Intriguing, insightful answers to your thorny theological queries
Handling Difficult Dialogue
DEAR DR. TOM: I have relatives who say the planet Earth
is 7,000 years old, God created Adam and Eve from clay,
and a great flood destroyed all living creatures except
those who survived on Noah’s Ark! Can you tell me how
—Miffed in Montana
DEAR MIFFED: Don’t. They won’t hear your answer, and
their protests won’t make this 4-billion-year-old planet
a day younger. Smile politely and say, “How about them
Montana Grizzlies? What a team!”
DEAR DR. TOM: Sometimes I get discouraged. I’m a single
mom, working hard at a good job, yet I’m struggling
to pay the rent and stay “above water” in general. My
mom helps greatly by providing free daycare, like a lot
of grandmoms do these days. I believe in prosperity
principles, but my main concern is how to buy groceries at
the end of the month. Am I doing something wrong?
—M.D., Online Submission
DEAR M.D.: First, on behalf of the human family, thank
you so much for working so hard to take care of the
next generation. Your story could be retold millions of
times across the planet. However, your question was
about prosperity, not sociology. God is the source of
your supply—not salary, hard work, family support,
or other resources. When circumstances tempt you to
focus on lack, look at the stars and ask, How deep is God’s
treasury? The universe is superabundant. There is more
than enough to meet all your needs. Trust in divine flow,
do your best, and be open to new demonstrations of
prosperity from places you never before considered. You
are worthy of good, great blessings. Center on meeting
your needs and finding balance, not falling short each
month or winning the lottery. Prosperity is about quality,
not quantity. With patience and openness, your good will
come to you.
DEAR DR. TOM: What spiritual advice would you give to
a late middle-aged person who’s been overweight most
of his life? Friends say: “Don’t worry. You carry it well.”
“Being overweight will shorten your life. Do something!”
And the real zinger: “God doesn’t care if you’re a little
chubby. Why should you?” What are your thoughts?
—Fat in Fresno
DEAR FRESNO: You have an interesting array of friends.
My question is: What do you want? Forget what God
wants—it’s always the same answer, your highest good.
But only you can determine what that “highest good”
looks like in your life. Some people are okay with
differing from the socially established norms of weight
and appearance. Others are not. If you are truly okay
with whatever weight you have chosen, let trust in God
be your guide.
My experience is that most of us who fight the obesity
dragon with fear in our hearts do so because we have
failed to best the beast in so many duels bygone. If that is
your story, trust in God and try again. At 72, I am dieting
once more and feeling better for it. But please realize that
the “zinger” is essentially correct. God loves us no matter
how we appear in this lifetime.
DEAR DR. TOM: I’m a baby boomer. All my life, I’ve felt
like a young person, full of hope about the future. Now
I’m in my late sixties and question whether my hope was
mistaken. Where can I find hope today?
—Hoping in Hawaii
DEAR HOPING: Look at the faces of the children. St. Paul
was right: Faith never ends. Hope springs eternal. Love
triumphs in the circle of life.
DEAR DR. TOM: Why does the government want a Space
Force? I see many potential problems with this idea.
What do you think?
—Earth First, New York City
DEAR EF: Internet, computers, satellite weather, 18,000
Near Earth Objects (asteroids) tracked by NASA (some
of which could destroy planet Earth). Humans explore to
grow. It’s in our blood. I’m praying for faster-than-light
travel—to discover new, habitable worlds with plenty
of resources. Perhaps we’ll learn to respect all life as we
travel among the stars.
REV. THOMAS SHEPHERD, D.MIN.,
FORMER PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY AND
CHURCH HISTORY AT UNITY INSTITUTE®
AND SEMINARY, IS THE AUTHOR OF MANY
UNITY BOOKS. SEND QUESTIONS TO