God's Hollywood: Summary of Concerns from Student Papers
- A boring church versus an exciting one---alas, many church services are boring to many in the audience. This is particularly tragic given the reality that the messages of God's prophets are very exciting ones. You have two choices---1) change churches and/or participate in changing the way your church presents God's message, or 2) change the way you are responding to the "boring" sermon---in most instances, while some in the audience may find the message boring, others are finding it exciting!
- Finding the time and energy for your spiritual development---this is ultimately an excuse, not a reason! You can utilize time and energy that you are now wasting, or that you are now using for a limited purpose. For example, while you are walking or driving or showering, you can simultaneously utilize that time and energy for your spiritual development.
- Enjoying what you already have versus coveting what others seem to have---when we are constantly surrounded with advertising that encourages us to covet what others have, it is hard not to get into this habit….but, remember, that is what it is, a habit! When you watch the ads, use them as a trigger to remind you of what they are trying to do to you….don't let them control you, get in control of your own life!
- Fearing death versus fearing not having lived---a modest amount of fear is actually healthy, a modest amount of anxiety and stress helps you perform better. The key is not getting rid of all fear, but, finding a reasonable balance between fear and love---living fully is an act of love both toward yourself and others.
- Taking God for granted---seldom does a person take JUST God for granted…usually this is a symptom of taking many important things for granted---our parents and partners, our health, the beauty that surrounds us, our good luck. It is easy to take things for granted until we lose them…then, bang, we are in deep waters. If we practice NOT taking anything for granted, then we will not take God for granted and we will minimize the impact of the inevitable losses that life serves up. The best way of not taking things for granted is being present in the moment, alive to what is going on around us.
- Fearing a loving God---unfortunately, some of us have had the message of God delivered to us in a less than balanced way. Here, once again, is the need for balance.
- Helping others versus God helping others---often very caring persons get caught up in believing that they HAVE TO help someone who needs help. This can lead to tragic results! It is more balanced if you reach out to another person at the same time that you realize that any change that they may need to make is ultimately between them and their God, that you, at best, can assist them, if they so choose to have you as part of the formula.
- Living a good life without spirituality---although it may well be better to live a good life without spirituality/religion than live an evil life with a spiritual dimension, that rarely, if ever, is the actual choice that life offers you. We are all, by nature, spiritual beings. Any attempt to try to deny that ultimately works to our detriment.
- Forgiving others and forgiving yourself---see Jung quote.
- Fighting for what is right---this, more than anything else you do with your life, are the most important decision areas you will have to face. Doing what is right, often requires a considerable struggle on your part. That struggle tends to define your character and helps to shape your entire life. Although I am a strong believer in the good fight, I equally believe that balance is vitally important here, as it is in all areas.
- Finding God in the actions of others versus blaming God for what goes wrong---this is an issue of attitude. We need to work at developing a positive attitude. Self-talk is one of the more effective ways that we develop that ability.
- Not being controlled by guilt---the key word here is "controlled"---we should feel guilt at times. If we are feeling controlled by guilt, then this should be recognized as an area where your life is not in balance.
We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses…If a doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is. Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple, and so acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one's whole outlook on life. That I feed the beggar, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ---all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea, the very fiend himself---that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved---what then? Had it been God himself who drew near to us in this despicable form, we should have denied him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.
Jung, speaking before a group of Ministers in 1932