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In October 2003, I became a victim of traumatic brain injury. That's when I was hit and dragged by a pickup truck while riding a Big Wheel trike at a friend's party. Emergency brain surgery saved my life, but I lost a portion of the back part of my brain. At the age of ten, I had to learn how to breathe, swallow, talk, eat, stand, sit, walk-everything- all over again.
Traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of disability among children, yet, because of the complexity of the brain, experts still have much to learn about how to treat TBI. In When the Lights Go Out, I describe my therapies-what's worked, what hasn't, and why-and share how I learned to cope with the emotional and psychological challenges. In the process, I have discovered the critical roles that faith in God, love of family, the healing power of friends, and the inherent goodness of people all played in my ability to triumph over overwhelming odds. I have also learned that a horrific accident has given me an amazing gift. When the Lights Go Out is an expression of that gift.
Many congregations and church leaders are faced with the collapse of the institutional church culture in America. A great number of them have retreated inside their four walls and created church activities to replace their Christ-given mission to make disciples, and thereby extending His kingdom on earth "thy kingdom come." Abandoning their mission means they have abandoned their real identity and reason for existence. Others have gone to the other extreme by selling out to the culture. Their worship service is a form of entertainment with the objective "to feel good" and "be happy." Both choices have turned off many saved people, and they have left the church. In 1998, a Barna poll reflected that 20 million born-again Christians had withdrawn their membership. Today's poll shows an increase to 115,000 million. Many are out there striving to reboost the church's lost mission "to make disciples" and "thy kingdom come." God has not changed His mind!
Negativity keeps us separated from God. If we are caught up in negative attitudes, behaviors, and emotions then we have constructed stumbling blocks and walls between our Lord and Creator and ourselves. Our Lord, who loves us dearly, craves an intimate relationship with each of us. Fasting is a means of cleansing and drawing close to God. What better way to rid your body of the ill effects of negativity than to fast it out of your life by being in continual communication with our Lord? This journal has scripture, reflection, and prayer time; to help you as you walk this path of freedom.
Charles Altieri, one of our foremost analysts of modernism, has in his recent work argued for the importance of the affects, which philosophy has too long subordinated to cognition and ethics. In Wallace Stevens and the Demands of Modernity, Altieri focuses his attention on modernist poetry, especially that of Wallace Stevens. He argues that critics have failed to appreciate the degree to which modernist poetry, like modernist art, breaks from the epistemology that arose from cultures of empiricism. If we recognize the limits of that authority we can also recognize the close positive affinities between how we feel and how we value. Nineteenth-century writing wanted to build values out of ways of looking at what could be established as fact. Early modernist poetry, particularly that of Stevens and Pound, labors to adapt Nietzschean attitudes toward poetry. Then Stevens embarked on an imaginative journey to find in linguistic activity itself a sufficient model for how we compose values. In both stages of his career facts must be respected, but they will not bear values simply by virtue of their connectedness to the world. We have to understand the constructive power taking place on intimate levels as we pursue that connectedness. Stevens matters, Altieri argues, because of the range and depth and intelligence by which he explores what such connectedness might involve. Stevens offers elaborate and moving experiments exploring how imaginative writing can help human beings grapple with questions about values that are at the very heart of our common experience.
"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:4 As Jesus' intimate friend and devoted disciple, John understood the beautiful life-giving power of Jesus. He experienced it in a profoundly personal way and witnessed Jesus lavishly impart it to others. John knew Jesus offered more than just a philosophy or religion to adhere to; rather, He offered life itself to all who would believe and receive it. The result? A beautifully written gospel intent on communicating the fullness of life only Jesus Christ can bring. "Saturated in the Light and Life of Christ" is a Bible study designed to bring you on an intimate and relevant walk through the gospel of John, exploring Jesus' ongoing desire to saturate our lives with His light and life. As we encounter Christ, our response--like John and those who were touched by Jesus--will be that of grateful devotion!
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