April, 2014

The internet, and more particularly social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, has become a cyber playground for people to connect and share and converse from all corners of the globe.  Millions of human beings every day are uploading photos of their children’s accomplishments, sharing nuggets of inspiration and wisdom, trading recipes with their circles of friends, and reuniting with high school classmates from days gone by.

However, there is a darker side to this vast cyber world.  As wonderful and informative and entertaining as the internet can be, there are people who have chosen to use this far-reaching resource to hurt and shame others in what has been labeled as “cyber bullying.”  This behavior is especially prevalent among young adolescents and teenagers, many of whom are moving through some of their most vulnerable and uncertain years in life.  The level of ridiculing and tormenting experienced by some of these teens has resulted in grave consequences – depression, loneliness, and even suicide.

But what is even more alarming is when bullying stories surface about people like Charles Fowler.  What makes this story especially disturbing is that Mr. Fowler happens to be an assistant vice principal in a South Carolina school, who, while at a neighborhood Wal-Mart store, snapped a picture of a young 6-year-old girl, a kindergarten student, uploaded it to Facebook, and captioned the unsolicited photo with these words:  “Honey Boo-Boo in Wal-Mart.”

Honey Boo-Boo is the star of a popular reality show on television which features a family who manages to encompass negative socioeconomic stereotypes, obesity, teen parenthood, large families, and child beauty pageants all in an exaggerated effort to “entertain” its viewers.  And Mr. Fowler’s attempts to draw some kind of crude connection between these two youngsters by posting this picture online has not only devastated and embarrassed this little girl and her family, it has also cost him his job.  He resigned after hundreds signed a petition for his termination and the school district placed him on administrative leave.

This particular story caught my attention because not a day goes by that I don’t see repeated examples of people making fun of others on Facebook, publicly ridiculing and taunting someone else because their clothes are too tight, their teeth are crooked, their body is too big or too small, their words are different, the color of their skin is too dark or too light, or simply because some aspect of who they are falls short of someone else’s idea of worthiness or acceptability.

Of course, there are those who think Mr. Fowler losing his job over this event is an overreaction, that his behavior does not deserve such a swift consequence.  What do you think?  Harassing and intimidating behavior or just good ‘ol fun?  Do we hold the people who place themselves in positions of leadership to a higher standard – teachers, principals, ministers, etc.?  Is that “higher standard” one we should all volunteer to be accountable for?  Why or why not?  What is missing in someone’s life such that they would actually engage in bullying a 6-year-old little girl for a laugh or two?  What is missing in a person’s life who thinks this kind of behavior is funny?   And while this may appear to be the act of one person, what responsibility do we all have for creating this situation?

What will it take to get to the point when people stop subscribing to exploitive tabloid magazines and “liking” the “People of Wal-Mart” Facebook pages and sitting in front of our television sets binge-watching episodes of “Honey Boo-Boo” and “Duck Dynasty”?   Will society eventually grow weary of emotionally capitalizing on other people’s differences?

Conversations with God says there is no such thing as right or wrong.  There is only what works and what doesn’t work, given what it is we are trying to do.

So my question to you is this:  Is this working?  And what is it we are actually trying to do?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

Our purpose, our mission on the Earth right now is very clear. Our opportunity, our invitation, our challenge is to change the world’s mind about God.

To do this, we must first ask ourselves, and then ask the world, a profound question: Is it true that God threw us out of the Kingdom of Heaven, that we are born in sin, and that God will now not let us back into heaven unless we follow certain rules, the obedience to which is the only path allowing us to return?

Is it true, furthermore, that if we do not follow these rules we will not only be denied re-entry into heaven, but will be condemned to unimaginable and everlasting torture in hell?

Is this the God of our understanding? Does it matter?

Yes, it does. Because humanity’s belief in a violent, angry, and vindictive God justifies humanity’s embracing of — and approval of — violent, angry, and vindictive behaviors with each other. So long as we believe that judgment, violence, condemnation and killing are the Ways of God (the Bible tells us that over a million people were killed at the hand or the command of God), we will believe and behave as if judgment, violence, condemnation and killing are appropriate Ways of Humans.

We have based our behaviors on what we understand to be God’s behaviors. That is why God’s Message to the World is so very important at this moment in the evolution of our species.

“Okay, you claim to have talked directly with God, so tell us . . .what is God’s message to the world?”

The speaker was the world-famous host of one of America’s most popular national television morning shows, and he was asking me to answer the biggest question of all time.

“Can you bring it down to a sentence or two?” he added. “We have about thirty seconds.”

My mind raced. How could I say something in thirty seconds that would capture the essence of what Deity wants the world to know? Then, in one quick flash, I heard God’s answer in my head.

I blinked and made an announcement that surprised even me. “Actually, I can bring it down to five words.”

The host raised his eyebrows, showing a nanosecond of disbelief, then deadpanned to the camera: “All right then. Ladies and gentlemen, from a man who says he communes with The Divine, here is God’s message to the world . . . in five words.”

I knew that millions were watching in households around the globe. This was my chance to bring God’s most important communication to more people than I ever imagined I would, or could, in my lifetime. Looking straight into the lens I repeated the words I had just been given to say.

“You’ve got me all wrong.”

If that is true, it re-opens for all of humanity every question, every discussion, we have ever had about the Divine. It my answer is inaccurate, there is nothing further to discuss. The discussion is closed.

This is how most of the religious world would have it. The discussion is closed. God has spoken to us, we are told by virtually every one of the world’s major religions. And God has since stopped talking to us. There have been no further, no new, revelations.

This leaves us lingering for centuries — nay, millennia — with what God is reported to have said to us, which can now never, ever be explored or explained, and certainly never expanded. No one has the right to expand on What God Said. Anyone who does so will be condemned as a blasphemer, an apostate, a heretic.

Yet on page 3 of the 3,000-page dialogue known as Conversations with God this statement appears: “I talk to everyone. All the Time. The question is not to whom do I talk, but who listens?”

Our opportunity now on this Earth is decide whether there could be a shred of truth in that statement. As I said, our invitation is to Change the World’s Mind About God.  I believe this is the mission on which God has invited all of us to embark. It is work that will require great courage and deep conviction, for it contradicts every word of every religion in every culture and tradition on the Earth.

We are not children of a lesser God, who would judge us, punish us, and condemn us to everlasting damnation if we do not come to God through the right doorway, on the one and only pathway, by means of a singular means of salvation. Indeed, “salvation” itself is not even necessary, for God did not throw us out of the Kingdom of Heaven, then setting rules for our return.

The Good News is that we were not “born in original sin,” and we do not have to somehow earn our way back into God’s good graces so that we can go home. We are home right now, everlastingly in the arms of our loving creator, eternally embraced by Divinity, and imbued with It both now and even forevermore.

We are, indeed, “about God’s work.”

We have a chance, in this golden age of instant global communication, to launch a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its belief in a violent, angry, and vindictive God, and ending forever our telling and re-telling of the ancient and wholly inaccurate story of Separation.

We have been telling each other a story — and passing it on from generation to generation — that God is “up there” and we are “down here”, and never the ‘twain shall meet until Judgment Day, when we will be tried, judged, and convicted or acquitted…and if convicted, condemned and sent to everlasting torture as our punishment, that has produced our Separation Theology.

This in itself might be harmless enough, but the problem is that our Separation Theology produces a Separation Cosmology. That is, a way of looking at all of life that says that everything is separate from everything else.

And a Separation Cosmology produces a Separation Psychology. That is, a psychological viewpoint that says that I am over here and you are over there. And a Separation Psychology produces a Separation Sociology. That is, a way of socializing with each other that encourages the entire human society to act as separate entities serving their own separate interests.

And a Separation Sociology produces a Separation Pathology. That is, pathological behaviors of self-destruction, engaged in individually and collectively, and producing suffering, conflict, violence, and death by our own hands—as evidenced everywhere on our planet throughout human history.

Have we had enough now? Are we ready now to admit and to acknowledge that there may be something we do not fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which could change everything?

Are we ready now to, each of us, become messengers of a New Spirituality? Do we have the courage? Do we have the commitment? Do we even have an interest in doing so?


If so, how might we accomplish this? How can we change the world’s mind about God?

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?