Spiritually Speaking

Spiritually Speaking Participants

Rev. Jon Karn of Light on the Corner Church; Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian of Holy House Ministries; Anthony Kelson, RScP, Laney Clevenger-White, RScP, and Rev. Dr. Beverly Craig of Center for Spiritual Living – La Crescenta; Rabbi Janet Bieber; Carolyn Young; Sharon Weisman; Rev. Mary Morgan of Redondo Beach Center for Spiritual Living; Rev. Dabney Beck of International Church of the Four Square Gospel; Lucinda Guarino; Pastor Randy Foster of Christian Life Church; Karin Ellis of La Cañada Methodist Church; Rev. Rev. Sharri James of UP Church; The Rev. C. L. “Skip” Lindeman of Upland Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Rev. Rob Holman of St. Luke’s Anglican Church; Rev. Sharri Johnson of One Heart Retreat Center; Rev. KC Slack of Unitarian Universalist of the Verdugo Hills; Rev. Jeff Blanton and Rev. Emanuel David of Community Life Church; Rev. Karen Mitchell of High Desert Center for Spiritual Living; Rev. Kyle Sears of La Cañada Congregational Church; Michelle Gillette, Unity Chaplain/Pasadena; Andy Gero, VFW Chaplain.

Responses are offered from the perspective of individual Spiritually Speaking respondents, which may or may not be in agreement with other respondents of Spiritually Speaking nor the editor and staff of the Crescenta Valley Weekly.

Question: We’ve been attending a Christian Church since our two children, ages 6 and 8, were babies. The Sunday school they attend while we’re in what they call “big church” is great! Every week, there is a Bible story and a lesson about being kind and loving. We get to hear about their lessons at lunch after church.

Last week, the lesson was about David and Goliath. Their teacher emphasized that the lesson meant that God could help them with all problems and even big problems. They were both excited about the lesson as they were telling us. We were excited, too, because this is a great way to build faith in children. The problem happened in school the following day when our 6-year-old was telling his friend about the story. His friend told him there was no way a giant could be brought down with a slingshot. Quite frankly, we were without words to comfort the little guy except to say that God helped David and he can help you.

Is there anything else we could have said to our discouraged son?

~ Concerned Parents

Dear Concerned Parents,    

Awwww! I just want to hug your 6-year-old and tell him/her that everything will be okay – and I think what you told your child was good, too: God can help you even with big problems such as Goliath. (That name means “giant,” by the way. Goliath wasn’t his given name!)     

We all want to protect our children from harm and we even want to preserve their innocence in this sometimes cruel world. But the truth is that we can’t no matter how much we might want to do so. Maybe what your child experienced was his/her first experience of scoffers in real life.

Remember George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”? The character Sportin’ Life sings the song, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and he even sings about David slaying Goliath with the implication being that just because the Bible says so, it ain’t necessarily so.

Now for the hard part … that scoffer at school was partially right. What the stone from David’s slingshot did was stun Goliath and maybe even knock him out. Goliath died when David cut off his head. Sorry, but the Bible doesn’t mince words and I’m sure the Sunday school teacher didn’t want to be explicit about the gory details of how the big Philistine met his end. So do you want to tell your child the truth? 

I am probably not being very helpful here and, if so, I apologize. But maybe you could tell your child that what’s important is what the Bible story means, not necessarily what the Bible story says. I am not a Biblical literalist, but I know a lot of people are. What I like to say is that I take the Bible seriously but not literally.

I think you have made a good start with your child. Please continue!


The Rev. Skip Lindeman
La Cañada Congregational Church

The Rev. C. L. “Skip” Lindeman

P.S. Thankfully, the David and Goliath story comes after the Noah’s Ark story, so maybe your child won’t have to deal with that story this time around!

Seriously, maybe your child will become a Biblical scholar. Maybe now is an excellent time to suggest such an endeavor.


Dear Concerned Parents,

I believe the lesson here for parents is that this will happen time and again throughout our child’s life. It will definitely occur with our children’s faith, it will also happen when they share a big accomplishment or something amazing they received, and just about anything else that a human might tell a friend, schoolmate and co-worker one day.

One life lesson here is that not everyone believes the same way we do – plain and simple. However, we do have support and people who do share our beliefs. A second life lesson is that sometimes kids at school can challenge us, disagree, argue and just generally try to make us feel bad – because they’re kids! Children can be mean!

I had a “friend” in elementary school who was part of our general friend group and Girl Scouts. So there was no avoiding her completely. She would say something contrary to anything I said. She would also say random things to stir the pot. An example: “Why do you always wear your hood up on your coat?” This was said with disdain. She literally wasn’t a very nice child. Many other students were hurt by her grumpy negativity. Finally, a third lesson is sometimes people are jealous and try to put us in our place, so to speak. Why might a child be jealous of that biblical story? He could be jealous in general of other things about your son. He could be jealous if he doesn’t have a close-knit family that spends time with him, takes him to church and has lunch with his family.

So while I am not giving you exact words to use, I am suggesting that you comfort your child by sharing life lessons, how people can act sometimes and that just because this child does not agree with your son, it does not mean that your son is wrong. Teach him not to take things personally, explain what that means. Life lessons are just as important as academics, learning about our faith, and making and keeping relationships.

I hope this helps your young son.

The Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian

Question: When my children were younger, I did everything I could to keep our family together even though their father had a wandering eye. I didn’t want to turn them against him. I do have to say he was a good father.

When the kids were in their teens, the situation was out in the open because he asked for a divorce after a marriage of over 20 years so he could marry another woman. When the kids found out they said they love their dad and they love me and weren’t making any judgments. Even though their dad did what he did, they continue to idolize him and I’m pretty much low priority for them.

Fortunately, I have a life and lots of friends but I have to admit their lack of attention gets to me if I think about it too often. My question is how does one really get over a betrayal like this?
~ Discarded Wife and Mother   

Dear Discarded Wife and Mother,

In one’s lifetime we all experience betrayals. Inasmuch as we have no control over such events it is best to learn how to let them go! Everyone is guilty of doing things unconsciously, which means they cannot explain why. Sometimes it can alienate best friends or end up in a divorce or whatever. Many people just don’t know themselves well enough, which is the basis of many problems.

Security develops mostly in our youth and, unfortunately, it can often manifest itself as being insecure as an adult. This is mostly due to a change in one’s lifestyle that is not acceptable or uncontrollable. This anomaly does control behavior.

The list is endless. Why do people behave the way they do? Realize it’s difficult to let everything be okay, but one must learn to do so; otherwise, they can easily become part of the problem. 

Pray for your friends, especially the people you love. It’s comforting to do so. Most importantly, you care!

God bless! 

Andy Gero


Andy Gero, VFW Chaplain


Dear Discarded Wife and Mother,

First, I want to congratulate you on being such a wonderful parent. Your desire to encourage your children to love both you and your ex-husband equally is so important in helping build long-term trust and self-esteem. Sadly, children often believe their parents are getting a divorce because of them. This belief influences behavior in so many different ways and can affect their lives for years. When parents don’t talk or continue years of anger towards each other, children are led to believe they have to take sides.

Know that God’s presence is active in your life and in your decision on how to co-parent. Your loving actions guide the many choices your children make as they get older. They will pass the ability to love that they learned from you on to their children. 

As humans, love that we receive on an ongoing basis becomes something we expect. Love between parents and children isn’t always acknowledged on a daily basis but it always remains the foundation of our lives. Try setting up a routine where each person gives each of the other people a daily compliment. Make it fun by exchanging these blessings with each other over breakfast or when someone comes home from school or work. It will remind everyone to connect and express their love often. The compliments, encouraging words and blessings can be in many different forms. Spoken, written, sung, danced … anything that brings joy.

Letting go of a betrayal is letting go of how we feel about it. We are taught to tell ourselves we are the reason things didn’t work out, even if we didn’t initiate the problem. But what if you take a step back and, in that sacred space, that moment of breath, realize it isn’t about you? That it is actually the other person’s issue and we don’t have to participate in it.

People needing validation from more than one person has unresolved issues of their own. The fear of not being loved takes over their life. This can manifest in many different forms such as involving other people or exhibiting indifference or anger and putting down other people. These are control patterns that come from fear, not love.

We can’t change other people; however, we can change ourselves. Every time you blame yourself or think anything negative about yourself, stop and say something about yourself that you love. Always replace right away your negative thoughts and words with positive thoughts and words. Do this consistently and, over time, it will become a habit. Expressing love for yourself will become the thoughts, words, deeds and actions that create the peaceful and joyful life that you desire.

You are a divinely guided person who is willing to open your heart and share your love with family and friends. Remember to share your love with yourself as well. Your love for yourself will keep you healthy and happy. And, the more you love yourself, the more you can truly love others.

In Love, Light & Blessings,

Michelle Gillette

Michelle Gillette, Unity Chaplain/Pasadena