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My son Joshua runs a business called True Life Training and calls himself a breakthrough expert. I know this language might sound strange to some of you. It’s not my style either. But I’ve gone to several of his events and they have powerfully provoked some pretty major breakthroughs in my life. I’m grateful for that.

So this weekend he had a booth at a Wellness Expo in a nearby city. Because he’s feeling so overwhelmed and burned out lately I offered to come with him to provide moral support and to give him a hand. It was in a huge auditorium with hundreds of booths in a maze of dividers. When I first walked in I was like, oh-oh. It was all kinds of spectacular stuff. There were massages, psychics, acupuncturists, crystals, aura-readers, stones, supplements, horse-whisperers, feathers, wands, magic potions, intuitors, meditators… you name it. It was all there in one huge endless room of wonder.

I met some fascinating people. I was having a very normal conversation with a woman selling feathers. She is obviously very intelligent and works in IT. Then suddenly she was talking about a ghost she shares her house with and he has his own feather and how mischievous he is like when he turns off her alarm clock. I talked with another  man who is a project manager of an industry. We were having a very normal intellectual kind of conversation when he started talking about his divine mother and forefathers and kings of the atmosphere and purple and archangels. His wife was like, “I don’t believe all that. But oh well!” I met another young woman, a university student, who believes she is cleansing the water system of her city through prayer. I met another one who doesn’t believe in spirits and all that, but she did believe that by inserting an acupuncture needle in your elbow she could clear your sinuses. I met a man who uses crystals as pendulums to tell if there are spirits in the room. His pendulums were very active yesterday. One woman told me that she sat with the psychic who was there. The psychic said there was some kind of hard object on her bedside table that the spirit of her grandmother was connected to. She said yes, that’s true. Her grandmother gave her a stone once and told her to keep it by her bed. Grandma said that whenever she needed her loving presence, then remember she was with her in spirit by looking at the stone and holding it if she wanted. I never batted an eye to any of this.

I had a very interesting conversation with another young woman. Let’s call her Diane. We were part of a group that had supper together at a restaurant and we were sitting beside each other for a couple of hours. After she learned what I do, she must have felt free to open up and tell me her story. She said she was raised atheist. She recently moved to that city. She was going through a hard time. She’d met another girl and the girl invited her to her church. Pentecostal. I’m nodding my head. I know Pentecostal. She said she invited God into her heart. She said her life’s really changed. Now instead of having this feeling of cosmic loneliness she feels wrapped in loving arms. She said the pastor told her that he sensed God wanted her to know that he has nothing but love and grace for her, that she was not to judge herself because God wasn’t, and that all is well with her soul and to be happy. She was smiling a huge smile when she was telling me all this. She was obviously so happy, content, and positive. She wasn’t using Christianese either because she didn’t know it. But I knew what she was talking about. I smiled and said, “Isn’t it wonderful to feel this acceptance, this love, and to feel that you are somehow ultimately cared for? I’m really happy for you!” “YES!” she said, “That’s it! I feel that I’m really okay!”

Now, someone could have responded, “You do realize, don’t you, that God doesn’t have arms?! That God isn’t separate from you somewhere in heaven reaching down to hug you. Or that maybe there isn’t even a God? I want to warn you that one day you are going to feel abandoned by this very same God and experience a loneliness like you’ve never experienced before and it could last for years or forever! I would also like to issue a warning about Pentecostals because I was one: they will smother you with love and affection, but enjoy it while you can. Because… and I don’t know when it is… but at some point in time they are finally going to tell you you need to move out of your boyfriend’s apartment, get baptized, stop drinking and smoking, speak in tongues and obey their particular rules.” Someone could have told her that. But no one did.

And that’s a good thing. I decided a long time ago I’m a validator. I validate other people’s journeys. I am an encourager. I encourage people to be spiritually independent. Diane’s journey is a wonderful one. This is one of her chapters. She is a smart woman. She is figuring this out. Right now she’s happy, content, loved, respected, and her life has purpose and meaning. Why rob her of that with depressing news from the future? Perhaps with her smarts, her atheist upbringing, and her open-mindedness she will avoid some of the traps we fell into. I hope so. Or maybe she’ll sometimes learn the hard way like we all have and do.

I made new friends. Weird and wacky and wonderful people. Like me. Like you!

Yes! Welcome to the world of TLS!

love, david

ps: I might actually get a booth at one of these Wellness Expos. Could you imagine the fun I could have… with my nakedpastor cartoons, my Sophia images and story, my art, and TLS. Maybe I could even have a couple TLS members there with me. That would be a riot I think!