Monday, November 25, 2013

Conflict and Triangles

My Singapore friends illustrate a Triangle with two very close and one left out.

It seems that whenever there is a cycle of conflict between two people there are always other issues that keep the cycle of conflict going. For example, Gabe and Jude have an ongoing battle about him working too much and neglecting her and the kids. She nags him to stay home and help with the kids  more and he increasingly stays away.

Could there be invisible people or issues in the minds of each of them that keep the cycle of conflict going? Maybe. Perhaps her dad was absent from home and left her mom to fend for herself while rearing three kids. When Gabe is gone she has a mental picture of her mother all alone weeping and wondering why her dad is gone. Jude swore that she would not allow her man to do that.

Gabe is not pure either. When Jude nags he sees his poor, impotent father giving in to his abrasive, aggressive wive and Gabe's mom. He hated to see his dad acting so weak and swore he would never allow a woman to push him around.

These "hidden" factors are not so hidden. They are involved in the emotions of every discussion and every fight. In fact, Jude and her mom have discussed the situation many times and agree that Gabe is away too much. Jude is fighting not only for herself but for her mom. Gabe is not fighting just for himself but for the perceived "honor" of all men.

Unfortunately, most of us are not aware of these triangles and have no understanding of how they are negatively impacting their marriages. So, self awareness can be helpful to resolving a chronic cycle of futile conflict. If you find yourself in such a cycle, ask, "Who else is in this conflict?"

You might be ready to read my book, How to be Me in My Family Tree.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Special Needs Kids: New Approach Needed

Last year I attended a gathering of parents and child workers at a conference on improving the health of kids with a special need. Every person in my small group spoke in the round table discussion and every single one promoted one idea. What do you think they want?

I will share the answer in just a moment but right now let me say that what they all want is probably impossible or at lease highly improbable. What do you think happens when large numbers of people long for something that is out of reach?  Anger! Frustration! Hopelessness!

I agree with all those possible emotions but I am adding another sure fire outcome that is even worse. People tend to give up and quit trying to innovate. IMO, the greatest need in health care improvement is innovation and creativity. But hopelessness and helplessness will squash the creative spirit in all of us unless we get a hit of hope.

My friends at the conference all wanted more money from the government and from insurance companies. However, I do not think it is coming. From everything I am reading governments are all broke financially. 

It is my goal to think out of the box and create ways we can help ourselves and each other. What we need is the application of American CAN DO, possibility thinking. As long as we think we are dependent on the government and its money we will be dependent on their centralized planning and overwhelming bureaucracy.

For decades scholars warned that the explosive growth in world population was going to doom us to poverty and starvation.  Those predictions have certainly been wrong! Why? What has happened to stave off starvation?

At Sweeten Life we are innovators in the fields of family life, counseling, church life, integrating theology and life and health care. Join with us in our exciting ventures.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We Need Your Help to win Big!

An organization here called Cincinnati Innovates sponsors an annual contest to spur creativity and entrepreneurial activities. Last year we entered and came up from last to third place in ten days. We are starting earlier this year and believe you can help us win. Here is our plan:

About 21% of all kids from birth to 18 in Ohio have a disability. Few groups support them as a family. We will train volunteers and family members how to come alongside the entire family. We did yearlong research study with parents who said, "No one ever asked how we were doing in our marriage; no one ever asked to pray for us or our child.

You can vote weekly for us at

Village initiative with Parents

Go there and read all about our ministry and the $90,000.00 in prizes. Look for this title:
Village initiative with Parents and vote. If all my friends vote for me we will win in a landslide.

Check the web for a deeper understanding of our call to minister to these distressed families

Monday, June 13, 2011

It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child

Our newest ministry is called Village Initiative with Parents (VIP). Some folks think we are setting up retirement homes because we use the term "Village" but that is not the intent. We are using the term Village in the same way Mrs. Hilary Clinton did. It is an African proverb that indicates "It takes a whole village to raise a child."

Our ministry has a laser sharp intent to recruit, train and release members of the community-the village- to support Parents with a child who has a special need. If it takes a whole village to rear a typical child just imagine how many of the village members are needed to help rear a kid with a disability.

The first question I am asked is usually, "What kind of disability?" My answer is always the same: "Any kind". Some of the kids whose parents were in our yearlong research study had severe physical disabilities and others were challenged more in the behavioral areas. It does not make much difference to the rest of the family because "When one member of the family hurts we all hurt." I CO 12.

Hurt comes in many ways and from many directions. It always hurts no matter where it comes from and who it hits. Parents are always hurt when one of their children is hurt. Parents worry a lot. They work a lot and have to spend lots of money when a child is sick. They are bone tired much of the time. They want a need emotional and spiritual support from The Village.

Interestingly, the ways members of The Village can be most helpful are not complicated or difficult. The best helps comes from ordinary people who will be "Friends in Deed". Friends who will listen and cry; listen and laugh: listen and encourage; listen and act.

Go to our web and see what you can do to help.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Evangelism that Draws us to Jesus

Several posts on Face Book have focused on the Harold Camping mess. As you may know, Mr. Camping, a millionaire who owns several radio stations that promote Christian programming, predicted an exact time and date for the return of Jesus. Well, he was wrong.

To that event I made some comments and had a Christian man post that he was scarred deeply by adults that tried to scare him into conversion with scary eschatology! I agreed with my friend that such behavior was and is wrong headed and deeply disturbing to me.

Some of my faithful friends wrote that the issue is not kindness but truthfulness that counts when we are evangelizing. What say you about evangelizing? Is truth all important even if it scares the people who listen to it? Are unbelievers more likely to come to Christ if they are really frightened or if they are drawn to the love and grace of God?

My early experiences were heavily weighted toward pointing out my sins, my guilt and eternal damnation if Jesus caught me with a spot or two on my pearly white robe when He returned by slipping into earth's atmosphere when we were not looking.

If I was caught by the returning Jesus while listening to Elvis, Little Richard or Jimmy Hendrix it was going to be a very long and hot eternity. If He came by suddenly ripping through the sky on Sunday morning when I was in church singing Amazing Grace i would be just fine.

How about you? Was the love of God offered to you or His ever present wrath?

What drew you to salvation in Jesus?

tell me your stories.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Men Acting Badly

Two rather rich and famous men were caught recently with their pants literally down and their exploits glaring in the headlines. Why do so many men in power find it necessary to get involved sexually with women other than their wives?

For men in general and famous, power hungry men specifically, the name of the game is not pleasure derived from sexual relationships but the sense of pleasure, ego fulfillment and importance that they get from "Winning" the affections of a woman. In Genesis 3:19 God points out to Adam that as a result of his rebellion, the whole earth would be filled with destructive forces that the write calls, "Thorns and thistles..."

God the Creator goes on to say that from that day forward "Males would eat their food as the result of the sweat of their brow". This implies a life of toil, hard work and difficulty. However, when we read the Hebrew version, another deeper and more nuanced insight emerges. It says, "You will eat as a result of flared nostrils". That places a whole new meaning on the curse for males for the flaring of nostrils indicates a strong emotional drive to compete with intensity, anger and winner take all. Men have for millennia fought over land, materials goods, religion, and WOMEN. In fact, polygamy is not sexual driven but is the result of who has the most power and riches.

I see these most recent male predators as being driven not by the urge of sexual pleasure but a lust for winning another woman. The conquest of a female shows that a man is superior to other men, especially their husbands.

So the Governor of California and the Governor of the IMF join with bin Laden among males who take great pride in using their wives as a cover for lust and violence. In some ways, Islam is more honest about male dominance and female subservient to them. Women are another toy to show for winning the game.

In the USA our laws have always been based on Christianity that protected women from predators. Recently, of course, as a result of the feminist revolution, the laws are being changed and women are often willingly "hooking up" with men and encouraging men to use them as sexual chips in the "games" males play. By giving in so easily to men they are encouraging them to use and abuse other women.

When I was teaching Muslims in Asia I saw the way women are treated in Islam as opposed to what Jesus taught. The women there were stunned by the love, care and respect Jesus showed all women. I am praying that God will take the seeds I planted and cause them to rise up and liberate Muslim females from 1300 years of slavery.

We Christians must speak up forcefully for the equality of women but also for their protection. Single parents are almost always the females left by men who "won the battle for a one night stand" and the woman lost her future.

The churches have always been filled with more women than men. The love and respect Jesus showed women was amazingly different from that which was done in any other culture. The rise of monasteries came about to saved women and children from marauding bands of predatory males. We Christians have not always been Christian to women but Jesus always has been their refuge.

More later on what happened when I worked with the Muslim women in Asia.