Sometime last year, I broke convention with the #MyFridayStory WhatsApp Group and shared this story outside of a Friday. My apologies if you have already read this and thank you.
Please send your thoughts and comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s the WhatsApp message slightly edited:
Good morning, isn’t it? 😁😇
Wherever you are, I trust your morning is beautiful.
I have never abused the privilege of the attention you have granted me over the years of publishing #MyFridayStory. And I’m not about to start either.
I realise people signup for #MyFridayStory because they enjoy the stories and walk away having gained something.
Part of the responsibility of putting out something of value for the folks that signed up is to remain true to the cause and the purpose of such a platform. The number has grown over time into tens of thousands of awesome folks from all over the world today. (A few vanity milestones — The LinkedIn #MyFridayStory Group went past 4000, the LinkedIn #MyFridayStory Newsletter hit 15 000, and we just tipped over 47 000 followers)
But there’s been an extended consequence of putting out #MyFridayStory over the past 5 years.
I have gained undue attention. I’d like to believe it’s mainly because I remained authentic with topics that interest me or events that I have experienced and gained some insight on. I always hoped to let the reader come away having experienced some of what I promised:
“Every Friday, receive a 3-minute, light-hearted, motivational, inspirational, entertaining, interesting and thought-provoking story. “
If I’ve ever felt like I have a purpose on this planet for the duration of my almost 60 years as an inhabitant, it’s been to share a central message:
I’ve come to realise that religion and how it has evolved and what it represents today is even further from the truth than when I was 5 years old.
I say let’s forget about denominations. Let’s put aside being Catholic or Protestant. Jew or Muslim. Orthodox or lay.
The truth is that it’s all irrelevant when you consider love is sorely lacking from humankind without a need for further barriers and excuses to hate each other.
Before my older Brother died two years ago, he and I were discussing starting a ‘movement’. We had both become disillusioned with the story and how it has been shaped today. Churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and any other space where followers of man-made rituals and rules congregate, all aim at dividing and segregating rather than reconciliation and compassion — the message of love.
I believe it is each person’s duty as an intelligent creature on earth, to foster and promote the story of love. The central, core message is just that:
Imagine the world we would help create if households were harmonious and uplifting. Imagine workplaces where everyone is treated fairly and is seen as worthy. Consider the drop in the divorce rate if we all learned to love each other. Put the vows and the promises aside, just love one another. It is that simple. Think about it this way. Could you ever hurt or any way hard someone you love with every molecule? So if we all loved one another that way, we would never want to hurt each other.
I found the piece below resonated and knew I have to share it. Regardless of your religious leaning, please take a read, I am sure you will enjoy it.
A Movement of Divine Love
For Father Richard Rohr, God’s unconditional love is itself a movement that transforms us:
This whole human project pivots around Divine Love. Because our available understanding of love is almost always conditioned on “I love you if” or “I love you when,” most people find it almost impossible — apart from real transformation — to comprehend or receive Divine Love. In fact, we cannot understand it in the least, unless we “stand under” it, like a cup beneath a waterfall. When we truly understand Divine Love, our politics, our anthropology, our economics, and our movements for justice will all change.
If we are to believe the biblical revelation, it seems that God does not love the people of Israel if they change (as they first imagine), but so that they can change. Divine Love is not a reward for good behaviour, as we first presume it to be; it is a larger Life, an energy and movement that we can participate in — and then, almost despite ourselves — we behave differently. It seems few of us go there willingly. For some reason, we’re afraid of what we most want.
The prophet Hosea tells the people of Israel poetically and succinctly, “I will love Unloved: I will say to No-People-of-Mine, ‘You are my people,’ and then you will answer back, ‘You are my God’” (Hosea 2:24). That is the divine pattern, although we almost always get it backwards. For some reason, we think that if we love God, God will love us. When, in reality, it is because God loves us that we can return the compliment. God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good.
Up to the time of the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE, the Jewish people believed — as so many of us do today — in retributive justice. “Tit for tat,” we might say. It went something like this: mistake –> punishment –> conversion –> consolation/salvation. Most people accept that logic to this day because it makes God and the world feel fair and just. Reward and retribution are in our hardwiring. They are the plot line for almost everything — except for the evolving biblical story, beginning with the Torah and evolving through the prophets.
During and after the exile, the prophets started seeing a clearly different pattern at work in God’s dealing with people. The new pattern looks like this: mistake –> consolation/salvation –> conversion. It is a total turnaround of consciousness! As Isaiah is able to hear from God, “The shame of your youth you shall forget . . . My love shall never fall away from you” (Isaiah 54:4, 10). It seems that inside the Divine logic, the answer to failure is, in fact, more love!
Divine Love is the interpretive key to everything. Unloved people do bad things. Loved people do good things. It is that simple.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
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