Thursday, August 6, 2015


Real spiritual and personal growth begins with responsibility.  No one is coming to save you.
This doesn't mean that miracles don't happen. They do.  As long as you are blaming people, or the economy, or your mom for your life the way it is, you aren't responsible. Miracles are unlikely in this state.

Whatever is happening in your life--you own it. You are the one who must respond. There is no power in being a victim. There is no happiness in playing that you are always the "good one" in relationships, or that the world has been unfair to you. You aren't, and it hasn't.  We all have lessons to learn.

There is power in responsibility. You act, and you accept the consequences of your actions. When you stop blaming you are free. When you choose to act rather than sitting around hoping, you are empowered. You are responsible. You never know for sure what the exact outcome will be. Move forward, trusting that things will work out. Be open to all possibilities. This change in perception, from victim to victor, from powerless to powerful, is a miracle in itself. When you see yourself and the world differently, you act differently--and you get different results.

William Frank Diedrich
Author of
Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance
(A novel about responsibility and miracles)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Original Blessing

You are born blessed--blessed with love, with gifts to offer, and your self to share. This is original blessing. If you believe in God, then you are born with his blessing, his unconditional love. You are made in his image.

If you don't believe in God, you are still born with a blessing. See the animal and plant kingdom, how every creature and plant is perfectly itself. So are you--perfect.

If you see God as all-encompassing, the essence of all, then you are born of that essence--created in perfection. How could you be anything less than that which you came from?

There is no such thing as original sin, at least not as most people understand it. You have not fallen from Grace. A sin is a mistake--missing the mark. Original sin is our forgetting who we are--forgetting our perfection and making for ourselves a separated world where we think we must struggle for love and recognition. You are not punished for your "sins." You are punished by them. They contain their own consequences.

You have no need to change or fix yourself, or to be saved. Your greatest need is to love yourself--to appreciate who you are--and then the courage to be who you are.  Recognition of who you are helps you to recognize others--that they are as you are. Your behaviors arise from who you believe you are.

Nothing you have said or done prevents you from being a blessing to the world. Don't waste any more time with guilt. Observe it when you sense it. Don't judge it; just move forward. Be the blessing you are now.

William Frank Diedrich
Author of
Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Belief and God

If someone were to ask me: 'Do you believe in God?" I may say yes just to not get into it. But if I were to be truly honest, I would need to ask: "What do you mean by God?" Upon hearing their description of God, I would probably have to say "No, I don't."

Then if the person asks me: "So you believe there is no God.?"  Again, my response would be "No." Atheism is based on a belief. I am not an Atheist.

Remember the story of the six blind men describing an elephant? This is it:
Six blind men learned an elephant was visiting their village. None of them knew what an elephant was, so they decided to touch it and find out.
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right.

This is religion. The collision of beliefs, each group thinking theirs are correct. Each person believing s/he is right. Each person and each group has their own image of God.

Images are not real. They are partial truths. This is why you can find truths in any religion. Those who have written about and taught from the original teacher and formed a religion have shared their part of the elephant. In most cases, they have also added their own stuff.

"God" is a word that names the ineffable. I sense God and feel God, have an awareness of God-ness. I have seen God in the faces of my children when they were babies, in the joyful countenance of my wife on our wedding day, in the faces of students I have taught, and in the midst of groups and teams of which I was a part. I have felt God when walking in a forest, when sitting in a pew at Notre Dame du Chartres, gazing at the mountain above Machu Picchu, standing in solitude on the Pyramid to the Sun at Teotihuacan, and while enjoying a west coast sunset (Lake Michigan or the Pacific Ocean) .  I have seen God when one person forgives another. I have witnessed God in the creations of great artists, writers, and musicians. Although I have sometimes traveled around the world to seek experiences, I needn't leave home to experience God. Wherever I am, God is.

For me, God is not something or someone to believe in.  I live and move and have my being within God. The closer I get to God, the less there is of "me" as I have known myself.  The only belief I have is "I am." At the same time I know that "God is." But don't ask me to describe that which is indescribable. I can't. And I don't want to make it up and call it a belief.  I can't take my experiences  and package and sell them as a belief system.

Whatever your religion or lack of, those moments when you touch God--when something deep in your mind and heart is sparked by inspiration or revelation, when you truly feel "not alone" or unconditionally loved or completely aware--those are the moments that inform you about God. But good luck explaining it!

Monday, July 13, 2015

ALL Beliefs Limit You

All beliefs limit you, even the positive ones. If you believe you are a poor leader, then you will lead poorly. I have known "leaders" who believed they were effective, yet they were not. The belief they held in their own competence prevented them from learning from failure--prevented them from hearing when they made mistakes. Truly excellent leaders don't think about  whether or not they are good; they just lead. They listen and make decisions that are best for the group. They speak with authority even when they aren't quite sure.

Self-help literature tells us we should believe in ourselves. I say we should stop believing and listen, pay attention to your results. If I approach a speaking engagement with high confidence, it is not because I believe in myself. My confidence comes from knowing, from experience. Sometimes I might feel anxious. Belief does nothing to solve my anxiety. Anxious or not, I dive in, paying close attention to my audience, listening to my Inner Voice, responding to the needs of the people who sit before me. Once I am in the flow, the anxiety passes and confidence takes over.

Belief in yourself, even if it is positive, limits you. A belief is a construct made up by you, or passed on to you by someone else. Believing you are a great artist, does not make you a great artist. Believing you are a wonderful teacher, does not make you wonderful. Learning and listening and practicing and doing--being humble, asking for help, both human and spiritual. Having natural talent and passion for a particular vocation is also important.

When I began my novel, Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance, I had not previously written fiction. I had no beliefs about the quality of my writing. I joined a writers group, and learned that I had much to learn. I had no positive beliefs that got in the way of criticism and suggestions. I just listened, asked questions, kept writing, and rewriting, and rewriting, and did I mention, rewriting?
So do I believe I am a good writer now?  No. All I know is that there are stories in me I want to write. So I'll keep learning and listening and writing, and yes--lots of rewriting.

Belief is overrated. Listening and paying attention are often underrated. What is calling you? Where is your potential? Don't worry about belief. Just do it and see what happens. If you fail, do something else.

William Frank Diedrich,

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Piece of the Truth

There was a young angel who was given the task of bringing the Truth to planet Earth. He was so eager to share the Truth with others that he didn't listen to instructions. The Truth was presented to him in the form of a crystal sphere.

He flew off with the sphere securely held in his arms. When he came upon Earth, in all its beauty, he thought about how he would give the Truth to all the inhabitants. Surely they would be grateful. He sped toward the surface of the planet. As he attempted to land, he was unable to adjust to the spin of the planet, so he stumbled. The crystal sphere was dislodged from his grip and crashed upon some rocks.

A wind came along and scattered the millions of tiny shards across the planet. Ever since that day, people have been finding those shards and saying, "I have the Truth!" or "Here is the Truth!"
In fact, nearly everyone has a piece of the Truth, but no one has the whole Truth.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Religious Dysfunction

One problem with a large segment of modern Christianity is that it is a dysfunctional system.  It tells you to believe in Jesus as your savior, and that will release your guilt for your sinful nature. It uses guilt to relieve guilt, which doesn't work.

Jesus suffered on the cross and died for you, so you should be grateful and accept him. God is angry at people for being sinners, so he required a blood sacrifice of his only son, so you should be grateful to Him for that. In this system God and Jesus are saying "Look what I've done for you. You better appreciate it, or there will be Hell to pay."

This God demands your belief, and that you follow his rules. He expects you to please him. You are a hopeless sinner, but by his grace, you are lifted up. Even though you don't deserve his love, he will give it to you anyway because you accept Jesus as your savior.

Even though the message of Jesus was love, this version of Christianity is based on fear. If I do this...then this will happen. Sinners and non-believers are punished.

There are other ways to be a follower of Jesus. None of this is needed to have a relationship with God, however you perceive God to be. None of this is needed to have a relationship with Jesus if that's what you want. The way to release guilt is to learn how to forgive yourself and others, and to become the person you aspire to be now.

Spirituality is not about belief in a distant God who requires you to please him. It is about asking the questions: "Who am I? What do I want? What do I need most to learn right now?" It's about looking at yourself, making no excuses, and being willing to be transformed. Simply go into prayer and say: "Reveal yourself to me?"  Keep asking. Be willing and open. Make prayer, meditation, or contemplation a daily habit. Focus on finding answers. They will come to you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Persecution, Heretics, and Respect

A belief system is a way of seeing the world. There are many belief systems, and many ways of seeing the world. The people in each system tend to think their way of seeing the world is the right way for everyone. This is true in both religion and politics.

Most Christians will state their core belief as: "Jesus died to save us from our sins." Yet, there are many followers of Christ who do not believe this. These outliers have been referred to as heretics or as cults. Throughout most of Christian history, heretics were killed, or otherwise silenced. When Constantine sought to solidify his rule of the Roman Empire in 325, he used Christianity as a tool. The Council at Nicea was to create a consistent belief system. Books for the New Testament that aligned with the belief system that Constantine and most bishops wanted were put into the Bible. Those that did not align were destroyed. Fortunately some were hidden. The Christian Bible was created out of a political need to secure power. To be clear, it's not that the Bible was bad, it was limited to those teachings the majority of bishops and politicians wanted people to believe.

There were other ways of following Jesus, but people were not free to practice those. By 380 Christianity was declared the religion of the empire. From that point on heretics could be excommunicated, imprisoned, or killed. The first heretic was executed in 386. The religion whose members had been persecuted then became the persecutor. For the next 1600 years millions were killed in the name of Jesus.

Once the Reformation took place, Protestant authorities followed suit burning and hanging accused witches and conducting pogroms against Jews, who were considered heretics by Marin Luther and others.

Today we see Islamic countries making blasphemy against the law and punishable by death. People who have opposed the prophet Mohammed have been condemned to death or attacked and killed. Example: Salmon Rushdie (condemned)  and Charlie Hebdo (Attacked and killed). Fortunately, we seldom see Christians killing others because of opposing beliefs, with the exception of skinheads and the KKK. However, it has only been twenty years since it stopped. (Serbian Christians killed and raped their Muslim neighbors in Kosovo in the 1990's.)

Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want. When your beliefs turn into an attack on others, whether that attack is in words, physical violence, or using the law to exclude people from their rights as citizens, it is still an attack. The Bible, the Koran, and the Torah were not meant to be weapons to destroy non-believers. They were to guide people into a closer relationship with their Higher Power. They are pathways to God. Follow your own path, and let others follow theirs. You have no idea that your path would be better for another person. You certainly may invite them if they are in need.

It's time we moved beyond spiritual and religious arrogance and focused on living as our best selves and challenging ourselves to grow spiritually. We don't need to respect each others' beliefs, but we do need to respect each other. I may think  your beliefs are insane, but I can still treat you with great respect. I can choose to see you, and everyone, as created in the image of God. There are no heretics. There are people, and we disagree. As long as disagreement doesn't have you harming others, it's okay.

William Frank Diedrich
Author of Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance