Overcoming Disappointment: Part 1

Disappointed young manPhysicist Albert Einstein asserted that we cannot solve problems from the same level of consciousness at which they were created. Perhaps that’s why I’m seeing an increase in requests for one-on-one Drama Queen Workshop consultations.

It appears that more of us are beginning to realize that we can’t solve a problem until we fully understand it. At the current level of consciousness, some things seem absolutely incomprehensible; so it seems logical, perhaps even natural, to come at it from another vantage point.

Unquestionably, problems look starkly different when you’re standing in the footlights of the world’s stage than when you’re sitting in the balcony. Frequently, the solutions to those problems can easily be spotted from up there, too. With that possibility in mind, we begin to look for the solutions together.

Even though each person has a different set of circumstances and concerns, I’ve noticed that one problem seems to arise more frequently than others: Disappointment. Many are disappointed by the situation they’re in, the person they’re with or the direction their lives have taken. They had a different vision and grander expectations. Therein lies the rub.

Expectation: Root of Disappointment

I think my “all the world’s a stage” mentor, Shakespeare, has given voice to a truth that a lot of us choose to ignore: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” Instead, we follow directives to create expectations and visualize those expectations in great detail. They tell us to feel euphoric, as if we actually have received what we desire.

Some even tell us that if we don’t expect something, we won’t get it. But what is a disappointment but an unfulfilled expectation? And, oh—by the way, how do these folks explain surprises: those gifts that we never envisioned?

My unexpected trip last year to Egypt—on short notice, with all expenses paid, including a luxurious suite in a five-star hotel on the Nile River—comes to mind. My daughter, Maiysha, was headlining the “Sing Egyptian Woman” competition as part of a cultural exchange program for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

I accompanied as her publicist. The trip far exceeded my most vivid imagination!

Days after we returned, I had to cancel a long-planned, highly anticipated, prepaid trip to a conference in San Juan. So much for expectations.

What is the real “secret” to manifesting our desires?

Pat at the sphinxWhenever I mention my trip to Egypt, others ask: “How did you manifest that? I want to do that!”

I tell them the same thing I wrote in my book on the Law of Attraction secrets no one wants to talk about: Manifesting depends more on “being” than “doing.” Your soul history plays a significant role, too. I can’t delve into that in a blog post; however, in my metaphysical memoir, I do cite a surprising, real-life example of how my soul’s ancient history impacted my 20th century life.

Chances are, you don’t know anyone who has never experienced a disappointment or a surprise. You probably don’t know people who have always received what they expected. I’m sure the same is true of those who tell us how critical it is to have expectations, so it’s difficult for me to believe that they are unaware that their claim is fallacious.

We want to hear that we control our lives and our experiences here, and there are those who are willing to tell us that we do–sometimes they even charge a fee to hear it. But the fact that so many of us pray for one outcome or another is evidence that humans don’t have total power over what manifests here. So why do some spiritual leaders and motivational/transformational speakers tell us that?

I’m sure their hearts’ desire is to empower and motivate us. But are you more likely to empower someone or set them up for disappointment by misleading them?

You can have everything you want. Really.

From up here in the Balcony of Life, it appears that Spirit said, “You can have everything you want.”

Before finding out if Spirit had said all It had to say, folks excitedly dashed off to “empower” people with the few words they heard. Word spread like wildfire. Apparently, no one asked, “Then why don’t I have it already?”

Short answer: Spirit sees us as souls. When It says “you,” Spirit isn’t talking about the physical body costume you are wearing. The body merely enables you to be visible on Earth’s stage now. It is not “you.”

Indisputably, you can have everything you want. In fact, you do have everything you want, Dear Soul—YOU, not your body. Whatever situation you’re in, whatever you manifest here, you—as an eternal soul—created it.

Understand that to the soul, a human lifetime is a bat-of-an-eyelash experience. Whether a prince or a prisoner, it’s just a role to the soul: a way to experience Life in a different way, learn some lessons, create or complete some karma.

While that’s fine and dandy for immortal souls that have written the scripts, their mortal bodies might be catching hell. That’s when my phone starts ringing and my e-mailbox blows up.

Why did I create this? How does it serve me?Then begins the first step on the journey to find the source of the discomfort. It always starts with this question: “Why did I, as Soul, create this painful situation?”

Life isn’t random, and what happens here on Earth is not intended to hurt us. In fact, as immortal souls, it’s impossible to hurt us. Our only pain comes from our belief that we are mere mortals, disconnected from God.

That, in itself, creates a lot of uncertainty and insecurity that leaves us vulnerable to scary stories about an angry vindictive Being who lives far away in the sky, solves problems by killing humans, and has threatened to come down here to judge us, then sentence us to an eternity of torture.

It’s a not-so-Divine drama starring someone who’s certifiably satanic. He demands that we love and worship him, and we do.

Why, God, why?

You’ve heard that everything happens for a reason. Essentially, every drama in which we find ourselves was scripted purposefully. That’s why the most appropriate questions to ask when we want to move to another scene is, “Why did I, as Soul, create this horror flick? How does it serve my life’s purpose?”

If you dare to ask these questions, Spirit will answer. It’s the one thing I can say you can expect. Your answer may come through—wait for it—unexpected channels: a commercial on TV, something someone says in the line at the grocery store, or one of those “something told me” moments when you’re alone.

Stay open. Listen. Trust. If you want to, drop me a note and tell me what you heard—and how it made you feel to get a response. If you must visualize, see yourself surrounded by unconditionally loving souls who are always available, willing and able to support you through your toughest times.

In Part 2, we’ll go a little deeper and explore ways to eliminate disappointment from your life experience.

Blowing up our violent god

I awoke this Sunday morning to a disturbing but not surprising newspaper story about a suburban Chicago teen, Adel Daoud, who tried to blow up a downtown bar full of patrons. His goal: To kill as many Americans as he could—and not just any Americans. He specifically targeted bar patrons with his car bomb because drinking alcohol is prohibited by Islam.

This was to be an act of jihad. The authoritative Dictionary of Islam defines jihad as: “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad … enjoined especially for the purpose of advancing Islam and repelling evil from Muslims.”

The teen reportedly told undercover agents that he wanted to make it clear that his jihad was a terrorist attack. He didn’t want Americans to dismiss it as just another act of a mentally ill person, specifically referencing the recent Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre.

According to the criminal charges filed against him, Daoud allegedly sent an email declaring: “I am trying to do something [an attack] here [in the United States] . . . pray to Allah for my safety and that I’m successful in this life and the hereafter.”

His message gets to the heart of this drama: There are those who believe that their god sanctions the use of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Allah will protect them in this life and reward them in the afterlife, if they successfully murder their disobedient brothers and sisters.

Gun-shaped Holy BibleShocked? Appalled? Can’t understand why anyone would believe something so preposterous?

You shouldn’t be surprised at all. Most Americans worship a God who solves problems by murdering humans. This angry, vindictive god is at the core of Judaism, Christianity and Islamic faiths.

In the first chapter of the Judeo-Christian Bible, God kills “every living thing”—from pregnant women and newborns to plants, trees and wildlife.

The body count rises as the book progresses. By some accounts, the Bible records God killing more than two million of His own children. By contrast, Satan kills a whopping 10.

But that’s not all: God orders us to lay waste to each other, too. Using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, I counted more than 50 circumstances under which the so-called “word of God” mandates us to murder a member of our human family for the strangest of reasons. (Good thing we’re disobedient heathens. We’d all be serving life sentences in state and federal prisons.)

Bible says God killed more people than Satan

dangerousintersection.org

For example, the Bible tells us that children who curse their parents “shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:17) Women who are not virgins when they marry “shall be executed.” (Deut. 22:13-21).

Is this the word of God or merely insight into the controlling behaviors of ancient men, as recorded by scribes? Did God become less inhumane, as some would have us believe, when they contrast the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament? Or is it more likely that humans gradually evolved beyond these particular barbaric behaviors?

If the Almighty can’t think of a more humane way to solve problems, how can mere mortals be expected to do so?

It’s a compelling question that attorney Eric Veith approached from a different angle in his March 2007 post on the Dangerous Intersection blog, “Does reading violent scripture make people violent?”  Veith cited a study that had recently been released in which researchers asked 500 students to read a violent Bible passage.

Half of the students were allowed to read through to the conclusion of the Old Testament story. Only those students knew that God had ordered members of select Israeli tribes to retaliate for a woman’s murder by completely destroying several cities. (Perhaps a precursor to the urban riots following the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination?)

Researchers then conducted an exercise to measure the students’ aggression after reading the violent passages. Here’s what they discovered:

Those who were told that God had sanctioned the violence . . . were more likely to act aggressively.

Let’s connect the dots: Our beliefs about God—what God is and what God does—informs, supports and sometimes even dictates our actions. The behavior of humans throughout recorded history reflects this. The results of this study merely punctuate it.

The violence we now experience on a daily basis, in the Middle East and America’s inner cities, reflects our thinking and our beliefs. And it reminds us why we have been told to let peace “begin with me”: As long as one of us worships a God who solves problems by murdering, torturing, crucifying, condemning, harshly judging and angrily retaliating against members of the human family, none of us will have peace.

What is it that you believe about God?

Is God Your Father or Your Daddy?

I visited a friend in the hospital yesterday. As I approached the reception area, I noticed a beautiful little boy accompanied by a couple that might have been his grandparents. This cherub couldn’t have been more than four years old. Round-faced with pinchable cheeks, big brown eyes and a fresh haircut, boyfriend couldn’t stand still, as the receptionist prepared the badges permitting them in the patient rooms. He was busy, busy, busy.
Suddenly he looked up and screamed, “Daddy!” Seconds later, he leaped into the open arms of his spittin’ image: a gorgeous brother that this child obviously adored. The little boy grasped his Dad’s cheeks and kissed him squarely in the mouth. His little fingers surveyed his Dad’s face, then rubbed his head and hugged his neck. The child was so breathless, so delighted to be with his Dad; I wondered if his parents were separated or divorced, and he hadn’t seen his father in a while.
“Are you ready to meet your little sister?” his father asked.
Ahhh, now the picture was in focus: Dad had been at the hospital with Mom through labor and childbirth, and Little Bit had stayed with his grandparents. But while their separation was a brief one, it had been much too long for this child.
It reminded me of Sasha and Malia at the Democratic Convention, when they saw their Dad on the huge monitor on stage. Remember that? You could almost feel their urge to go up to the screen and hug him. They had missed him so much.
Daddy love. More than that, it’s Daddy like—a much greater compliment to a father, in my humble opinion. Fathers can be anyone whose sperm fertilized an egg. Only fathers who treat their children well—and do it consistently, consciously and unconditionally—earn the name “Daddy.”
I’m not saying that abusive, caustic, negligent, absent and unsupportive fathers can’t be loved; they can. But rarely are they liked: Their children don’t feel an overwhelming urge to kiss their faces, rub their heads or hug their necks. These children don’t squeal with delight when they see their fathers—or jump up and down while squealing and clapping, as my daughter, Maiysha, used to do. Lordie, Lordie, that child would make so much noise when her Dad came home from work.
Most children have a deep affinity for their fathers. When they grow older, many notice that they resemble their earthly fathers, or maybe they were frequently told, “You look just like your Daddy!”
On the other hand, no one has told them that they looked like their heavenly father, God. When they look in their mirrors, they can’t see a resemblance, either. Why is that? What are we looking for? That fascinates me, so I often ask Drama Queen Workshop participants, “What does God look like?” Their responses are always insightful.
Once, with great pride, a woman said, “When I look in the mirror, I see God. God looks like me.” Others nodded in agreement, though I noticed that none of them was a man. Perhaps it was the idea of God looking like a woman that they couldn’t accept—or maybe they had a more expansive view of what God is. Men can be great thinkers. Mean it.
In another workshop, for example, a man asked me, “Do you think God looks like something or nothing?”
My response: “I think God looks like everything. If it’s true that God is omnipresent, then there is nothing in which the spirit of God is not present.” He had no comeback. He just smiled, although I could tell that he initially intended to bait me into saying something stupid or shallow.
I’d only be in danger of that if someone had offered evidence that God has a physical body that resembles ours. Humans assumed that if we were made in God’s image, God looked like us. I can understand how ancient illiterate people concluded that. I’m not sure what our excuse is.
We believe that God resides outside of Earth’s atmosphere, yet we know indisputably that human bodies really can’t function outside of this atmosphere without special equipment such as space suits. So the likelihood that God is wearing a human body beyond Earth’s atmosphere is probably slim to none.
The ancient scribes didn’t know that, so they wrote stories claiming that the profound Jewish rabbi named Yeshua, ascended into the heavens in a body that had been brutally tortured and rendered lifeless after Roman soldiers crucified him. What, pray tell, was he going to do with that carcass, if he went where they said he went?
There’s also no evidence, aside from the conflicting texts of these scribes, that God—portrayed as both omnipresent and physically light years away, as in all ancient myths—would be so satanic as to orchestrate such an inhumane death. But many mythical gods were diabolical, so there’s a logical explanation for why they told the story this way. There’s no logic at all to why we still believe it.
You have to read books about ancient history and mythology before the light turns on and you realize what formed our beliefs—and how innocently those beliefs were formed. Everyone knew these ancient myths, so the scribes probably assumed that the rank and file would not regard their updated versions as news reporting. They were wrong. Once the religious giants at the Council of Nicea declared these books as the “Word of God,” myth mushroomed into fact. Allowing only a chosen few to read or interpret these words for more than 1,200 years cemented them into the human belief system.
Eighteen centuries after the confab at Nicea, we still believe these tales are true—and we vigorously defend the words, even though they desecrate God’s image as an unconditionally loving Father.
While discussing my first book, one woman argued, “God is sovereign! He can do anything he wants.”
I concurred. My question to her was, “But would God want to do anything inhumane or satanic?” She admitted that she hadn’t thought about that.
Perhaps, on this Father’s Day, we should think about that. Perhaps we should look at why we hold human males to a higher standard of conduct than we hold our Divine Father:
  • If an earthly father raped his virgin daughter, he would be labeled a degenerate sex offender and could spend years in prison for incest.
  • If an earthly father solved problems by committing acts of violence against his children, we’d label him an abusive parent and throw him in jail.
  • If an earthly father plotted with others to brutally kill his only child by allowing others to nail him to a cross and subject him to three days of excruciating pain, we’d call him hateful and satanic, and our outcry for justice would be deafening.
  • If an earthly father had a multitude of children who repeatedly committed crimes and hurt others, and he decided to stop them by killing his only good child, we’d label him criminally insane and send him away forever.
  • If an earthly father kicked his naughty kids out of the only home they’d ever known, and banished them to the wilderness without any survival skills or visible means of support, we’d think he was demented, demonic—or both—and we’d press to convict him for child abuse (after we garnished his wages for lack of child support).
  • If an earthly father told his kids to forgive others’ sins 70 times seven, but threatened to punish his kids’ sins with unending torture, we’d call him a hypocrite.
  • If that same father told his kids not to kill others, but he was guilty of genocide, we’d lock up the hypocrite and throw away the key.
  • If an earthly father,who had a huge mansion and lots of children, gave a known demon total control of those children’s thoughts and behavior, we’d move heaven and earth to free those kids from the gip of the demon and deprogram them so that they could function normally and harmlessly in society.
  • If that same father declared that only the kids who outsmarted the demonic caretaker’s tricks could return to the mansion, we’d imprison both of the conspirators for child endangerment, sadism and more.

Oddly enough, when someone tells us that God—our Father—has done all of these things and more, our reactions are totally different. We respond with praise and worship. We look to the heavens and sing love songs. Yet we demonize earthly fathers who have done far less. It’s amazing how the human mind works.

A couple of years ago, a devout young man asked me a question I’ll never forget. He was planning a praise and worship festival, and needed public relations counsel. Sensing my discomfort with some of his dogma, he pointed toward the door and said, “If God walked in here right now, wouldn’t you drop to your knees and start praising Him?”

I took a deep breath. “That presumes that I believe that God isn’t here already—and that if He came from someplace else, He would scare or harm me. Is that what Love would do?” The young man hadn’t thought about that. All of his life, he only believed what others told him to believe.

I never saw him again. Hallelujah! I keep telling you: God is good.

On this Father’s Day, let us give our Heavenly Father a well-deserved break from centuries of bad publicity. Let’s give God the benefit of the doubt by challenging every allegation of inhumane behavior with the question, “Would Love do that?”

On Father’s Day 2009, let’s declare that while the word of God is inerrant, the word of some of the ancient scribes is verifiably inaccurate. Let’s dare to believe that God does nothing demonic, and does not solve problems by hurting people.

As a Father’s Day gift to God, let’s read more than one book—or vow to read the one we have more carefully. All the evidence that it’s time to stop blindly accepting other people’s answers and start asking our own questions is right there.

On this day, instead of simply declaring that we love God, let’s begin to like God as a Father who treats all of us well—and does it consistently, consciously and unconditionally. Today, let’s allow God to become our Daddy. Who knows: When we feel that Divine presence washing over us, we might begin to squeal with delight, rather than tremble with fear.

Is God Your Father or Your Daddy?

I visited a friend in the hospital yesterday. As I approached the reception area, I noticed a beautiful little boy accompanied by a couple that might have been his grandparents. This cherub couldn’t have been more than four years old. Round-faced with pinchable cheeks, big brown eyes and a fresh haircut, boyfriend couldn’t stand still, as the receptionist prepared the badges permitting them in the patient rooms. He was busy, busy, busy.

Suddenly he looked up and screamed, “Daddy!”  Seconds later, he leaped into the open arms of his spittin’ image: a gorgeous brother that this child obviously adored. The little boy grasped his Dad’s cheeks and kissed him squarely in the mouth. His little fingers surveyed his Dad’s face, then rubbed his head and hugged his neck. The child was so breathless, so delighted to be with his Dad; I wondered if his parents were separated or divorced, and he hadn’t seen his father in a while.

“Are you ready to meet your little sister?” his father asked.

Ahhh, now the picture was in focus: Dad had been at the hospital with Mom through labor and childbirth, and Little Bit had stayed with his grandparents. But while their separation was a brief one, it had been much too long for this child.

It reminded me of Sasha and Malia at the Democratic Convention, when they saw their Dad on the huge monitor on stage. Remember that? You could almost feel their urge to go up to the screen and hug him. They had missed him so much.

Daddy love. More than that, it’s Daddy like—a much greater compliment to a father, in my humble opinion. Fathers can be anyone whose sperm fertilized an egg. Only fathers who treat their children well—and do it consistently, consciously and unconditionally—earn the name “Daddy.”  

I’m not saying that abusive, caustic, negligent, absent and unsupportive fathers can’t be loved; they can. But rarely are they liked: Their children don’t feel an overwhelming urge to kiss their faces, rub their heads or hug their necks. These children don’t squeal with delight when they see their fathers—or jump up and down while squealing and clapping, as my daughter, Maiysha, used to do. Lordie, Lordie, that child would make so much noise when her Dad came home from work.

Most children have a deep affinity for their fathers. When they grow older, many notice that they resemble their earthly fathers, or maybe they were frequently told, “You look just like your Daddy!”

On the other hand, no one has told them that they looked like their heavenly father, God. When they look in their mirrors, they can’t see a resemblance, either. Why is that? What are we looking for?

That fascinates me, so I often ask Drama Queen Workshop participants, “What does God look like?” Their responses are always insightful. 

Once, with great pride, a woman said, “When I look in the mirror, I see God. God looks like me.” Others nodded in agreement, though I noticed that none of them was a man. Perhaps it was the idea of God looking like a woman that they couldn’t accept—or maybe they had a more expansive view of what God is. Men can be great thinkers. Mean it.

In another workshop, for example, a man asked me, “Do you think God looks like something or nothing?”

My response: “I think God looks like everything. If it’s true that God is omnipresent, then there is nothing in which the spirit of God is not present.” He had no comeback. He just smiled, although I could tell that he initially intended to bait me into saying something stupid or shallow.

I’d only be in danger of that if someone had offered evidence that God has a physical body that resembles ours. Humans assumed that if we were made in God’s image, God looked like us. I can understand how ancient illiterate people concluded that. I’m not sure what our excuse is.

We believe that God resides outside of Earth’s atmosphere, yet we know indisputably that human bodies really can’t function outside of this atmosphere without special equipment such as space suits. So the likelihood that God is wearing a human body beyond Earth’s atmosphere is probably slim to none.

The ancient scribes didn’t know that, so they wrote stories claiming that the profound Jewish rabbi named Yeshua, ascended into the heavens in a body that had been brutally tortured and rendered lifeless after Roman soldiers crucified him. What, pray tell, was he going to do with that carcass, if he went where they said he went?

There’s also no evidence, aside from the conflicting texts of these scribes, that God—portrayed as both omnipresent and physically light years away, as in all ancient myths—would be so satanic as to orchestrate such an inhumane death. But many mythical gods were diabolical, so there’s a logical explanation for why they told the story this way. There’s no logic at all to why we still believe it.

You have to read books about ancient history and mythology before the light turns on and you realize what formed our beliefs—and how innocently those beliefs were formed. Everyone knew these ancient myths, so the scribes probably assumed that the rank and file would not regard their updated versions as news reporting. They were wrong. Once the religious giants at the Council of Nicea declared these books as the “Word of God,” myth mushroomed into fact. Allowing only a chosen few to read or interpret these words for more than 1,200 years cemented them into the human belief system.

Eighteen centuries after the confab at Nicea, we still believe these tales are true—and we vigorously defend the words, even though they desecrate God’s image as an unconditionally loving Father.

While discussing my first book, one woman argued, “God is sovereign! He can do anything he wants.”

I concurred. My question to her was, “But would God want to do anything inhumane or satanic?” She admitted that she hadn’t thought about that.

Perhaps, on this Father’s Day, we should think about that. Perhaps we should look at why we hold human males to a higher standard of conduct than we hold our Divine Father:

  • If an earthly father raped his virgin daughter, he would be labeled a degenerate sex offender and could spend years in prison for incest.
  • If an earthly father solved problems by committing acts of violence against his children, we’d label him an abusive parent and throw him in jail.
  • If an earthly father plotted with others to brutally kill his only child by allowing others to nail him to a cross and subject him to three days of excruciating pain, we’d call him hateful and satanic, and our outcry for justice would be deafening.
  • If an earthly father had a multitude of children who repeatedly committed crimes and hurt others, and he decided to stop them by killing his only good child, we’d label him criminally insane and send him away forever. 
  • If an earthly father kicked his naughty kids out of the only home they’d ever known, and banished them to the wilderness without any survival skills or visible means of support, we’d think he was demented, demonic—or both—and we’d press to convict him for child abuse (after we garnished his wages for lack of child support).
  • If an earthly father told his kids to forgive others’ sins 70 times seven, but threatened to punish his kids’ sins with unending torture, we’d call him a hypocrite.
  • If that same father told his kids not to kill others, but he was guilty of genocide, we’d lock up the hypocrite and throw away the key.
  • If an earthly father,who had a huge mansion and lots of children, gave a known demon total control of those children’s thoughts and behavior, we’d move heaven and earth to free those kids from the gip of the demon and deprogram them so that they could function normally and harmlessly in society.
  • If that same father declared that only the kids who outsmarted the demonic caretaker’s tricks could return to the mansion, we’d imprison both of the conspirators for child endangerment, sadism and more.

Oddly enough, when someone tells us that God—our Father—has done all of these things and more, our reactions are totally different. We respond with praise and worship. We look to the heavens and sing love songs. Yet we demonize earthly fathers who have done far less. It’s amazing how the human mind works.

A couple of years ago, a devout young man asked me a question I’ll never forget. He was planning a praise and worship festival, and needed public relations counsel. Sensing my discomfort with some of his dogma, he pointed toward the door and said, “If God walked in here right now, wouldn’t you drop to your knees and start praising Him?”

I took a deep breath. “That presumes that I believe that God isn’t here already—and that if He came from someplace else, He would scare or harm me. Is that what Love would do?” The young man hadn’t thought about that. All of his life, he only believed what others told him to believe.

I never saw him again. Hallelujah! I keep telling you: God is good.

On this Father’s Day, let us give our Heavenly Father a well-deserved break from centuries of bad publicity. Let’s give God the benefit of the doubt by challenging every allegation of inhumane behavior with the question, “Would Love do that?”

On Father’s Day 2009, let’s declare that while the word of God is inerrant, the word of some of the ancient scribes is verifiably inaccurate. Let’s dare to believe that God does nothing demonic, and does not solve problems by hurting people.

As a Father’s Day gift to God, let’s read more than one book—or vow to read the one we have more carefully. All the evidence that it’s time to stop blindly accepting other people’s answers and start asking our own questions is right there.

On this day, instead of simply declaring that we love God, let’s begin to like God as a Father who treats all of us well—and does it consistently, consciously and unconditionally. Today, let’s allow God to become our Daddy. Who knows: When we feel that Divine presence washing over us, we might begin to squeal with delight, rather than tremble with fear.

Dare to Think?

“Mankind must evolve, for all human conflict, a method that rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is Love.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My route to the office passes a large orange sign in a window of the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum on the Mag Mile that screams: “WE DARE YOU TO THINK”. That sign always makes me giggle.

Thinking is often discouraged or forbidden in this Land of the Free, especially when it comes to religion. Typically, we are scared to think, rather than dared to think.

Suppose you have a friend who makes you feel lucky to have him in your world. In fact, everyone who knows this guy speaks of him with admiration. What a cool dude: kind, generous, trustworthy, always lending a helping hand to others. He’s a source of comfort and solace. You’ve never seen him angry or heard him utter a discouraging word.

Then one morning you pick up the newspaper and see his picture beneath a headline that screams “CHARGED!” He’s walking with his head bowed, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, hands behind his back and surrounded by a gaggle of police and TV cameras.

Your knees buckle as you read details of the crimes your dear friend is accused of committing: rape, murder and child abuse. Investigators say they also found evidence that he is involved in a terrorist plot to kill a great number of people.

Your head is spinning. Do you believe what you read—or trust what you know? That is our challenge when we read certain accounts about God: believe what we read or trust what we know.

If, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. suggests, mankind must evolve beyond a barbaric level of conflict resolution, surely God is light years ahead. And if we share Dr. King’s belief that we evolve to a higher level of conflict resolution through love, and we believe that God is Love, is it possible to believe that God resolves conflict with revenge, aggression and retaliation?

We are dared to think.

When I was nine or ten years old, I recall leaving Sunday school a bit dazed. I couldn’t quite wrap my child’s brain around what I’d just read in class. I comprehended the God is Love part; but the book lost me when it claimed that God had done cruel and unusual things that Love absolutely positively would not do, under any circumstances.

We are dared to think.

I’ve been told that God is everywhere, knows everything, and is all-powerful. If that’s true, how are we also supposed to believe that God has a rival? A rival can only be taken seriously if it is an equal. God has no equal.

We are dared to think.

One thought always seems to lead to others: For example, if jealousy is such an undesirable human trait, how can we believe that God has claimed to be jealous? And pray tell, what exists in the Universe that would invoke jealousy from a God who is everywhere, knows everything, and is all-powerful?

We are dared to think.

It is claimed that Love had a fit of rage so intense that it killed everyone and everything in Creation, with a few exceptions. And they want us to believe that Love has threatened to do it again.

Anybody dare to reflect on that “revelationary” method of resolving conflict?