Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
The Fall Retreat is this Saturday. We have room for about 6 more women to register. THE WEATHER IS TO BE IDEAL. Why not put some things on hold to spend time with God?
Spiritual Encouragers of Cincinnati
5091 South Ridge Drive
Cincinnati OH, 45224513
At the last church she attended before dropping out, Julia Duin was not impressed with the service opportunities available to her as a single woman.
She could do child-care work, greet people at the door or join the women in the altar guild. However, since her journalism work required frequent travel, Duin sought more flexible commitments. Perhaps she could play harp before services? Fill an occasional teaching role, using her seminary training or material from her books?
After several frustrating years, she quit going to church.
See the book on Amazon.com
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I received an email from Linda Prince, a long time friend and a strong supporter of McCain-Palin. She is, however, first and foremost a Believer. Here is her message.
TEN ABSOLUTES NO MATTER WHO WINS THE ELECTION:
1. The Bible will still have all the answers. 2. Prayer will still work. 3. The Holy Spirit will still move. 4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people. 5. There will still be God-anointed preaching. 6. There will still be singing of praise to God. 7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people. 8. There will still be room at the Cross. 9. Jesus will still love you. 10. Jesus will still save the lost. ISN'T IT GREAT TO KNOW WHO IS STILL IN CONTROL?
'I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.' Ps 121:1-2
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
How are you facing the current crisis as a Christian?
It is a challenge for all of us but especially for those whose retirements are losing value. Can we trust God in the valley? We better learn how.
You can read about the remarkable work Dr. Rees and Jon are doing in today's Wall Street Journal.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Top 1% pay 39.89% (Income $388,000+)
Top 5% pay 60.14% (Income $153,000+)
Top 10% pay 70.79% (Income $108,000+)
Top 25% pay 86.27% (Income $64,000+)
Top 50% pay 97.01% (Income $32,000+)
The bottom 50% Income less than $32,000 pay 2.99% of all income taxes.
The bottom 50% who make under $32,000 already pays almost no taxes so how can a President cut their taxes?
Second, it is the Congress that passes laws so a President cannot raise or lower our taxes.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I suppose the lady who wrote the article thinks she is helping Obama's campaign but these hit pieces surely turn off almost everyone who has a rational bone in his/her body. Take a look at this angry bit of paranoid accusations with no facts to support it.
It has been years since groups such as the Montana Militia, the Posse Comitatus and the Sagebrush Rebels, and individuals such as Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski have made us wonder why so many "angry white men" populated our rural regions. Many of us have forgotten the threat once posed by domestic terrorists and instead have turned our attention to foreign terrorists. But we should never forget that in the late 20th century, ultra-Christian, antistatist and white-supremacist groups flourished in the states of the Pacific Northwest - called by many the "Great White Northwest" - the very region that Sarah Palin and her family call home.
Demographics most basically define this geographic region. In the six states that make up the Pacific Northwest - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska - only six counties are more than 5 percent African American.
Although home to tens of thousands of native peoples, Alaska is not much different in terms of diversity from the other states of the region... Wasilla, where Sarah Palin was mayor, makes the census' list of the top 10 Alaskan communities with the largest number of African Americans because they make up a full 1 percent of the population. Rough calculations suggest that 65 blacks lived in the town.
But the region also must be defined by its history of intolerance, resentment, antistatism and violence. Appearing in the region in the 1980s and 1990s were some of the most notorious "hate radicals" of our time: militia groups, survivalists, Identity Christians, secessionists, white supremacists and others.
So, everyone in those six western states is a racist, radical with intolerant hatred for anyone different from the? WOW! That is high level, brilliant thinking from a professor who obviously got her job through merit and is not a token female.
I never cease to be shocked by the ignorance, hatred, fear and intolerance of such people who sit in the seats of power.
When I was on the doctoral committee of Margaret Jopheson Rinck I was barely able to stop a movement by radical feminists to kick her out of the doctoral program. The rationale was she could not be objective because she was a Christian. A few years after that she was honored for being a great teacher at U.C. when the facts were the opposite.
We who believe in Christ must stick together and support each other because the fear, hatred and evil intentions of many people are real.
One of my favorite authors is Robert Cialdini whose , Inside Influence Report, I get online every month. Dr. Cialdini's research and well written insights are in very close accord to the way Jesus led and taught. For example, the most recent article in the newsletter has to to with what Cialdini calls, "The Law of Reciprocity". It was summarized by Jesus in this spiritual principle: "Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over as it is placed in your lap. For by the standard you use to measure is the standard you will receive." Luke 6:38
If we want to lead and influence others we need to find ways to give to them and others who are not even involved with us. Allow others to excel and grow and it will come back to us. But, if we hog the time and light we will always be disappointed. It is our choice.
Many of you may wonder why I have photos of books on my blog. Here is the reason. Each of them represents an issue that I find important.
The Fourth Great Awakening was written by Robert Fogel who contends that we are now in the midst of a giant spiritual event. Dr. Fogel won the Nobel Prize for his ideas about the economic and political impact of revivals and awakenings yet most of us have never heard of him.
Fogel indicates that the First Great Awakening resulted in the American Revolution; the second in the Emancipation of Slaves and the third in the United States Government's adopting many social safety nets. In the past an awakening was focused on distributing economic and political resources to those previously left out of the main stream. The Fourth s different.
The current situation in Europe and America finds us with many needs but most are not economic or political since we have achieved equal opportunities for all our citizens in those two areas. However, there is one huge arena where resources are not distributed equally. That is in the spiritual or non-material realm.
Fogel says the issues and concerns of this Awakening are the corruption of materialist ideas, the rise of a pro life ethic, interest in values to school curricula, a re-emphasis upon personal morality and values, strengthening family life, etc. All of these we are seeing played out today in our personal, social and political lives. There is a concern about the bureaucratic nature of government systems and the need to return to personal responsibility.
Fogel indicates that the Fourth Great Awakening began with the Sixties Jesus Revolution and will continue as those men and women grow and mature and are mobilized into social and spiritual action. This is one of the reasons I am mobilizing Seasoned Believers to get involved in the issues of today.
Here we are at the intersection of one of the greatest spiritual moments in history. Now what will we do with it? Contact me if you are interested in discussing your role in the Fourth Great Awakening. Maybe you can be a Paul Revere whose primary role was to ride all over the New England area warning the residents that, "The Redcoats are coming!"
Maybe you will preach about spiritual issues or take a role in helping families live bette rlives with God. God has prepared His people for just such a time in history. Let's roll!
Support us at:
Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
A senior Canadian doctor is now expressing concerns that such a prominent public role model as the governor of Alaska and potential vice president of the United States completing a Down syndrome pregnancy may prompt other women to make the same decision against abortion because of that genetic abnormality. And thereby reduce the number of abortions. . . .
Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Ottawa, worries that Palin's now renowned decision may cause abortions in Canada to decline as other women there and elsewhere opt to follow suit.
I am often shocked at the fact that people like myself who have fought for human and civil rights all my life would now be considered a "Radical Right Wing Fanatic" by the press and many Liberals. I am even more shocked to see a physician who has sworn to promote health, welfare and life of babies would attack a mother who carries a baby to term lest other mothers make the same decision.
It is widely reported that over 80% of all mothers choose to abort their babies with Down Syndrome. This is a terrible statement about the way imperfect people are perceived in America, especially by doctors who have sworn never to do an abortion. As a nation we need to strongly affirm the Palin family for making the decision to rear that child even after they knew he would have Down Syndrome.
Second, it is widely reported that over 80% of the couples who have a disabled child get a divorce. This is a terrible statistic and it often leaves the mother alone to carry the entire load of parenting and alone in trying to meet the needs of her children. These parents, especially the mothers, are heroic figures who deserve our full support and empathy.
Can you imagine going to a doctor who revels in killing the unborn? I can't.
It is really important for us Evangelical Christians to be discerning as citizens and voters. This video from Australia can be an educational leap forward for all of us. Watch us and see what you don't agree that this is one of the most enlightening video interviews you have ever seen on the environment, even after the interview of Sarah Palin.
In fact, my new motto for Global Warming is, "Cardboard is out!"
If you live in Cincinnati you can come over to the Life Way Counseling Center Office in Blue Ash and get one for a donation to my ministry. The directions are on the web page. You can order Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty from Author House.
I suppose I ought to be happy when a Democrat Congressman, especially one who is also Jewish, makes a statement promoting the policies and activities of Jesus Christ. But, I am not at all sure he was being serious because it is rare for folks from his background to so strongly evangelize on the floor of Congress.
However, you must judge for yourself so here is the statement he made.
Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ and suggested Sarah Palin is akin to Pontius Pilate. The Tennessee Democrat, who supports Obama, was on the House floor giving a one-minute speech when he offered the comparisons.
“If you want change, you want the Democratic Party,” Cohen said. “Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor.”
What do you think?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Between 1995 and 2005, total revenue for the nonprofit sector increased by 54% compared to a GDP increase of 35% over the same decade.2 Their share of the overall U.S. workforce increased from 5.6% in 1972 to 7.2% in 2004, with nonprofits now employing more than 9 million people.3 This workforce growth has consistently outpaced both the business and public sectors.
1. Fifty-five percent of Americans in the 44 to 79 age group believe they will leave the world in worse condition than they inherited it, while only 20 percent believe they are leaving the world in better condition. Those most actively engaged in volunteering feel less pessimistic.
3. The rate of volunteering is highest among those who attend religious services regularly (86 percent); college graduates (85 percent); professionals (84 percent); those with annual incomes over $75,000 (83 percent); and evangelical Christians (80 percent).
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Where is it written that only senators are qualified to become President? . . . Or where is it written that mere representatives aren't qualified, like Geraldine Ferraro of Queens? . . . Where is it written that governors and mayors, like Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, are too local, too provincial? . . . Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy. . . . What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. . . . Why shouldn't a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow?
One of the most popular books I have ever written or co-written is called Listen for Heaven's Sake. It has sold several hundred thousand copies and translated into many languages. The concept of listening is easy but actually doing it is not so easy. In fact, listening with heart, mind and soul to another person's heart, mind and soul is one of the greatest challenges of life.
I sometimes need to remind myself that I am also a retired Clinical Counselor. Because I have emphasized the importance of caring relationships by ordinary people it may appear that I have forgotten my professional training. But I have not forgotten that training and, in fact, it was my doctoral research that moved me from an emphasis on being an "expert" with all the answers to one who must try to deeply understand my clients.
The latest research on counseling effectiveness shows how important listening is to psychotherapy. An article on Talking Cure says:
Listening to clients...no, really listening! Studies show a 65% improvement in outcome
Evidence-based practice is, as you know, "all the rage." Like bell-bottoms and skinny ties, listening to clients in therapy is out of fashion. Treatment manuals and fidelity measures are "in." Most of the push for field-wide adoption of specific treatments for specific disorders comes from the top. Government funders, policy think tanks and professional organizations are promoting evidence-based practice as the cure-all for what ails the field--namely, a continuing lack of respect and lingering perception of mental health as the "soft" of science.
A number of researchers have, over the last decade, been using the client's rating of the therapeutic alliance and progress in treatment as a way of improving retention and outcome in treatment. Interestingly, such research shows that providing therapists with real-time feedback regarding the client's experience of the therapeutic alliance and outcome cuts attrition rates in half and improves outcome by as much as 65%.
Bottom line: therapists were encouraged to listen--especially when what they were doing wasn't working or did not fit for the individual client--and the hoped for improvements in retention and outcome followed.
So, caring, listening and respect are still the key to effective psychotherapy. In fact, the client, not the therapist, is the hero. We who are counseling the heroes need to remember that and listen to what they have to say.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I have a couple of great computers with large memories and fast connections. However, having the right hard ware is not enough. I also need good software. For a long time pundits and politicians have over emphasized the hard ware of laws and government policies. But without love, caring and human relationships we are not exceptional as a people or as a nation. It is the social capital that makes us unique and strong.
Palin's speech was wise, funny and insightful. But her obvious love and warmth for her parents, husband and kids was the software that made the difference.
McCain's speech also touched a deep chord within us. It was not a powerful or funny but it was from the heart. I wept during his story of being broken by the North Vietnamese torture. His vulnerability was amazing. How many times have you heard a politician admit he had failed so grandly?
But, it was not the failing that touched me as much as the support, encouragement and forgiveness from his cell mates. That, my friends, is not policy or technical but friends. I know he is not a Marine but I could think of only one phrase to describe what he was saying: Semper Fi!
Americans are increasingly lonely, isolated and desperate for friendships that will last and be emotionally supportive. McCain described his conversion from individualism and selfishness to community and relationships. It was powerful and the media, for the most part, missed it.
One pundit who got it was Joe Scarborough. Click this link to see an astounding video. You may still dislike McCain's policies and decide to vote for Obama. That is the system we have in America and I am happy about it. We can affirm men and women with whom we disagree and pray for them despite their bad ideas. However, let us not miss it when they share something deep and transforming or we shall lose our souls.
3. Sarah Palin will be the first female President of the USA. But first she will be a great Vice President. She speaks truth to power from the heart with a smile and a big touch of irony. She will sweep the younger voters off their feet. All of us know who we want as an adviser and friend when we are stressed. It is our Mom!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Donovan is Shelley's Mother's maiden name. Yep, they are Irish and very proud of it.
Emma's middle name, Taylor, was my mother's maiden name. And, yes, that can be either Scot or Scots Irish.
I am very blessed that Tim and Shelley are memorializing their ancestors by giving such rich names to their children.
I listened to Sarah Palin's speech last night and wow, was she ever powerful, funny, ironic and tough. She took charge of the Republican convention and the TV audience even though she had to follow three pretty good speeches by much better known politicians in Rudy, Fred and Mike.
Governor Palin has come if for a lot of flack about her readiness to be the Vice President and "one heartbeat from the President". The Democrats and their associates in the TV industry have attacked her on many fronts and that is to be expected in national politics. However, one line of attack has been very surprising to me because I thought we had moved beyond the sexist crudities of past generations and because so much of the criticism is coming from the Left Wing of American life.
The Left has spent millions of dollars and billions of hours promoting the notion that women should be encouraged to do anything they want. Yet, now they are attacking Sarah because she is a woman and a mother who has a political career.
It occurred to me after hearing Sarah and reading about her that she is very much like the women I grew up around. My mother and most of the women in my area all worked at home and on the farms and in the factories. And, that was when women had few if any "labor saving devices" like micro waves and washer/dryer combinations. My grand mother Taylor ran a small grocery store while caring for her invalid husband. Mother worked at home and at a factory until she was able to get a job in the Post Office through Democrat politics. Farm wives milked the cows, drove tractors and cooked the food while every one of the kids pitched in as well.
Second, we were what is now called "Evangelicals" but no body thought working women were strange of un-biblical. Working was a necessity not a luxury; an economic fact of life not a theological option to be debated.
Governor Palin's approach to to family life is pretty much in line with the people in southern Illinois. She loves her husband and kids and is proud of them. The fact that one has a disability did not throw her into a crisis emotionally or spiritually not did she decide to destroy him because he was not "perfect". I grew up with a lot of imperfect people. We went to the same small school and had the same teacher for two or three grades and we all learned to help each other out. Our village was deeply engaged in helping each other grow up and learn how to love each other warts and all.
So, Mrs. Palin is a lot like the folks I knew and loved back home in Illinois. And, I think, she is a lot like me with similar concerns and similar approaches to life. She is a lot smarter, better organized and a better speaker than almost anyone I knew or know. She seems to have a natural grasp of how government systems ought to work and she seems to be able to move quickly to the bottom line in getting them to work.
I am shocked that so much of the political establishment finds Sarah, my background and me so far out and unusual. It never occurred to me that I would be considered a "Right Wing Radical" because I think it wrong to destroy disabled babies and right to love folks weaknesses, warts and all. But this is the world we now live in. It is a world view dominated by the far Left that pours its ideas out by the ton into the culture and is overwhelmingly difficult to change.
This is enough for now. Maybe more later on Moms and Dads and Family Relationships.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Our continual focus at Sweeten Life Systems is "A lifetime of great relationships". There is no place that emphasis is more important than in the family. Since our son Timothy and his wife Shelley have just blessed us with a new daughter, Emma Taylor Sweeten, it is appropriate to claim the "Commandment with a promise" that St. Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:
The context to which he speaks is about child rearing and discipline but he throws a bit of a curve here by saying, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for that is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise." Paul continues and makes sure his readers that are no from a Jewish background will get it by saying, "That it may go well with you and that you may live a long time on the earth."
In this manner he reminds us that discipline and child rearing are not just in one direction from the parents to the child but also extend backward to and through the parents to grand parents, great grand parents and so forth. As a student of family life and child rearing I can not agree more and my agreement comes not just from faith in God and the Bible but also from research and thirty years of teaching, ministry and family counseling.
A few weeks ago I was able to speak at The Horizon Community Church on the topic of "Hidden Family Rules". You can go online and download that talk by clicking the Horizon name. You will find the presentation quite interesting because of the skills of the Horizon planning team. We are using the GodFather Trilogy to show how dysfunctional and even toxic family patterns as well as healthy and godly patterns can be passed from generation to generation.
It is a joy to see Tim and Shelley as they bless their parents by inviting Karen and me to enter in to their generational blessing. Next week Shelley's Mom will be here to further strengthen the multi-generational bond.
Ps I am still honoring my own ancestors and asking God to use that to bless the future generations of Sweetens born and unborn.