Donald O'Dell holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree in history from North Texas.
As an ordained United Presbyterian minister, he served as a street gang minister in Trenton, NJ. In addition he had two separate pastorates in Oklahoma, where he also served as Chaplain in a county hospital. He continued to serve smaller congregations after he joined the private sector in business.
Today he enjoys a semi-retired living in North Carolina. He also remains an active in networking with groups and organizations in new thought and critical thinking strategies.
From a subscriber (with her permission): “I really enjoyed these [last] two [posts] – (Being Politically Active and Spiritually Serene, Parts 1 & 2) and you have made me consider several people in a different light. Your statement, Everything is either an act of Love or a call for Love, is one I just quoted to someone on Facebook who expressed hatred for Trump. I can see him as "calling for love," and, although, I totally oppose nearly all that he is doing, I now feel almost pity for him, as he does not understand why people like myself do not "love" him. It explains his tirades about protests and parodies. I have also had the opportunity to apply this to two personal situations with family members this past week. I feel much better about these situations even though I recognize that they may occur in the future.”
The importance of trying to “train” our minds to think differently is such an important and critical first step. I cannot overestimate how significant this has been for me. However, I must always caution myself in this process. I have a tendency to believe I know better and, therefore, want to actually be the agent of change in someone’s life. Unfortunately, the “change”” they need to make is the “change” I want them to make. Here is where my caution and humility must lie.
It is the Voice for God or the Holy Spirit who opens the doors (cf. Lesson 56, 3, below) when we are truly willing to have our perception corrected. I cannot force my doors to be opened nor can I “open” someone else’s doors. I can, I believe, attempt to correct the actions/behaviors of another by recognizing their “call for Love” while telling myself “He/she is doing the best they can with the awareness/perception they have – just like me.” Whenever I find myself in a state of fear, vulnerability, rationalization, defensiveness, justification, projection, or disbelief – tools I use to protect "my" world – I am feeling like a victim, potential victim, or victor, all of which means that I'm in an attack mode! They have attack thoughts just as I do.
Let me allow some of ACIM’s Lessons to speak for themselves. Lessons 55-56 in the Workbook For Students in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) deal with this very concisely, in my opinion, (as do many of the other Lessons). As I mentioned above, this is a critical learning step for me. You may find this a critical step for you, too.
From Lesson 55:
1. What I see now are but signs of disease, disaster and death. This cannot be what God created for His beloved Son [collective humankind]. The very fact that I see such things is proof that I do not understand God [and do not understand me]. What I see tells me that I do not know who I am. I am determined to see the witnesses to the truth in me, rather than those which show me an illusion of myself.
2. The world I see … is a picture of attack on everything by everything. It is anything but a reflection of the Love of God and the love of His Son. It is my own attack thoughts that give rise to this picture. My loving thoughts will save me from this perception of the world, and give me the peace God intended me to have.
3. I can escape from this world by giving up attack thoughts. Herein lies salvation, and nowhere else. Without attack thoughts I could not see a world of attack. As forgiveness allows love to return to my awareness, I will see a world of peace and safety and joy. And it is this I choose to see, in place of what I look on now.
4. How could I recognize my own best interests when I do not know who I am? What I think are my best interests would merely bind me closer to the world of illusions. I am willing to follow the Guide God has given me to find out what my own best interests are, recognizing that I cannot perceive them by myself.
5. To me, the purpose of everything is to prove that my illusions about myself are real. It is for this purpose that I attempt to use everyone and everything. It is for this that I believe the world is for. Therefore I do not recognize its real purpose. The purpose I have given the world has led to a frightening picture of it. Let me open my mind to the world's real purpose by withdrawing the one I have given it….
From Lesson 56:
1. How can I know who I am when I see myself as under constant attack? Pain, illness, loss, age and death seem to threaten me. All my hopes and wishes and plans appear to be at the mercy of a world I cannot control. Yet perfect security and complete fulfillment are my inheritance. I have tried to give my inheritance away in exchange for the world I see. But God has kept my inheritance safe for me. My own real thoughts will teach me what it is.
2. Recognizing that what I see reflects what I think I am, I realize that vision is my greatest need. The world I see attests to the fearful nature of the self-image I have made. If I would remember who I am, it is essential that I let this image of myself go. As it is replaced by truth, vision will surely be given me. And with this vision, I will look upon the world and on myself with charity and love.
3. The world I see holds my fearful self-image in place, and guarantees its continuance. While I see the world as I see it now, truth cannot enter my awareness. I would let the door behind this world be opened for me, that I may look past it to the world that reflects the Love of God.
4. Behind every image I have made, the truth remains unchanged. Behind every veil I have drawn across the face of love, its light remains undimmed. Beyond all my insane wishes is my will, united with the Will of my Father. God is still everywhere and in everything forever. And we who are part of Him will yet look past all appearances, and recognize the truth beyond them all.
5. In my own mind, behind all my insane thoughts of separation and attack, is the knowledge that all is one forever. I have not lost the knowledge of Who I am because I have forgotten it. It has been kept for me in the Mind of God, Who has not left His Thoughts. And I, who am among them, am one with them and one with Him.
As I’ve stated before, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore; help me perceive things the way You see them.”
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 Feb 2017