If you call someone a “Judas”, most people in the western world will understand that you’re calling someone a traitor or a false friend or a turncoat. Someone who will “sell out” their friends. Someone who values money above human life and above truth and above Love.

The reference, of course, is to Judas Iscariot, who, according to most interpretations of the four gospels of the Christian Bible, betrayed Jesus to the Romans for 30 silver pieces. Most people seem to despise Judas and blame him for the death of the Son of God. For his part, according to some accounts, Judas felt so guilty that he later hung himself and, if asked, most people would suggest that he now rots in hell in eternal torment.

I have a very different view of Judas. Jesus states that one of his twelve chosen disciples will betray him. And he knows it’s Judas. So if Judas is not “in on” the plan for Jesus to be crucified, then God/Jesus is using Judas as a pawn, against his free will. And this is something that God will not do! Therefore, Judas is an integral part of Jesus’ soul’s plan: to be crucified and rise from the dead after three days to show all of humanity that death is not the end. That life and Love go one forever without end.

And, in fact, if it were NOT for Judas’ “betrayal”, the Romans would have had no reason to crucify Jesus and his soul’s agenda would have been unfulfilled. The way Jesus led his life, the only way TO be crucified was to have Judas “betray him”. So if it was NOT Judas’ choice to help Jesus to fulfill his soul’s agenda, then he was “used” by God/Jesus and that is simply not possible.

So I believe that Judas accepted the role of Jesus’ betrayer, knowing full well that his name would be vilified and demonized for thousands of years afterwards. That he would be hated and scorned and, if others had their way, would be severely punished for his “betrayal”. I view Judas as Jesus most trusted friend. As the one who Loved Jesus the most because he was willing to be forever hated to help Jesus fulfill is soul’s agenda.

So when police in Missouri recently arrested Craig Michael Wood on suspicion of murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens and later reportedly found child porn on Wood’s computer, my initial reaction was the same as everyone else. “What a monster! Lock him up and throw away the key!”

Then I remembered Judas.

Most Christians— both back then and nowadays— would, I think, have said the same thing about Judas. “Lock him up and throw away the key!” (As an aside, many of the comments I read on various news sites and social media sites proposed punishment for Wood (who is still innocent until proven guilty in our legal system!) and other pedophiles/child murderers that was much more cruel, violent and ruthless than simply removing him from society for the rest of his life!)

Judas sacrificed his “good name” and his “reputation” for the greater good. Jesus chose to die the kind of death he did to help every soul who lived after him to remember that death is not the end. Judas accepted the scorn and contempt of generations that would follow him to help Jesus get this message out to the world.

God tells us in CwG that there are no victims and there are no villains, even if it appears that way sometimes. So Craig Michael Wood is not a villain and Hailey Owens is not a victim, although most people will see it that way. On some level, their souls (apparently— remember innocent until proven guilty) chose to meet in this lifetime in this manner so that we, collectively as the human race, might learn from the experience. So that we might be able to more fully express our divinity after Hailey’s death.

Please understand, I do not condone what Wood has been accused of doing. But I recognize that there are many, many souls alive today that sacrifice their physical, mental and even emotional well-being to provide us with opportunities to demonstrate Who We Really Are.  As history has demonstrated to us over and over, and as personal experience has shown us over and over,  it is the most trying times and the most heinous acts that give us the greatest opportunity to grow the most spiritually.

I am relatively certain that many people reading this are going to be very angry at my words.  At the challenge they present us as Divine Children of God to Love everyone, even the “least of our brothers”, unconditionally. Maybe even at me. Some may even think I’m as “bad” as her alleged murderer for suggesting that Hailey “planned” this and that Wood was (allegedly) helping her fulfill her soul’s agenda.

That’s okay, because sometimes I myself wonder if these kinds of thoughts are “valid”. And yet when I look back on my life,  I realize how many important relationships in my life were with survivors of childhood abuse. I volunteer to help in domestic violence shelters and on sexual assault hotlines.  I wonder if maybe the reason for so many relationships of all kinds with survivors of abuse is so that I could think these very thoughts.  That I could come to understand that even those who society despises the most are still Divine Children of God. Are still worthy of unconditional Love. Are still contributing members of the human race.

What message was Hailey Owens trying to get out to the world? Did Craig Michael Wood give up his “good name” just as Judas did by committing an act that most of us find vile and inexcusable? What message was he trying to teach the world? And, just as importantly, are we willing to learn those lessons?


My boyfriend can’t forgive me because for the first year we dated I never invited him to my apartment. I was embarrassed because his apartment is so much nicer than mine, so I was always making excuses not to have him over. He thinks it was because I was unfaithful and living with another guy but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve tried to explain it to him but he’s still holding it against me. I love him so much and miss the good times we had together. How can I regain his trust?… Mandy

Dear Mandy,

You’ve learned the hard way, I’m afraid, that relationships can’t prosper fully when one is intentionally withholding information from another. That said, if you’ve sincerely apologized and explained your reasons and he still won’t forgive you, it’s probably time you have a heart to heart talk and try to find out what’s really going on with him. Set an intention for clarity and honest, open, peaceful communication. Here are a few talking points that might help get you started:

The way I see it—and please correct me if I’m wrong—if you haven’t yet forgiven me, it must be for one of these three reasons:

1. Because I haven’t explained why I did what I did, well enough for you to understand. I’ll gladly try one more time if you want me to.

2. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying, but you choose not to believe me, there is nothing I can do about that.

3. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying and you do believe me, but you choose to hold and carry a grudge, there is nothing I can do about that, either. 

Are any of these scenarios true for you or are you using what I did as an excuse because you don’t have the courage to tell me that your feelings about me have changed? Or maybe you never really felt the same way about me that I feel about you?

CWG says there is nothing to forgive; there is only to understand. God fully understands the reasons behind everything we’ve ever done—what our fears were, what our thought processes were about that fear, and why it drove us to make that “mistake” (of course, there really are no mistakes in the Universe). That is why we need not ask forgiveness from God. Even before we ask it is already given.

Also, Mandy, we must always understand and forgive ourselves if we expect to receive understanding and forgiveness from others. This is how the Universe works at a metaphysical level—it reflects back our own thoughts about it. So perhaps the larger question is, Have you forgiven yourself?!

(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com.

(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to:  Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)

An additional resource:  The CWG Helping Outreach offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services.  The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions.  What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God.  It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.

What specific word will spur a child to a life of discovery? What influence, person or otherwise, will cement the ideas by which a child will formulate his or her worldview? What subject in school will lead a child to be a “success?” By what standard do we measure success?

The meanings of questions change as we become more aware of our individual spiritual purpose, our reason for Being. Conversations with God encourages us to embrace a new way of measuring success. In the Old Cultural Story, success was measured by how much stuff you accumulated, often at the expense of another. Scarcity was used as a motivational factor and competition was encouraged.

In the New Spirituality, we learn that Our purpose is to recreate ourselves anew every day in the next grandest version of the greatest vision we ever held about ourselves. Instead of glorifying the scarcity and “do anything to get ahead” mentality, we come to understand that There is enough, Human beings do not have to struggle with each other to get what they want, and The wonderful ways to be are truthful, aware and responsible. In fact, Conversations with God even says that No human being is superior to another. And this is just a retelling of just a few of the core concepts from the CwG body of work.

I recently watched an enlightened young man, Logan LaPlante’s, TEDx University Talk about his ideas about home school education. You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY

Logan’s parents have allowed him, to a certain degree, to direct his own education based on his interests. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, his answer is simple: He wants to be happy.

He says adults ask the wrong questions. He is unsure what career he will pursue, although he is leaning toward designing outdoors sports and recreation equipment. He thinks focusing on what to be or do in the future is a mistake. He is, instead, choosing to focus on what to be and do now.  He believes that the only way to have a fulfilled life is to start by having a happy and fulfilled childhood. So he pursues his interests now, focusing on being happy and learning the things that are interesting. He calls this “hacking” his education.

While I watched, I couldn’t help but see similarities between his ideas about growing up, his education, and his ideas about the future and people on a spiritual path. (That’s not to say that I assume he has read CwG or would agree with its messages.) It shows that children, when allowed to have some self-direction will flourish; that once we remove the walls and restrictions their own ideas and creativity can flourish. This, contrary to old ideas, will not lead to uncontrolled hedonism, it actually leads to growth.

After watching Logan and really listening to what he had to say, I reevaluated my own approach to my daughter’s homeschooling. I noticed that I had gotten into a rut, and honestly, taken some of the fun out of our schooling because I felt pressure to get through and finish tasks. Logan’s enthusiasm, courage and innovative ideas inspired me. I have rededicated myself to giving her more control in directing her education because I know that she will enjoy, and thereby learn, more. It will also, allow her to Be Happy now, rather than waiting for her to become something in the future.

Children like Logan know the answers to the questions above about success, inspiration and discovery can be answered in many ways. They don’t have to be tied to how many good grades a child gets, if they get into certain colleges, or how much money they make. They can be about enjoyment, finding inspiration and value in things that make them happy, lead them to think, and give them a reason to feel passionate about a subject.

Thank you for the pep talk, Logan!

(Emily A. Filmore is the Creative Co-Director of www.cwgforparents.com. She is also the author/illustrator of the “With My Child” Series of books about bonding with your child through everyday activities.  Her books are available at www.withmychildseries.com. To contact Emily, please email her at Emily@cwgforparents.com.)

by Beth Anderson

I’m not vegan or even vegetarian every day. I still eat some chicken, sushi, and a few dairy products. But I’ve reached the point in my journey where I want to know how the animals are treated that produce my food. One of the largest groups of animal products you may consume is dairy products – cheese, yogurt, butter, or milk – and I am disturbed by the way the cows are farmed and cared for. It’s not healthy for us and it’s even worse for the cows.

How much dairy do you consume and why? How much calcium do you really need? These are extremely important questions when looking at your own eating habits. Most of us eat or drink dairy because we have been told that we need the calcium for strong bones and health. Here are some important things for you to consider.

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world in which adults drink milk. The facts show that countries with the highest consumption of dairy products (including the United States) have the highest incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis. The countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products (including Japan) have the lowest rates of bone fractures and osteoporosis.

We have been blasted with marketing campaigns telling us that we need milk in order to be healthy. There is an increased risk of ovarian and prostate cancer if you consume 3 or more servings of dairy per day according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Dairy can also cause allergies, mucous, asthma, and skin conditions.

Dairy cows are farmed in unnatural ways and using hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feed. Cows are kept pregnant throughout their lives to ensure that they continue to produce milk. Their hormone levels are already completely out of balance. They are packed into tight, filthy living quarters. If you choose to consume dairy, please consume organic dairy to ensure that there have been no added chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics to the cow’s diet.

If you feel you need extra calcium, there are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium and other necessary nutrients such as green vegetables and sea vegetables. Plant-based sources of calcium do not have the negative impact that dairy has on our health. We also need to consider that we need many other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, other vitamins, and especially collagen. Too much calcium will make your bones brittle, but increasing the collagen in your body will make bones more flexible.

It might be time to rethink the amount of dairy products you consume. Take some time to think about it. Find out where your dairy products come from and how the animals are treated. We have to stop using ignorance as an enabler to continue unhealthy practices.

(Beth Anderson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner. She is the founder of Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana and author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life. Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An expert in holistic and alternative health, Beth thoroughly enjoys educating and inspiring people to learn about the truths of food, consumer products, environmental issues, and life choices. She speaks nationally and publishes articles regularly on several internet wellness sites. Beth provides individual and group holistic health coaching and works with companies to provide wellness programs, workshops, and individualized coaching services for employees. You can find Beth on Facebook  or email her at beth@holistichealthhotspot.com)

We are all saddened by the recent events in Boston. Our hearts go out to those touched by this tragedy. And who is not touched? Now more than ever is a time to come together in love and light. I hope and pray that we do. I hope and pray that we have learned from other similar kinds of tragedy and that we will respond as Martin Luther King suggested to us not that long ago:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Now more than ever it is up to us to spread love and light into the world. Now more than ever it is up to us to demonstrate forgiveness, which does not mean to condone behavior, but rather to release resentment and the behavior that it sponsors, like retaliation. Have we not learned from our past? Do we not clearly see where our energy goes it grows? Have we not compounded tragedy with more tragedy, like war? It would be one thing if war solved problems, but it does not and has not. How high must the cost be before we awaken? Having a war with something only more firmly places it there…what you resists, persists.

The messages of God are clear. Now more than ever it is time for messages like Martin Luther King’s to be embraced, rather than fear. Turn off your TV and pick up any spiritual book. Commit this month to reading it. Commit this month to living its messages. Like the 34 Core Concepts that live within the pages of Conversations with God. Or take on the daily messages of The Course in Miracles. Or any other book that inspires you to be who you really are, rather than being sucked into the fear of the world being broadcast constantly through the television airwaves. Switch it off.

Commit to being who you really are, Love and the Light, and spread your loving energy everywhere you go. Not only will your life change, but so will those around you. You heal the world by first healing yourself.

Peace begins with me. It begins by my healing all of the wrong and small thinking (fear), which creates hell within me and on earth. Love creates the opposite.

Please consider that you have a greater impact on the planet than you may believe or understand. Consider that participating in the healing of the limiting voice within you would make a greater difference than you can even imagine. You know the one I speak of. You know the voice that steals and robs your joy, passion, and freedom to be who you really are. The voice that is denying its existence in your mind right now!

You misunderstand the power of love if you believe that healing yourself would do little to heal the world. It begins with you. When you become who you really are, Love, in every area of your life, the power of your life to heal others is a thousandfold more powerful than that of fear. That is, fear ceases to exist.

The same is true for darkness. Flip the switch in a darkened room and light immediately removes the darkness. If we all commit to flipping our switch — that is, we switch our thoughts, words and actions to love — fear disappears. Today! If we all commit to being the words express by Martin Luther King, inspired by the King of Kings, we would heal the world this moment. That is what every master that has walked this earth taught and teaches to this very day. Will today be the day?

You have the power to heal the world and now more than ever, joining with others to awaken us to the truths that are attempting to reveal themselves through our life circumstances and experiences.

We not need reach a bottom in life to have access to that same kind of wisdom that became available to Neale Donald Walsch in his conversation with God. Whatever your circumstances are in life, having a conversation with God just makes sense. Paying attention to what and where your life is leading you and the wisdom that becomes available because of it is always possible to see. That’s what conscious awareness is, the ability to look and see clearly.

We all, no matter what we have been through, have access to that kind of wisdom. The only question is, will we use the wisdom the process reveals? Will we allow the circumstances of our life to consume us or will we turn to that which is always present and allow that divine process to lead us to our own salvation?

When you are caught in a riptide, attempting to swim against the power of the tide will be your demise (what you resist, persists). When you go with the flow of the energy, and use the power to guide you downstream to safe shores, you allow the experience to present wisdom that only an experience like that can bring…don’t swim against the tide, or said in the positive, go with the flow.

Looking back on any experience to see the wisdom the circumstances were attempting to reveal creates the clarity of the need for the experience itself. Only if you fail to use your experience will you find yourself in similar experiences once again. I call them God Reminders. No matter where you are in life, no matter what is happening, this wisdom and presence is available to you.

Will we use that wisdom now? Will we see clearly? Or will we allow ourselves to fall back into that old familiar pattern that resentment sponsors? Will we use fear to deal with our common human experience or will we break free of the addiction and begin to heal ourselves?

If you could be a King today, would you turn it down? Every messenger like MLK has brought the wisdom to us. Every master like Jesus has demonstrated the wisdom to us. Will you be King for a day? Just one day?

My work and the mission and purpose of the Conversations with God Foundation has never been more important. Your energy and commitment to our work is needed now more than ever, for where your energy goes, it grows. Help me spread the messages of Love and Light to the world, and help me heal the world by committing to healing the kind of thinking that robs you of your joy, peace, and freedom. Help me help others be a king for a day. One day would change everything!

Grieve for what has happened. Forgive others and yourself. And commit to a life and a world where peace is the order of the day.  Peace begins with me. Choose to be a King for a day and watch what happens. The only thing you have to lose is the negative experience the old thinking sponsors.

Finally, please check out our upcoming Recovery Retreat – “ A Path to Peace” at www.cwg.org – could also be called “King for a Day”!

Until then, may the light and love of God touch you all. – JR

J.R. Westen, D.D., C.A.d

(J.R. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life.  As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation.)

Should gay married couples have the same rights under the law as heterosexual married couples? The administration of President Barack Obama says yes — and is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue its case.

Administration lawyers are asking the Court to declare Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Section 3 is the part of the current U.S. law that says that same gender couples are prohibited from eligibility for certain federal benefits, such as the ability to qualify for and file  joint income tax returns, or to receive federal employee benefits.

In papers filed with the high court, the Administration said there are more than 1,000 federal statutes and programs arising out of current law that depend on a person’s marital status. Treating gay married couples differently than straight married couples should be illegal in all of these areas, the Administration said.

The Defense of Marriage Act, in fact, singles out gay people specifically, the Administration’s lawyers said, including couples who are legally married, having met all the requirements to achieve that status in the states in which they reside. Targeting them as this law does, the Administration says, is “a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society.” As well, the present law violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, its filing before the Court said.

The court filing comes as little surprise to people who heard the President’s remarks about gays in his recent State of the Union message. On that occasion he said: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Opposition to any change by the Court in the Defense of Marriage Act comes in the main from Republicans in Congress, who say that the courts should stay out of the issue of gay marriage rights and let the people decide at the ballot box how they want these matters handled.

The Obama Administration told the Supreme Court, however, that there is a long history in America of discrimination against gays and lesbians. It also argued that sexual orientation bears no relation to one’s ability to contribute to society as an active member of the citizenry, and should therefore not be the basis of laws that fail to grant equal rights to those citizens.

As well, said the filing, sexual orientation is a core part of a person’s identity, and there is broad scientific evidence that this is not a voluntary choice — which is, the filing asserted, another reason why discrimination based on such orientation should be declared unconstitional.

But the Obama Administration filing saved its biggest argument for last. Gays, it said, have very limited political leverage, and what progress has been made on their behalf has not been uniform, and where it has taken place, has more often than not been the result of “judicial enforcement of the Constitution, not political action.”

The New Spirituality, of course, is very clear on this issue. Gays should not be discriminated against in any area of civic, public or private life, from housing to employment to legal rights and benefits. And same sex married couples should be accorded exactly the same social and legal benefits as opposite sex married couples. I can’t imagine a single spiritual reason why that should not be the case.

There are those, of course, who believe that gay sexual activity violates the law of God, and on that basis should be temporally illegal as well. Regarding this aspect of human behavior, everything should be “on earth as it is in heaven.”

But is it this way in heaven? Are same gender sexual expressions of love an “abomination,” as some declare that the Bible asserts – and so, therefore, that God says?

Is the Bible the infallible Word of God — on this or any other topic? If so, which topics? Every subject brought up in this Scripture?

Do you agree with the Obama Administration’s actions in requesting the Supreme Court of the U.S. to declare portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, widely known as “DOMA,” unconstitutional because they fail to protect gay married couples from discrimination?

What is the spiritual basis of your position, one way or the other? Let this be part of The Conversation of the Century.

Dear Editor…My son is falling into a group that uses drugs on a regular basis. This is not just youthful “experimentation,” this is serious drug abuse, as far as I am concerned. I have talked with him about it, but he keeps telling me not to worry, that he can take care of himself, and has no intention of becoming “addicted” to drugs. What can I do here? Are there any “spiritual truths” that might help me in this situation — or help him? I suppose I should tell you, he is 22 years old…but that doesn’t make him feel any less my worry or my concern.

— Priscilla

Dear Priscilla,

The greatest gift a parent can give their children, and the hardest one for the parent to give, is letting them live their own lives. Especially when it is going in a direction that, to us, is clearly not the journey that we would want them to take. At 22, he is certainly on his own journey.

There are no wrong paths, Priscilla, and I would like to suggest to you that your son is taking this path for two reasons. First, because this is the way he is experiencing what he chose, on a soul level, to experience. Secondly, so that you, and others, could choose your own experience through what he is doing right now.

I am not saying that, Priscilla, from a flippant space. I have someone very special to me who is a recovering addict. For him, it took many years and many hard roads, including prison. We had a talk about his path recently, and he said that there was nothing I could have done that would have stopped him…until he was ready to stop. What he did say, that was most interesting to me, was that every word of advice that my husband and I gave him was heard! He said that he couldn’t truly hear them until he was sober, but then they became powerful.

You haven’t indicated that your son is an addict, and I don’t want to suggest that he is, but the advice I would give you is the same. Talk to him. Don’t talk to him from your judgment, talk to him from your love. It is okay to tell him you are worried about him, it is not okay to tell him you think he is bad. Tell him you love him.

If he knew who he really was, he wouldn’t be doing what he is doing. To help him know this, you might give him a copy of “Conversations With God” Book 1, but just give it to him gently and let him know it is okay if he doesn’t read it until he is ready to. Priscilla, you may also wish to have personal support, and if you feel so drawn, you might consider going to www.ChangingChange.net where you can share your journey and get practical and spiritual suggestions. The site is based on the book, “When Everything Changes, Change Everything”, and it is available, in total, to read on the site. There are, of course, many other resources available to both of you.

Then let him have his own journey. It may never be one you understand, but, Pricilla, it will never be a “wrong” journey. This life is not the end of the experience as individuations of Divinity. Your task is to have your own journey, that, hopefully, includes finding a way to communicate to your son that his journey is the more difficult one, and that there is a way that works better. My journey included telling my special someone that I would no longer witness his self destruction. I told him that I understood that no one would consciously choose this road, and that I loved him, but staying on the road with him was not helping him, and was harming me, and others that I loved.

Priscilla, communicate your fears, but don’t let judgment enter the conversation. Suggest, but don’t dictate. Let your son know your love. Then, no matter how long or short the journey through drugs he must take, be there when he comes out the other side. Then tell him you will always be his mother. I know that the seeds of love that I sowed took 15 years, but they grew into a magnificent man!


 (If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)

(Therese Wilson is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net, which offers spiritual assistance from a team of Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less, and offers insight, suggestions, and companionship during moments of unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome change on the journey of life. She may be contacted at Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)


A clear cut winner in the first Presidential Debate has been declared. It was neither Republican Mitt Romney nor Democrat Barack Obama.

It was the American people.

For the first time in 18 months of back-and-forth statements and claims, both candidates for the highest public office in the United States appeared on the same platform to explain directly to the American people their proposals and ideas for how they would run the country should they be the country’s president in 2013.

The nation has waited for a very long time to hear from these gentlemen on topics ranging from taxes to the role of government, from health care to the U.S. economy. And while the format of two minutes to respond to complex questions continues to leave much to be desired (people have been complaining about such an abbreviated format election after election), moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS gave both candidates as much leeway as the rules would allow to state their case and make their point.

People—especially those who call themselves “undecided”—thus had a real opportunity to hear more of what Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney had to say in direct interface with each other on the major points of domestic policy than they ever had before. They could “feel into” these leaders and get a real sense of who they believe is best qualified to lead their nation in the years just ahead.

The wonder of the debate is that it could happen at all. The New Spirituality as articulated in the Conversations with God series of books says that the political process is a nation’s spirituality demonstrated. If this is true, and if the word “spirituality” can be understood to mean a person’s and a nation’s highest core values, then the United States has again demonstrated that its highest core value is in harmony with the highest value of The New Spirituality…which is freedom.

High school political science students know that in still too many countries around the world such a level of freedom—the ability of a nation to present to its people opposing candidates for the country’s highest office and to let the people decide who they wish to elect—is unheard of. Yet if a nation’s people cannot select their leaders, how can the values they hold closest to them ever be reflected in their nation’s politics and policies?

Now there are those who will say that the American political system is distorted, warped, and subject to every kind of abuse. And there seems little question that it is, for sure, in need of major reform, particularly as it relates to money flow, a badly outdated electoral college process which continues to be used to determine the winner of the most important election every four years, an organizing structure which continues to stubbornly be limited largely to a two-party system, etc. Still, and with these badly needed reforms notwithstanding, we saw in the debates something that would be completely out of the question in places such as Syria, where people feel they must take up arms in the street in order to participate at any level in the political process.

Whatever the challenges, limitations, distortions and abuses of the system, at the end of the day people in the U.S.—and now, thankfully, more and more nations around the world—are able to declare with their votes the leader of their choice. The system is not perfect (indeed, it is far from it), but it is closer than any other process so far devised to empowering the highest spiritual values of a nation.

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