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Sunday, November 30, 2014


When we celebrate Christmas we think of the exchanging of gifts which many times entails the mad rush of people in stores to purchase gifts for those they care about. In addition we think of Christmas time as being a season of joy, of peace, and of love; when Christmas Day arrives, children arise early to rush to the Christmas tree bedecked with beautiful ornaments and lit with scores of lights intertwined among the branches, in order to open the packages from their parents, relatives and Santa Claus with expressions of glee that can only be evoked by children. In a Christian family, the parents and children may attend religious services to  celebrate the birth of a baby named Jesus in a manger 2000 years ago. In a non-Christian family, just as in the Christian family, a Christmas party involving the celebration of friends and family with the exchanging of gifts is of great importance.

Many times, after Christmas has passed, there is a mix of feelings ranging from great satisfaction in having a successful Christmas celebration to a feeling that all the effort put into having a great celebration has been tiring and now it’s time to get on with other things that are of everyday concern and importance. In other words to some people Christmas is simply a time for celebration of family and friends and not much thought of a deeper nature is given the experience.  For some, Christmas Is a time of sadness and pain because of dark thoughts of loss of friends, family or desires not accomplished that cannot be compensated for by some great party of celebrants full of laughter while having a jolly time. It is said that not just a few commit suicide during this time because of the sadness in their hearts and minds.

Having a perspective on the true meaning and importance of Christmas can be a help in making the experience of celebrating Christmas more beneficial to those wanting a good experience of Christmas.

A good place to start is in the beginning, with the Genesis account in the Old Testament of the failure of the first man and woman God created to perfectly fulfill the plan God established for them. Adam and Eve were put out of a garden of paradise into our world of suffering and pain because of this; But God promised them a Savior who would restore them and all their descendants for all time to God's favor lost by their failure.

That Savior is Jesus Christ who was born just over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem of Judea; this is the first Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the son of God, whose mission was to sacrifice his life on a cross to restore man's favor with God lost by Adam and Eve. Jesus, through his perfect sacrifice is known as the second Adam, because he fulfilled the plan which Adam and Eve did not.

So the real meaning of Christmas is the joyous celebration of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. We celebrate his birth given by his mother, the virgin Mary, who was greatly graced by God, in the humble circumstances of a Manger surrounded by the various animals located there. He is visited by shepherds in the field who had been invited to see the newborn babe by a chorus of angels. He is also visited by the Magi, three Kings who had followed a star which led them to the babe in the manger.

Christmas is a time of great hope, that through our love and honor of God, we will share in his plan of peace and fulfillment during our time on earth and afterwards an eternal paradise of no more pain and suffering, but rather an eternal bliss wrapped in the love of God.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an American holiday.  The original Thanksgiving was held in 1621 when immigrants called pilgrims came to America on the sailing ship Mayflower to escape religious intolerance in first England and then in Holland. They came to America to start a new home where they would be free to practice their religion without such intolerance. They settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts and with help from the native Indians who showed them how to grow corn and other crops successfully, the pilgrims had a successful harvest.  They wanted to give thanks to God in prayer around a table with all kinds of delicious foods; they invited the Indians to share in their feast. The first Thanksgiving then in America was a Thanksgiving of prayer to God for a successful harvest while enjoying a Thanksgiving banquet.

However Thanksgiving was not established as a yearly affair after the original Thanksgiving. Through the years there would be occasional Thanksgivings of prayer along with a feast. In 1777 George Washington called for a day in December of that year to be an occasion of thanksgiving to God in prayer for the recent victories in the American Revolution, in particular the success of the Battle of Saratoga against the British who were trying to divide the colonies. It was that battle which brought the French into the war against England on the side of the Americans.

It was not until 1846 that Sarah Hale, a 19th century writer who was the author of “Mary had a Little Lamb”, wrote letters to successive presidents of the United States petitioning for the last Thursday of November to be a day of Thanksgiving each and every year. It was not until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln, responding to Sarah Hale’s petition, established the last Thursday of November of every year to be a day of Thanksgiving. Thus began the holiday of Thanksgiving as we know it today to be a day  concentrated on the expression of thanks through the feast of good food on the table surrounded by family and friends while the expression of thanks to God through prayer was not included.

In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt decided to change the date in November for Thanksgiving to a week before the last Thursday in November so as to lengthen the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to better serve the retail market and thus improve the economy. As a result, Thanksgiving as well as Christmas became secular holidays which marked the beginning and the end of a shopping season for people to purchase gifts and food for these festive holidays.

However this change in the day in November for Thanksgiving caused confusion because many states refused to comply with the new Thanksgiving date and stuck with the last Thursday in November as being the proper date for Thanksgiving. Happily Congress came to the rescue and in 1941 established the 4th Thursday of November as the one all states would adhere to for Thanksgiving from then on.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Extraordinary Background

My wife and I went to dinner a few nights ago with an elderly Japanese friend of ours. We thought he was purebred Japanese but we were to find out otherwise during dinner. It turns out that his father, a Japanese, went to Holland during the 1920s to work with some colleagues including Albert Einstein. He himself  was a research physicist; he then traveled to England and met a blonde blue-eyed woman who was a Norman since her ancestry dated back to the time of the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. They married and moved to Japan at the beginning of the 1930s.

Our friend was born shortly thereafter; from his looks at the current time he looks as though he is totally of Japanese ancestry but he is really half Japanese and half English as we found out. Our friend lived with his parents in Japan until 1952. He survived the war years with the terrible bombing of major Japanese cities and was present through the 5 years of the Reformation of Japan under Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

In 1952, a colonel in the American Army helped him secure a scholarship at the University of Maine in Maine, United States. He studied engineering and secured an engineering degree from the University. In 1956 he was hired by one of the big automotive manufactories in Detroit, Michigan. He was a great contributor to this company in particular because he was bilingual in both English and Japanese. He made a number of trips back and forth between Japan and the United States becoming well-versed in the design of upcoming Japanese automobiles. He married an American nurse while in Detroit and had several children.

He and his wife made several trips back and forth between Japan and Detroit, Michigan; he worked in Detroit until recently when he retired. While he and his wife never had stayed in Hawaii any length of time they bought property on Oahu for their retirement. After his retirement his wife and he spent several years in their home on the island of Oahu; she passed away within the last year as a result of a fall while she was walking. Our friend still resides in his home and from time to time we go to dinner with him; it was during this last dinner that we found out his extraordinary background and ancestry.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Life

August 28, 2014: 
I am trying to figure out what my status, as an aging adult, in life is.  Am I not still, In spite of the visitation upon me of several serious cancers, an independent soul who is still able to think for himself, is ambulatory and can do for himself many things that are life-sustaining and necessary to fulfill his role that God has designed for him?  

Certainly,  the time needed to reduce or eradicate the physical effects of these cancers, as well as the time taken up in dealing with the permanent physical disabilities resulting from them, have left me with daily time and energy reductions which infringe upon time and energy otherwise available to a normal, healthy individual; nonetheless these reductions have not made it impossible for me to still lead a reasonably fulfilling and productive life.

The primary problems that need to be dealt with in the case of a person not having the available time and energy to cope with daily existence are ones of environment and assistance. The present home environment may call for change; too many stairs or flights of stairs to frequently climb between bedroom and kitchen to prepare meals, as well as carry garbage to containers on the kitchen level may necessitate a change. Likewise, assistance from normal food providers and cleaning and maintenance providers may make the normal operation of the household, in limiting interference to others living in the home, difficult, without some change in environment.

In many cases, the best solution may be assisted living in a facility that provides a private room, housing only the person in need. In such a facility it can be arranged to have cleaning personnel available on a daily basis if needed. Food is provided, if desired, in a cafeteria where 3 meals a day are served.

In addition, worthwhile socialization with people in the same facility can be taken advantage of in a common room available for conversation and activities such as card playing or other games of interest.   Even outside activities such as going to movies or the theater can be signed up for with the participants providing their own transportation or making use of transportation provided by the facility.

If needed, transportation to and from doctor appointments can be provided, thus reducing the need of troublesome and time consuming self parking.

For such an individual herein described, there need be no medical care within the facility. Such assisted living need only provide a new environment in which an individual’s time and effort can be put to better use, while provision for invaluable and needed socialization can be taken advantage of..

The cost of such assisted living, which can be set to provide only housecleaning, meals in a cafeteria setting and vital socialization, is well within the financial means of a person with a reasonable pension, Social Security and any available insurance for assisted living.

Sometimes the only real and remaining problem is the insistence of some family members who may want things done their way without thinking about the needs of the person, who is more than capable of making his or her own decisions as an aging but functional adult.

Monday, August 4, 2014

God in Marriage

Using the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ reminds us of the true meaning and worth of marriage: God created man and woman who are to leave their mother and father and unite as one; and what God has brought together as one, must not be separated.

But God created man and woman, having not only different physical aspects, but also different mental, emotional and psychological aspects. The man is single focused and must use his strength and power to provide for the good of his family and for the good of the community in which he finds himself. His lifelong battle is to stay focused on the good he can provide; he must battle against the innate desire for companionship and union with other women.

The woman on the other hand is not single focused but is concerned with many situations and problems that arise within the family; her battle is not to get herself lost in a seeming overload of emotions in dealing with these many difficulties. The good  wife learns to do this while being provided the security and safety she needs from a well focused husband.

A husband can experience a day filled with anxiety and feelings of worthlessness in trying to keep his focus. When this happens, the good wife, in her respect and love for her husband, reassures him of his worth, of his goodness, reminding him of all the good that he has done within the family, for the family and the community outside of the family. In a case such as this a husband can be brought back to his original focus and sense of worthiness.

But if the wife succumbs to her emotions and criticizes and nags her husband he may yield to his weakness, seeking the affection of other women, even in prostitution, to try to restore his true focus; such a choice can lead to a destruction of the marriage. 

On the other hand, if the husband, being criticized and nagged, does not yield to these instinctive desires, the good husband has no other recourse but to turn to God in weeping and confusion, asking for help in restoring his focus. 

If he prays with faith, truly believing that what he asks for will be done for him, the good husband will receive assistance from the Lord, either through the conversion of his wife from her weakness or by his being given the strength to cope with his difficulty without succumbing to his weakness, with the hope his wife will gradually be restored to her strengths through the love of her husband.

The good wife who receives from her husband the love and respect due her, along with the security and safety of the entire family, is best capable of winning her battle to keep her emotions under control. If the husband does not provide these things for his wife and if she does not, in turn, seek these things from another man, she likewise should turn to the Lord for help which she will receive immediately, in some meaningful way, when she prays as Jesus instructs us, to pray believing that what we ask for will be done for us.

One of the best examples in history of a good husband and a good wife in marriage that comes to mind is St. Margaret of Scotland, who having come up from Hungary in the time of the Norman conquest of England by William the Conquerer of Normandy in 1066, journeyed to Scotland and married Malcolm, the King of Scotland. She loved and provided for the poor in the countryside and provided the love and respect for her husband, becoming the mother of three sons who became kings.  Her love was reciprocated by Malcolm in wanting to do whatever she asked for; she died within days of his being killed in battle.

There are other examples of good marriages as the above where the wife, seemingly in the background and having no other effect than taking care of the family concerns, is in reality the prime mover of good accomplished through her husband, by her respect for and reassurance of his worthiness and goodness in his moments of darkness.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Turning Point - The Doolittle Raid

Shortly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by Japanese bombers from aircraft carriers on December 7, 1941, American Navy and Air Force personnel gave an okay to the retaliatory Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, Japan.  The raid, conceived by Lieut. Col. James Doolittle of the Air Force, called for attacking Tokyo from 16 B-25 bombers flown from an aircraft carrier.  These Bombers were twin engine and much heavier and larger than the single engine Japanese bombers which attacked Pearl Harbor; but the Air and Naval Forces managed to fit these bombers on the new aircraft carrier Hornet.  

It took time to gather together the voluntary Air Force pilots and crewmen to fly this dangerous mission; but by April 2, 1942, the 80 volunteers and 16 bombers were on the Hornet leaving San Francisco Bay scheduled to arrive on April 18 at the departure point for the bombers only 600 miles from Tokyo; because of early detection by Japanese fishing boats it was decided to launch the bombers from 800 miles from Tokyo, so at 8 AM the 16 bombers cleared the deck of the Hornet on their way to Japan. After they dropped their bombs on industrial sites in Tokyo, the bombers headed for China to land at certain pre-designated airfields there. 

However, none of the 16 planes made it to the pre-designated airfields in friendly China because of lack of fuel; 15 crashed in Chinese territory occupied by the Japanese and one landed in the Soviet Union. Only 3 pilots were killed and 8 captured by the Japanese; the remaining airmen found their way to unoccupied China, escaping capture, and returning home.  The Chinese who helped them were savaged by the Japanese with 250,000 civilians killed while searching for the airmen.  Three of the 8 airmen captured by the Japanese were executed, the rest held prisoner, one dying in captivity.

Following the end of World War II, Doolittle and the remaining pilots and crew of the original 80 agreed to meet every year to celebrate the heroic effort to take the war directly to the Japanese by bombing Tokyo and other major cities in Japan. The first of these celebrations involving a toast given by one of the remaining airmen at the celebration was 1954; in the following years a toast was made to honor all of the pilots and crewmen who made the raid.  

Originally it was planned to have the last toast made by one of the 2 remaining Raiders by opening a special 1896 cognac provided by their commander, Lt. Gen. James "Jimmy" Doolittle; but at their Veterans Weekend of 2013 celebration there were only 4 survivors, one of whom could not make the meeting because he was in the hospital for reasons of health. Since all 4 survivors are in their 90’s, the 3 who attended this celebration held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio decided that this meeting would be the last; opening the 1896 cognac, the last toast honoring the 80 heroes was made. 

These 80 men were truly heroes and the Doolittle raid was not just a show of our ability to give it to the Japanese homeland; it actually embarrassed the Japanese so much that they changed their plans of securing their positions in Southeast Asia and Australia.  Admiral Yamamoto, the head of the naval forces of Japan decided to instead attack our base on Midway Island and draw the American carriers into the battle to destroy them.   

Fortunately for America this decision resulted in not only the time needed by General Douglas MacArthur to forestall the takeover of all of Southeast Asia and Australia by the Japanese forces, it also resulted in the sinking of all 4 top aircraft carriers used by the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor, with a loss on our side of only the carrier Yorktown. It was the turning point in the Asian war and the Japanese forces from then on were in retreat.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life is Unfair

When we think of life being unfair we actually can think of some contest with another person or group of people in which we consider ourselves at a disadvantage we think is unfair. There are many examples. There are many stages in life wherein we may think ourselves in some unfair disadvantage. When we are young in elementary school we may feel that our size, weight or a host of other physical or mental abilities in comparison to our classmates put us at a disadvantage.   This may be the situation in our continued educational, social and work environments. Even in our family situations we may feel that we have been put at a disadvantage in comparison to another member of our family who might seem to have been favored unfairly in some way within the family.

In particular, sibling rivalry comes to mind as a particular situation in which one party feels at a disadvantage because of favoritism which seems to have been fostered upon a brother or sister.  Whether such a favoritism is genuine or not is not the real concern that the siblings should have in an attempt to avoid perhaps an even lifelong destruction of any normal relationship between themselves.   Determining the relative importance of the favoritism felt bears heavily upon the quality of their lives to be shared in the future.   What is the point of developing possibly a mutual hatred of one another instead of just determining that a feeling of favoritism is not worth destroying what otherwise could be a normal and good relationship?

A very good example of how God’s working with families to bring about a peaceful and loving result within the family when discord is present, is the story of Jacob’s family and the need for a resolution of a serious problem of sibling rivalry, taken from Genesis of the Old Testament; this story has been produced in a contemporary version in the enjoyable musical entitled Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Joseph is the youngest of 12 sons of Jacob, living in Canaan; Jacob has a special love for his son, Joseph, whom he favors. Joseph in turn is favored by God who has given him a very special gift of interpreting dreams.  Joseph’s 11 brothers become very jealous because he is so favored and additionally they feel his interpretation of their dreams puts Joseph above them. When Joseph is given a beautiful coat of many colors, the brothers determine to get rid of Joseph. On a certain day all the brothers leave on a trip. At a certain point in the trip they plan to kill Joseph, but are turned away from this murder by one of the brothers; so they determine to abandon him in a deep well but then finally decide to sell him as a slave to traders traveling to Egypt.

The 11 brothers return to their father Jacob with the many colored coat soiled with the blood of an animal; they tell their father that Joseph has been killed by a wild animal.  Jacob was greatly saddened by the loss of his son and mourns the loss for a long time. In the meantime, Joseph is sold as a slave in Egypt.  

Joseph goes through many adventures until he finds himself in the dungeons of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Through the use of his powers to interpret dreams he interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh; the interpretation of the pharaoh’s dreams predict 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. The Pharaoh is so pleased that the dreams he had have been correctly interpreted that he appoints Joseph as governor of Egypt to carry out what is necessary to store food during the years of plenty and provide for the proper distribution of food during the years of famine.

Back in Canaan, during the time of plenty, Joseph's brothers become more and more sorry for what they did to their brother and miss even the interpretations of their dreams which are beginning to come true. At the end of the years of plenty they are caught unawares at the start of the famine and after a short period the 11 brothers are forced to travel to Egypt for food where, they have learned, the Egyptians have plenty of food; they travel to Egypt and meet the governor whom they do not recognize as Joseph.  Joseph does not immediately reveal himself until he has tested them and come to the understanding of their repentance and their current goodwill; eventually Joseph reveals himself as their brother. 

All the brothers now are happy in their renewed brotherly love for each other; Joseph grants them permission to live in Egypt after Jacob is brought down from Canaan for a happy reunion with Joseph and all his other sons. All is forgotten and forgiven and all now understand that God has used the former hatred for Joseph as a means of bringing all the family members together again in love so that God is able to continue His plan for the Jewish people − a plan promised to Abraham, the Father of Believers − who is the ancestor of Jacob.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Peaceful but Determined Revolution

One of the many battles Americans must fight to preserve our Constitution and the  freedom to enjoy the rights guaranteed by it.  We are in the midst of a Second American Revolution against the tyranny of government − our own.  
A Contribution by Adam Brandon 2 days ago on Freedom Works            
The IRS will now delay new regulations that would have stifled your free speech rights.
After months of deliberations, the IRS plans to go back to square one and start over on their anti-political speech regulations. Due to the incredible volume of comments grassroots activists across the country submitted, the bureaucrats at the tax agency were forced to halt their plans. They had no choice but to listen to the voice of the people.
If the regulations passed, the IRS would have suppressed the free speech rights of millions of citizens across the country. Make no mistake: this was a deliberate effort to silence the views of ordinary Americans who want to petition their government.
Luckily, activists wouldn't stand for this radical power grab and sent over 150,000 messages to the IRS protesting the new rules - a record amount.
But the IRS’s new rules aren’t defeated yet. The bureaucrats will go back to work, trying to undermine the Constitution and Bill of Rights. As citizens, it is our job to be ever-vigilant of the government’s efforts to crush our freedom.

My Comment: Americans who love their freedoms must join this revolution using means that do not necessitate a shot to be heard around the world; means like those 150,000 who protested unjust rules and had the courage to do so.  It's not over.  More must be done by you and by me!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“Though none go with me, still I will follow”

“Though none go with me, still I will follow” 

The above is the title of a DVD I received through my membership in Netflix some months ago. The movie was quite inspiring and heartwarming (and I recommend viewing it) but I could not fully understand the meaning of the title until I searched the internet through Google and found the following story which explains the title. I have copied it verbatim and is in brackets [ ]; unfortunately I have not found the original source of the story on the internet:

[These words are taken from the hymn titled “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” But, actually, the words came out of the mouth of the martyr who lived in India many years ago.

More than 150 years ago in a pagan village known for headhunting in northeast India, a family became followers of the Lord Jesus Christ under the ministry of a Welsh missionary. When the village chief had heard about this family’s conversion to Christianity, he asked the father of the home to recant his faith in Christ.

With boldness, however, the Christian father responded, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” To force him to forsake Christ, a decree was made to kill his wife and two children. But, by God’s grace, the man proclaimed, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”

The persecutors murdered his wife, but he remained faithful to his Lord and Savior. Finally, they killed him, but even his death did not shake his faith. In fact, during his execution, the persecutors found him saying, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” Deeply touched by this man’s life, the chief announced, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” Eventually, the whole pagan village was converted to Christianity.]

The hymn lyrics and melody, taken from Utube, are attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Sing and follow below:

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus–
no turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me–
no turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
no turning back, no turning back.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Heretofore Unverified Statistics Have Mislead the American People

The following is an interview of a best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn who provides genuine statistics on the divorce rate in the United States through her new book,  The Good News About Marriage; the shocking outcome of these statistics reveals that  problems with marriage and the divorce rate are substantially less than is constantly reported by the major media which seems interested only in discouraging the American people by reporting myths concerning the foundation of American society − the American Family.  Fortunately we have a dedicated woman who is not afraid to research one of the most oft falsely reported and critical issues of our time.
Author Debunks Myths About Divorce Rates, Including of Churchgoers
May 16, 2014|9:05 am

Many of the most demoralizing beliefs about marriage, especially when it comes to discouraging statistics commonly passed around, are just not true, says social researcher and best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn.

"A subconscious sense of futility about marriage is everywhere, as everything we hear says marriage is 'in trouble,'" states Feldhahn. "And while some of the bad news is accurate (for example, 41% of children are born out of wedlock), many of the most demoralizing beliefs just aren't true. For example, the notion that half of all marriages end in divorce or that the divorce rate is the same in the church… neither are anywhere close to true."
The Christian Post recently conducted an interview with Feldhahn, whose recently released, The Good News About Marriage, is the result of an 8-year investigative study that she believes reveals the truth about the state of marriage and divorce in today's culture and churches. Below is the interview.
CP: What compelled you to do this study?
Feldhahn: I started learning just how much of our discouraging conventional wisdom about marriage and divorce was wrong – and how much it was killing marriages. In all my own research with individuals and couples for my books like For Women Only I kept seeing that whether or not a couple "made it through" a tough time was directly tied to whether they had a sense of hope or a sense of futility. If someone thought, "We're going to make it," it was a completely different situation than once they started to think, "This is never going to get better." 

So the sense of futility was killing marriages – and yet, I noticed, we have a culture-wide feeling of futility about marriage.   Everyone thinks of marriage as being "in trouble."  Everyone just knows that "fifty percent of marriages have ended in divorce." Everyone just knows that "the rate of divorce is the same in the church as it is outside the church."   Everyone who has ever been divorced just knows that "60 percent of second marriages don't make it."
And yet I started coming across all this data that seemed to completely contradict this conventional wisdom. Like that according to 2009 Census Bureau numbers, 72% of people are still married to their first spouse – and the 28% who aren't, includes people who were married for years until a spouse died!
When I would share some of those numbers with people, the reactions were sometimes dramatic. Standing in front of me, I saw the difference between being defeated and feeling hopeful. People were grasping the good news like a life-preserver! I felt like this study had to be done.
It started pretty casually, but it became a drive for me and Tally Whitehead, my senior researcher, to understand and dig out any good news that was there. And to get enough clarity to publish The Good News About Marriage, it ended up taking eight years!
CP: What was some of the most important good news that you learned?
Feldhahn: The most important big-picture truth: contrary to popular opinion, most marriages are strong and happy for a lifetime. That doesn't mean most marriages are perfect; there are still plenty of legitimate concerns out there. But for our culture as a whole, the marriages that are unhappy, the ones that don't make it, are the exception rather than the rule.
To prove that, we debunk five different discouraging pieces of conventional wisdom about marriage in the book. Let me just mention two here.
First, is the idea that, half of all marriages are ending in divorce. While some high risks groups (like those married as teenagers) may have a 50% divorce rate, we've never come close as an overall average. After looking at dozens of studies, I believe one of the most meaningful statistics is the one I mentioned earlier: 72% of people are still married to their first spouse.
Now, that is only an overall average at one point in time, and the real question is what the numbers are for people who have had many years of chances to get divorced. And that is where I was really astonished. The highest-risk age group today is baby boomers, and many of that group have had thirty years of chances to get divorced.  And among those who have only been married once, even seven in ten baby boomers are still married to their first spouse!  Among those on their second and third marriages, the divorce numbers in that group are higher, but still: overall, this is good news!
Another very important finding was that the rate of divorce is not the same in the church. That is a misunderstanding of Barna Group data – because Barna was not trying to study divorce "in the church." They were studying beliefs, so those who said they held Christian beliefs had the same divorce rate as those who said they didn't. But since Barna wasn't studying actions, the researchers didn't include worship attendance in the analysis.
So I partnered with Barna and we re-ran the numbers: and if the person was in church the prior week, their divorce rate dropped 27% compared to those who weren't! Many studies have found that church attendance drops the divorce rate 25-50% compared to those who don't attend. It also increases happiness in marriage and has several other dramatic life and marriage outcomes that we cover in the book.
CP: When couples and pastors discover the "true state of marriage and divorce" how do they first react and how do they move forward with this information?
Feldhahn: Let me describe the responses of the pastors first since they are on the front lines and are the leaders who most need the hope before they can share it with others. I've privately briefed probably 40 or 50 leading pastors, therapists and ministry leaders over the past year, and after I give them about a 15-minute overview of what I've been finding, there's usually a long pause, and then they say something like this (actual quotes): "I'm staggered;" "This is pretty astounding stuff;" "If this is true, the implications are enormous."
There's an explosive sense of interest and hope. Many of these pastors say something like, "I knew that what we were hearing about the Barna data couldn't be the whole story, because it didn't match what I saw in our network of churches," or "I thought that more people were probably happy in their marriages."
These pastors would describe feeling like they had been, as one put it, "held hostage to bad data I couldn't contradict," and a sense of being liberated to say with confidence what they had always felt had to be true: that doing what the Bible says does matter to your life. That getting yourself in a church community does matter to your marriage.
The responses of couples have been similarly hopeful and explosive, but even more personal. Among the ones that are struggling, there's a sense of life and hope that comes back into their faces. It is like the difference between feeling, "Man, we're struggling, and half of all people can't make it through this," and feeling, "Yeah, we're struggling, but most people get through it so surely we can too."
But even among those who have fine marriages, there's excitement about this. Let me explain a really cool thing I've seen with a lot of congregations.
My favorite speaking format is doing pastoral interviews on Sunday morning at the sermon time, usually when a pastor is doing a sermon series on men, women, sex or relationships and wants me to share things like what women need to know about men, or what makes relationships work best, from the research for For Women Only or The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages.
But since I've been telling the pastors about my Good News research the last few years, often the pastor will say "You know, lets end our time together with having you share this as the conclusion." And every single time when I share these encouraging facts, this buzz sweeps the congregation as people start whispering to their neighbor "What did she say?" and the pastor and I can see their faces just light up. Half the time, people start clapping.
It is so tremendous for me to see that reaction among the people there – but even better to see the encouragement it injects into the pastor. These pastors are on the front lines and they need this encouragement.
CP: How can the church learn from this study/book?
Feldhahn: We wrote The Good News About Marriage to be a small, easy read – the first half is the key points, and the second half is the more technical stuff for those who like that sort of thing – so that anyone who cares about marriage can quickly come up to speed on the essentials.
We hope every pastor will learn the five main points – especially the truth about the difference church attendance makes. Then we hope pastors will equip their people to lead the way in bringing this truth and life and encouragement into the places that they live, work and play.
We hope every person in the congregation will be aware enough of these key truths that when Sarah and Abby are having coffee, and Abby cynically asks "why shouldn't I just live with him, when half of marriages are miserable and end in divorce anyway?", Sarah can say, "Well, actually, believe it or not, that is a myth. Most marriages last a lifetime."
The church can lead the way in changing the paradigm about marriage in our culture, from one of discouragement and futility to one of hope! From the current conventional wisdom that says marriage is in trouble, to the conventional wisdom that says that this institution God created… it still works!
Interview appears in The Christian Post:

Monday, May 12, 2014

EMP revisited

In 2001 the EMP Commission, established by Congress, reported details of the devastation that can be produced by an EMP attack and made recommendations for protecting our electricity grids to avoid a catastrophy.  To date our Congress has not taken steps to follow these recommendations even though the cost of protecting our infrastructure would be nothing compared to the cost of repairing the damage caused by an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse), if repair would even be at all possible.

Mr. Frank Gaffney, founder and President of Center of Security policy in Washington D.C., a non profit, non partisan corporation involved in elucidating policy that will protect nations from terrorist attack, explains in the following video the nature of an EMP Attack and the consequent devastation of a country without sufficient protection against such an attack:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Offering to Help

After meeting the new executive director of a Care and Counseling Center in Hawaii whose mission is to help women with their problems of pregnancy, I wrote a letter giving her my background and offering my help and experience:

It was a joy and honor to meet you at the Pregnancy Counseling Banquet Saturday evening. I commend you for your belief that to fight the present culture of legalized murder of an unwanted unborn child, requires not just focusing energies on saving the child; it is vital to focus equally on the problems of women with problem pregnancies that may result in abortion. 

The Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade in 1973 focused mostly on inventing the right of women in all the 50 states to abort their unwanted child; restrictions on abortion based on the gestation age of the child and reasons of the woman wanting an abortion were made of no use by the passage of a companion decision Doe v Bolton which allowed a woman to have an abortion for any reason of the woman’s health that would be exacerbated by not aborting the child.  Thus abortion for any reason of damage to health became abortion on demand in all 50 states.

Subsequent legislation has tended to only strengthen the abortion right.  Such legislation has focused on the woman and not the child.  However, were all this legislation to be suddenly struck down, our society would be back at square one before Roe vs Wade with the real problems of women unaddressed.

The problem is that the legislation of Roe vs Wade and following legislation did not at all address the real need of women to properly address problems before and after sexual intercourse resulting in pregnancy.  Failures in the home, in the church, in the school, in the various informational facets of society have left many women in a void, bereft of nurturing, love, care, and vital information about life and knowledge of a caring God.

Addressing the problems of women in a way that will essentially eradicate the crime of abortion is clearly a massive undertaking.  Solving the problem of abortion cannot be solved purely legislatively.

This massive undertaking came to my mind only a few years ago at the end of my involvement with Hawaii Right to Life starting in 1984.  Hawaii Right to Life was founded in 1974 with an educational arm and a legislative arm.  In the many following years we found that we had success in preventing the Legislature from passing some very dangerous anti-life bills  At the same time we had no success in passing any of our pro-life bills.  Nor did we have much success in getting pro-life information into the schools.  

Looking back, I believe we put too much emphasis and energy in the legislative area but who knows what would now be, had we not.  Today, legislatively, things are really a mess with the government in control of a single party, the Democrat Party, the Party of abortion.  But I hope, with the rise of many good pro life organizations, along with Aloha Pregnancy Care & Counseling, much can be done to help both women and the unborn.

What is of interest to me right now is to get the members of the churches, not just the pastors or priests, directly involved in fostering concerns for women needing information, love and care.  I don’t know exactly what might be needed but getting good information to church members could go a long way to helping women in need.

I am tired of getting blank stares from priests I have approached to concern them about the unborn.  Maybe I need to approach them about concern for women in need or maybe just give information to individual members.

I am willing to do whatever I can but at 79 my energy level is not what it was even during my 60’s.  I have come to the conclusion that I may not be able to do all I want but I wish to use my time in doing what my Good Lord wants me to do.  If you would like me to meet with you at your office at some time I would be most happy to do so.


Thursday, March 27, 2014


Like it or not, war is an important part of human nature as the primary resolution of fundamental disagreements between nations of men. It is important to consider the history of human beings through all the centuries for thousands of years; never has there been a single century without multiple wars between collections of men who see no other way to accomplish their goals, good or  bad.

During the previous or 20th century there were major wars that involved essentially two major theaters – the European theater and the Oriental or Asian. World War I involved only the European theater with America’s entry into that war, while at a late date, was nonetheless instrumental in affecting the ultimate outcome. 

World War II involved both the European theater and the Asian theater. The war in the European theater was a direct result of treating the major protagonist, Germany, with hatred and unjust punishments in the treaty at the end of world war I.

Adolf Hitler rose up as the tyrannical leader of the German people whose aim was to seek revenge on those countries who had perpetrated hostility and hatred against the German people in the treaty that ended World War I. The United States made a late entry into the European theater only because of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese December 7, 1941. Up to this point England had been the only country trying to contain Hitler in his rampage in the continent of Europe and the Mediterranean area, principally in North Africa.

In the European theater the key leaders were Winston Churchill of England, Franklin Roosevelt of the United States and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. In the Asian theater there was essentially one leader of note, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. More Americans understand the workings of the events in the European theater compared to the events of real importance that transpired in the Asian theater. The young people of today in America, as elsewhere, have little knowledge or interest in these and other wars that took place in the latter part of the 20th century: The Korean War and the Vietnam war.

It is, though, of extreme importance to understand the outcomes of these wars in terms of their impacts after the wars. One of the results of the 2nd world war is the encroachment by the Soviet Union on the countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, as 1well as the Baltic states Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. This spread of communism by the Soviet Union resulted in what is called the “Cold War” between America and Europe on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other. The Cold War involved the threat of ultimate extinction by one side or the other through the use of nuclear weapons. With the demise of the Soviet Union around 1990 many of these subjugated countries found their freedom.

One of the results of World War II was the loss of colonies of the European powers in Asia, India and Africa. Many of these former colonies fell under the sway of communism.  The fight against world communism involved the struggle against North Korea and the Communist Chinese in the Korean War in the early 1950s. and In the long struggle against communism in Vietnam; Americans fought and died in the Vietnam War from about the early 1960s until 1975.

The present century has seen wars in a new theater, that is, the Mediterranean theater where the chief protagonist has been a group of followers of Mohamed who have twisted the writings of the Koran to suit their terroristic aims; we have already seen their capability and determination to conquer the western nations, especially America, in the attack on the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001, the first year of the 21st Century. The resulting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have constituted the new theater of war in the Middle East. The names of the leaders on both sides are numerous.

Currently the American government is playing a dangerous game by weakening our potential for fighting wars that will surely come from determined terrorists in the Middle East.  Hopefully future leaders of America will endeavor to educate, in particular, the young to take an interest in the history of the wars of the 20th and the wars of the 21st century and their impacts on all our lives and the lives of all men and women the world over. Our future and the future of the world depends upon this.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014




Saturday, February 22, 2014

An update on Jahi McMath's condition

I have been following the situation of Jahi McMath introduced in my post OUTRAGEOUS of a few weeks ago; I have included three articles somewhat abridged to make them shorter without losing the meaning in each.  

The first article gives a history of the plight of Jahi and introduces a letter recently written by Jahi’s mother to inform people who are interested in knowing Jahi’s present condition.  The second article talks about the case of an Ohio truck driver who suffered a massive heart attack and was in a state of legal death for 45 minutes in the hospital when he nonetheless woke up and is now in a normal healthy state.  The 3rd article is written by a medical doctor who believes in brain death occurring after 5 minutes of the brain not receiving oxygen.

If the doctor were to read and accept the truth of the Ohio man coming back to life after being legally dead for 45 minutes, he might be less prone to talk about a person like Jahi as a dead person having no chance to recover.  But I am doubtful that a doctor such as the author of the 3rd article could ever take the “miracle”, talked about in the second article, seriously because this doctor, I believe, is without a belief in God and has a faith only in science.

In the following articles some phrases reiterating unnecessarily the belief that Jahi is a dead person were deleted.  In addition some paragraphs were deleted to make the articles shorter without the article losing its message.  (PHM)

Article 1: Jahi McMath 'much better,' her mother says

More than six weeks after her daughter was moved from Children's Hospital, Oakland to an undisclosed location, the mother of Jahi McMath broke her silence in a letter released Wednesday February 19, 2014 on Twitter. The 13-year-old Oakland girl was declared brain-dead Dec. 12 after she developed complications following a Dec. 9 tonsil, nose and throat surgery for sleep apnea and went into cardiac arrest. The case drew international attention as the family battled with hospital officials for weeks and then went to court, seeking to keep the girl on a ventilator and to have breathing and feeding tubes surgically inserted.

Weeks of negotiations and courtroom battles between the family's attorney and hospital officials finally yielded a deal to move the girl from the hospital. On Jan. 5, she was taken to an undisclosed out-of-state facility, where her family said she had remained on a ventilator. Once Jahi was moved on Jan. 5, her family went silent. The letter, released by Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey, through his Twitter account, thanks those who supported the family through donations and prayer during their ordeal:

"So many people have asked how we are doing and if Jahi is alive," wrote Jahi's mother, Nailah Winkfield. "This has and continues to be an unbelievably difficult time for me as a mother and for us as a family. "However, I have not been alone. I have been surrounded by the love, support and prayers of so many kind people. Despite what people say about my daughter being dead and how I must be ignorant not to get that, I can tell you that she is much better physically since she has left Children's Hospital and I see changes that give me hope." 

For more detail, contact Kristin J. Bender at
Oakland Tribune  02/19/2014 04:55:55 PM PST OAKLAND  

Article 2: Heaven and Back? Man Says He ‘Started Walking Toward the Light’
Posted on: 10:41 pm, February 17, 2014, by Suzanne Stratford, updated on: 10:30pm, February 17, 2014

BEACHWOOD, Ohio– A Northeast Ohio man is sharing an amazing near-death experience.

Brian Miller first suffered a massive heart attack involving his main artery, but seemed to be doing well at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, until the next night when his heart went into a deadly arrhythmia called Ventricular Fibrillation.

“His heart is just quivering in there. It’s not able to pump. It’s not doing anything,” said Emily Bishop, Brian’s ICU nurse.  V-fib is almost always fatal and can kill a person within minutes if left untreated. The ICU team feverishly worked on Brian, but Emily says he remained basically dead for nearly 45 minutes; then suddenly his heart just started beating normally again.

Brian was alive and miraculously had not suffered any brain damage or loss of any bodily functions.  He said that’s because he saw the light and was walking toward heaven before being told by a loved one he had to go back.

Article 3:  Analyzing the Jahi McMath case
Christopher Johnson, MD February 11,2014
The recent tragedy of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl who died following complications of tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, has focused many people on the question of brain death.  As many of you know, her family does not believe she is dead, although multiple physicians have documented she is and the county medical examiner’s office (the coroner) has issued a death certificate. She has been transferred from Oakland to a facility in New York.
So what is brain death? It means no function at the level of the brain stem or above. Function stops where the spinal cord joins the base of the brain. 
Not all cultural traditions recognize brain death as real if the heart is still beating. I think there is more going on in this case than we know. Why this case became so adversarial is probably a complicated issue.  At the very least, clearly the hospital and doctors failed to establish a relationship of trust with the family.
Regarding the child’s cause of death, I’d lay odds she had sudden bleeding from the tonsilar bed, the tissues under where the tonsils were. This is a well-known complication after tonsillectomy if the clots fall off. After that I think she probably lost her airway, either from obstruction from blood clots or some other reason. 
I assume she went 4-5 minutes without an adequate airway, leading to brain damage and subsequent brain death. This is a common progression after anoxic brain injury — lack of oxygen — from any cause.
One other thing I’m occasionally asked: Has anyone who was declared brain dead ever been found later not to be dead? I am unaware of any cases of this. If you hear of such things you need to understand that a patient in a deep coma, totally unresponsive to the world, is not dead. They still have the reflexes I described above intact. Once in a while such a person awakens.
Christopher Johnson is a pediatric intensive care physician and author.