Stop Isolating Yourself

By Joseph Lalonde

I’ve 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.

Woman standing with her head down

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.

You Matter

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 negative voices.

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 off dead.

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 to death.

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 thoughts.

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.

Why Aren’t Doctors Prescribing Turmeric if its So Therapeutic?

June 12th 2019 By: Sayer Ji, Founder GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

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 medicationsNo 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.

Our regular followers know we report extensively on the evidence indicating that turmeric, and particularly the golden-hued polyphenol known as curcumin it contains, is superior to a wide range of pharmaceuticals both in safety and effectiveness. Some of the most compelling examples are listed below:

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 their health.”

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 walls. 

How did we arrive at this clearly cognitively dissonant place in time?  I addressed some of these issues in a previous article, Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances,” looking at one of the historical roots of the impasse:

“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.

Understanding God as Abba Father?
Abba 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 family.

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 (Matthew 6:31-33).

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

When Everything Goes Right in the Classroom

Students all raise hands to participate in effective classroom lecture

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 class.

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.

Looking Back

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.