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Money cannot buy eternal salvation

In Charities, Media, National News, Opinion, psychology, Religion, television, Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

EVANGDeer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

Have you ever turned on the TV early on a weekend morning and heard something like this, “Friends, dig deep for those green rockets of salvation. Help us to lead the sheep to His lovin’ care with your kind love offering. Operators are standing by to pray with you – all for just $49.99.” A cross between an infomercial and a bad Saturday Night Live parody, television evangelists have been conning millions from the pockets of the devout since the medium was invented.

These clergy-covered con men (and women) take the stage amidst gold-plated, throne-like chairs, religious statuary and acrylic podiums to convince us all that we’re damned to the fiery pits of Hell unless we give and give generously. Armani-suited, well-quaffed, jewel-bedazzled TV preachers spout dramatic sermons from a teleprompter while holding up a Bible as if it were the newly presented cub in the Lion King movie.

If that’s not enough drama, it’s is followed by repeated moments of squint-eyed, hand-raised prayer and Lord praising before thousands of onlookers in the audience who are doing the same. Without opening their eyes, the host preacher prays that God will direct the viewers to the telephone number that appears at the bottom of the screen and give generously to the ministry so that more souls can be saved.

At home, viewers dial quickly, handing over millions upon millions of dollars to what could easily be compared to a guy begging on a highway exit ramp. The difference is that at least you know the panhandler is exactly that. He’s not pretending to give you a direct phone line to eternal salvation at the same time.

Holier-than-thou in their demeanor and testimony, eventually they fall from their pedestals in some kind of sex scandal or tax evasion allegations. I’m sure everyone remembers the rise and fall of Jim and Tammy Baker, Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart.

Religious panhandling – might as well call it by name – is a real problem in America and, unfortunately, it’s completely legal and largely tax-exempt. For the truly devout, there is a clear understanding that man is meant to be humble and kneel before God. That doesn’t mean we were meant to live in abject poverty, but we’re not supposed to use the Almighty as a way to dupe billions of dollars out of unsuspecting people searching for answers in a life full of uncertainty and hardship.

With multi-million-dollar homes, limousines and servants, there is nothing holy about these so-called “evangelists.” In fact, in my opinion, it’s just flat out criminal. These people soil the image and intentions of faithful, honest people all over the country who are genuinely trying to do some good in the world. Most live modestly, often with a second job or from a share of whatever comes in the offering on Sunday morning. There are no limousines, golden thrones or evangelical stadiums.

There is nothing to excuse the fact that some of the poorest people in America, the elderly, are the most common victims to this kind of nonsense. Looking for spiritual leadership and often lonely and shut-in, seniors often send money to these TV charlatans before even paying for food and medicine.

Of course, these religious phonies don’t care who they hurt because they can hide out in tax-sheltered mansions, go for a dip in their Olympic-sized swimming pools or jet off to vacation homes in the Cayman Islands.

Not convinced? According to CelebrityNetWorth.Com, one of the most popular TV evangelists, Benny Hinn, is worth more than $42 million; all from donations to his “ministry.” Another extremely popular – and rich – television pastor, Joel Osteen, is reportedly roughing it on only $40 million. And more money is still pouring in.

I don’t have a problem with people living prosperously and giving generously from hard work and the success built from that labor. I am deeply offended, however, when those claiming to be men and women of God live in luxury at the expense and from the charity of lost souls desperately searching for comfort. It would do them well to go read that book they’re always waiving around on TV; particularly the book of Matthew, Chapter 19, Verse 24.

 

 

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Eleven local authors featured in new book launching May 3 at Blue Jacket Books

In Books, Business, Entertainment, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on April 20, 2013 at 9:02 am
"Flights of Fancy" is an anthology of stories set in southwest Ohio by local authors from the Western Ohio Writers Association. It will hit shelves in mid-April 2013 and features local talent and production.

“Flights of Fancy” is an anthology of stories set in southwest Ohio by local authors from the Western Ohio Writers Association. It will hit shelves in mid-April 2013 and features local talent and production.

Xenia, OH –The Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) invites the public to attend the official launch event for their first book, Flights of Fiction, an anthology of short stories set in and around southwest Ohio, published by Loconeal Publishing / Handcar Press.

Officially released on April 15, the book and its authors will be presented publicly at 7PM on Friday, May 3rd, at Blue Jacket Books, 30 S. Detroit St. in Xenia with a 2-hour reception and signing. The event is free of charge and open to the public. It will begin with an introduction to the authors and a reading of parts of the book by the authors, followed by a signing and reception.

The WOWA was founded in 2008 by Gery and Barbara Deer, of Jamestown, in an effort to provide local writers with peer critique, educational and networking opportunities previously unavailable except at tremendous expense. Gery is a full-time business writer and author of the syndicated, weekly op-ed column, “Deer in Headlines.”

Flights of Fiction is a group effort by just a few of the most talented authors in our organization and in the southwest Ohio region,” explains Gery L. Deer, co-founder of the WOWA and executive editor of the anthology.

“These soon-to-be classic tales let you follow one man’s tragic story at the end of the world in “Dead of Winter”; experience a night at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in “Nose Art”; and get lost in a haunting image from the past in “Tabitha’s Portrait,” plus many more. From detective tales to a trek into the mysterious world of wrestling, Flights of Fiction has something for everyone.”

He adds that Blue Jacket is a kind of second home to the WOWA. “We’re honored that Blue Jacket Books is hosting our book launch. We have had several signing and public reading events at the store and it’s great to see it growing and doing well.”

A limited number of copies of Flights of Fiction will be on hand for sale at the event with a cover price of $11.95. The paperback is available now with an electronic version set for release in mid-May. Find further information about the Western Ohio Writers Association or order Flight of Fiction online at http://www.westernohiowriters.org.

Don’t Panic. Really, we mean it this time.

In Books, Literature, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology on April 17, 2013 at 7:00 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

dontpanicIn 1978, a radio comedy called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, aired as a series on the BBC. Hitchhiker’s was a wholly remarkable radio show that eventually became a wholly remarkable television program, and a series of wholly remarkable – not to mention lucrative – novels, five in the so-called trilogy. A sixth novel was completed by a different author in 2009, eight years after Adams’ untimely death.

Commonly known by fans as, “HG2G,” Hitchhiker’s was essentially a parody of age-old science fiction with a satirical spin. The story line is filled with political satire and a pinch of sarcastic banter, the focus of which was the “establishment,” whatever that meant to the reader.

The story begins with one ordinary man’s adjustment to being transported from Earth only moments before it is destroyed to make way for a bypass for space ships. Suddenly thrust into a galaxy of crazy characters and a manically depressed robot named Marvin, human Arthur Dent is dumbstruck by his complete lack of ability to adapt.

Arthur’s friend Ford, an intergalactic researcher who rescued Arthur from his doomed world, finds his way through the galaxy hitchhiking and following the advice of an electronic book, whose cover is inscribed, in large, friendly letters, with the words, “Don’t Panic.” As the pair travels through the stars, Arthur finds little comfort in his new life except for the constant search for a nice hot cup of tea and the friendly inscription on the cover of his electronic guidebook.

A prolific writer and avid environmentalist, Douglas Adams may be single-handedly responsible for inventing the concept of the e-reader (which is essentially what the “Guide” was) nearly three decades before Amazon, the iPad or even the Internet ever existed. Adams also managed to show us the world more as it really it is than how we’d rather it be. I think that’s where, “Don’t Panic,” came from in the first place.

As Adams’ character, Arthur Dent found out, there are simply things we cannot control so the best thing to do is try to keep our heads and move through it. By a curious coincidence, as I watched the tragic events of terrorism unfold in Boston this week, I found myself thinking about the cover of Adams’ book and those large, friendly letters. “Don’t Panic” seemed like just the kind of thing you’d want someone to say to you at a moment like that.

I’ve never been in a situation like a terrorist bombing, but I have had my share of life and death scrapes over the years. From a head-on truck crash that should have certainly killed me to dealing with the painful helplessness of watching my mother whither away from Alzheimer’s disease, I have learned which things I should panic about and what I should try to just push through. And I don’t believe I’m alone in that practice, by any stretch of the imagination.

Given the circumstances, there is no level of security that could have prevented what happened in Boston. But when it did, people clearly pushed their fear and panic aside, stepped up and did their best to help each other through a horrible situation. Human beings are resilient, even though some might seem like they’re not. We’ve managed around 15 million years of evolution so there must be something to us, right?

I had the good fortune to meet Douglas Adams in 1992 when he came to Dayton for a book signing. Thanks to a fortuitous hiccup in the autograph line, I found myself standing in front of the author for several minutes. He was as gracious and humble, kindly asking how I liked his work.

As we chatted, I asked him what it meant – Don’t Panic. He said simply, “Whatever you need it to.” He also told me I should continue writing and not let the problems of the world interfere with my creativity and positive outlook. I’ve tried hard to do both. So the next time you’re faced with a tough situation just remember the Hitchhiker’s cover line: Don’t Panic. After all, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

Design Sleep in Yellow Springs offers free workshop on the healing power of sleep May 2nd

In Education, Health, Local News, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Technology, Uncategorized on April 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Mike Koveleski of Design Sleep and Dr. Alan Barnes from Living Well Spine Center.

Mike Koveleski of Design Sleep and Dr. Alan Barnes from Living Well Spine Center.

Yellow Springs, OH – According to Gallup Poll surveys more than 56-percent of American adults suffer from drowsiness during the daytime. As technology becomes more invasive and stress levels rise, people grow even more sleep deprived. In an effort to help people combat the problem, Design Sleep, LLC, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has teamed up with Dr. Alan Barnes, of the Living Well Spine Center in Fairborn, to offer a free workshop that may help.

Barnes’ presentation will be at 7PM, Thursday May 2nd in Design Sleep’s showroom, 108 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. He will cover the many ways sleep deprivation can negatively impact day-to-day life and explain how to achieve more restful, refreshing sleep to improve mental and physical health.

Design Sleep owner Mike Koveleski’s began his career building solid cherry beds, tables and chairs at Scott Jordan Furniture in the Brooklyn Navy Yard of New York. He opened Design Sleep in April of 2004, having left Manhattan following the events of 9/11. Seeking a more suitable place to raise their five children, he and his wife found that and more in Yellow Springs.

“I love people and furniture,” Koveleski says. “I found the most satisfaction and meaning from designing and selling beds because I believe sleep refreshes life.” His education-focused store offers a variety of ergonomic and organic mattresses and bedroom furniture options as well as sleeper sofas and recliners.

Koveleski suggests that most people have no idea how sleep deprived they are nor do they understand how it affects them physically and emotionally. Teaming up with Living Well Spine Center provides the perfect opportunity to enlighten his community and his customers.

Chiropractic science focuses on the structural misalignment of the spine which can compromise the overall function of the nervous system. Poor alignment during sleep can be particularly aggravating – position, posture, and so on – and may affect how the body heals and regulates itself.

“Our goal is to make people care about sleep because as a culture, we do not value sleep,” Koveleski says. “We need proper sleep to heal and most people fail to realize that. Dr. Barnes presentation will make you realize how much we take sleep for granted and how important it is to the healing process.”

There is no cost or obligation associated with the workshop. For more information or to RSVP for the workshop, call 937-767-7567 or email Mike Koveleski at mike@designsleep.com.

Watch the video featuring the two presenters:

Defeating Sleep Deprivation

Annette made it cool to be good.

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, National News, Opinion, psychology, sociology, television, Uncategorized on April 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello (1960s)

Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello (1960s)

In 1955, Walt Disney personally selected, 12-year-old, Annette Funicello to become one of the first “Mouseketeers” on the original Mickey Mouse Club television series. She’d been discovered in a production of Swan Lake at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank California but quickly became one of America’s best known actresses.

A gifted actor, singer and dancer, Funicello’s formidable years were spent growing up in front of a camera. In 1960, she hung up her bowed mouse ears and signature white sweater bearing her name (reading simply, “Annette”) to take on a movie career, but never shook her “America’s sweetheart” image.

During the 1960’s, Funicello appeared in a series of beach party movies with singer Frankie Avalon. Though they lived very separate lives off-screen, the two were so successful and appeared so often together on screen, most people believed they were actually married.

Annette continued working through the next two decades in reunion beach movies, television appearances and as the ultimate “mom” figure in Skippy peanut butter commercials. Her death on April 8, from complications related to Multiple Sclerosis, saddened millions of fans around the world, but her “goody two shoes” image never faded, even at 70.

After the success of the Mickey Mouse Club, Disney tried to revamp the show; first with a syndicated version in 1977 and then on the Disney cable network for a healthy, seven-year run. While they did turn out some great talent, neither reboot had cast members with quite the same popular appeal of the original.

Many of the Mouseketeers from the first series went on to have long, successful careers, in front of and behind the camera. Likewise, several modern pop stars got their start with Mickey including Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Agulera, just to name a few.

There’s no question these talented people will leave their mark, but it’s hard to imagine anyone remembering Britney or Justin in the same way as the previous generations remember Annette and her fellow Mouseketeers. In those days, the standards for behavior, public and private, were far higher, although somewhat unrealistic.

Anyone in the public eye under the Disney logo had to be the model of the boy or girl next door, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any variation from that image meant a summary dismissal by Walt himself. The fact was, sometimes there were problems no one outside ever saw and those kids were discharged anyway. When scandal attached itself to a young actor, the “cute factor” could no longer be exploited and a replacement would have to be found in a quickly executed and masterful work of marketing sleight of hand.

Of course no one working on television in the 1950’s was as squeaky clean as they were made out to be on the air, but they did their best to maintain their image, at least enough to stay employed. In retrospect, it may not be such a bad thing if studios re-instituted Walt’s no-tolerance attitude so long as the performers are under contract. With justice and good sense taking a backseat to public demand for perpetuation of pop culture icons, it’s not right that celebrities wear bad behavior like a badge of honor.

What kind of example does that set for young people? Isn’t that the question that’s always being asked by the media “experts” who admonish someone out of one side of their mouths while out of the other side giving a pass to Lindsay Lohan for her latest drug-induced infraction? American society is riddled with double standards and a declining sense of integrity and self-worth.

It seems today that people are more likely to be ridiculed for staying clear of drugs, alcohol and other life-wrecking activities while others are honored for completing a 12-step program after the fact. Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it? There should be more honor and reward in having avoided the problem in the first place than to have succumbed.

Who knows, maybe the Mickey Mouse Club’s day is done and the clubhouse should remain boarded up and dark until a new generation decides it’s cool to be good again.

 

GCCHD celebrates National Public Health Week with town hall meeting on April 5

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on April 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

NPHW 2013XENIA, OH –  The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) is celebrating National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2013. In 1995, former President William Jefferson Clinton proclaimed the first full week of April as National Public Health Week (NPHW).

Each year since then, the public health community has celebrated this observance by focusing on an issue that is important to improving the public’s health.

NPHW focuses its annual effort on a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.” The 2013 NPHW theme was developed to focus on the return on one’s health investment (ROI) and to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of wellsupported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending.

On Friday, April 5th, a town hall meeting will be held at the Menapace Center for Health Education at Greene Memorial Hospital, 1141 N. Monroe Dr. in Xenia featuring Ohio State Senator Chris Widener (10th District; Madison, Clark and Greene Counties). Senator Widener will speak about the state of healthcare in Ohio and the Governor’s new budget. A Q & A session will follow his address. The event is free and open to the public. It will be from 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, please call Laurie Fox, Assistant Public Information Officer, at (937) 374-5669 or visit www.nphw.org.

It’s time to end the Korean War.

In Education, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, State News, World News on April 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

North Korea's leader is a kid having a tantrum; a tantrum that needs to end in a spanking the the world's leaders.

North Korea’s leader is a kid having a tantrum; a tantrum that needs to end in a spanking the the world’s leaders. (Photo UK/Telegraph)

On June 12, 1987, while addressing people near the Berlin Wall, President Ronald Reagan said defiantly, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Shortly thereafter, down it came, marking the collapse of communist Russia and the end of the Cold War. For the first time in nearly 40 years, back yard bomb shelters were being graded over and civil defense drills became a thing of the past.

Now, more than 25 years later, Americans are facing the real possibility of both conventional and nuclear attack from a power-happy “kid,” revitalizing fears that created the pointless duck-and-cover drills of the 1950’s and 60’s. Over the last several weeks, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made repeated threats about ending the sixty-year peace marked by the neutral zone of the 38th parallel and restarting the Korean War.

Though an armistice was signed in 1953, it did not officially end the Korean War, or what the U.S. Government laughingly termed a “police action.”  While America was involved in the conflict for only three years, North and South Korea are technically still at war. At the time, China and the Soviet Union supported the aggression of North Korean troops, but today, the political lines are less well defined.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and China’s economic, not to mention capitalistic, successes in the west, North Korea stands very much alone in its saber rattling. Any attempt to launch missiles or re-invade South Korea would most likely be met with resistance of a level that the young, blustering North Korean leader is clearly not taking into account.

Even so, North Korean officials have insisted the country is going ahead with the development of nuclear weapons and missile technology necessary to carry them to the continental United States, among other targets. As the U.S. military continues its show of strength over South Korea, well in view of the northern leaders, tensions are growing and Kim Jong Un has ordered rockets to be readied to strike.

Most experts agree the young communist leader cannot possibly believe he has any hope of prevailing in such an aggressive action. But, with so many American-allied territories within striking distance, the damage and loss of life could still be considerable if he carries out his threats. Perhaps now is the time for a decisive and joint action by China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the protectorates of the United Nations, including America? It might be time to finally put an end to the Korean War.

Kim Jong Un has made it apparent he wants to start a war – with someone – and if America is his target, he’s doomed to lose such a conflict. He’s obviously suicidal and doesn’t seem to care who or how many he kills for his own ego boost.

One could argue that this maniac is really China’s problem. But, if that’s the case, why don’t they just shut him down now? They certainly have the manpower to do it and, for the first time in recent history, they’d have the support of Russia, South Korea and the other surrounding countries. With a little patience, on the other hand, the country could go bankrupt before military action is even necessary.

Kim Jong Un has spent North Korea’s money on high-end living and the development of a few mass-attack weapons and missiles, activities that will shortly bankrupt the country. Once that happens, he will either be overthrown or forced out by his opposition or the Chinese. Either way, his long-term outlook is not promising – bad for him, good for the rest of the world. It could be that the best thing to do is wait him out; match his threats with equal vehemence until he goes away.

Unfortunately, patience is expensive, costing the American taxpayer millions of dollars a day in military operations stepped up to meet potential hostility. Once again, it seems the best alternative is to assemble allies against him and shut him down before he can do something that costs the lives of millions.

 

Greater Dayton Professionals BNI hosts visitors day April 18

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, Local News, sociology, Uncategorized on April 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm

RIVERSIDE, OH – Members of the Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of Business Network International (BNI) are hosting a Visitors Day meeting beginning at 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., Thursday April 18th at The Event Connection, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton. Reservations are requested but not required.

BNI is a professional networking organization whose primary purpose is to establish mutually beneficial business relationships resulting in the active exchange of qualified referrals. At more than 6,000 chapters in 51 countries, BNI is the largest organization of its kind. Last year, BNI members generated more than $3.3 billion dollars in closed business.

The Greater Dayton Professionals Chapter of BNI is currently looking for applicants to fill a variety of positions including attorneys, home healthcare providers and electricians, to name a few. In addition to this no cost, no obligation networking opportunity, visitors will be provided a special presentation about the advantages of word-of-mouth, referral marketing presented by BNI Executive Director Jim Weghorst and Assistant Director Sheryl Wagner.

“Last year, members in our chapter exchanged more than a half-million dollars in sales resulting from their participation,” says long-time BNI member Gery L. Deer, the chapter’s secretary treasurer, public relations coordinator and creative director of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. “The BNI structure helps members develop or expand a network of professional connections which can grow well beyond the core group to unrealized potential customers.”

“BNI allows only one person per professional category to join each chapter,” Deer says. “The exclusivity of the member’s position eliminates the problem of internal competition so common within other types of networking groups.”

Seating is first come, first served, but reservations are available by calling chapter president Justine Kangas at (937) 898-3167. Visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to stay after the meeting for a short follow-up session. For more information visit the chapter website, www.greaterdaytonpros.com.