The Faust and the Furious

I have been meaning to read Goethe’s Faust for – oh, about 30 years!

About 5 years ago I got what looked like a FANTASTIC translation.

It was by Walter Kaufmann, who did such a GREAT job translating Nietzsche’s works into English.

Last week I FINALLY read it!

Was it one of the greatest works of literature ever written?

I can see where some people think that. Certainly parts of it were brilliant, imho.

But here is the thing.

I had no idea that the book’s main character was really Mephisto (aka, the Devil).

The thing that really caught my surprise that it was never clear to me WHY Faust sold his soul to the Devil (nor why he was saved at the end).

It seemed to me that Faust was just bored with his life and the Devil promised him something new – a new set of experiences that whetted his appetite.

Is that what happens to us?

We lose our appreciation for life.

We lose our passion for life.

So we get bored and start walking down the road of darkness and despair?

We are so overwhelmed these days – with our jobs (or searching for a job), the endless horrors that are happening around the world, our families, bills, etc. that we are both overwhelmed and bored at the same time.

When we feel despair, it is a sign that we have lost our way.

For the Lord is always with us.

The spark of the Divine is within us.

How can we feel so down when we are so blessed?

May you, my friend, feel blessed today.

Peace.

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Killing over pictures of Mohammed

There has been quite a lot of talk about “free speech” and the right of (mostly) westerners to make fun of the prophet of Islam, including making images and cartoons in his likeness.

In the interest of peace, I feel it is important to share my perspective.

Let me begin by stating that I have experienced Islam from many perspectives.

1) From an ignorant outsiders perspective.  When I was a Jew and Christian I didn’t “get” Islam or why anyone would convert to that religion.

2) From an insiders perspective.  In my book on religion and spirituality I go into detail about my experience with 20 different religions. Part of that whirlwind experience was a stop in Islam. While I can not in good conscious say I was ever a practicing Muslim, I can honestly say there was a period in my life where I felt I was a Muslim in spirit. I read the Koran, believed that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH – peace be upon him, which is a traditional sign of respect to the prophet in Islam) was Allah’s messenger, and I said the traditional prayers in a Mosque in an Islamic country.

3) From a respectful outsiders perspective. While I have moved very far away from the Abrahamic religions (and monotheism in general), I still treasure those times I embraced Islamic theology. That experience gave me a truly unique view of the Islamic religion.

This all allowed me to see Islam from inside and various outside perspectives.

This post is not to explain all of Islam, nor to defend any of its teachings.

Rather it is to give a different perspective on the issue of why drawing pictures of the Islamic Prophet brings some Muslims to point to commit violence.

Islam is based on the belief that Allah (God) has no physical form.  We should have no images of anything in heaven. This is consistent with the Law of Moses. But Islam was concerned that prophets have a habit of being worshiped. From a non-Christian perspective, this is certainly how Jesus is viewed by many.  A prophet of God who ended up being worshiped as a deity.

Also, having images of anything raises the possibility of that image being misused, abused and mocked. Surely we have seen how the image of Jesus has been treated like that.  The image of Jesus is on everything from t-shirts to bobble heads. Is this really appropriate?

I asked a Muslim why they got so upset over people mocking their prophet.

He gently smiled and said “and why don’t you get upset over people mocking your prophet?”

Gave me something to think about.

We are so used to having the Christian religion, its beliefs, and its prophet mocked that we don’t even think about it anymore.  Movies, books, TV shows all regularly make fun of the Christian faith.

And we quietly take it.

I think this desensitizes us to what is going on.

Mohammed, along with the Koran, is the cornerstone of Islam.

Mohammed (PBUH) was not God, nor did he claim to be. To have any image of him would elevate him above humanity, and allow for his image to be mocked.

For reasons that I still don’t fully understand, there developed an Islamic law that forbade people to make pictures of Mohammed, with the penalty being death. At least I don’t believe this law is found in the Koran, which is the source of laws for Muslims. Eventually mocking the prophet became equated with blasphemy.

I am not asking you to agree with this law, only to understand it.

Now at this point, people tend to tell me “Steve, if people don’t want to see pictures of someone, that’s fine.  But that doesn’t give people the right to kill someone who makes a picture of Mohammed! That is just free speech!”

That is a nice, but flawed, argument.

The emphasis of free speech over someone’s personal religious beliefs is foreign to the Muslim mind. The fanaticism of free speech (e.g. I can say whatever you want and you just have to take it! So there!) is not a shared belief system around the world.

I would like to pose the following scenario to you to help drive home an important point.

Imagine a new neighbor moves right next door to you.  You see him the next day and yell “good morning!” at which point he gets visibly agitated and responds:

“Please do not say that! In my culture that is an insult. It is the equivalent of using the n-word to a black person!”

“what? it is just an expression! It doesn’t mean anything.  It is just a way of saying hello. So we say good morning. ”

“Please stop saying that phrase! I have already told you that it really upsets me. If my family were to hear you call me that, they would go ballistic!  Where I come from, people get hurt calling those names. I am your neighbor, and I implore you PLEASE DO NOT SAY THAT phrase! Can’t you say something different?”

“You are crazy! I can say whatever I want! That is free speech, man. I don’t give a crap how you feel.  I will say “good morning” as much as I want, and you just have to take it.”

“you don’t get it, do you?”

“Are you threatening me?”

“look, we are neighbors. I am trying to live in peace with everyone. How would you like it if I were to call you an offensive term every time I see you!”

“I would get angry, of course.”

“See?”

“This is different!”

“why?”

“Because I am simply saying ‘good morning!'”

“arrgh. You are a real jerk, you know that?”

“and you are crazy”

Now, every morning when you see your neighbor, you say those words that you KNOW will just anger him. He keeps pleading for you to stop using that phrase but you keep on saying it because you feel you have the right to, and you do not understand why he has a problem with this simple American phrase.

You keep insulting the man every day, every week, every month – for years.

Then one day, your house burns down. Seems his family and friends couldn’t take it anymore.

—–

Far fetched?

I don’t think so.

Now let’s play it back using a different response.

——

Imagine a new neighbor moves right next door to you.  You see him the next day and yell “good morning!” at which point he gets visibly agitated and responds:

“Please do not say that! In my culture that is an insult. It is the equivalent of using the n-word to a black person!”

“what? it is just an expression! It doesn’t mean anything.  It is just a way of saying hello. So we say good morning. ”

“Please stop saying that phrase! I have already told you that it really upsets me. If my family were to hear you call me that, they would go ballistic!  Where I come from, people get hurt calling those names. I am your neighbor, and I implore you PLEASE DO NOT SAY THAT phrase! Can’t you say something different?”

“cool down, man! I didn’t mean anything by it. It is just a simple expression. I admit to not understand why it upsets you so much, but we are neighbors and there is no point of upsetting you like this. Is it okay if say “hello, neighbor” instead?”

“oh that is fine!  I REALLY appreciate your sensitivity.  I know how hard it is for someone to understand someone else’s culture.  Can you do me a favor? If I ever say or do something that is offensive to you and your family, please tell me. This is how we learn. Please assume I don’t mean to anger you. I am sure we can work another term for all of us to be happy.”

“great idea! I will also tell my family and friends not to say that phrase that bothers you so much.  Probably should tell the other families around you, too.  I doubt they will understand.”

“could you help explain it to them? I am not sure they will listen to me.”

“no problem, friend. After all we all have to live together in this community. Let’s leave any fighting for something important! Like which team is going to win tonight!”

“hah! Good one!”

——-

Is that 2nd scenario so hard to imagine?

If you know you are doing something that upsets your friend and neighbor, and it is a simple thing to avoid- why wouldn’t you do it?  Just because “you can?” Really?

It seems to me that the real issue here is that a lot of non-Muslims just have no interest in respecting Muslims and their culture, and have no interest in being friends with them.

You don’t insult your neighbors and friends on purpose, over and over again.

You only do that to people you do not think much of, and could care less how they feel.

Is it really too much to ask people not to make pictures of someone who is not even an important figure in their culture?

Is it really too much to ask people not to make fun of someone’s religious beliefs?

Is it really too much to ask people not to make fun of an important figure in someone’s culture?

Yes, we can stand behind this “free speech” fanaticism all we want to.

Legally, in this country – and in many other countries- we can do so.

Is it worth the price to piss off almost 1/3 of the world’s population by doing so?

When you insult the religion of one Muslim, you insult the religion of 2 BILLION people.

Think about that for a while.

Is it really worth it?

I don’t think so.

Out of love and respect for another, I think it is a simple thing to refrain from doing something that angers them, it if can be easily avoided.

And making pictures of Mohammed is something that can easily be avoided.

If want peace with our neighbors, then we must first see them as neighbors.

At least, that would be a start.

Isn’t it time we learn to respect someone who beliefs differently than we do?

I think so.

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Time for renewal

There has been so much going on in the last few years.  I don’t know even where to begin.

The major effort has been completing my book Religion? Been There. Done That. (Discovering the Map of Your Spiritual Journey)

It has been a labor of love.
30 year of exploring over 20 religions and denominations.
4 seminars.
4 years of writing!

Sheesh!

So first, please go there. Check it out.

I will write all the other stuff that has been happening soon!

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December – a Religious Holiday Extravaganza!

For billions of people in the world, this month celebrates many key religious holidays.

On December 5th is Ashura – which Muslims celebrate the day that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) fasted in solidarity with Jews as they celebrated Yom Kippur.

On December 6th is the feast of St. Nicholas, which in all probability because the root of the legend of Santa Claus.

On December 8th, Buddhists celebrated Bodhi Day, which remembers when the Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths.

On December 12th  is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where Catholics  celebrate the vision of the Virgin Mary.

On December 20th is Hannukah, the Jewish festival of lights.

On December 21st, people of Earth based religions celebrate the Winter Solstice – the birth of Winter. The first day is called “Mother’s Night” and is celebrated for 12 days which ends on “Yule Night“.  Yule is  when the Sun God Lugh is reborn in human form to rejoin his wife Eriu.

On December 25th, Christians celebrate Christmas, where they remember the birth of Jesus Christ.

On December 26th, many Black Americans have Kwanzaa which celebrates the seven principles: unity, self-determination, working together, sharing, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Also on December 26th, Zoroastrians observe Zarathosht Diso -the death of the prophet Zarathushtra.

Whew!  Quite a lot of celebration this month!

Of all these holidays, the history of Christmas is one that fascinates me the most.

Why December 25th?

There is no clear information on when Jesus was born.

Some scholars think it was September.

Others think it was in November.

My personal belief is that I align with those scholars who think it was in the summer time – around August.

So why December? and why the 25th?

During the time of great Christian growth, the Roman Religion celebrated the God Of Saturn – Saturnalia.

On these days, they danced in the street, sang songs and exchanged gifts.

It started on December 17 and lasted until after the Winter Solstice.  Probably around, oh, lets just say the 25th of December.

As Christianity spread throughout the world, it encountered resistance from many who did not want to give up their religious traditions which have become so much of their cultural heritage.

The church tried to ease the migration path to Christianity for the local Romans by – in essence – offering them a deal – the locals could continue to celebrate the cultural aspects of Saturnalia if they agreed to worship Jesus instead of Saturn.

The 12 days of Yule became the 12 days of Christmas.  The rebirth of the Sun God transformed into the birth of the Son of God.

The Mistletoe was important in ancient Norse religions. Frigga (Odin’s wife and the mother of Baldur the Brave) made all the plants and trees promise not to harm her son.  Unfortunately, she forgot to bless the Mistletoe.  Loki, the god of Evil, shaped a spear made out of Mistletoe and used it to kill Baldur.  Since then, it was agreed the Mistletoe would stand for peace and love, instead of hatred and death.

I could go and on.

A lot of Christmas origin stories are rooted in ancient Norse, Greek, Roman, and Earth based religions.

All of these synthesized with the Nativity story of Christianity to give us the current holiday called Christmas.

In a way, Christmas is really an interfaith tradition – celebrating many diverse religious influences.

Fascinating, ain’t it?

So, to everyone..

Happy Ashura!

Happy Bodhi day!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Hannukah!

Happy Zarathosht Diso!

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Happy Kwanzaa.

Happy Saturnalia.

Happy Mother’s night.

and Merry Christmas!

(and any other religious holiday I may have missed!)

Peace,

Steve

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1, 2 Freddy’s Coming for you

I love horror movies.

There is something very cathartic to me in the act of being scared in a safe place.

One of my favorite franchises is the Nightmare on Elm street series.

[Yes, I know that the monster is really a child molester (ugh), but thankfully they never really focus on that part of the story in the films.]

For those of you unfamiliar with Freddy Kruger (and where have you been these last 20 years?), the story goes something like this. Freddy was a child molester who was caught and tried. Due to technicalities, he was let go. The parents in the local community were so incensed over this injustice that they got together and burned him alive.  But before he died, Freddy made a pact with the devil who gave him dream demons which gave him power over people’s dreams. In the dream world, Freddy was an unstoppable nightmare. He could make himself be anything, do anything.  And if he killed you in your dreams, then you would never wake up.

Quite a story!

There were 7 movies in the franchise (8 if you count Freddy vs. Jason).  But it is the second one that I want to discuss today.

The second entry – Freddy’s Revenge – has been a source of intense hatred by fans of the franchise.

This has been for 2 reasons.

1) it has extreme homoerotic overtones, which did not sit well with the fan base.  That is a topic for another time.

2) Freddy wishes to come into the real world to kill us while we are awake.  This is worth discussing.

There is one specific scene that really angered the fans, yet it is that scene that I thought was perhaps the most profound of the entire series.

There is a scene in the movie where Freddy ‘breaks through’ the dream world into our world.  He becomes real flesh and blood, and comes up from a pool at a party some teenagers were having.

Here is the boogeyman out in OUR world! while we are AWAKE!

The problem?

It wasn’t scary.

You see, Freddy – in the real world – is just a guy wearing a glove with some razors on it.

That’s it.

He is not even particular muscular or tall man. Kind of wimpy looking, actually.

If this scene were to REALLY happen, the kids would just gang together and beat the crap out of Freddy.

In the film, the kids acted scared and ran away.

I understand why fans didn’t like this scene, but to me it sent home a powerful message.

Our fears in our minds and dreams are far worse than reality.

When we are faced with our fears in real life, they are not very scary. They are just wimpy thoughts and we should be ashamed that we were ever afraid of them.

While they seem larger and unstoppable in our minds, in reality they are small and can be overcome.

What are the nightmares and fears that are holding you back in life?

Imagine if they really manifested in reality.

What would they look like?

I imagine they would be like Freddy coming out of the pool.

Smaller than what we imagined.

And not very scary after all.

Peace.

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Myth or Religion?

My daughter is in 8th grade and is learning about mythology.  Of course, that is really the gods and stories of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.

I remember when I learned about that stuff when I was her age.

On my library shelf still is the classic textbook I used in high school -Edith Hamilton’s Mythology!!

Great stuff!

When people think of mythology, most people think of “stories that really aren’t really true but contain some wisdom/truth/insight’, etc.

I think we need to be a little careful with that definition– that one person’s mythology is another person’s truth.  For some people might really believe those stories to be true as a matter of their faith.

I personally have met people who worship Thor, Zeus, etc. (I always wonder how they feel about the Marvel super hero movies with Thor and Odin in them!) To them, aren’t the stories about Thor and Loki true?

Then it struck me.

When we use the term mythology aren’t we really referring to someone else’s religion?

After all, there are members of the pagan community who worship the gods of Rome and Greek religion as sincerely as Christians worship Christ or Muslims worship Allah.   Conversely, to non-Christians the stories of Christ (and Christ himself) could be a myth. To them, isn’t the virgin birth just part of the Christian mythology?  To many Christians that was a real event that is the heart of their faith.

What is myth vs. religion? It is all a matter of perspective, is it not?

Can we even use the term mythology without being condescending to the faith from where that mythology originates?

Should these classes be renamed to “study of ancient religions?”  At which point these courses would no longer be held since you can’t teach religion in public schools!!

Yikes! I feel like I am opening a Pandora box on this.  Surely, I can’t be the only person who has thought about this subject as it is taught in our schools and in our society.

How would you feel if your religion was being taught as mythology in school?  Would you be okay with that?

If not, then are we really doing the right thing by continuing to call the stories of ancient Greek and Roman religions as mythology?

Hmmmm.

Peace,

Steve

 

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On to other things.

This is to inform the world that effective, March 1, 2013, Of Mind And Spirit, LLC is no longer a legal corporation and is being dissolved, per the laws of North Carolina.

While I am still pursuing a mind and spirit approach to life, right now I am focusing on other things.

If you enjoy my posts, then please visit my site Stevebenkin.com

Thank you.

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You say you want a resolution?

Ah,
New Years Day!

Another chance to start again.

Another opportunity to grow as a person.

Another view of our relationship with God and others.

For many, the new year day has come and gone.

In America, most of us accept the Christian Calendar as the guiding calendar for business, if not our personal lives.

Traditionally, we make these things called “resolutions” on this day.

These are goals that we WILL do this year!!

(unlike last year..

or the year before..)

It is very easy to list a gazillion grandiose goals for the year.

“I am going to win a quad-billion dollars!”

“I am going to lose 90 pounds!”

“I am going to sing “I am a little teapot” on American Idol!”

(well, I know some grandmothers that might want that last one!)

Nah.

Here is what I do.

I make a list of 5 to 10 goals that have the following characteristics

1) I HONESTLY BELIEVE I can achieve them in the next 12 months. Losing 90 pounds? Sounds nice.. but I really don’t think I could do that. These goals must be backed with an inner belief that they can be accomplished by the end of the year. Make them realistic!

2) Stretch – a little. Don’t go too far the other extreme. Writing down “When I wake up every morning, I will open up my eyes!”. Yes, you can probably do that every morning (though there has been that one day that I stumbled out of bed with my eyes closed. You see, it was a late night at the local.. oh.. sorry.. need to focus). So go just a LITTLE beyond the easy ones. Too much of a stretch and you won’t believe it. Too little of a stretch and its not worth focusing on.

3) Make sure it is measurable. Some goals are easy to do this. (I want to take a vacation to Florida, for example, is easy to mark off when complete). A goal like “I will be happier this year” is too vague. How exactly will you measure this happiness? Perhaps you could say you will wake up 5 out of 7 mornings with a smile. That is something that you can track against. Doing something daily or weekly obviously takes more work than a one time event like taking a vacation. So think carefully about this.

4) write it down. It ain’t a goal if it is not written. Seriously. If you can’t write it, print it and see it then it is not a goal.

5) Write a set of resolutions for yourself, then for your family (or significant other). You need to work together on these. My entire family sat around last night and came up with 5 awesome goals for the family. One of which we actually started last night which was VERY emotional for all of us.

I hope this humble post helps.

Don’t let the new year overwhelm you.

It is an opportunity to grow, not to get stressed out!!

Enjoy the day.

Enjoy the new year ahead of us!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Peace,
Steve

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The story of myth

Once upon a time,

in a land long ago..

There lived Story.

Now Story was VERY beautiful.

Not only did Story have a lovely face and form,

but she was wrapped in the most incredible cloak that was every made!

Oh, this cloak was really something!

It was made of satin..

Lined with fur.

It was covered in sequins of all shapes and colors.

Diamonds, sapphires and rubies sparkled from every angle!

the collar was a unique material that shimmered in the sun light.

So when Story came around, well- people got EXCITED!

When people heard the jingle-jangle of her cloak, and saw the shimmer of the diamonds, they dropped whatever they were doing to come out and to see and listen to Story weave her tales.

These tales were fluff. They had no substance.

Pure entertainment.

And the people LOVED it!

They could sit for hours, entranced by Story’s charm at speaking and mesmerized by her glorious cloak!

Of course, they really didn’t learn anything from Story.

But that didn’t matter, because it was just a wonderful experience!

———————–

On the other side of town was Truth.

Now Truth was VERY ugly.

Not only did Truth have a repulsive face and form,

but she went around being stark naked.

Oh, her body was too ugly to even glance at.

It was full of open wounds.

Covered with boils.

It was misshapen.

Dark spots, cuts and bruises could be seen from every angle!

So when Truth came around, well- people got SCARED!

When people heard the pitter-patter of her limp, and saw her ugly naked body, they dropped whatever they were doing to run inside their homes and pull down the shades so they wouldn’t have to see and listen to Truth speak her tales.

These tales were so difficult to listen to. They made people face themselves and the choices they made.

They made people think, and face their dark sides.

And the people HATED it!

They couldn’t sit for one minute to bear her presence.

Of course, they could really learn from Truth. They could grow as human beings and transform their lives..

But that didn’t matter, because it was just a horrible experience!

—————–

One day, after Story was done walking through the streets entrancing her adoring fans with her tales of fantasy, she wandered off from her usual path, and found herself in a part of town that seemed deserted.

On a street corner, sat Truth. She was crying.

Story said “Truth! What’s wrong!! Where is everyone!! Why are you crying?”

Truth looked up at her with a tear-stained face, and said.

“Oh, Story. I don’t understand!! I have so many important things to tell people. Things that people NEED to hear!! But nobody wants to listen to me! Look at me!! I’m ugly and tell people things that are too much for them to bear. They all hide when I come around! But YOU! You strut around in that beautiful robe telling all kinds of nonsense, and people FLOCK to listen to you!! What good is it for people to hear your stories when they really need to hear what I have to say! O woe is me!!”

Story was truly moved by what she heard.

She thought about it a long time.

Then Story took off her beautiful cloak, wrapped it around Truth and said

“now people will listen to you.”

———————————

There is an old saying that you may resist hearing the truth, but you can’t resist hearing the truth wrapped in a story.

What is a myth but truth nestled within a story?

What do we learn from the most?

The outer story that – on the surface – which is entertaining.

or the difficult truth that is buried within the story?

As this holiday season enfolds – celebrating the story of the birth of Jesus – take some time to look between the lines.

Ask yourself what is the deeper truth that lies within this story?

Maybe we still need to hear that – even after all these years..

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The game of life

I was looking for something new for the family to do.

You know, like a new board game!!

We had already done the “classics.”

Battleship.

Monopoly.

Sorry.

Scrabble.

What else was there!

AH HA!!

“LIFE!”

Actually, I don’t remember playing that when I was young.

So I was pretty stoked to play it with my family.

I was pretty SHOCKED at the message of this game.

Seriously.

It sounded like an instructional game..

You know, to TEACH people (especially the children) about the game of life!!

Go to school, get a job, save money, get married, etc.

Yes, those things happen in the game.

But so did these things.

1) the government (the bank) PAYS you for having children!! It even requires other players to PAY YOU when you have children!!

2) The government gives all the students $100,000 loans. There is never a hint of the parents saving money to send their child to college, or for the child to get a scholarship based on academic achievement. Nope – you want to go to school? no problem! The government will pay for it!! Even more surprising, was that the loan was not required to be paid until you retire!!! (Assuming you had enough funds to cover the debt!)

3) Along the way, there are a least 2 main ways to become a millionaire. a) win the lottery, and b) find buried treasure in your backyard!! No joke!! There is no opportunity to become a millionaire from starting your own business.

4) There are spaces which forces you to gamble. Based on the # that shows up on the spinner, you either get 10 times what you placed your bet on, or you lose your bet. Wonderful. Now gambling is taught as a great way to get some money!!

5) You were forced to change careers many times, and in our game most of us got lower paying jobs. No thought about actually moving into a better job with better pay. Or starting your own business. And nothing about factoring in whether you actually liked your job or not, or how well you did at it.

It showed that going to college was an investment that will take longer to get a job then just dropping out, but you were just as likely to earn more money with just a high school degree than going to college.

Some pretty interesting messages this game is sending our children, isn’t it?

Is this what most people think the game of life is all about?

Getting paid to have children?
Getting rich is all based on luck?
Let the government pay for education?

I couldn’t disagree more!!

Where is the self-responsibility?

Where is the American spirit of entrepreneurship?

Where is money management and saving for things?

Have we really lost these values in our country?

It’s time we start taking a long, hard look at ourselves and our values, my friend.

To me, this game should be called “entitlement mentality.”

It’s a view that the world (or government) OWES you something.

Instead of viewing yourself as having something to GIVE the world.

You are an incredible creature!!

God made you to be AWESOME!!

I don’t see anybody “OWING” anyone.

I don’t even see you as “OWING” the world anything either.

“OWING” does’t even come into play here.

It’s simply a matter of viewing ourselves an spiritual beings put here on earth.

To love..

to share..

to give… naturally from ourselves…

To be what we were meant to me.

And luck, my friend, has nothing to do with it.

Not at all.

let us rejoice in the freedom God gave us.

Not so much to change or transform ourselves.

But to become who we really are.

That we live in the greatest country in the world that allows anyone – anyone – to be rich and successful.

No, it is NOT easy.

It will NOT come without sacrifice.

And yes, there are those who are too old or ill to win this game of life if they have not played it well when they were young. Of course, we need to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

My question is: are we really taking care of ourselves to our fullest?

This is something that challenges me.

Am I really doing everything I can to help society? (answer: probably not).

Am I making all the money that I can? (answer: probably not)

Am I everything that my creator intended? (answer: definitely not)

This season, I am taking stock in myself to see how I can change those answers.

Luck and the government will not really help us in our journey.

It is up to us, with God’s help, to ensure this journey is the best we can make it.

For we only have one shot at this, folks.

Let’s make the best of it.

Peace.

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