Hey, is anyone listening?


Star of the American reality TV show Duck Dynasty, Phil Roberston, was recently very publicly vocal about his negative view of homosexuality.

A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United Methodist Church minister, Rev. Frank Shaefer, was defrocked for performing the wedding ceremony of his gay son.  (Full article here)

The discussion has taken the usual polarized tone, with the same ground being covered once again…political correctness…the right to free speech…what the Bible says…

The discussion that had the most impact on me was a blog called “In The Parlor” that suggested what we think about homosexuality doesn’t matter any longer saying:

“The stakes are too high now. The current research suggestions that teenagers that are gay are about 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. That puts the percentage of gay teens attempting suicide at about 30-some percent. 1 out of 3 teens who are gay or bisexual will try to kill themselves. And a lot of times they succeed. In fact, Rev. Schaefer’s son contemplated suicide on a number of occasions in his teens.

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter whether or not you think homosexuality is a sin. Let me say that again. It does not matter if you think homosexuality is a sin, or if you think it is simply another expression of human love. It doesn’t matter. Why doesn’t it matter? Because people are dying. Kids are literally killing themselves because they are so tired of being rejected and dehumanized that they feel their only option left is to end their life. As a Youth Pastor, this makes me physically ill. And as a human, it should make you feel the same way. So, I’m through with the debate.”

I agree completely, so I will not engage in the debate here.

Why write this article then?  Because a thought occurred to me…is it possible that this is just another act of the perfection of the Universe?

It seems that the offending act of the marriage was committed in 2007, and was revealed recently when Rev. Frank Shaefer’s parishioner, Jon Boger, filed a complaint with Methodist officials.

My thought moves to Mary O’Leary’s cow…the cow who, in legend, kicked over the lantern that began the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed a large portion of Chicago.  I think also of Judas, the disciple of Jesus, who betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

Have Jon Boger and Phil Robertson joined the ranks of those who, through purpose or by chance, change the world? Are Mr. Boger, and Mr. Robertson’s Soul purposes entirely different than what we perceive the purpose of their physical beings to be?

Think about it.  Not only did getting defrocked not deter Rev. Shaefer, it set his resolve even more firmly.  A USA Today article quotes him:

Schaefer was told to give up his pulpit in central Pennsylvania by Thursday if he cannot support the denomination’s Book of Discipline. But Schaefer, who describes the book as contradictory and biased against gay people, said he will not go quietly.”

“I am actively committing to having those discriminatory laws changed and banished from our Book of Discipline,” Schaefer said. “That’s the only way I can reconcile being a United Methodist at this point.”

“I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a voice now for many — for tens of thousands — of LGBT members in our church,” he said then.

CWG tells us that religion is not wrong, just incomplete in its understanding.  CWG also tells us that leaving a religion you do not agree with is not necessarily the best solution, and to consider being that voice from within that will create a change of understanding in that religion.

Jon Boger has steeled Rev. Shaefer’s resolve in all of this in a way that might not have happened had this simply slid under the radar.

The “In The Parlor” article referred to above was penned by a person who identifies themself as being a youth minister…and whose mind has publicly moved from the debate and into saying:

“We are now faced with the reality that there are lives at stake. So whatever you believe about homosexuality, keep it to yourself. Instead, try telling a gay kid that you love him and you don’t want him to die.”

When you humanize a theory or a theology, it gets different, and you often find you must change your mind.

Can we, in this New Year, resolve to humanize and personalize the issue…now?

(With true wishes of Peace on Earth dancing like sugar plum fairies in my head…Therese)

(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com  She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)


Social media is changing so much about the human condition. Because it allows us to interact with people all over the world almost instantaneously, it almost seems as if space and time really don’t exist! It allows us to share our success and our “blunders”, our joy and our sorrow, our passions and our peeves, our humor and our outrage. It allows for the amazing occurrence of a child’s wish to be a superhero to come true and warm hearts all over the world. It helps lost pets and lost people come home safely. It provides words of encouragement to those who are injured or ill from places we may never get a chance to visit. As with all new technologies, however,  that same lack of space and time can also be abused.

I’m going to highlight tw0 recent incidents. One was recently addressed in this column by Therese Wilson. It involved a graphic that went viral around Facebook concerning stores that were going to be open on Thanksgiving.  Those displaying the graphic pledged not to shop on Thanksgiving. The not-so-subtle message of the graphic was that these stores were “anti-American” and “anti-family” and were holiday grinches for forcing people to be away from their families on Thanksgiving Day. Some of the comments suggested that these stores be boycotted throughout the holiday season to “teach them a lesson”.

As Therese pointed out, many people need to work on holidays because of the need for money. She also noted that many families don’t want to be together on Thanksgiving for many different reasons. I personally question the appropriateness of celebrating an event that was the start of the biggest genocide in the history of humanity: the slaughter of the Native American tribes that were living here when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. I also work in EMS and, for us (as well as many other essential services providers), there are no holidays or weekends. I worked on Thanksgiving and I’ll probably be working on Christmas and New Year’s Eve as well. But in reading the comments that many posted to this graphic, I was taken aback by the intense anger and sometimes hatred that was oozing out of the words on my computer screen.

As soon as the graphic appeared, people began jumping on the bandwagon and sharing it, reposting it and leaving comments about it. Hardly anyone stopped to think about the other side of the story: the people who wanted/needed to work, the people who had no family to spend the holiday with, the people for whom the holiday had a less than pleasant association (which in addition to those who feel as I do about the holiday included those who had lost a loved one near Thanksgiving or who had experienced some other traumatic or life-altering news around the holiday). I, for one, was thankful that there was a gas station open that day because we needed fuel for the ambulance and food for the crew.

Believe me, I am under no illusion that the corporate bigwigs did this for the benefit of the workers. Big business, for the most part, doesn’t seem to care about the workers. But their motivation for staying open on Thanksgiving is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that there are already many businesses that are open 24/7/365, either out of necessity or policy. There have always been people who have had to work on Thanksgiving (or any other holiday) and many people enjoy or want the extra pay. It is not for us to judge another’s actions! Quite frankly, if my only choices were to go shopping on Thanksgiving or sit around and watch football, I’d go shopping. (Thankfully, those were not my only choices!)

The next incident involved a gay waitress, a former Marine,  who posted a photo of the receipt allegedly given to her by a family that had a note written on it expressing their inability to tip her due to her “lifestyle”. Within 24 hours, the picture had been reposted thousands of times and people from all over the world began sending money to this waitress to make up for the tip she was allegedly denied. Comments slamming the family and Christianity for their views on homosexuality were rampant and many of them were very ugly. The waitress promised to give a portion of the money she received to the Wounded Warrior Project and she was hailed by many as a real heroine.

Apparently, however, the whole thing is a hoax. Reports now say that the charity has no record of receiving any donation from the waitress. The military says the woman was dishonorably discharged for not showing up for drills. Former co-workers are saying the woman has a history of lying. To the best of my knowledge, the woman hasn’t made any comment about the allegations of a hoax.

Once again, people jumped on the bandwagon and began saying some very ugly and hateful things about a family they didn’t know. A family who was able to prove that they had, in fact, tipped the woman by providing a copy of their credit card bill and a photo of the check without the written note on it.  But there were still people who suggested that the family had forged the credit card bill and photo. Yet the family was never named in the story! So no one knew who they were. Why would they risk exposing themselves to the hatred that was being aimed at them to provide a forged copy of a credit card statement or photo? They chose to remain anonymous but they said they came forward to set the record straight. The woman has been suspended from her job pending an investigation and may even face criminal charges if it was, in fact, a hoax.

These are just a few examples in a rising phenomenon. Sometimes the stories are warnings to motorists not to stop if you get eggs thrown on your windshield because it’s the latest way robbers are getting people to stop their cars. Almost every one of these is a hoax but they get reposted over and over. (I’d say every one but I’m sure I haven’t seen every one, but of all the ones I’ve seen, they have all been hoaxes.) Sometimes it’s a story about a parent whose child is found wondering in the streets and the parent is lambasted online as being a horrible human being for not noticing their child was not in the house. (Having fallen asleep while nursing my youngest son and wakening to find my oldest son (who was still only 3 1/2 apparently missing from the house (he was actually under a pile of blankets in the middle of the bed, but I didn’t know it at the time I went running around outside looking for him), I know that it’s possible even among caring and conscientious parents!) Sometimes it’s a story about an apparent crime and the alleged perpetrator is tried, convicted and sentenced by the jury of social media users. So much for innocent until proven guilty!

The anonymity of the internet aids in this phenomenon of jumping on the bandwagon. We’re usually not held responsible for our words that are printed on a computer screen because many times, the “person” is just someone that’s been made up to give voice to those things we’re unwilling to allow others to know we feel or think or believe. We allow our “alter-ego” to post all the hateful and angry things that our family and friends would be shocked to hear coming out of our mouths. It’s also much easier to post a comment that gets lost among the thousands of comments on a page of someone you  don’t know, have never met and probably will never meet.  It can almost seem therapeutic to allow yourself to vent in this apparently harmless manner.

But is it really harmless? The incidences of cyber-bullying are on the rise. There have already been high profile cases of mostly teens who have committed suicide after being bullied online.

Our thoughts, expressed as words on the screen, are still energy that is being put out into the universe. And what we put out comes back to us. We are still judging the actions of others. Still judging their beliefs. Still judging their thoughts. And as you treat another, so shall you be treated because we are all One! When you berate another, you berate yourself. When you condemn another, you condemn yourself. When you belittle another, you belittle yourself.

Oneness is more than just a new thought concept: it is an ultimate reality. And when we experience our words coming home to roost in our own lives, we will finally understand.


I’d like to propose that we make some New Year’s Resolutions that aren’t quite the usual ones.  Oh, I think it would be commendable to resolve to lose weight, exercise more or quit smoking, but in the context of this site, I would like us all to consider something more.

Here, in the space of The Global Conversation, we do a lot of “conversating”…we talk a lot about the state of things, and wonder what we can do to forward a new paradigm.  We put theories of what might be done out there, but we never seem to acknowledge much, or for very long, what is actually, and already being done!  I came upon an article at Truthout, by Gar Alperovitz and Keane Bhatt, that intrigued me greatly, entitled “What Then Can I Do?  Ten Ways to Democratize the Economy”.

This article makes note of the current problems such wealth inequities, politics, “social and economic pain”, the environment etc., and asks “What can one person do?”

Then it proceeds to list the ten ways it feels most of us can, right now, begin to create the paradigm we desire.  They site examples of how these things are already working around the world.

Now, I’m going to admit to you that some of the things, for me, are going to be easy to do, (and I’ll bet you will be able to guess which ones those are), and some have me hoping that those with the background to fully understand what the heck they are, see the article, and step up and step in and aid in this creation!  Boy am I glad those people exist in this world!  But I am willing to bet that there is at least one thing on this list that can help you declare and to do what you have chosen to Be in this world, and that you can resolve to do!  (I think the last one is the most fun, but you will definitely have to go to the full article to understand why!)

There are so many, many good things happening out there in our world these days, that are being overshadowed by all of the chaos…I think that articles like this show that CWG’s assertion that just when it feels like you want to quit is exactly when you should strengthen your resolve, because what you have been working for us just over the ridge.

Here, then, is the list, and if you want to see the full article and fill in the blanks, go to this link, where, at the end, they also give you the opportunity “to start a conversation…”


1. Democratize Your Money!

Put your money in a credit union-then participate in its governance.

2. Seize the Moment: Time For Worker Ownership!

Help build a worker co-op or encourage interested businesses to transition to    employee ownership and adopt social and environmental standards as part of their missions.

3. Take Back Local Government: Demand Participatory Budgeting!

Organize your community so that local government spending is determined by inclusive neighborhood deliberations on key priorities.

4. Push Local Anchors to do Their Part!

Make nonprofit institutions like universities and hospitals use their resources to fight poverty, unemployment, and global warming.

5. Reclaim Your Neighborhood With Democratic Development!

Build community power through economic development and community land trusts.

6. Public Money for the Public Good!

Organize to use public finances for community development.

7. Stop Letting Your Savings Fuel Corporate Rule!

Get your workplace to offer more retirement-plan opportunities for responsible investment.

8. Democratize Energy Production to Create a Green Economy!

Get involved in public and cooperative utilities to fight climate change.

9. Mobilize the Faith Community!

Get your religious organization to move its money to a local financial institution involved in community development.

10. Make Time for Democracy!

Fight unemployment by joining the fight against work.

( for full article)

So, what can you do?  Resolve to start Doing your Being this year!


(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com  She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

Mercy Over Justice

Recently someone made a comment to me about being grateful that she had learned to strive for mercy over justice. My first reaction was to wish that more people felt the same way that she did, until I realized that the difference between mercy and justice is that you don’t seek revenge when you are striving for mercy. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a wonderful difference! And if it were up to me, everyone would strive for mercy over justice. The problem is that both mercy and justice imply that there is an absolute right and wrong.

In the CwG material, God makes is perfectly clear that there is no right and wrong and that no one acts inappropriately given their view of the world. All the same, sometimes it’s very difficult not to jump on the justice bandwagon.

  • When a young girl is shot in the head by the Taliban for daring to ask for the opportunity to be educated, it’s hard to remember that no one did anything inappropriate given their view of the world.
  • When tens of thousands of people who are dying from AIDS can’t afford the medication that pharmaceutical companies charge tens of thousands of dollars for a year’s supply, drugs that would allow them to live a relatively normal life, it’s hard to remember there is no right or wrong.
  • When innocent children are blown up by bombs fired from miles away or dropped from planes miles in the air or fired from drones, it’s hard not to want justice for the fact that their life was cut short by callous war-mongers.
  • When millions of people are struggling simply to survive and 1% of the world controls over 95% of its wealth, it’s hard to remember that no one is acting inappropriately given their view of the world.

But in Ultimate Reality, there is no need for justice or mercy because every thought, every word, every deed is always working towards our highest good! Does that mean we stand by when young girls are denied an education simply for being female? Does this mean we do nothing when people die because they can’t afford their medicine? Does this mean we don’t care when innocents are killed in wars (of all sorts!)? Does this mean we remain silent as the uber-rich get even richer exploiting the desperate poor?

Absolutely not! Unless standing by, doing nothing, not caring or remaining silent speaks to your soul as your truth.

It is often difficult for us to believe that the soul of another would choose extreme poverty to help us be able to express compassion or generosity. However, we can point to the firefighter who runs into a burning building to rescue a complete stranger to show that we humans have the capacity to sacrifice ourselves— sometimes our very lives— for others.

But for most— I know it was (and still is at times!) for me— it is even more difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that some would choose to act so selfishly greedy or so callously hurtful to help us to express compassion or generosity. It is hard for us to see this as a sacrifice on the part of the rich or war-mongering. And yet, because it goes against the very nature of our soul (such behavior is NOT in keeping with the self-sustaining nature of life!), it is a form of self- sacrifice to subject your soul to such behaviors and to live your entire life promoting such unsustainable endeavors.

Selfishness, greed, war-mongering, hatred: none of these are “right” or “wrong”. But neither are they self-sustaining and, as such, are probably not the best choices for something we should all strive to emulate. However, all these unsustainable behaviors and actions are necessary at this point in our evolutionary process in order for the rest of us to be able to demonstrate, express and experience compassion and empathy and generosity, which are self-sustainable.

So the next time you have the urge to curse the uber-rich, the war-mongers, the greedy and anyone else whose behavior upsets you or goes against what you deeply believe, stop yourself! Instead, bless them. Thank them for their sacrifice and then demonstrate and express your compassion, empathy and generosity to your fellow inhabitants of planet Earth.


I was thinking about “welfare” today.  As it exists in the United States, of course.  I looked up some statistics.

Money spent on Welfare in the U.S. was “$1.03 trillion on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs in fiscal year 2011 alone,” according to  Read more:

It also seems that if one forsakes the normal systems entirely, and lives on the streets, asking only what each individual person has in their heart or ability to share, it is still not acceptable.  To highlight this point Mormon Bishop David Musselman disguised himself as a homeless person and entered a Sunday service.  The congregation was less than welcoming.  In the U.S. alone, there are 600,000+ homeless…although statistics seem to show that number is dropping.  Read more: 

Money spent on prisons in the U. S. was about $74 billion a year, and makes the U.S. have the largest incarceration rate in the world, according to —— and other sources, and “The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world not because it has higher crime rates, but because it imprisons more types of criminal offenders, including non-violent and drug offenders, and keeps them in prison longer.”  Read more:

While the financial numbers are disparate, to be sure, isn’t a LOT a lot?   It occurred to me that Progressives and Conservatives alike are providing “Welfare” but simply calling it something that agrees with the way they believe human society should function.  Some consider that we are “our brother’s keeper”, and others believe in “an eye for an eye”.  And while I am well aware that I am speaking primarily of my knowledge of America, I am not ignorant of caning and stoning and inhumane prison conditions in the rest of the world.

My question is this…Why is the thought of directly helping people so abhorrent that we have to create a world in which we virtually demand that people commit a crime, or beg, in order to be taken care of?  Do we continue to create more and more poverty so that the rich can feel superior, and vindicated by giving to people made to beg in some way?   Is this the accepted way of giving and receiving among us these days?

As CWG states, all attack is a cry for help.  Why don’t we, as a world for the most part, see that “criminals” are, at their root cause, asking for help?  Aaahh, that might be the crux, might it not?  Who/what benefits from the current system?  Might it be the private prison system, that is incentivized by states guaranteeing a certain number of prisoners?  Might it be a current political clime that operates under a fear  and power paradigm?  Maybe.

These “criminals” are part of a much larger picture.  How is it that their cries for help, from a very young age, and culturally, have been ignored?  Is it possible that our cultures come from our understandings of how God treats us?  Is it possible that a God who will punish with eternal damnation will also ask us to “spare the rod, spoil the child”?  Operate under the “eye for an eye” model?  Obviously, for many.

What creates the need for a welfare system of any kind?  What kinds of government and corporate structures reinforce the paradigm?

Is it also possible that the conflict within humanity at this time knows that we are all One, and that we should take care of one another, with no condition, but is pulled by all around us to act within the punishment paradigm?  What might that marriage of those conflicting thoughts produce?  To me, it produces prisons.  It produces people who believe they have to be bad, and forgiven, to be given succor, and community.   It produces a system of Prison as Welfare.

I believe it is time to begin reforming God, not reforming prisons or the welfare system.

It is time, to look at the duality of our belief system that at once says that we have a punishing God, and a Loving God in the same breath.

Which is it?

It is, and of course, as always, up to us to decide.  Up to you, and to me, to Be the change we wish to see.  It is time to be honest enough with ourselves to notice whether or not this duality feels true to us.  It is time to be brave enough to admit it to ourselves if it does not.

I know how difficult this can be.  I used to have what I call “half completed sentence” dialogs with myself….”if God really is all loving, how could he…?  If I really am created in the image and likeness of God, why am I…?”  Stop that thought!  If I didn’t compete it, I hadn’t fully sinned!  More accurately, if I didn’t complete it, I wouldn’t have to do anything about it, and risk angering and/or disappointing others.  I wouldn’t lose what I had, even though I knew instinctively it wasn’t working.

When the circle of thought brings us back to ourselves, what does that mean in terms of everyday life?  I believe it means it is time to notice, within ourselves, if we are angry and sad and reach out for someone to help us understand.  I believe it is time to notice those around us who seem to be struggling to find a place in this world, and be there for them.  To hear their unvoiced cries for help.  I believe it is time to consider that God does not ask us to beg…but does ask us to understand one another, and I most fervently believe that Goddess asks us to know that the greatest joy in life comes from giving, with full and open heart and soul, to others.  Indeed, I believe this is all we are here for.  Reform God, and we just may not have any need to have people begging, in any form, for what it takes to live in this world, and we just may reform it all.

How are you “reforming” God?

Crimes and Godliness

This idea has been swimming in my head for a very long time. At one point in time, I was corresponding with more than 30 inmates in various correctional institutions around the country. The charges ranged from simple burglary to murder. One was even on death row.

I got to know them as men and women, not as criminals. They wrote about their families and about their dreams and their hopes for the future. They were poets, songwriters and artists. Several times a week, my mailbox would be graced with an envelope that was beautifully decorated by an inmate. I used to have a collage of many of these works of art, but sadly, I lost it in a house fire.

I was inspired by these men and women to rethink my ideas about those who commit crimes. To see them not as someone who got what they deserved, as “low life” who don’t deserve any of the “good things” in life, but as a human being who had made some ineffective choices.

I am aware that most people see the justice system as a means of making sure the criminal “gets what s/he deserves”, but I have long seen the justice system as a means of “rehabilitating” those incarcerated within its prison walls. It long ago ceased to make any sense to me to throw these people into cages, treat them like animals, deny them access to any means of bettering themselves and then, when we release them, to be surprised that they return to a life of crime!

A recent insight that came to me is that most crime is about trying to feel in control in a world that feels out of control on so many levels. Those who work in rape crisis centers have long been aware that rape is not a sex crime: it is a crime about power and control. Those who work in women’s shelters have long been aware that domestic violence is not about uncontrollable anger but about power and control over another. (The other crimes are where people just don’t think—they have a momentarily lapse of judgment and make a “stupid” decision. Like someone who shoplifts a cigarette lighter when they have the money in their pocket to pay for it.)

In the CwG material, God tells us that no one does anything inappropriate given his/her view of the world. And then recently, in What God Said, I read:

  • [T]he Conversations with God theology suggests that the only motivation that makes sense to our Soul is the goal of experiencing, expressing, and demonstrating Divinity. So we will, as enlightened beings, seek to do “what works” to produce that experience from moment to moment.

It was a sort of “Aha!” moment for me. How “enlightened” we are will determine “what works” for us to produce that experience of Divinity. And what, at its base, is the experience of Divinity? That of creating the life that we choose. And for those who are “less enlightened”, this is experienced as being the one who calls the shots. Being “in control.”

This logically leads to one conclusion: a criminal is seeking to express and demonstrate their view and understanding of Divinity! The creative energy that is part of that divinity manifests as taking control of others to create the world they want when they want it! It is “what works” for them to fulfill that drive to experience Divinity. Until they get caught.

It’s already evident that “getting tough on crime” doesn’t work. Rather than seeking harsher penalties and more jail time for those who have violated the social mores of their culture, perhaps it would be more effective to help them find further enlightenment so the next time they choose to express their Divinity, no one else is adversely affected.

The real ghosts…

Recently, there was a stabbing in a high school cafeteria in Texas.

Because of a shoulder bump…really?  Was that really the cause?  Maybe for them it was, but I am looking for a different discussion here.  I’m looking for the discussion that looks for cause, because I believe it is only from that discussion we can truly move into doing something about what we discover.

Have you ever paid attention to the young people in your world?  Yes, you may say, you love your children. But do you really look at any others?

It is my observation that the young people in my neighborhood are virtual ghosts to adults.  We do not look them in the eye.  We do not speak to them.  What we will do is automatically think ill of them.  The Black and Hispanic kids are gang members, of course.  All are lazy and up to no good.

And it does appear to be somewhat true.  There is escalating violence and declining test scores and climbing dropout rates.  But are these young people at cause or are they a symptom?  Are they the fallout?           


I believe they are the fallout.  I believe what they do is the result of buying into “things” as the definition of success.  I believe they are the symptom of looking outside of ourselves for happiness…so far outside of ourselves that we leave our children at home, while we go in search of something to fill that empty place within us.

Why do we feel so empty, that who we are isn’t enough?  How did we get taught this?

I believe it is because we are also taught to look for God outside of ourselves.  Our parents are told, through our religions, our cultures, advertising and more, that perfection, happiness, wholeness, Divinity, lies anywhere except within ourselves…and they continue the cycle by passing it down to their children.  They don’t know any better.  If it doesn’t make sense, don’t question it…it’s a matter of “Faith,” one of the things that mere mortals will never understand, that mortals should never understand because we are so sinful, don’t question…or you will find yourself separated from that God you are already separated from forever.

But there is an uneasiness growing, isn’t there?  More and more you see even the strictest of religious persons conflicted in their beliefs.  Men like former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who believes in the moral imperative for war, now believes that his lesbian daughter is still lovable, and good.  Life and real people in our lives are putting reality in conflict with what we have been told about being separate from God and contradicting what the rules of God are…and the love of real people is winning out.

Could the reason the love of real people is winning out is because it is as God always intended?  Could it be that the vision of the bloodied bodies of hatred of all kinds is breaking our hearts?  Are we seeing that if it can break our hearts, it is quite likely not what God wants…and just might be offensive to Her?

How do we change this cycle?  How do we stop our young people from doing things like stab another to death in a cafeteria?  I believe it is quite simple.

Look at them.  Talk to them.  Engage them fully in your life.  Be there for them.  Don’t expect others to entertain them for you…play a game with them, take a walk with them, talk to them, listen to them.

It seems futile to me to expect children to spend their first years being ignored, and being treated as not yet fully worthy because they are not 18, or 21, and yet, at that magic numbered age they are somehow expected to know how to fully engage in society.  A teenager is told they should act more adult, and have adult consequences for their actions…but are treated like children in the very next breath.  This world exhibits over and over again how little they value children, enslaving them, beating them, indoctrinating them, putting guns in their hands, starving them and more…yet we still claim that the future lies in their hands, and they are our hope.  How can this possibly be?

Our hope, does, indeed, lay with our children, but we must first give them hope.  All any of us desires in this life is to be seen.  It is where we put context to our self image.  Yet we have ghosts wandering our streets looking for someone to see them, because their parents won’t.  I don’t see these parents as bad parents, by the way.  I do see them as not knowing a better way.  Maybe we can all teach each other a better way?  In the total scheme of things, aren’t we all just children looking for guidance and inspiration?

(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com  She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

In Their Shoes

I believe that one of the secrets to a more loving world is empathy. Being able, even for just a second, to put yourself in another’s shoes in even the smallest way will enhance our feeling of Oneness while decreasing the amount of judgment we all encounter in our daily lives. It will increase our level of acceptance and tolerance and diminish the sense of superiority that allows us to justify the harmful way that we treat others at times.

Some kinds of empathy are easier to get in touch with than others. When someone’s family member or beloved pet transitions to the “spirit world”, most of us can empathize with the sense of lose that is felt. We have no problem empathizing with those who experience great joy and happiness at the birth of a child or the promotion they’ve been waiting for or the pride that swells in their heart seeing their child perform in the kindergarten play as the third hippopotamus or score that first goal in a football or soccer game.

But there are other kinds of empathy we seek to avoid, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. Empathy for things we have deemed “evil” or “wrong” or “bad” is often not something we are consciously willing to allow ourselves to feel. We seem to think that if we can empathize with a murderer or a rapist or an abuser or a thief that part of us becomes a murderer, rapist, abuser or thief. This is not a comfortable feeling for us: we want to think of ourselves as “better” than that, as more spiritually aware, as more “saintly” or more “pure” or simply as a decent human being. We don’t want to admit that we are the same as, that we are One with, those whose faces are plastered on the evening news or are put into jail or even executed for their actions.

Throughout the Conversations with God material, God says that man, in relationship to God, is just as a drop of ocean water is to the ocean: the drop of water is the same as the ocean, differing only in degree. And the same is true of empathy: we have all felt the same feelings that motivate murderers, rapists, abusers and thieves: we just have not felt them to the same degree, therefore the resulting behaviors are different. I realize there are other factors governing behavior, including beliefs, past experiences (whether remembered or not), level of maturity (emotional and spiritual), etc.  This is not an attempt to make a direct and exclusive cause and effect connection between feelings and actions. It’s an attempt to demonstrate that we are all more alike than most of us want to admit.

Have you ever gotten so frustrated with your child that you said something like “You are so stupid sometimes!” or “Stop being a spoiled brat!” or reached out and slapped their hand or their backside? Then you’ve done and felt, in a small way, the same thing a child abuser does and feels.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with your spouse/partner and started scream at them “I hate you! You are such as idiot!” or thrown something across the room, not even in their direction or simply not spoken to them for days at a time because you were so angry? You’ve behaved, to a lesser degree, just like an abusive partner in a domestic violence situation.

Have you ever been driving down the street and flipped off a driver who cut you off or laid on your horn at someone who didn’t go as soon as the light was green or got as close to someone’s back bumper as you could without hitting them because they did something to anger you? You’ve acted, in a small way, like someone with road rage.

Have you ever found a $10 bill lying on the ground in the grocery store and just picked it up and put it in your pocket? Or, knowing you were out of bandaids at home, and you’re sitting in an exam room waiting to be seen by a doctor, you open a cabinet and pocket a dozen bandaids? Or you’re walking though a grocery store and you’re so hungry your stomach is growling so you pop a few grapes in your mouth or a piece of candy from the bulk foods bins? Have you ever called in sick when you weren’t and gotten paid for it? Ever called a friend to punch you in on time cause you were running late or, if you still fill in time sheets, ever pad your time sheet with 15 minutes here and there? Have you ever surfed the internet while at work even though your company policy doesn’t allow it? You have, in a small way, acted just like a thief.

Have you ever bought a mouse trap, knowing it was going to kill the mouse it caught? Or have you ever killed a whole lot of mosquitoes or house flies or spiders that were infesting your house? Have you ever struck someone in anger or frustration or even pain? Have you ever driven home when you had had too much to drink? Then you have, in a small way, behaved just like a murderer.

Have you ever intentionally scared someone you knew hated being scared just to laugh at their reaction? Have you ever held someone down and tickled them even if they were yelling, “No! Please stop!” Have you ever given your partner the silent treatment because they didn’t want to be physically intimate and you did? Then you have, in a small way, behaved just like a rapist.

Have you ever forgotten, even once, to provide food or water to a pet? Have you ever forgotten, even once, to pick up your child from a friend’s house or from an after school activity? Have you ever, even once, had to backtrack because you forgot to drop your child off at the sitter or at daycare on your way to work? Then you have behaved, in a small way, like child or animal abusers.

When you’re watching shows like  the “American Idol” audition episodes where they make fun of some of the contestants for their abilities or the way they dress or their behaviors, do you laugh and join in from home? Have you ever made fun of someone because of their weight or what they look like? Do you use the word “gay” to mean the same thing as “stupid” or “ridiculous”? Do you ever call someone a “retard” or a “bitch” or any other derogatory term in anger? Then you have behaved, in a small way, just like a bully.

But, I can hear you saying, those are not the same thing as being a murderer or a rapist or an abuser or a thief or a bully!

And you are correct! It’s not the same…anymore than a drop ocean water is the same thing as the ocean….

Someone posted this graphic on Facebook awhile ago, presumably in response to news that Kmart will be staying open for 41 hours straight, beginning early on Thanksgiving Day, (for non-Americans reading this, Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, and big sales happen the Friday after stores have been closed for a day.) and several other major retail chains will have opening hours actually on Thanksgiving Day, not the traditional early morning hours of the following Friday, for the “Black Friday” sales.

no shop graphic

Of course, even though I agree with this graphic, one must also remember that many/most? work on holidays FOR family.  They need the money.   Living wages are low, and holiday pay is simply higher.

I think we also have to remember that Americans have a country in which the family structure is being ripped asunder, family “values” are fluid, and we have way too many families that just haven’t bonded, or are broken…and they simply don’t wish to be together. So sad…

But why are these things this way?  I have my theories, and many of them are articulated in an article found on Shmoop on line.  It says, in part, that during the Eisenhower presidency, things began to shift from a production society, to a consumption society:

“The difference between a production society, which focused on meeting basic needs, and a consumption society, which emphasized customers’ wants, was like the difference between a 1908 Ford Model T and a 1959 Ford Galaxie. The Model T, available only in black, was a utilitarian piece of machinery intended for basic transportation. The Galaxie, decked out in shiny chrome, was a way to show off and to enjoy a sense of luxury, not just to move from place to place. Within a year or two, it would be obsolete as fashion changed. Blessed with abundant resources, America could afford to turn part of its productive capacity to creating glitz and fashionable waste. An older generation was careful to save and reuse; Americans in the Fifties began to use and throw away. They became ‘consumers.’”  For full article click here.

Coming from the deprivations of a World War, the temptation towards consumerism was overwhelming.  Add to this that the “powers that be” figured out that planned obsolescence would fuel faster turnover, and the marketing world figured out how to make consumers desire things they don’t even need.

We became a consumer society.

We became addicted to “things”, and let “things” define who we are

…and then we became indentured servants to the banks

…and when we became indentured servants

…we did the “right” thing and women started leaving the home, to pay the bills, have more things and in the name of “women’s equality”

…and left children at home, and with strangers

…and we made the choice to let advertisers tell our children that  “things” were more important than being with parents

…and parents started giving “things” instead of time to show their children love.

We have created a modern version, here in the United States, of debtors prison.  And we have people who no longer know how to interact with one another if we feel the only thing we have to offer is ourselves.  And we exported this vision of ourselves, and set about converting the rest of the world.

Please don’t get me wrong on a couple of points here.  There is nothing wrong with having those “things” as long as they are not defining your life, and are merely enhancing it.  (Even that statement must be caveated with the knowing that manufacturing, as we know it today, is taking a huge toll on natural and human resources, which is an entirely different discussion.) I know full well that having enough money to cover, at the very least, basic human needs, takes a huge strain off of relationships, and facilitates life.  I also know that the role of women in this world has to shift, and that “women’s rights” is not a dirty little phrase.  In fact, I believe it is the key to changing the direction of this country, and the world.

Women did, indeed, in the 1950’s and especially the 1960’s, step into the current power paradigm, which, obviously to most of us, is not working. But we are in the next phase of recognizing the hole that we have dug for ourselves. I also believe that it goes against our nature to stay in that energy.  This is a discussion that I have actually had elsewhere on in this newspaper as well.

I believe that women first had to experience the form of power that had been denied them throughout history, the power of force, in order to feel they had self determination at last.  Power is actually not a bad thing, in and of itself, and is needed at times in order to be the guiding parent, the household organizer, and, yes, the business woman, and more.  But we are now remembering that it has to be tempered with something else…that intangible that is the feminine. Power had to be experienced in order to recognize it wasn’t what was truly being sought.  It is now time to stop playing the game by the old rules.  Time to stop putting a skirt on the men’s rules and calling them feminine.  Women now must recognize there is power in being able to mix their femininity with their male strength.  Time to stop living the “We are all One…and all men are created equal…unless you are a woman.”

Still, even in the old paradigm, women began to teach, if incompletely, that there really IS a different way to view one another. Unfortunately, in most cases, the change was external…men doing dishes, washing clothes, housework…but then it became more subtle. It became okay for men to share the child-rearing responsibilities… and who is the mentor in this situation? The woman.  Now we have men recognizing their own gentle strength, and men and women teaching this to their sons and daughters.

Right now we still have too many women so wrapped up in the power paradigm that they don’t even, necessarily recognize that they perpetuate the paradigm that says they are less than.  But this next phase is happening.

Women, when they are balanced and spiritual and assured of who they are, will be the ones to raise the boys who know the same…and then men will also know their own true power and be allowed to put down the burdens of the current use of that power.

Balanced women. Balanced men. New paradigm.  Children who feel connected to family for a lifetime.  No need to outsource happiness and still feel empty.  No need to shop on Thanksgiving?  Time to begin living and feeling a new “Oneness” concept?  Time to truly be Grateful?

Unwritten Messages

Social media is the rage the world over. Everyone of us has that friend on social media who does almost nothing but post graphics with “inspirational” sayings. But it would behoove us to really LOOK at those inspirational messages before we share them with our friends and family because many times, there is a subtle, unwritten message that is also being shared. I’ve collected just a few examples over the last two weeks.

Never push a loyal person to the point
where they no longer give a damn.

The intent of the message, I believe, is to warn people not to push someone too far or too often because even the most loyal person will say “If that’s what you want…” and stop coming around. The unwritten message here is that others have control of your thoughts, emotions and actions. Someone can “push” you and make you not care anymore is what this message is saying. It reinforces the idea that others can “make us” feel things or not feel things.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Talk to people the way you want to be talked to.
Respect is earned, not given.

I can wholeheartedly support the first two lines of this one, but once you get to the third line, you’re essentially unsaying everything you just said! How can I “earn” your respect if I have never met you? This meme seems to suggests that you should only treat people the way you want to be treated if you respect them, which means that you have to get to know them first so they have a chance to “earn” your respect. Which is the complete utter opposite of what the actual Golden Rule implies!

 Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence.  Sometimes the most powerful think you can say is nothing at all.
(Mandy Hole)

Now we have the reverse situation. I can agree with the last line, but not the first line. Why? Because NO ONE deserves your silence.  We are all one. Not talking to someone because they “deserve” your silence is like saying “I’m not going to feed my right foot tonight.” Maybe your words, spoken in and motivated by Love, to someone who is “deserving” of silence is what it will take to heal the situation.

Sometimes you give up on people not because you don’t care but because they don’t.

I may have actually shared this one before I really thought about it. But giving up on someone is NOT a loving thing to do. How do you know that they don’t care? Even if they have said so, that may just be them trying to “look strong” or hide their real feelings out of fear of being hurt again. And if they really don’t care, then they really don’t care about themselves and they need unconditional Love even more! Love will always support everyone!

Spend your time to [sic] those who love you unconditionally…not with those who love you only when the condition is right for them.

This meme is advising you to only love those who love you unconditionally and avoid those who love conditionally. In other words, become someone you wouldn’t spend time with because you’re loving someone conditionally! (ie, on the condition they love you unconditionally!)

 Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do ‘cause hate in your heart will consume you.

The intent of this one, I believe, is to not let yourself be consumed with hate! I can agree with the part about hate in your heart, but no one can make you mad or make you feel disrespected unless you allow them to. And the implication is that God will punish them later for it so you don’t have to worry about it, which reinforces the idea of a vengeful, angry God who must be appeased.

I believe we are who we choose to be.
Nobody is going to come and save you.
You’ve got to save yourself.
Nobody is gonna give you anything.
You’ve got to go out and fight for it.
Nobody knows what you want except you and
Nobody will be as sorry as you if you don’t get it.
So don’t give up on your dreams.

This one sandwiches good advice around a foul meaty middle. The bit about saving yourself is a bit sketchy because there’s really nothing to save yourself from other than the illusions you may be buying into. And in that sense, you DO have to save yourself because you are the only thinker in your mind. It’s your beliefs that need to change and you’re the only one who can change them. But you don’t have to “fight” for anything. There is no lack in the world. That is one of the five fallacies about life.

When you have a good heart
You help too much
You trust too much
You give too much
You love too much
And it always seems you hurt the most.

The unwritten message here is that having a good heart means you’re going to have a life full of pain. Yes, you can help too much. It’s called enabling. Yes, you can give too much. It too is called enabling. But you cannot trust or Love too much. And nothing can hurt you unless you allow it to! Your soul is indestructible. Your soul is immune to harm of any sort. In fact, you can really do nothing BUT Love because Love is all there is.

When people walk away, let them.
Your future is not about people who walk away.
It’s about people who stay in it for the ride.

Yes, you let people walk away if they choose to. That’s respecting their free will. But someone who is an abuser will not walk away and will stay “for the ride”. Someone who enjoys taking advantage of others or feels entitled to take what they want from others will “stay for the ride”. You must Love yourself AND them enough to say “This is enough!” [Note: I fully understand there are no victims and there are no villains. The use of the term “abuser” is for the sake of ease in understanding.]

And finally, la pièce de resistance:

Share this within 2 minutes if you believe in God
and he’ll do you a huge favor!

This has got to be one of my all-time favorites for memes with unwritten messages. I had no idea that God was out there with a stop-watch checking to see if you’ve shared a graphic before he’d do anything for you! How many of the fallacies about God does this embrace? I’m thinking at least the first three! God needs you to share this message so he can help you! And you MIGHT not do it so he may fail to be able to help you. And if you don’t give him what he needs, he’s not going to help you (separate himself from you)!

Words are an enigma in many ways. The power of words to hurt you is inversely proportional to your understanding that the only power words have is the power you give them. If you believe that being called fat and lazy is hurtful, then you will be hurt when you are called fat and lazy. If you believe that being called fat and lazy are simply words that another person is using to express their anger and frustration because they don’t understand why their life is the way it is, then being called fat and lazy won’t bother you. It may, in fact (hopefully), cause you to feel empathy and compassion for the person who is calling you fat and lazy because they don’t understand something that would allow their life to be so easy for them.

I have often been told that I am too wordy. And I cannot disagree. I often say the same thing in an article half a dozen times in half a dozen ways so that I do everything in my power to make sure that what I am saying is clear. That there is minimal room for misunderstanding. Unfortunately, the craze of graphic memes that fills the pages of social media has exactly the opposite goal: use as few words as possible to get their message across. And that means the message is often self-contradictory and open to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

It’s so very easy to simply click the “share” link and spread the messages of these memes to all your Facebook friends. But before you do, take a few minutes to make sure that the message you are sending is one of Love.

(Shelly Strauss is a civil rights activist and speaker.  In addition to becoming an ordained minister, she has written 20-plus novels and is the “resident visionary” at One Spirit Project.  Shelly is also a spiritual helper on the ChangingChange website, offering support and guidance to people faced with unexpected and unwelcome change .)