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For today’s prompt, tell us three things that you believe in your heart to be true. Tell us three things you believe in your heart to be false.

I believe there is a God, that he lives within and without me, that he is there to guide me if I listen carefully enough, and to give me comfort and support when I am in need. I have no vision of the God I have come to understand for myself; the very essence of God as a spiritual omnipotent being defies painting a picture in my mind or on paper. He is simply there and is in everyone. Just like the body of a baby is formed when the sperm and egg come together at a perfect moment in time, so also does God implant his spirit in that new creation. How we decide to cultivate that inner spirit is up to us, but it has been in my best interests to feel the presence of God in my life, and to respect that it exists in everyone else.

I believe there is evil in the world, and that it can take over the hearts and souls of people who let it enter their lives, through hatred, resentment, jealousy, misguided religious beliefs. Whether it is Satan or just Evil, it doesn’t matter. There is no doubt that the action of some people are guided solely by evil, no matter what the cause. They have totally annihilated that spark of soul they were born with.

Secondly: I have helped to create a family each of whom I love dearly. They are not perfect, and unfortunately share some of the imperfections their parents have, and of course, ones entirely of their own. We have what I would call and “open” family; we talk about everything, and our children know they can come to us with any problem and it will be discussed non-judgmentally. Since all four are adults now (30-36), our advice is sought, but our influence is less, especially and understandably since three are married. I have faith and good reason to believe that they love us and will care for us kindly and patiently until our lives end. I am already praying that when that happens, they will find acceptance and God’s comfort, because I fear they will feel the loss greatly.

Thirdly, on the subject of children and others: I know that you cannot make someone do anything they are not ready to do. You can advice, council, discuss, suggest, and hug, but you can’t live another person’s life for them. (Which is just fine; mine has never been perfect, and I haven’t always had the best answers or made the best choices.) When it’s a child or anther loved one, this can be painful, frustrating, irritating, but there is no better way to handle it than to let it go. Anger, resentment, and fighting are of no value whatsoever.

In my heart I am suspicious of religion and of prescribed ways of think about God, the Trinity, and heaven/hell. These conflict with my awareness of God as I understand him. It is beyond my understanding how anyone can know what is unknowable. No one knows what heaven is, but oddly we grasp at the tidbits of theology that we want to believe. We like to hear near death experiences where someone claims to have seen a light, and felt a peaceful presence, but then returned to the living because it was not their time to go yet. We want answers, but when we’re talking about the spiritual realm, the answers are at best educated guesses, by well-meaning and undoubted learned people.

This is not to put down churches or believers. If they have the faith to carry them through the questions, fine. Generally, people who practice their faith are better for it, and carry out Christian virtues in their lives and the relationships with other people. That’s good. There are reasons for following the Ten Commandments, aside from the fact that they are “the law”. One’s life is better if you do what you’re supposed to do and avoid doing bad or sinful things. The teachings of a church and the belief in a God who wants the best for us, lead to happier, less chaotic lives.

Number 2: I hate racism. I choke up when I read about its practice in the past, and now I hate it when people use it as a lightning rod now to inflame racism. I believe that Martin Luther King and his approach to breaking down racial barriers and replacing hatred with tolerance, or even love for our brothers “in Christ”, was divinely inspired. I resent those who ignore, dismiss or misuse the message he preached. Equality is what an individual makes of it; it is there now, long overdue, but making excuses based on race is a slap in the face to those who fought for it in the 50’s and 60’s, including those who died for it. Some people will always find a reason to hate someone else; that does not speak to society though. Our society has been transformed into one where tolerance for the races and ethnicities in our country provide equal opportunity — given that people work for their goals.

Number 3: I don’t like paying for people who won’t work for themselves. We personally probably pay enough in taxes to support one family on welfare. Is that the way it’s supposed to be: each working family supports another, none of whom work? The biggest item in our national budget is entitlements. Just look at the word — entitled to what — a free ride? I think the biggest gift we could give each of the families and individuals on welfare is the opportunity to work for the money they are collecting, not necessarily full-time, but some work and work experience for getting a real job. Let them build up a work ethic, an ability to wake up and work to someone else’s schedule, learn teamwork, and take some of the burden off the specific area in which they live. How much could be done in Detroit if all those on unemployment worked 2-3 days a week to clean up the blighted parts of the city? Build playgrounds, plant flowers, clean the streets, deliver food from charitable organizations, work in a soup kitchen, wash the laundry at a shelter — and the list goes on. They may even see people worse off than they are, and feel a sense of accomplishment at helping someone else. They would also begin to see their city transformed because they put in the effort to clean it up. Obviously some of the people on welfare need drug treatment, and psychological/psychiatric counseling — that’s probably where some of the entitlement money should be going: intercity community-based substance abuse and psychiatric treatment centers — you attend everyday or get a day deducted from the next welfare check. None of us are entitled to anything we have. We work for it, we create it, we save it.

Life is good is when you do what you’re supposed to do. It would be nice to give the gift of that feeling to more “entitled” Americans.

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