watched the last couple of months as the church world has been rocked by
suicides from Pastors Jim Howard of Real Life Church and Andrew
Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church. I’ve also heard of suicides in the
business and professional worlds. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both
took their lives as well.
This breaks my heart. The world is losing brilliant minds to
depression, mental illness, and emptiness. These men and women no longer
see the value in continuing to live their lives.
Photo by Eric Ward
Time after time, you hear from their friends and families how they
couldn’t see this coming. They seemed so happy, so alive. Suicide was
the last thing on their minds. But they were wrong.
Suicides are happening. To those you know and love. To those you may have heard of. To those you don’t know.
People all around us feel like giving up. And, maybe you’re in that boat. Maybe you’re the one that feels like giving up.
My friend, first let me tell you that I love you. Your life matters.
Without you, the world would be a darker place. We need you here.
I know the feeling of hopelessness will tell you that the things I
just said were a lie. It would be easy to believe the thoughts floating
around in your head. But I want to encourage to not listen to those
They’re not telling you the truth. You matter.
Stop Isolating Yourself
What seems to be the common thread amongst these high-profile
suicides is the fact their loved ones never saw it coming. They often
believed the deceased was a happy, fun-loving person. There’s no way
someone like that would take their lives.
But over and over again, we see that isn’t the truth. The people who
seem so happy, so full of life are taking their lives. And it breaks
those left behind.
It seems those who have left us too early have done at least one
thing wrong. They had begun to isolate themselves. They shut their
feelings off from those around them.
This is dangerous. This leads to listening to the thoughts telling
you and I that we’re not worth others’ time and energy. We’d be better
If we were to break the isolation trap, we’d learn the voice inside
our heads isn’t true. The voice is feeding us a lie. One that will lead
When we begin to do true life with those around us, we begin to learn the truth. We begin to learn we have value. We are not a burden. We are cared for.
Break free from the temptation to isolate yourself. Learn to find
friends and family you can be brutally honest with. Open up and share
Your friends and family are willing to listen. They’re willing to
comfort and console. You have to be willing to step out of your
isolation and believe what they say.
One of the greatest triumphs of biomedical science today is its role in validating ancient healing modalities
that long before the advent of science, and even recorded history
itself, were passed down “orally” from generation to generation in the
vast body of folkloric medical knowledge that still forms the basis for
the majority of the world’s primary health care system. These so-called
“natural” or “alternative” modalities, which our species owes its
present day survivorship to after eons of dependency on them, are
increasingly gaining the attention of men and women in white lab coats
intent on unlocking the mysteries of how they work, and in many cases,
why they work better than patented, synthetic, chemical-based medications. No better example of this today exists than turmeric.
The Immense Body of Research Substantiating Turmeric for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease
Over the course of the past seven years, we have indexed
over 2,700 studies investigating the health benefits of turmeric (or its
components) in disease prevention and treatment, discovering an
astounding 800+ different diseases that it may be of value in
ameliorating. The complexity of this substance in modulating over 150
biological pathways in the body, simultaneously, in a way that almost
invariably produces positive results is simply astounding, and could be
interpreted as exemplifying a type of plant intelligence if not also inter-species compassion between the plant and animal kingdoms.
The research continues to pile up, with a new published study added to Medline every few days;
as of the writing of this article, there are over 9,000 published
studies on the topic. In fact, our database on turmeric has grown so
large that it takes an entire server just to load the data for professional members performing dynamic filtering by study type, date, etc.
This is only a small subset of studies available that
demonstrate the exceptional versatility of turmeric (curcumin) in
disease prevention and treatment. You can search through more such
research on our Turmeric Research database.
Why Turmeric Has Not Received FDA Approval
Considering the sheer density of data available today to
support the health promoting effects of this safe and time-tested
culinary ingredient, you would think the government would allow its use
to “prevent, treat, or cure disease” — the technical criteria for
something to be defined as a legitimate “drug” by the FDA. Indeed, the FDA mission statement includes the following objective:
“FDA is also
responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed
innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more
affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based
information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve
When something so safe, so affordable, so thoroughly time-tested across a multitude of cultures, has so much evidence behind it demonstrating its ability to alleviate suffering, isn’t it highly unethical not to use it, especially in cases where conventional treatments fail?
Sadly, the FDA requires prohibitively expensive clinical
trials to be conducted in order to grant the legal right for the
populace to be treated by medicinal substances of any kind. In fact, the
average FDA-approved drug on the market today required between four to eleven billion dollars in
capital to be invested on the front-end. Non-patented substances, no
matter how well they work to produce positive health outcomes, are
obviously not capable of producing a return on investment as they grant
no market exclusivity. Economic considerations (i.e. profit motives),
therefore, are the primary reason why natural medicine is still only
being practiced outside the medical industrial establishment’s mile high
“It is an
interesting footnote in history that shortly after the Declaration of
Independence, Congress declared that natural substances, e.g. water or
salt, were God’s gift to mankind and that therefore products of nature
should be limited in their patent protection. While this was a noble
declaration, it has actually been used against those whose rights it
would protect. It has forced private interests to synthetically alter
natural substances — for instance the burgeoning biotech field of
recombinant DNA technology, i.e. genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
— for the sole reason that it guarantees them ownership/patent rights.”
And so, because natural substances are a God-given gift
[insert the word “Nature-given” if you prefer]
, freely available without
adulteration to be used to treat and even cure disease, the medical
system — whose present day focus is profiting off of disease instead of
alleviating suffering — goes out of its way to avoid their use, even
ostracizing and/or punishing those medical professionals who do
incorporate their use in their practice. Likewise, capitalized
pharmaceutical interests tinker with natural lead compounds to alter
them in such a way that they are converted into xenobiotic chemicals,
virtually guaranteeing their toxicity, and making their subsequent FDA
drug approval as a novel patentable chemical compound the equivalent of
the kiss of death.
This situation has created a great rift between those who
believe the government should have the authority to tell us what we can
and cannot do medically speaking, and those who believe it is our inborn
right to choose food or natural substances to prevent or treat disease
regardless of what the Sate deems legal. Obviously, I stand on the side
of health freedom. As long as what you choose to do for yourself does
no harm to anyone else, that right to choose should be considered
inviolable and sacrosanct. Truth be told, turmeric harms no one but the bottom of line of drug companies.
Ultimately it is highly unethical for the medical establishment to pay
lip service to evidence-based medicine, and turn a blind eye to the
accumulating research that this spice, and the 1,700 other natural substances we have indexed on our database, have no legitimate value as treatments for the wide range of ailments that now plague members of our society.
is an Aramaic (or, at least, Semitic) word for “Father.” There is some
debate as to the connotations of the word. Many have translated it as
“Daddy,” denoting a small child’s label for his or her father. Recent
scholars have stated that Abba is not a childish word, but a term
of respect. It is “Father” as used by an adult child. Certainly still
familial, but also containing a sense of reverence and respect. These
scholars add that the definite article often seen with Abba gives
the term a sense of “the Father” or “my Father.” Regardless, for God to
be our Abba Father means that He is our Father. The term carries with
it a sense of closeness. Followers of Christ are adopted into God’s
family. We are made His children.
Romans 8:14-17 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit
of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to
fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as
sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness
with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then
heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with
him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We have been
fully accepted into the family of God. We are not outsiders, but true
sons and daughters. We are heirs with Christ. We were not saved only to
be God’s witnesses or workers, but to be part of His family. Believers
are granted the right to participate in the fullness of God’s plan. We
experience the rewards of redemption.
Ephesians 1:3-14 gives another description of what it means to be children of God:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in
the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he
predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to
the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which
he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his
blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of
his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making
known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he
set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all
things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have
obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the
purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his
will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the
praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the
promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we
acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
God chose us. We did not earn our status as adopted
children. Before He created the world, God knew the plan of redemption.
It is only by His grace that we have been made righteous (Ephesians
2:8-10). And only by His grace that God further chose to add us to His
When He brought us into His family, God gave us full
rights. We are not viewed as guests, but as family. Therefore, God not
only forgives us but makes things known to us. He does not keep “family
secrets.” Rather, He reveals His plan to us in as much as we are able to
handle it, just as a father reveals things to his growing child at the
appropriate developmental level. God speaks to us as a good father
speaks to his children. God has also availed Himself to us. We can
approach God with confidence (Hebrews 4:14-16). We need not fear
approaching God in prayer. We pray to our Father, knowing that He is
King, but also knowing that He loves us and calls us His own.
We also have an inheritance, one that is guaranteed to
us. We are a permanent part of God’s family. We are not merely included
for a certain amount of time, but granted full sonship.
God does all of this “to the praise of his glory.” As His
children, believers represent God to the world. Just as human children
are a product of their families and their behavior often reflects on
their families, so does ours on God.
Many struggle with the concept of God as father. Earthly
fathers fail their children. Even those who are good by human standards
are not perfect. Sadly, there are many fathers who are abusive and
neglectful. These men are not a reflection of who God is as Father. God
is the perfect Father. He does not disappoint like our earthly fathers
do. He does not abuse or shame. He disciplines in love (Hebrews
12:7-11). He deserves, and even demands, respect. He is also incredibly
loving and intimately personal. He knows our needs, and He supplies them
God cares for us as a good father cares for his children.
We belong to God as a child belongs to a father. The family name of God
has been granted to believers. Our salvation is secure in Him. Our
earthly life is secure in Him. We can approach Him as we would a gentle
father, with familial closeness mixed with respect
It is difficult to predict what the dynamics of a college class
will be like at the beginning of a semester. Two sections of the same subject
taught by the exact same instructor can have radical differences in how students
communicate with one another in class.
Since student interaction is not a consideration of the software
program that manages college registration and class composition, it is
exciting for an instructor when the computer actually creates a group of
students with the right chemistry for an engaging semester.
It happened this past semester in my Digital Marketing class.
This was not your typical college class where students are very measured and
cautious, fearing they will say something inappropriate. This particular combination
of 25-second semester seniors was outspoken, and they behaved more like they
were at a Thursday night happy hour with friends than in a college classroom.
Over the semester, I’ve tried to figure out what made this one of the
best classes I’ve ever taught. Here are the variables I believe
contributed to such an engaging semester:
An unusual classroom
The dean’s office informed me there were no traditional
classrooms in the business school available at the time my Digital Marketing
class was scheduled. As a result, the class was assigned to a newly constructed
room called the iLab—a hip name for a fancy conference room.
The chairs, tables, and modern audio and video equipment in the room
sent an immediate message to the students that this class might be
different from others they had taken in the building. On day one, the
tone of the class was more open and freer, primarily due to the optics
of the classroom.
Class level purity
Teaching an elective class comprised entirely of second
semester seniors is a vastly different pedagogical experience than teaching one
that has a combination of sophomores, juniors, and seniors trying to fulfill a
business school class requirement.
Usually, the instructor has to front load assignments for second
semester seniors because after spring break there is a significant
decline in motivation. However, it was surprising to find that these
particular seniors returned from their March beach vacations more
energized to participate in class than before they left. Our class
discussions became more enlightening when everyone realized they only
had five weeks left in their undergraduate careers.
A class of contentment
The class was not a group of homogenous seniors. While they
probably would not meet today’s diversity standards, there were representatives
from all factions on campus, including sororities, fraternities, independents, athletes,
artists, scholars, and a few where no label was appropriate.
Their ease conversing with one another was surprising. It took
enormous pressure off of me to force discussion. I simply set the agenda
and then moderated. What a refreshing change from other classes where
getting students to participate can be a challenge.
Daily Facebook posts
Part of their ease in getting along so well was aided by the
requirement of posting in a private Facebook Group about subjects discussed during
The students made over 1,500 posts during a 15-week semester. Their
posts started very seriously with references to articles that reinforced
class discussions. However, within a month or so, the posts became more
personal and engaging. After discussing a Starbucks case in class later
in the semester, there were no posts about trends in historic coffee
consumption. Instead, there were photos of students in their cars
waiting for drinks in the drive thru lane or videos of them consuming
mocha cookie crumble frappuccinos after a difficult exam.
Since the class ended a few weeks ago, I keep trying to
analyze why this particular teaching experience was so special. Was it just a
fluke of the registration process, or did my slight changes in the curriculum
energize class discussions? Perhaps, it was the 10:30 am class time verses the
afternoon that made the difference.
The more time I spend trying to figure out why this
particular class worked so well, the more I realize I may never find an answer.
Maybe this class simply proves that when all higher education variables align
as they are supposed to, there is no better place to be inspired and learn than
a college classroom.
I made myself comfortable on our weathered couch as the older two girls settled in with a bedtime story. This much-anticipated book weighed heavily in my hands: a good sign, I thought. I’m not sure what I expected when I opened its pages, but usually I have few expectations of memoirs. I know people tell …
Lebanon says it fully supports the Palestinians in their fight against Israel — but would like to see them leave the country as soon as possible. This is the modern-day version of Arab ‘solidarity’ with their Palestinian brothers: discrimination and
Whenever you are tempted to put trust in superstitions, or personal intuition, or in any occult practice, turn to St. Boniface for the courage. Root them out of your heart and life, and to offer over the remains of those false gods, your own life to the one true God.
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