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We have dietary information and also look at the Ashley Madison hacking scandal, the Morning Center, and dealing with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease.

  • The cover of a recent Time magazine read, “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” On the front page of this month’s newsletter, health information researcher Bill Sardi reports about scientific findings that refute the diet dogma that fat is unhealthy. It is now realized that the dietary guidelines to avoid fat and eat carbohydrates is a major factor in the increase in diabetes. Many resources on this and related topics have been featured in past newsletters and are available at samaritanministries.org/fat.
  • Rob Slane focuses on the Ashley Madison hacking scandal. One question we should be asking is, “How can a company that promotes adultery, complain that stealing information is wrong?”
  • Memphis Morning Center executive director Les Riley reminds us that we minister the Gospel to persons, not statistics, as he relates how Morning Center staff and the local Christian community work together to help people in need. (Remember: Visit go2memphis.org to learn more about how to help the Morning Center.
  • This month’s Member Spotlight features the Herman family, who are developing a rundown campground into a lakeside cabin community. The Hermans are growing in their faith, ministering the Gospel through their work, and are now featured on a TV show called Lake Life on the DIY Network. They also explain why they joined Samaritan.
  • Is the idea of a nationwide obesity epidemic supported by the evidence? Does increased weight correlate with increased risk of mortality? Learn why some researchers emphatically say, “No!”
  • In her book, Who’s in Mama’s Chair?, Samaritan member Eileen Hill offers wisdom and encouragement for those who are dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Read the review by Marcia Krahn.
  • The Doorpost reminds us that when we are persecuted for Christ’s sake, we are blessed.
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The inconsistent morality of Ashley Madison

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By Rob Slane

Ashley Madison, the adultery-promoting internet dating site, recently received a taste of its own relativistic medicine and apparently found it didn’t go down too well. For those who aren’t aware, Ashley Madison is a dating site with a difference, operating not on the principle of bringing singles together, as is usual for such sites, but rather with the intent of bringing married people together to commit adultery. And they are not in the least bit bashful about it, as their marketing slogan suggests: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

But having set themselves up as mocking the idea that adultery is morally wrong, they have found themselves on the receiving end of behavior which they apparently do think is morally wrong. Back in July, a group of anonymous hackers broke into their website and took the details of over 33 million accounts. According to most media reports, the hackers “stole” the details, the irony of which should not be lost on us, since “stealing” is prohibited by the Eighth Commandment, which comes just a little after the one Ashley Madison has been happy to help others break.

So wronged does Ashley Madison perceive itself that its parent company, Avid Life Media, has offered $500,000 Canadian dollars for information on the hackers. Not only this, but Canadian police seem to be very concerned as well. In a statement addressing the as-yet-unknown hackers, the acting staff superintendent of the Toronto police, Bryce Evans, made the following comment:

“I want to make it very clear to you your actions are illegal and we will not be tolerating them. This is your wake-up call.”

In other words, while adultery and setting up a company to deliberately facilitate adultery are OK, hacking an adultery-promoting company is a very great sin and a grave crime.

Read the rest of this article…

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Justin Herman Family pic

By Jaclyn Lewis

Justin Herman, heavy equipment operator and handyman, polishes diamonds in the rough.

Only his gems aren’t actual stones. Rather, Justin and his four brothers, the core of Herman Brothers Lake and Land Management, take rugged, undeveloped land, and optimize it for fishing, hunting, camping, and enjoying God’s creation. They also invest their efforts in people.

As fourth generation builders, the Hermans’ specialty is crafting “the unique.”

For example, on their DIY Network TV build show Lake Life, the Herman Brothers built an enclosed ice fishing dock and sunbathing patio in the shape of a volcano. The floating “cave” was a gift for the Herman brothers’ parents, and is fitted with solar power to operate lights, heating and cooling systems, and a big screen TV. “We come up with the crazy,” says Justin.

At first, the Herman Brothers mainly helped other landowners optimize use of their properties. Now, the Hermans have expanded their business to developing their own property—Giant Goose Ranch, in Canton, Illinois—and watching God spread the good news of the Gospel in the process.

Giant Goose Ranch is an 828-acre campground with 52 named lakes and ponds, and custom-built cabins with all the comforts of home, including private lake docks. The rescued horses, free-range chickens, hobby farm, and events for Ranch members, like outdoor movie nights and Saturday morning breakfasts, create a haven for those “who want to escape the city hustle and bustle, and have a place to come sit and relax.”

But life on the Ranch hasn’t always been so relaxing. “When we bought this place in 2013,” says Justin, “it was pretty rough.”

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Why SMI-

Justin Herman learned about Samaritan Ministries through one of the Herman Brothers Lake and Land Management office administrators. He and his wife, Katie, were glad to find a Gospel-centered, Body of Christ-focused approach to health care. His brother, Chad, and his family are also members.

When Justin and Katie had their first need, the birth of their daughter, Scarlett, they found it was less expensive than the birth of their son, Crosby, who was born when they had insurance. Still, they were nervous at first, not sure exactly how things would work.

“Katie started doing a lot of research,” Justin says, “and working with the staff there and asking tons of questions. She’s a very organized person, so she got it all laid out for what we needed to do. So she’s calling all the people, doing the prepay stuff, getting as many discounts as she can. We ended up paying up front, which in itself was a little bit of a burden. You have to come up with some money.”

While the process was different, “because you have to save for things and put stuff away, so there’s responsibility with it,” Justin says, “we are enjoying it a lot because of that.”

Additionally, it was a blessing “to see the checks starting to come in,” he says, “and each one had a card with it, or sometimes it’d come with gifts. It was really personal. It just felt like it was the right way to do things, like the way it was supposed to work. It was a cool experience to see God working.”

They also were moved to see the Body of Christ in action. “It makes you think about probably how it was back in the early church,” says Justin. “You rely on your church family. When you have a need or when somebody’s sick, they’ll go farm your land for you, and take care of your cattle. It was cool to have that community aspect again.”

Through Samaritan, Justin has been able to share the unique ministry with others, and has even found “you get really good deals, too.”

“You learn to lean on God,” says Justin, “and you know He’s faithful in everything, no matter what happens. When you give Him even this aspect of your life, too, it’s cool.”

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By Les Riley

Every one of the patients we see at the Morning Center has their own story and needs individual attention.

A few weeks ago at our Frayser clinic on the north side of Memphis, an obviously pregnant young woman in her early 20s walked in bringing along a little boy. She was sobbing, so Vickie, one of our volunteer coordinators, asked her what was wrong. Vickie found out that she had gotten a ride to the Morning Center, and that the driver just dropped her off and left her.

Les and Christine Riley

Les and Christine Riley

Now you have to understand, Memphis sits along the Mississippi River, in a corner between the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. When I say “West Memphis,” it’s in Arkansas. Another community, called Whitehaven, sits right on the Mississippi state line. Another community called Frayser, is on the north side of Memphis. Transportation is a big issue in Memphis. The young woman and her little boy didn’t have any way to get home, so she was sobbing.

I spent the next hour doing what I do with about half my time—running around trying to figure out how to help this patient with her unique situation, talking to people, calling different ministries, and learning for sure that there wasn’t going to be a ride. Vickie said, “I’ll take her home.” So she took her and her little boy home, due to the unusually difficult circumstances of this woman’s plight. They had to use a borrowed car seat, because whoever dropped off and left them, took the car seat with them. Vickie got to quickly make a connection with her, and they built a relationship.

When her next appointment came up four weeks later, she called from a safe house in West Memphis, Arkansas, and she was in tears again.  We learned that she was 23 years old, very bright and articulate, but an absolute wreck. Abused by her father, a military man who abandoned them. Her mother joined a cult, and the cult leader took all of their money and told the mother that her kids were demon possessed, and she should get rid of them. So she was dropped off at a homeless center when she was 16 years old. In the seven years since, she has lived with abusive men and in homeless shelters. She had only a bag with a few clothes, and one pair of shoes.

She can’t get support from the first baby’s father, the 2-year-old, because he was abusive. She doesn’t want him to know where she is. The second baby’s daddy was abusive to her, and when she got pregnant, he started abusing the 2-year-old.

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