tackles many challenging aspects of life that contribute to our rapidly aging brain such as obesity, sugar intake, smoking, and alcohol.  And no, he doesn’t say “it’s all bad”.  
A good portion of his book is about lifestyle and aging. He starts off with the need to exercise your brain with an edict that you better “use it, or you’ll lose it”.  Doing crosswords is great, but not at the expense of exercising your body – because your healthy brain needs a healthy body. He has a wonderful section on sleep which I found most informative – simple stuff that had never been explained that clearly to me before. Every reader will find themselves somewhere in there.
There’s a section in the book on “taking a weekly vacation” – yes, you read it correctly. Exercising the body/brain must be followed by resting the mind/body and only together do those two things add up to a healthier dementia-averse brain.
One of my favorite quotes from the book (because it hit me like a ton of bricks) is Jennings’ definition of Chronic Worry (an issue he tackles very extensively in the book when he deals with stress).  He writes:
“In my experience treating thousands of patients over more than two decades, the worry with which the vast majority of people struggle is the worry about controlling something that is not theirs to control . . . how life will turn out and what others will think about them: Will my children grow up to be healthy and responsible adults? Will I get that job? Will my house sell? Will my spouse leave me? Will he or she like me? Did they think I sounded stupid?”
You will need to read the book to find out what he tells them and how he treats them.
There are other key sections in the book. Especially critical is the one on resolving our “mortality”.  That one led meto think the following:
A lot of people know they are aging, and it bothers them. Yet many of those refuse to acknowledge that they are also dying. Mortality is an outcome of aging. You cannot have one without the other. Still, people prefer to deny and not talk about coming to the end of their life. They actually fear ‘dying’.  It becomes a source of chronic stress which only brings it on faster.
Jennings makes you think and then he helps you act. The book’s last section covers Alzheimer’s Disease in considerable detail (at least what we know about it to date), what can help prevent Dementia, the risk factors and how they can be reduced, and how to care for someone with Dementia. The sections on vitamins, supplements, other things we eat or drink, and practice or feel are very extensive, complete with rationale, research, honesty on what we don’t know, and specific recommendations.
Bottom line? Jennings writes:
“Normal aging does not result in dementia. Dementia is a pathological state – an abnormal situation – a disease state that may, with healthy choices, be avoided.”
I want my grandchildren to be able to tell their friends why their grandfather can beat their grandfathers at dominoes. I’ve started following the recommendations.  A must read if you care about aging.

n Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, January 2, 2019, 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.