More or Less … July 31, 2012

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Hearsay.

It’s when I hear something and go ahead and say it, sharing it with someone else without totally confirming that it’s true. It can be nasty stuff. So since what I am about to share is a bit of hearsay, we will make it hypothetical rather than real, to salve my conscience.

There was this guy who said that he believes what the world needs is MORE. Therefore, he felt that everybody requires more Jesus, more money and even more pornography. He was determined to do his part to bring this abundance to mankind.

It’s similar to the way Congress is trying to cut the deficit. They all seem to understand that the amount of indebtedness needs to shrink, but they fail to comprehend that to accomplish that, we have to stop spending more money. It’s tricky business.

That’s why I sought out the wisdom of a friend on this issue of “more.” I trust his counsel because he, too, has a desire to bring happiness to the world.

But his first suggestion was that happiness is achieved by discovering a “poverty of spirit.” I would have to agree that if we had fewer people in this world using their intellect and spirituality to lord it over other folks, and instead, were spending more time examining their own hearts, motives and efficiency of choices, things would be a lot better. Some people think the earth would be enriched by more religion, when actually, we need less religion and more personal responsibility for our spirituality touching our own lives and making us more pliable to others.

My friend also said that happiness can be achieved by mourning. It’s that old “less and more” thing again–many of us do a lot of crying, but truthfully, much of it is self-pity. Would we be happier if we had less self-pity? I think so. We’d also be happier if we had more emotional investment in the pain of others around us instead of being completely preoccupied with our own narcissism. So once again, you can see, as in the case of poverty of spirit, we need less of one thing and more of another.

This is the same way you balance a budget, right? You take less of something so you that can have more of another.

How about another thought from my wise friend? Happiness is best achieved by understanding how to use meekness. This one is pretty simple to me. There is always something on earth to be inherited. Many times we just disagree on the plan of action. We may even feel that if we don’t stand up for our rights and fight for our cause, we may end up defeated and destitute. Actually, when we find ourselves taking a profile of being less overbearing, we buy time for more opportunity to come our way to insert our opinions, ideas and ultimately, even our will.  Less and more. There it is again.

Then my friend had this idea that happiness is like hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is one of the more unattractive things about human beings? That’s a tough question, but I would have to say that within the top five is acting like a know-it-all. There is something appealing–even sexy–about people who long for more knowledge and wisdom, even though you can see they have already stockpiled a lovely arsenal. Yes, we need more hungering and thirsting and less patting our bellies like we just had a good meal and are completely satisfied.

Can happiness really be achieved by being merciful? Yes–if you extend it more to others and spend less time demanding grace, which you neither deserve and is being blocked from delivery because of your pride.

Likewise, how do we achieve happiness by being pure in heart? Would you agree that the world might be a better place if there were less lying and more transparency? It might even enable us to see God in more parts of our lives instead of looking for the devil behind every mishap.

And finally, my friend put forth the premise that happiness is possessed by being a peace maker. This does demand that we cease to be too nationalistic, gain a vision for the entire world, understand the customs and beliefs of other nations and have more diplomacy and less saber-rattling. Yes, I guess I have to say that my friend with his plan for happiness suggests to us that the human experience is a very delicate understanding of where to apply less and when to go for more. Because the danger of “more” is that we always hit the limits on our ability to acquire and start stealing from others.

So as I said, having not confirmed my story, I don’t know whether this fine fellow I originally referred to actually voiced this opinion or not. But it is a prevailing thought–that if we could just “give more” to everybody, all the problems of the world would go away.

But sometimes, a poverty in spirit leads us to mourn the loss of others instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, which causes us to slow up our egos and buy time instead of tramping through other people’s turf, trying to dominate them. Once you see that’s effective, it causes you to hunger and thirst for more information to empower you, instead of making you look calloused and stupid. On that journey comes the opportunity to be merciful, which also enables you to obtain mercy. Guess what? You also realize that telling the truth keeps your heart clean and enables you to see God in life. Now you are finally prepared to go out and make peace with folks who are just determined to take more–even if they have to rob, kill and destroy.

I have actually experienced a situation where more was given to someone who was not prepared to appreciate it. I watched in surprise as this individual did less with it than I could ever have imagined.

More or less? Happiness, I believe, lies in knowing when to chase more and when to relax with less.

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Guns, Grass and Whipped Cream … July 30, 2012

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Walking through a poorly lit parking lot one evening, I happened upon three young fellows sprawled out on the hood of their car, smoking marijuana. Now, I assumed it was marijuana because there was only one cigarette which they passed back and forth. I suppose it could have been a lean financial week, and we were dealing with a Winston-Salem product, but for the sake of my story, allow me the assumption.

As I neared their location, I noticed that laying on the car hood in the midst of them was a hand gun. I did not know why. Perhaps later on, they planned on going out into the woods and hunting for game to take home to their lovely wives and dear children. It could be that they were afraid that some fat, aging, traveling author would come along and accost them and they would need to defend themselves. Maybe they had taken it out to clean it in preparation for going to the local shooting range to hone up their skills and make themselves better prepared for an upcoming tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Handgun

Handgun (Photo credit: brendonjford)

I suppose all of these are possibilities, but not what immediately leaped into my mind. What came to my thinking was that I was about to pass by three individuals who were under the influence of grass and had a hand gun, ironically, very close to their hands. Thoughts of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, and whether legalizing marijuana would alleviate cartel activity in South America did not come to play in my reasoning. I was wondering if I was going to be able to get to my car with my wallet, watch, health and well-being uninterrupted.What profile should I take? I chose to address them before they looked at me, and fortunately for this traveling journeyman, they peered at me through bleary, bloodshot eyes, nodded in my direction and let me pass.Likewise, just the other night, I was watching television and a commercial came on for whipped cream-flavored vodka.  Honestly, since I’m not a drinker, notions of “yum-yum” did not come to my “tum-tum.” But I wondered, as a businessman, what the target market was for this product?

For instance, when I watch re-runs of Bonanza on TV Land, all of the commercials are about Depends diapers and Medic Alert, which makes sure that if you fall down and can’t get up, somebody will find you before you begin to decay. I immediately understand that I am watching a show being viewed mostly by people who are even older than I am.

But what IS the market for whipped cream-flavored vodka? Could it be a Green Bay Packer fan? I dismissed that. My understanding is that they take even their hot chocolate straight. Then I thought about NASCAR. But it’s only the people who win the Indianapolis 500 who indulge in milk products. Who could they be targeting with whipped cream-flavored vodka?

All at once, fearing that I was a bit jaded, I considered that it seems like the individuals who would be interested in such a product would be young women between the ages of fifteen and thirty. I immediately rebuked myself for such negative projection. Certainly the makers of this product wouldn’t be trying to get young girls to drink more and more vodka because “…well, golly, it tastes like whipped cream.”

You see, I understand what it means to be an adult. I am thoroughly in favor of the Bill of Rights. It would never be my desire to take a gun out of anybody’s hand.

It’s just the arguments that bother me. When the National Rifle Association says, “If you ban guns, then only criminals will have them,” if you will forgive me, I followed that premise through to a conclusion. So therefore, if everyone has guns in order to keep the criminals from possessing an “exclusive,” then EVERYONE is armed and prepared, with the right amount of provocation, to use that weapon to at least threaten someone else. Do we REALLY want a nation where everyone is armed to the teeth, with the capability of intimidating one another at the drop of a hat or the stealing of a lane on the freeway–even if there is never an exchange of fire? As I told you, the young men sitting on the hood of the car did not grab the gun. The existence of the gun threatened me. I could feel the bullets tearing through my vulnerable flesh.

In like manner, if we go ahead and legalize marijuana so that the criminals will not be in charge of marketing it, we may alleviate the economic problem and maybe even the policing of the situation, but don’t we open up the door to a nation with people walking around in a purple haze? Are we really prepared to have our young men and women not only stupefied by video games, but further incapacitated by marijuana? Do we really want to say it’s all right for Charlie Sheen to legally believe he has tiger’s blood?

Freedom is a necessary profile–as long as it’s accompanied by responsibility. Do you want your teenaged daughter, or granddaughter, for that matter, to finally break down and try vodka because it tastes like whipped cream? Is that creating products that are suited for adults? Or is it trying to force immature people into an adult world with the use of a vice–or even a potentially deadly weapon?

Please allow me five question:

1. Does freedom come with adult responsibility?

2. If it does come with adult responsibility, should it be monitored, or even forbidden, for children?

3. If forbidden to children, how do we meter the effects of its existence in a world inhabited by these younger ones?

4. If we’re metering the effects, how can we avoid some sort of regulation?

5. If regulated, how do we protect the adult freedom to partake?

Therein lies the debate. If we were sincerely talking about mature, intelligent adults having a realistic discussion on how to be responsible for their activities, I would say “yea and amen.” But when guns, marijuana and whipped cream vodka are basically being marketed to non-adults as proficiently or even more effectively than they are to their alleged target audience, there seems to be some insincerity, if not hypocrisy.

Please do not tell me that part of humanity is criminal and the other part is Polly Purebread. For I will tell you, when you give people the freedom to use something destructive, no matter how many Sunday School classes they attend, they will eventually use that destructive force. If you don’t believe me, think about the intelligent scientists, the well-educated politicians and the culturally grounded generals who built a bomb in 1940, and by 1945, set it off …. twice.

We can trust ourselves with freedom as long as it is not a weapon, a drug or a tease for us to slide into our more demented parts.

Oh and by the way… I don’t see the makers of the vodka offering the sensible and healthy choice of broccoli-flavored.

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The Death of Hubris … July 29, 2012

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Behold the myth:

“I can nourish a relationship with another human being and still maintain my need for acceptance.”

Ridiculous.

If you show up needy, you end up greedy. Yes, if you do not have your own life worked out and your ego completely appeased, you will end up attacking any person you interact with, pursuing predominance.

It’s called hubrisan exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Under the banner of self-esteem, this country has become obsessed with the mission of making sure that everybody feels that they are valuable. Unfortunately, we forget that fat egos don’t exercise well with others. If something is exaggerated, it means it has departed from facts and has begun to deal in fantasy. So how is it exaggerated?

We have raised up a generation of people who have no idea whatsoever where the praise and appreciation for their lives and deeds is supposed to come from. They keep looking for it in approval from others or confirmation from the society around them and ending up feeling slighted because they’re always standing in line behind other people who are equally as determined to receive acclaim.

To rectify this, we have to learn the difference between unnatural praise and natural praise. Unnatural praise is manufactured by our culture to make everybody feel good for a few minutes, only to have their hope dashed later by the intensity of this competition called life. Here are the three practices of unnatural praise, which trigger frustration, anger and sometimes even violence:

1. I am valuable because I am alive. Since making a human being is not a very difficult task, we should be careful not to put too much emphasis on merely possessing flesh and blood, but much more consideration on what we do with our heart and soul.

2. I need to be loved to love. When you’re working under the premise that you require a stimulus to stimulate you, and you are living around other folks who have the same basic approach, then who is left to become the trigger to start the fire? It’s why we’ve begun to peer at each other from a distance in suspicion. We’re not sure of the next move to make. Remember this–love is not an emotion, it is a response. And if that is not birthed from another response, then often it simply vanishes.

3. I demand acceptance and respect. Even though there are thousands of cars on a busy highway, each and every one of them is driven by human beings who feels that they have the right of way. Their destination is more important; their feelings should always be taken into consideration and their particular rendition of traffic laws should be upheld.

These are the three angles that people take to gain footing, which only grant them an unnatural praise. You can imagine, as you look over them, that if all of humanity followed these concepts, we would soon be warring with each other. Facts are, we are already suffering under the burden of the inadequacy of this approach. If you watch television you will be convinced that reality is that people cannot live in the same space without fighting and attacking each other. Even though our country extols the beauty of conservative values, the word “dysfunctional” seems to have parked itself in front of the word “family.”

It is impossible to enter into a covenant with another human being if you are showing up requesting that they reinforce your ego, which leads to natural praise. Unnatural praise consists of false assertions about our divine rights, which leads, at best, to flattery and at worst, to conflict. Here are the forms of natural praise:

1. If I do well, I will be accepted. It’s from the book of Genesis–words God spoke to Cain after the young fellow killed his brother out of jealousy. It’s a rather simple concept–you just don’t do well on Planet Earth until you realize that you’re part of nature. Human beings are not a ruling class, free of responsibility. We must learn what works well, what functions, what succeeds, what fails and what is the normal procedure so we can submit to the wisdom of the Creator who made the atmosphere in which we dwell. When you’re in rebellion to the rules of the game, you can’t expect to win. Built into life is acceptance, appreciation and applause for those who will simply enact the plan without festering a gripe against the process. The earth has a manual of behavior. If you learn it, respect it and do well by it, you receive the natural praise of productivity that follows. It’s as simple as that–and there is no replacement for that affirmation. No standing ovation or kind words from others can ever be a substitute for knowing in your heart that you’ve done well and you’ve received your rightful reward.

2. To everything there is a season. If you’re going to be successful in life, receiving the natural praise cast your way, you must speak aloud to your surroundings, “I can evolve.” You may insist that because it worked last year, it still should be applicable, but guess what? It doesn’t work anymore. I know your “grandma and your grandpa used to do it,” but it just doesn’t fly in our present climate. There are seasons. Those human beings who learn the seasons, adjust to them, smile, adapt and find a way to enjoy themselves with the transition, receive natural praise for being so flexible. Those individuals who dig their heels in and insist that they are protecting and defending some universal concept that has already moved on, always end up looking stupid, perched in fellowship with the idiots. I will tell you right now–you will never be on the right side of any issue that takes freedom away from another person. No natural praise is awaiting you.

3. And finally, give and it shall be given unto you. It may be a good thing to show up to a buffet with an appetite as long as you’ve got the ten dollars in your pocket to pay for the privilege. But you will never receive anything in this life until you’ve invested something. Nothing happens until we give. So if we are reluctant or selfish, we will be targeted by the human beings around us and “stiffed” of any blessing. It takes giving to get. Not giving is the explanation for the complete lack of receiving.

If you’re going to welcome the natural praise built into this system, you must understand from a joyful heart, and say aloud, “I am the initiator. No one will love me–until I love; no one will give to me–until I give; no one will see me–until I see them, and God, Himself, will not move on my behalf–until I bring my five loaves and two fishes–my faith, my heart, my passion and my purpose.

These are the three approaches that guarantee the natural praise that feeds our ego with legitimate encouragement instead of creating a monster of hubris and exaggerated importance. It really boils down to an issue of mathematics. If two zeros show up on a piece of paper and you add them together, you get zero. If the zeros try to multiply, you still get zero. Even when they fight and divide, you end up with zero. It takes one plus one to create the agreement of two. And to become a one, able to be added into the significance of life, you must pursue natural praise and reject the foolishness of unnatural praise, and once and for all, put to death the hubris that makes us more nasty than valuable.

Being on this tour for seven months and speaking from the stage the words, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I have realized that a shock goes through the audience. Even though the words have appeal to their hearts, they realize that in order to guarantee their own self-worth, they have decided to be superior to certain individuals around them. You don’t need that. All you need to do is seek the natural praise the God put into His universe, which says:

  • If I do well, I will be accepted
  • To everything there is a season
  • And give and it shall be given unto you.

Perhaps this will never become the working plan of our nation, but if you want to be ahead of the game–empowered instead of groveling–you will step into it, kill off your hubris and receive your praise … from more heavenly sources.

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Song Guy … July 28, 2012

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I didn’t know what an ordination was. Probably worse is–I didn’t care. It’s just that this guy I knew was going to be ordained and he asked our fledgling group, Soul Purpose, to sing a tune at his ordination service.

He was probably only twenty-seven years old, but because I was only twenty, I thought he was ancient. (Twenty is that age when anyone nineteen or under is a punk and anyone over twenty-three is heading for social security.

I am sure when this guy asked me to have our group sing, he was thinking about something like Amazing Grace or How Great Thou Art. That was not the way I thought. Even though I was only twenty years old, I had already written two songs, recorded them, put them on a 45 RPM record and had begun to travel around to small coffeehouses and area churches in order to convince all those willing to listen that I was worth hearing. So the invitation to sing a tune at the ordination prompted me to write another song. Now, I lived in a small town, where song-writing was normally relegated to Francis Scott Key or George Gershwin. Young men from the community–especially those who had not gone to college–were not permitted to participate in such a flamboyant activity. So the mention of writing a song was usually greeted with a frown or a snicker. It just wasn’t done.

So when I announced to my friend that I was going to write a special song just for his ordination, he was rather nervous. Matter of fact, he discouraged me from doing so in the nicest way possible. I didn’t care. You see, I wanted to be a Song Guy. One of those people who writes “the songs the whole world sings” and “wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

So I sat down and wrote a song, fittingly entitled To Be Ordained, taught it to our group and performed it at the ordination, to surprised appreciation. I had now written three songs and was convinced that Bob Dylan was in danger.

Shortly after that I was inspired again and wrote a fourth song, called The Blood of the Son Makes Us One. About two or three months after writing that song, I attended a concert by a well-known gospel group called The Rambos, and through a series of near-mishaps and unbelievable events, got them to listen to my song. They ended up liking it. They signed it and decided to record it. I was amazed at how easy this was. I had only written four songs and I was already poised to become the next great Song Guy.

And then … I learned what I probably should have known (but of course, I wouldn’t have known it because there was no place for me to have learned it).

I arrived in Nashville to present my song in front of the music publishers, and they, being good business people, wanted to hear my “entire catalogue.” You may not know this, but those picky folks in Nashville don’t consider four songs to be a catalogue. I was in a room with a captive audience of very influential and prosperous men and women, who were anxious to hear the entire body of my work, and I didn’t even have a thumb.

It was embarrassing. It was debilitating. They wanted more … and I had nothing.

You see, I realized in that moment that I didn’t want to be a Song Guy. I wanted to be a guy who wrote A song that made lots of money and then everybody just kept giving him money because he wrote THAT song. I became aware that I had been trained to work on what I wanted to BE instead of actually practicing and performing what I could DO.

It is one of the flaws in the American dream. AFter all, the hypocrisy and presumption is in the title itself. It is a dream–a fantasy of where we want to end up, with no comprehension about what it takes to get there and even less passion for the actual labor itself.

I walked out of that office in Nashville that day resolute. I would never put myself in that position again. I realized that I DID want to be a Song Guy, but not because I wanted to be recorded, make a lot of money and be famous. It was because I really had something to say. And whether anyone ever heard it or not, it needed to escape my body–or it would possess my soul.

Within two years, I wrote an album’s worth of material, which ended up being recorded and played nationally. I then turned around and wrote a fifteen-song musical based on the Sermon on the Mount which toured across the country. When I got together with my family, I wrote at least three albums of songs, which we never actually recorded, and even today, I feel compelled to compose enough music for at least one album per year.

I actually have less attention to my work than I did when I had my four little songs at age twenty, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t write music, books or even this jonathots because I am secretly awaiting the arrival of fame and fortune. I write music because deep in my heart I want to be the Song Guy. I have to allow the music to escape.

The greatest lesson you can teach any young person (or even yourself if you missed it on the way to older) is: Don’t think about what you want to be. Just start working on what you can do. It may be the flaw in our higher educational system. We ask people what they want to be when they grow up instead of giving them a chance to do it and finding out if it wears well on their everyday bodies.

I am a Song Guy. I don’t worry about whether I’m great. I’m not concerned about sitting in rooms with the upper crust of the music industry, seeking their approval. I write songs because they’re in me, I have something to say … and God seems to enjoy listening to them.

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Seven Days Later … July 27, 2012

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One spoiled rotten boy

In a desperate attempt to annoy

Took his dastardly grown-up toy

And acted out his lethal ploy

Intent to kill off all our joy.

Seven days after Theater Nine. People trying to understand why.

Yet if our frustrated little boy from Colorado had come to us with a paint brush, we might have told him that “art is for pussies.”

If he had shown up with a hammer, we would have suggested that he go build something, and that we would decide if he was worthy of future constructions.

What if he had shown up with a song? The suggestion would have been made for him to audition for American Idol and hope for the best.

What if the little boy had arrived with just an idea? We more adult types would have smiled, patted him on the shoulder and offered a dubious “good luck.”

He could have completed his education. We would have handed him an application and told him to get in line.

And if our young, confused lad had brought along his dream, we would have felt the need to provide him with a big dose of reality.

But because he showed up with a gun, we have given him the entire twenty-four hour news cycle. What is the message?

  • “Be a dreamer or pursue something good … and be relegated to obscurity.”
  • “Devastate and decimate the body of humanity … and receive acclaim.”

It is because the infernal battle between conservatives and liberalsin this country squares us off into camps that possess jargon and slogans, but no real, practical way to make the American dream

English: Percent of self-identified conservati...

English: Percent of self-identified conservatives in the United States, broken down by state, according to Gallup, August 2010. http://www.gallup.com/poll/141677/Wyoming-Mississippi-Utah-Rank-Conservative-States.aspx#2. 49% and above 45%-48% 41%-44% 37%-40% 33%-36% 32% and under (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wake up to personal success. The conservatives will tell you that all you need is a job, a family, a home and a faith. The liberals will postulate that human beings require opportunity, respect, equality and freedom. Here’s the truth: when our principles of purpose cease to produce better and happier human beings, they need to be revised, no matter how many times our forefathers may have endorsed them.

How about a true insight into our country? And it isn’t found by becoming a conservative or a liberal, but rather, by amalgamating all the better choices and forging them into the steel of a great American.

Here’s what somebody should have told the brat from Colorado:

“Welcome to America. You have the opportunity to get a job as long as you’re willing to use your ingenuity to work your way up. If you respect people and grant them equality, you might just get the blessing of having your own family. If you keep using your integrity, after a while you can buy a home–even though truthfully, you actually can make a home anywhere you decide to settle. You have the freedom to express your faith and convictions as long as you allow others unbridled liberty to live out their choices. There is no lifetime guarantee. There is just the guarantee that you have this lifetime. Please join us.”

That’s what someone should have told him. Instead, he was cast on a sea of division between conservatives and liberals that eventually caused him to decide that violence was the better way to gain notice instead of patiently being creative.

Seven days later, what have we learned? What do we know?

I will tell you what I perceive. Until the conservatives and liberals get off their high horse and we join together as people, to discourage violence and give great honor and place to creativity, we will continue to bury victims–many of them our children.

   

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If God Was … July 26, 2012

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If God was a child, He would play more than pray.

If God was a dancer, His steps would be well-ordered.

If God was…

  • a minister, He would practice more than preach.
  • an elephant, He would remember what’s really important.
  • a donkey, He would carry truth into town and invite praise.
  • a cat, everything would be pu-r-r-r-fect.
  • a banker, He would show interest instead of collecting it.
  • a rock star, He would make a joyful noise and party with sinners.

Yes, if God was a grammarian, He would insist that we edit this work to say, “If God WERE a grammarian.”

If God was …

  • a chef, He would proclaim, “Come and dine.”
  • a billionaire, He would know that man does not live by bread alone.
  • a weatherman, He would let us know, “To everything there is a season.”
  • an atheist, He would try the spirits, and see if there is a God.

Yes, if God was a woman, He would rule the world while birthing children.

Likewise, if He was a man, He would be a good father and son, with a Holy Spirit.

If God was a student, He would study to show Himself approved.

And if He was a football player, He would run and not be weary, and “pass” on condemnation.

If God was a conservative, He would be a good one–minus the belief that humans are naturally evil.

If God was a liberal, He would be a good one–minus the belief that humans are naturally good.

If God was a comedian, He would rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.

If He was a hippie, He would honk because He loves Jesus.

And finally, if God was a dog, He would be man’s best friend.

God is this and so much more. He is less, and still more.

If He is real, we are in for quite a ride. If it is all a figment of our imagination, then we have the same ride … alone.

   

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Sleepy Adam … July 25, 2012

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If you mention the creation story from the book of Genesis, you always get an interesting traffic jam of reactions.

There are those who believe that God literally created the world in six twenty-four hour periods and that our planet is no more than sixty-five hundred years old. Others are a bit more careful in their proclamations, adhering to the process listed in the book of Genesis, but allowing for more time to have elapsed between creative bursts. Then, some contend that the creation story and Eden are mere metaphor of processes which actually occurred more “chemically” than “supernaturally.”  These folks still hold tiny ropes in their hands, still believing that the whole thing was instituted by a divine presence. And of course, there are disbelievers, who pooh-pooh the whole passage, debunking it with relish, and in so doing, establish their superiority to fairy tales and imaginary friends.

Having presented these categories of thought, I will now tell you — I don’t care.

I read the creation story the same way I read the whole Bible–in relationship to what I am experiencing and understand as a human being on a planet that is still reasonably functional. I neither deter from divine inspiration, nor do I defend it like some aging soldier who just won’t let the war die. What I find interesting is the use of certain language when explaining the procedure.

One of these phrases is “the creation of man.” I think it’s rather interesting that the Bible leads us to believe that God may have intended to create just a male part of the human race, who would have lived forever as more or less a permanent, masculine caretaking force for the earth. But as the story goes, He discovered that people are not good when they’re by themselves. So He decided to create woman. What is fascinating to me is that God, according to the tale, put Adam in a deep sleep, in order to gain parts of his innards–kind of like an anesthesiologist.

Perhaps this was a mistake. (It may have given men future permission to doze off while women are sharing their feelings and new ideas.) Adam might have benefitted greatly by being given a local anesthetic and being fully alert as he watched how God put together the body, spirit and emotions of the feminine of our species.  For after all, somebody has to step in and stop men from being sleepy and women from being allowed to reluctantly run the world while receiving less salary for the project. There are eight things about men and women that are true (well, at least I think so):

The first one is that we are competitors. There are twelve years after our birth where nose-to-nose, men and women are equal. Matter of fact, women sometimes run faster, grow taller and mature more quickly than the male of the species. We should be using this time in our schools to teach compatibility, respect, understanding and empathy between the sexes. I call this the “Let’s Run” phase. Matter of fact, in a good, healthy relationship, a man and woman will always have a decent amount of competition.

From there it moves on to a sexual partnership. Yes, God placed within the spectrum of the experience of both sexes a potential for pleasure to go along with the competition. There are just enough parts that are different to keep the game interesting. I refer to this as the “Let’s Play” part of the experience.

But it doesn’t stop there. Life is not all about sexual conquest. You meet one you like, you get together and basically, you become business associates. You start your own little corporation. I like to dub this particular station “Let’s Work” Once again, if you’ve had twelve initial years of learning to respect and have been granted a sexual interest between each other, then you should be prepared to be mutually involved in a great effort to make money and build a lovely little kingdom for yourselves.

Time marches on and the miracle of procreation brings about children and suddenly–you’re a parenting team! The natural name for this particular juncture is “Let’s Learn.” (By the way, just for the record, there’s no such think as a naturally born mother OR father. We all do it poorly until we do it better and still get to the end and wonder if we’ve crapped out. It’s so reassuring to have another person with you to share the blame.)

The kids grow up and you’re back to being together as a team and you suddenly realize that you’re getting older and you need a health advisor. Yes, it’s nice to have somebody else monitor your cholesterol. It’s wonderful to have someone around who understands your weaknesses without thinking you’ve become weak. Can I call this passage “Let’s Think?” Because as your body begins to lose some of its pizzazz, it’s nice to know that your brain can fill in some of the gaps.

All this time, you still haven’t lost the competition. That special someone is a sexual partner (even though it may be considerably less frequent). Of course, you are still business associates because the checkbook still requires balancing. Parenting team comes into play because the offspring may threaten to return. and most of all, you have the wonderful blessing of having a constant dinner companion–because there’s no power in living a life of “Let’s Think” if you don’t have a person sitting across from you stimulating “Let’s Talk.”

Time presses on and those two eyes in your head begin to dim a bit and it’s nice to have another set around. Yes, four eyes can often decipher what two fail to see. Another set of eyes.Let’s Seelife together–even as we get older.

And finally, the reason I think Adam should NOT have been put to sleep but instead, should have had full exposure to how his mate was created, is that one of the most reassuring parts of being linked with another person is that you know  when you pass on there will be one mourner, “Let’s Remember.” Isn’t that nice? Even if the rest of the world fails to consider your journey, there will be one person who will always sense your absence.

It’s the miracle of man and woman.

  • Let’s Run
  • Let’s Play
  • Let’s Work
  • Let’s Learn
  • Let’s Think
  • Let’s Talk
  • Let’s See
  • And Let’s Remember

If you can resolve the difficulty tha seems to linger in our society as we promote the struggle between men and women, you are more than halfway to unlocking all the secrets of the universe. I believe if God had it to do over again, he would not want a “Sleepy Adam,” but instead, an alert man who understood what was being created in front of him, and prepared to have a competitor, a sexual partner, a business associate, a parenting teammate, a health advisor, a dinner companion, another set of eyes and ultimately … a mourner.

It was a perfect plan–perhaps imperfectly executed. That’s plausible, right? But if we can get all of our “Sleepy Adams” to be more sensitive to our Emerging Eves, we will certainly have a healthier Eden. At least that’s my opinion.

And opinions are where we desperately need to have that other person … who’s willing to listen.

   

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