Month: August 2017

Dr. Bennet Omalu: CTE and the truth about contact sports

Our special guest is Dr. Bennet Omalu a Nigerian-American neuropathologist who discovered and named chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players, other athletes and military veterans. He is the author of the book, TRUTH Doesn’t Have a Side: My Alarming Discovery about the Danger of Contact Sports. Dr. Omalu is the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California, and a clinical professor at the University of California, Davis. His story is told in the major motion picture Concussion, starring Will Smith. Bennet and his wife have two children and reside in Sacramento, California.

One day in 2002 the fifty-year old body of former Pittsburgh Steeler and hall of famer Mike Webster was laid on a cold table in front of pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. Webster’s body looked to Omalu like the body of a much older man, and the circumstances of his behavior prior to his death were clouded in mystery. But when Omalu cut into Webster’s brain, it appeared to be normal. Something didn’t add up. It was at this moment, Omalu studying slides of Webster’s brain tissue under a microscope, that the world of contact sports would never be the same: the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE can result in an array of devastating consequences including deterioration in attention, memory loss, social instability, depression, and even suicide. And Omalu’s discovery of CTE in the brain of an American football player has become the catalyst of a blazing controversy across all contact sports.

At the center of that controversy stands the unlikely Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born American citizen, a mild-mannered, gentle man of faith. It is fascinating that it would take someone on the outside of American culture to make this amazing discovery, and refuse to let it be kept hidden. Dr. Omalu began his life in strife, growing up in war-torn Nigeria. But his medical studies in forensic pathology proved to be a lifeline. It fed his natural curiosity and awakened within a deeper desire to always search for the truth. Who would have thought that such an unexpected character would play such a role in bringing to life this world-changing data? In Truth Doesn’t Have a Side, discover the truth about CTE: Its causes and symptoms, how we might keep our children safe and guide professional athletes when CTE sets in. The problem of CTE is coming to light with each new story about an athlete’s concussion problem, and we are likely facing dramatic changes to professional sports. You’ll be inspired by Dr. Bennet Omalu a man driven by his love and concern for the welfare of all people, and his professional vow to speak the truth.

Grieving a suicide: A loved one’s search for comfort, answers, and hope

Our special guest is Dr. Albert Y. Hsu (pronounced “shee”), the author of the book Grieving a Suicide: A loved one’s search for comfort, answers and hope. Albert,” the neighbor said, “your mom needs you to come home.” That’s how it began for Albert Hsu when his father died. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide experiences tremendous shock and trauma. What follows is a confusing mix of emotions—anger, guilt, grief, and despair. Suicide raises heartrending questions: Why did this happen? Why didn’t we see it coming? Could we have done anything to prevent it? How can we go on? Many also wonder if those who choose suicide are doomed to an eternity separated from God and their loved ones. Some may even start asking whether life is worth living at all. After his father’s death, Hsu wrestled with the intense emotional and theological questions surrounding suicide. While acknowledging that there are no easy answers, he draws on the resources of the Christian faith to point suicide survivors to the God who offers comfort in our grief and hope for the future.

For those who have lost a loved one to suicide and for their counselors and pastors, this book is an essential companion for the journey toward healing. This revised edition incorporates updated statistics and now includes a discussion guide for suicide survivor groups.

Dr. Hsu is the senior editor for IVP Books at InterVarsity Press, where he acquires and develops books in such areas as culture, discipleship, church, ministry, and mission. He earned his PhD in educational studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Al is the author of Singles at the Crossroads, Grieving a Suicide, and The Suburban Christian. He has been a writer and columnist for Christianity Today and served as senior warden on the vestry of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois. He and his wife, Ellen, have two sons and live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Meet the Penners: Christian therapists who help married couples learn to love better

Our special guests are Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner, co-authors of the book Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women. Do you want a stronger, more exciting sex life with your husband? As a married woman, you have the power to increase sexual fulfillment for you and your husband—if you aren’t stymied by false assumptions about a wife’s role in sex. In Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner dispel assumptions that can keep women from accepting and expressing their God-given sexuality in marriage. After more than forty years as sex therapists and educators, the Penners have learned what helps couples build lasting, mutually enjoyable sex in marriage. Their knowledge is culled from the stories of thousands of individuals and couples who sought help with frustrations and have found relief and mutual fulfillment.

In this book they share step-by-step, practical ways for wives to move from duty and disappointment to pleasure and fulfillment. Learn how the woman’s biblical role for sex in marriage is to pursue all of who she is sexually and share her sexuality with her husband, which will, in turn, increase his satisfaction.
Be empowered as a woman to embrace your sexuality and find deeper enjoyment with your husband. This title is a companion to The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex, also by the Penners.

Evangelical, Sacramental, Pentecostal: Why the church should be all three

Our special guest is Dr. Gordon T. Smith, President of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta. Christian communities tend to identify with one of these labels over the other two. Evangelical churches emphasize the importance of Scripture and preaching. Sacramental churches emphasize the importance of the eucharistic table. And pentecostal churches emphasize the immediate presence and power of the Holy Spirit. But must we choose between them? Could the church be all three? Drawing on his reading of the New Testament, the witness of Christian history, and years of experience in Christian ministry and leadership, Gordon T. Smith argues that the church not only can be all three, but in fact must be all three in order to truly be the church. As the church navigates the unique global challenges of pluralism, secularism, and fundamentalism, the need for an integrated vision of the community as evangelical, sacramental, and pentecostal becomes ever more pressing. If Jesus and the apostles saw no tension between these characteristics, why should we?

Gordon T. Smith (PhD, Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University) is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Courage and Calling, Called to Be Saints, Spiritual Direction, Consider Your Calling, and The Voice of Jesus.

Should more Christians become social activists?

Our special guest is Michelle Ferrigno Warren, author of The Power of Proximity: Moving Beyond Awareness to Action. Michelle is the advocacy and strategic engagement director for the Christian Community Development Association. She is an immigration, education, and human service policy specialist and is an adjunct faculty member at Denver Seminary.

With over twenty years’ experience working in Christian community development, Michelle is a part of the national Evangelical Immigration Table and helps consult for the National Immigration Forum. She is a founding staff member of Open Door Ministries, a large community development corporation.

We can see evidence of injustice all around us, whether in continuing incidents of racial inequality or in the systemic forces that disenfranchise people and perpetuate poverty. It’s important to learn about the world’s inequities and to be a voice for the voiceless any way we can. But in an age of hashtag and armchair activism, merely raising awareness about injustice is not enough. Michelle Warren knows what is needed. She and her family have chosen to live in communities where they are “proximate to the pain of the poor.” This makes all the difference in facing and overcoming injustice. When we build relationships where we live, we discover the complexities of standing with the vulnerable and the commitment needed for long-term change. Proximity changes our perspective, compels our response, and keeps us committed to the journey of pursuing justice for all. Move beyond awareness and experience the power of proximity.

From Cairo to Christ: How one Muslim’s faith journey shows the way for others

Our special guest is Abu Atallah, the author of From Cairo to Christ. He is also the founder and CEO of European Training Centre and a pastor, professor, and missionary with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He was born and raised in Egypt, and after his conversion was involved with Campus Crusade at Cairo University. In 1979 he came to the United States, where he attended the Urbana missions conference and heard God’s call to minister to his people.
Atallah founded the Arab American Friendship Center in Dearborn, Michigan, and was a consultant and trainer for Arab World Ministries in London and across Europe. He has ministered in fifty-six countries on six continents. He has a master of divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate of theology from Providence College and Seminary.

“If I were to become a Christian, it would mean not only changing my religion but changing my whole identity and bringing shame upon my family. My whole family is Muslim, and my society and culture were Muslim. . . . Changing from Islam to Christianity would mess up my life forever.” So writes Abu Atallah, who grew up in Cairo as an ordinary Egyptian Muslim. He was deeply embedded in his family, religion, and country. For a time he was part of the Muslim Brotherhood. But as he came of age, he began to encounter people who followed a different way, who called themselves Christians. And a radically new life became possible—at great cost and risk, yet with great joy.

From Cairo to Christ is the remarkable story of how one Muslim man was drawn to the Christian faith, and how he later became an ambassador for Christ with a ministry in the Muslim world. Atallah has personally helped hundreds of Muslims come to Christ. This narrative sheds light on Islamic cultural dynamics and what Westerners should know about Muslim contexts. Despite the challenges facing believers from Muslim backgrounds, God is bringing surprising numbers of Muslims to Christ. Discover how the good news of Jesus transforms lives in Muslim communities around the world.