Friday, February 26, 2010

Spiritual Emotional Life and Addictions in Russia

Papers are reporting that even the chimps in Russia are caught up in severe addictions.

MOSCOW - A Russian chimpanzee has been sent to rehab by zookeepers to cure the smoking and beer-drinking habits he has picked up, a popular daily reported on Friday. An ex-performer, Zhora became aggressive at his circus and was transferred to a zoo in the southern Russian city of Rostov, where he fathered several baby chimps, learned to draw with markers and picked up his two vices.

"The beer and cigarettes were ruining him. He would pester passers-by for booze," the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper said.

It added he has now been transferred to the city of Kazan, about 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow, for rehabilitation treatment.


We have been working to establish Family Treatment Centers in the former USSR since 1994. Dr. Galina Chentsova came to Cincinnati to learn the Teleios System of ministry and returned to recruit mature Christians to head the effort. Now there are many training centers in churches and homes all over the nation.

The story above seems bizarre and comical but it illustrates the depth of the problems facing the good people of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania and the rest of the Eastern Bloc. During the Seventy years of Communist rule, the high levels of shock, trauma and abuse are so high that it is difficult for us in the West to believe.

Entire families were intentionally destroyed and persecuted leaving generations of children and grandchildren to suffer from the brutality. Thank God for the ways He has taught us to bring hope and healing to those people through Jesus Christ. And, thank God for the faithful Pastors, Priests and Laity who stayed true to God's word during those terrible times.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Blog

I have done it again! I have a new blog. For a long time I have been wondering why so few people read my blog and even more why so very few ever write comments. No matter what I say nobody writes me back.

Part of the problem, I think, is the title to my current blog. I discovered that about 80% of the people who find a web page and blog do so through a Google search. When I look up Brave Heart on Google, I get several thousand links to the movie by that name.

My interest is not in movies and famous people but in healing and growth. For forty years I have been deeply involved in various ministries and professions that are focused on healing the hurts, wounds and rejections of people and helping them grow into maturity.

I have been a teacher, a coach, a counselor and a minister. Every one of these professions has to do with health, wholeness and becoming stronger. In one of the last talks of Jesus, He told His followers to "Go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them to do everything that He did." I am trying to do that in my small ways.

My new blog is called Spiritual Healing and Growth. Go and check it out. Read it and make some comments. Please!

Abortion, Sarah Palin and Disability

I just came across an article on the blog Disability Matters by Dr. Mark Moster who teaches at Regent University. Regent is one of the most progressive and creative Christian Universities in the world and Dr. Moster is on the cutting edge of promoting a Pro-Life Ethic.

Dr. Moster wrote the article in July 2009 but I am just now seeing it. Read and reflect upon its message.

Tolerance Ends, Animus Arises Where Disability Begins
Posted: 08 Jul 2009 06:34 AM PDT

Cyberspace has been alive with discussions of a hit piece written by the Huffington Post’s Erik Sean Nelson. Nelson used the now well-worn epithets of being retarded in commenting on Sarah Palin’s resignation as Alaska Governor last week.

The piece was pulled almost immediately, but not before several media watchdog groups had downloaded screen captures. Nelson swiftly offered an apology for what he wrote, but not for the way he thinks about people with disabilities.

I’ve decided to share the piece in it’s entirety because it reveals the palpable animus toward people with disabilities that’s alive and well in the US. Penned as a “humorous” piece (it’s not), had this been written about almost any other group of people (take your pick: minorities, women, on and on) there would have been nothing less than a media firestorm that would have had the potential to wipe the Michael Jackson coverage from our TV screens.

However, Nelson is in good company. It wasn’t too long ago that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) repeatedly said, on the record, that Sarah Palin was retarded. And don’t let’s forget President Obama cheerfully noted that he bowls like a retard.
Just so that it’s clear: Palin is targeted in this way because Trig has Down Syndrome.

Funny, I don’t recall anything like this ever being said about a person in the Kennedy family who had mental retardation.
Here’s Nelson’s vitriol:

Palin Will Run in '12 on More Retardation Platform
In Sarah Palin's resignation announcement she complained about the treatment of her son Trig who always teaches her life lessons. She said that the "world needs more Trigs, not fewer." That's a presidential campaign promise we can all get behind. She will be the first politician to actually try to increase the population of retarded people. To me, it's kinda like saying the world needs more cancer patients because they teach us such personal lessons.
Her first act as President: To introduce a Pre-K lunch buffet that includes lead paint chips. Sort of a Large HEAD-START Program.

She will then encourage women to hold off on pregnancies until their 40's just to mix up some chromosomes.

She now is in favor of abortion only in case of diploid birth.
Her policies will increase jobs because Wall-Mart is building new stores each day and someone has to be the greeter.

This will lead to smaller government because fewer Americans will have the cognitive ability to hold a government job.

Look, she says she's resigning as governor because people are making attacks on her and Trig. If she ever did become president, all Osama bin Laden would have to do to defeat the United States is Photoshop a picture of Trig and she'd surrender the country that night. As she said, "That's not politics as usual." It isn't. Politicians don't usually quit for so stupid of reasons.

I’m sure you’re all laughing your heads off.

A final thought: A raft of disability advocacy groups have been stunningly silent on this issue. They get their alerts, they read the blogs every day, and are lightning quick to defend against the kind of bigotry that Nelson showed.
They’ve been AWOL here. Why? Do they believe that for Sarah Palin and her son Trig this kind of nastiness is OK?


We at Sweeten Life Systems are decidedly Pro Life for all life. We are strongly committed to respecting the people with disabilities as well as their families. This is why we are doing research on ways we can support them.

Is our nation becoming more callous toward people with disabilities? Is the government focusing so strongly on "Abortion Rights" that "The Right to Life" is being threatened? Are US politicians getting so cold hearted that they would rather see Down syndrome children aborted than live and bring love to their family and friends?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spirituality and Common Sense

An Obituary printed in the London Times.

Obits are printed at a time of death. These are sad times, times of loss and grief. When something as meaningful as "Common Sense" dies, we can all imagine how badly its friends and family members feel.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair; and
- Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

What can we depend upon now that he is gone? It is hard to go to the Bible because it contains so much Common Sense and the loss of CS means that few people can understand what sin, guilt and shame really. Our ancestors knew these things but now I fear that these truths have also gone away.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spiritual Peace

What does it mean to be at peace? And, if I can define it how can I attain it?

Here is what Jesus said about having peace:

John 14:27Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

I spoke this morning about Jesus and Serenity at Life Gate Church in Northern Kentucky. Several members of the church engaged me in conversations after the service to discuss these issues.

Take a careful look at this passage. Carefully meditate on it. Chew on it. Say it over and over in your mind and see if you can figure out the message of Jesus to you. Apply it personally because you may be the person Jesus wanted to hear the comment.

Where does peace begin?

How can you tell if you have the peace that Jesus is describing? Have you ever had such peace? Some people write things like, "Know Jesus-Know peace; No Jesus-No peace". Is that a marketing slogan or real fact? Are all Christians living in peace? Do any Christians you know live in peace? How would you know if they were? Can we feel guilty and have peace?

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Motivating Employees

In my last post I mentioned one of the reasons why so few ordinary people trust therapists comes from our "Highly Exalted Demeanor" and lack of understanding the common person's life. The fact that many if not most of our current politicians and highest officers in corporations are experts in theory with little practical experience also explains why the disease of therapists has spread widely to other fields.

An interesting article in the Knowledge @ Wharton electronic newsletter about motivating employees by actually getting to know them and their work. What an interesting concept as opposed to treating employees as robots and strangers.

Would you like to get more production from your people? Learn what they are thinking and feeling.

People Do Not Trust Psychologists

I have been a Professional Counselor for a long time. I have seen thousands of individuals and many more couples. I think that the reason so many people have sought me out for help is because I am a Christian who is speaking, teaching and meeting with people in settings other than the official office of a therapist. This leads them to decide whether they can trust me and my counsel before they ever see me "officially".

But a lot of people do not trust Psychologists, Counselors and Psychiatrists and I think I know why. The official manual of Professional Therapy is called, The DSM-4. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition.) This manual lays out the things that a committee of Psychiatrists think we should decide if a person is "Mentally Ill". There are a lot of problems with this manual.

1. Not every therapist thinks there is even such a thing as "mental illness".
2. Many of the diagnostic categories that were once considered mental illnesses have been removed for the manual because of political reasons that have nothing to do with research or psychology. (Homosexuality for example.)
3. Some of the categories are highly suspect by Professionals and lay persons alike.

In the new proposed DSM-5 revised manual, the committee has proposed a new category for children. The old category was "Bi-Polar Disorder" and the answer was strong medication. The new category is called, "Temper Dis-regulation" and the answer is still, strong medication.

Anyone even slightly familiar with kids know that many of them fail to "regulate" their anger/temper. But do we think that is a Mental Illness that requires a life long tag on their permanent record along with medication?

And, have the therapists doing this diagnosis ever interview the parents? They might, in fact, have some "Temper Dis-regulation" themselves and thus teach their children well.

Most traditional, non family centered Psychiatrists do NOT, in fact, diagnose the child and talk to the parents. In Psychiatric circles such meetings are considered to be "unethical".

I have founded several Peer and Professional Counseling Centers. In every one we always take the parents' ideas and experiences into account. By including such Mickey Mouse diagnostic categories in the new "Bible" of the field they are driving the public farther and farther away from trusting us.

One final thought. This trend for highly educated professionals to treat people with such theoretical surety and realistic ignorance signals a troubling trend in American life. Americans have always boasted of leaders whose ability to succeed was based largely on the fact that the leaders were common people who worked closely with the citizens. That is changing and many leaders today have almost no practical experience with the fields in which they work.

Heads of banks are egg heads with Masters and Doctorates and no personal experience in banking, loans or borrowers. No wonder the big banks failed. They are excellent in theory but ignorant of practice.

Read the book, The Puritan Gift for a full explanation of this trend.

Monday, February 15, 2010

POLITICO Arena: Walter Russell Mead's response to 'Open Mic Presidents Day EditionEvan Bayh's shockerPlus, the Biden-Cheney debate'

POLITICO Arena: Walter Russell Mead's response to 'Open Mic Presidents Day EditionEvan Bayh's shockerPlus, the Biden-Cheney debate'

Walter Russell Mead Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, CFR :

The best qualified person "living or dead" to be the next senator from New York is of course Jesus Christ. There is some dispute about whether he's living or dead (I go with the former) but either way there's nobody in history as qualified.

First, he could balance the budget. He fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish; think what he could do with all the money the federal government takes in.

Second, he healed the sick and raised the dead. The first talent would pretty much take care of our health care reform issues and the cost of Medicare; the second would keep him in office forever as every election day the dead would rise up and go to the polls.

Third, he could clean up New York politics. "Go and sin no more," he said to the woman caught in the act of adultery. I can think of several New York politicians who should do both. Not only that; that trick he did with the Gadarene swine (he drove the demons out of a madman into a herd of pigs; the pigs then ran into a lake and drowned) would work wonders in Albany.

Fourth, he'd destroy Harold Ford in the primary. "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," he said. In other words, pay taxes to New York if you want to run in New York.

Fifth, he'd deal with the lobbyists. He drove the moneychangers from the Temple; think what he'd do on K Street.

Sixth, he can win. He's a practicing Jew with crossover appeal to the black community and would carry the Catholics as well. Wall Street and Mayor Bloomberg would have problems with him (that 'eye of the needle' comment will haunt him when he's fundraising) and he'd need a good handler to keep him from saying the wrong thing to the wrong people, but if he can keep his temper under control I think he wins in a walk.

Christian Controversy and Love

Go to this web site for a great interview with Mother Teresa. The person from Time Magazine who interviewed her was a typical secular person from the West who wanted to suck Mother Teresa into controversy and politics. She was far to simple and clever to be tricked into his world of fantasy and controversy.

Look at this exchange between the Time reporter and how Mother Teresa responded.

Time: When you spoke at Harvard University a few years ago, you said abortion was a great evil and people booed. What did you think when people booed you?

Mother Teresa: I offered it to our Lord. It's all for Him, no? I let Him say what He wants.

Time: But these people who booed you would say that they also only want the best for women?

Mother Teresa: That may be. But we must tell the truth.

Time: And that is?

Mother Teresa: We have no right to kill. Thou shalt not kill, a commandment of God. And still should we kill the helpless one, the little one? You see we get so excited because people are throwing bombs and so many are being killed. For the grown ups, there is so much excitement in the world. But that little one in the womb, not even a sound? He cannot even escape. That child is the poorest of the poor.

Or this interchange where the reporter tried to stir up controversy:

Time: You once met Haile Mariam Mengistu, the much feared communist leader of Ethiopia and an avowed atheist. You asked him if he said his prayers. Why did you risk that?

Mother Teresa: He is one more child of God. When I went to China, one of the top officials asked me, "What is a communist to you?" I said, "A child of God." Then the next morning the newspapers reported that Mother Teresa said communists are children of God. I was happy because after a long, long time the name God was printed in the papers in China. Beautiful.

Here is how she responded to planning.

Time: What are your plans for the future?

Mother Teresa: I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.

Time: And the future of the order?

Mother Teresa: It is His concern.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Tale of Riding Dead Horses

In a recent article for Focal Point, a publication of Denver Seminary, Dr. Haddon Robinson gave an illustration regarding organizations and dead horses. One bit of wisdom addressed to organizations is "When the horse you are riding dies, dismount." That sounds like keen insight into the obvious. Unfortunately, many organizations refuse to embrace it. Writer Karen Peterson came up with some alternative strategies that organizations often use to deal with the problem of dead horses.

Change riders (If you can't do the job of riding this horse we'll find someone who can!).
Appoint a committee to study the horse (After all, we mustn't rush to judgment. Perhaps the horse isn't really dead, but sleeping).
Attend a seminar to increase riding ability (When in doubt, blame the rider and question his abilities).
Get a stronger whip (even if this doesn't motivate the horse, it will make the rider feel better!).
Enroll in a seminar to learn how others ride dead horses (Perhaps if you improve your technique no one will notice that you lack substance).
When there is nothing else to do, remember, the time honored wisdom of desperate organizations: "No horse is too dead to beat!"

How do you treat a dead horse organization? What parts of your ministry are dead?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


"Nothing can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own." - Sidney J. Harris

"There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know." - Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914)

"The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools." - Doug Larson

I am reading a great book and I strongly recommend it to you. I especially recommend it if you are interested in management, leadership, influence and work. It traces the history of management and work in the USA from the time of Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until the financial blow up of 2008. The Hopper brothers wrote this book and called it, The Puritan Gift because the Puritans developed a unique and very successful manner of managing the Massachusetts Bay Colony while other colonizations failed miserably.

If you wonder why the current managers are failing to understand their employees and their customers, read The Puritan Gift. If you wonder why so many "smart" leaders do such dumb things, read it again. If you wonder why we elected an administration that lacks a single person with practical experience, ponder what the Hopper brothers from Scotland have to say.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Polygamy in America

The current controversy surrounding the military policy toward homosexuals openly practicing their sexual desires is raging all around us. At the same time, many Christian Pastors are asking about ways they can best minister to the people in their congregations that are actively hooking up with others male and female; human and animal. The current push toward sexual confusion and sexual sharing is a headlong rush toward disaster and we are on the lip of the precipice right now.

The political pundits usually discuss homosexual behavior in the military and heterosexual sharing on grounds of personal choice, fairness and civil liberties. It is a "legal matter' they say. There are no consequences beyond accepting all persons as they are.

Pastors, on the other hand, tend to discuss the issue in moral terms. The Left Wing group like the aggressively gay Episcopal Bishop Robinson said it is awful that Conservatives preach hate between parents and their gay children. Conservatives say that Bishop Robinson preaches hate for them and for God's Law.

There are other important psychological, emotional and physical issues to be faced. The USA and Western Europe is moving toward what can only be described as "Practical Polygamy in Homo and Heterosexual Behavior". Technically, this might not be polygamy but it is the sharing of sexual partners without regard to the long term results.

What do you think will be the results of such activities in family life, society and our institutions like the military? Because of the high divorce and remarriage rates we are already seeing the rapid destruction of emotional balance in children and youth along with a dramatic increase in addictions, mental disorders and poor parenting skills.

Most murders and violence are committed by relatives or a person close to the victim. Open, unbridled sexual interactions leads to destruction. The most dangerous time for a women and her children is when she attempts to leave her violent partner. How will such emotional upheavals affect the military? We are already seeing it affect them because of the importation of more women in the ranks of fighters.

Sex is not robotic. It cannot be part of the military or hook ups without deep emotional, spiritual and physical implications. Yet, the top military brass and politicians act like we are discussing test tube babies not real people.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Terrorisms Brave New World

A news report from the world of the public school is alarming. Very alarming. Young children are now bringing dangerous weapons into the schools and threatening to bring chaos and destruction to their fellow students, the teachers and administrators. Thankfully, the administrators are diligently watching and keeping us safe. The gun was quickly confiscated, the child was suspended, the parents called and an urgent conference held.

Thankfully, Mr. Lego Policeman was taken out of harms way.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Jesus Model of Witnessing

Are Strangers Aliens to the Church?

I have been teaching and writing about the best ways to influence people. I am an educator so I was trained in what is called, Pedagogy, or the study of "The Art and Science of Teaching".

I went on from elementary and secondary teaching to Influence in Higher Education. That is where I was taught the theories of immersing college students in the importance of creating a good educational Paideia or "Pedagogical Environment. As a former coach I already knew the social context was critically important. That is why we had cheerleaders at games.

It was here I also learned more about the Psychological and Emotional components of developing a powerful educational environment. I studied small groups, adult stages of development and the power of positive emotions to affect positive behavior but negative or punitive behavior to bring about regressive behavior.

I was a Christian and had studied the Bible through and through. I was struck by the fact that its central focus is on building positive relationships. That was not my experience at church or among Christians who often, in fact, chose warfare metaphors rather than those of peace and love. It seemed to me that our best evangelistic customers were seen as the enemy not friends we wanted to woo as prize customers.

When I moved to Cincinnati I learned a lot about Procter and Gamble. It was, I found, the largest marketing spender in the world. P&G created the very first serial TV shows and that is why we call them, "Soap Operas".

I was fascinated by the P&G advertisements. They were designed to make customer WANT the P&G products. they never said, "You people are dirty, stinking outcasts. Buy our soap and you will be saved." Whey then did so many Christians seem to adopt negative, accusatory and demeaning things to say about unbelievers?

The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5: is all positive (Love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, etc) and the fruit of the flesh is all negative (Anger, bitterness, divisions, etc). Jesus said we would know His followers by our fruit. A few years ago I discovered the Jesus Model for Witnessing. It is found in Luke Chapters 9 and 10.

I am looking for ways I can upload my Power Point slides to the web for you to see. Maybe I can do it on Face Book. Can you help me with it?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Can Christians be blamed for Everything?

There is a movement abroad in the land to quell complaints by non Christians about the beliefs and behavior of Christians and churches. Many current surveys say that some young people see Christians as "Right Wing Bible Thumpers" who hate sinners.

We who follow Christ are, of course, struck to the core by such charges and we want to defend ourselves from them. One way to stop these accusations is to stop all our preaching and teaching about what we really believe. Non believers love that strategy. This is one reason pro abortion groups attack Tim Tebow's public statements about his mother deciding not to abort him. Will such a plan really work for Christians? Will critics stop attacking us if we stop our commitment to the Bible? NO!

Another way to stop these complaints is to go do good works in the community. If we love people and give them stuff then non believers cannot complain. We can prove that we are good, kind and caring. Will that work? Will we always be applauded if we do good works? NO!

First, the world is often blinded to God's word and His works. We must, of course, be loving and kind and caring whether people God gets credit or not. One of the most powerful statements Steve Sjogren even penned was, "With no strings attached". We serve with no strings attached or it is not serving.

Asking people to affirm us and brag on us for doing God's works is a string. I know people "SHOULD" be appreciative but if that is our demand we are not loving but selling our kindnesses. We love because He first loved us not because we get applause.

Will the secularists, atheists, Voodoo Priests and critics affirm Evangelicals for what is being done in Haiti? Some will but most will not. The Chief Voodoo Priest in Haiti is complaining about the way what he calls, "Evangelical Christians" are refusing to help his flock. He is not criticizing Voodoo leaders from around the world or atheist leaders or secularist leaders. He is focusing on Evangelical leaders only as far as I can tell. Why is that so? Would you like to say what you think?