July 17, 2021

Dear Church Family,
When I initially attend college 40 years ago, I declared my major as English Literature. I loved it as I was exposed to scores of books, authors and stories that I was encouraged dissect and apply critical thinking towards. I loved to read, always in the middle of three or more novels, biographies and Truth books. Like many of us I love stories – especially stories of people overcoming obstacles, or moving from victim into victory. I find it affirming to read stories about people who found life a struggle and overcame the struggle, either purposefully or by accident, to create a new life for themselves. 
It could be said that each of us is crafting our life story as we go along. Our stories, maybe full of facts, opinions, and beliefs that unfold in the way we choose to remember them. Our stories can be our testimonies to how we have grown in awareness or unfolded in spirit, and they are often filled with characters as we see constructive or destructive in our lives. Or we have experiences that are generative, regenerative or degenerative – whatever description we give them is up to us.
This week as we are exploring Radical Forgiveness we are looking at the stories we create. Most of us are adept at seeing the glass half full, or the rainbow at the edge of a storm. Yet, in this human journey we also create ogres & monsters along the way. We also choose to be upset, offended or unkind in thought, feeling and actions when it serves us, too. Yet, these feelings and narratives are ones we create. 
As a Truth Student I attempt to be aware of the “stories” I create, and to ask “How’s that serving my highest good?” In the moments when I create ogres & monsters, I ask myself, “Why did you make them a bad guy?” 
Our first principle states, “There is one Presence & Power in the Universe, God, the Good Omnipotence.” Our second principle states “We are created in the spiritual image of God.” It reminds me that sometimes through my error thinking I have created ‘bad guys’ out of a creation of God’s Good. It’s not that there aren’t bad actors in our world – there are plenty of people who fall short of God’s Good in their thought, feeling and actions – but it’s not my role to deem them bad, it’s my role to see God’s Good in them. This doesn’t excuse error thought that comes through their actions. No, indeed, we are responsible for our thoughts, feelings and actions. And sometimes they come up short and miss the mark of God perfection for us. 
I invite you to examine the stories you tell yourself. Who are the ogres and monsters you have created? What does the narrative say about them and about you? Moreover, I invite to change the story you’ve created to include your best understanding of God Good at work in all aspects of your life. It may be amazing to you how differently you choose to experience this journey. 
Many blessings,
Pastor Robert