The Dovetail: Parting Thoughts, Summations, And A Send-Off
A Rose Is Still A Rose...
One of the most famous vignettes of Shakespeare is the balcony scene where Juliet bewails that her love Romeo is ostracized simply because his name belongs to a rival family. She decries, What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. (2.2.45-49) Romeo remains Romeo, with all of his enduring attributes, regardless of his name. The name itself does not make the man. Similarly, just because a person says that they believe in or know God, does not mean that they do. And just because a person says that they do not believe in God, does not mean that they don’t know God. The God of my present understanding—Source and Power of Love—has always been and will always be. This reality withstands the convolutions and baggage humans have attached to the name throughout history. Love unites us regardless of how we identify God. Sometimes, I use the words Love (capitalized) and God interchangeably. I choose the term that will resonate best with my present company. If I talk to a senior adult at a retirement home, I will refer to God. If I speak with someone disenchanted with religion, I will refer to Love. The underlying message remains the same. I’m simply choosing my linguistic metaphors according to the listener. As a None, my personal preference is to use the term Love as the utmost expression of what is commonly meant by the word God. There is only One Love yet humans have created many Gods. Further, Love is a verb, which more accurately depicts my understanding of God. And God, at least in English, is strictly confined to a noun, which is terribly problematic as I’ve delineated in this chapter. Ultimately though, our words mean far less than our actions.
On Parking Spaces, Football Games, And Divine Plans
When I happen upon front-row parking or succeed at an endeavor (my version of winning a football game), I have come to receive it solely through the lens of gratitude and prompt me to make the world a better place for other people.
Life can be challenging on its own terms. So when little things like convenient parking happens, I am reminded to step up my game looking for ways to spread happiness in other people’s lives. Even small gestures like making eye contact with a cashier and asking about their day can pivot that person’s outlook for the day. Never underestimate small acts of kindness.
On a larger scale, experiencing success reminds me that we rise (and fall) together. Nothing notable happens without the efforts or influences of many people. Therefore, when I succeed in some way, rather than viewing it as a reflection of me, I see the reflection of others. This in turn propels me to empower others toward their own versions of success.
Regarding God’s plan for my life, I recognize only one plan for my life, which I happen to believe is the plan for all people. I am to live a life fueled by and manifested by Love. It’s really that simple. I am more concerned about why and how I do something than the outcome. I believe that if I am centered in Love, the proper outcomes will take care of themselves.
In practical terms, we all have gifts and talents unique to us. It is our job to be good stewards of those gifts and talents, including doing our best to make sound decisions. In the end, life has twists and turns often that are unpredictable. We must let go of the outcomes and keep our primary purpose centered on the infinite goal of Love.
I'm More Fun At Parties Now!
Changing God changed my life. Remember that apple pie we made together? The selection of apple as the fruit flavored the entire pie. How we conceive of God flavors how we understand and experience critical facets of life, including pain and suffering, success and failure, and how we value our world and ourselves. When I changed how I understood God, all these other facets of life improved exponentially. I shed the external otherness, anthropomorphic male deity God and embraced a God that is Source, Force, and Unity of Love—a God that dwells inexplicably within and without, who is personal yet infinitely greater than any one person, who is everything Life-Affirming and yet mysteriously nothing tangible. This God resurrected me from living death. I discovered my greatest happiness and infinite freedom while still in the most harrowing of circumstances. I was transformed from the inside out by Love as God. This unleashed me to fully love myself and others and actualize my full potential, a charge that is a gift-in-waiting for all people. So in the spirit of Kansas (the band, not the state), let’s “Carry On” toward the subject of Humanity and the World.
American None secular spirituality nones nonreligious exvangelical
This blog piece is an excerpt from Chapter 1: Confessions of an American None: A Credo of Sorts.