Don’t Get Confused … July 17, 2012

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Driving along on Interstate 40 towards Knoxville, Tennessee, I was confronted with a billboard which read, “Where will you spend eternity?”

I had an immediate answer. “I don’t know.”

Now, before you start trying to evangelize me to grant me eternal security and awareness of my heavenly destination, let me explain that I do have aspirations, desires and even requests on where I would like to spend the afterlife. But since Jesus, himself, told us to”make sure our hearts were not troubled on the issue, and we only have stories, promises and opinions, I think it could be considered a classic waste of time to deliberate such a question. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say it is the festering sore on the backside of humankind–our preoccupation with the future, life after death and what’s going to happen next. I have written on this issue many times, but I continue to be surrounded by those who feel it is all right for them to be inconsiderate in the moment as long as they are pursuing a path to consider what is best in the future.

It’s annoying.

I would like to set this to rest. I think to be halted between two opinions–one being that humans have complete free will and the other contention that there is a perfect will of God in which we all should try to center our lives–is what makes us totally inept, if not comical. I guess I don’t care which side you choose, but I would request that you cease to believe that humans have free will and then continue to worry about what God may have in store for the future.

If I have free will, there IS no future. It has yet to be determined by my next action. Even if you want to believe that God is all-knowing about what I will do next, you must admit that if He is going to honor His system, He somehow or another has to at least pretend that He is experiencing my choice for the first time.

But I’m not concerned about God’s part in this process, but rather, my involvement. We should be suspicious of destiny–a philosophy that really found its origin in fairy tales and is now being introduced into the realm of basic human logic and interaction. Perhaps Snow White was always meant to be a Queen–or was that Cinderella?  Perhaps they were pre-destined and merely went through some obstacles to be rescued in the end and reinstated to their purposes. But that’s why they call it a fairy tale–because it’s not true.

I am not destined to be anything. Even though I’ve lived a life of being a father, a writer, a composer and traveling troubadour, if I want to, I can go out and take a rifle and kill twelve people tomorrow–and become known as a serial killer. I can choose that. I can select to change my image at my own will–and it isn’t because I was destined to eventually become a serial killer. It’s because my gift of free will allows me to be spiritually motivated instead of manipulated. Yes, I choose to love God instead of loving God because He chooses me to do so.

So I just wanted to take a few moments today to see if I can help you to get through this nasty piece of confusion that continues to insult humanity by introducing falsehoods and fairy tales into what could be a really exciting life.

1. There is no destiny. There’s just opportunity. Once you comprehend that life is about asking, seeking and knocking instead of sitting, watching and waiting, you not only begin to fathom the power of the gospel of Jesus, but you actually tap into the natural energy and karma in our world. What happens next is how effectively I use what I have to my advantage.

2. There are no thoughts–just thoughtful. This is why Jesus told his disciples to “take no thought for the morrow.” How do I get myself in trouble? When when I have down time, begin to analyze my situation and how it relates to my perceived future. I become frantic, I worry, I may even tear up because I think there’s a futility to my pursuits. In my ridiculous nature, I might consider these times to be rich with ideas and introspection, but really, it’s a complete waste of time, because unless I use this particular moment effectively, my thoughts will take me nowhere but despair. I will tell you of a certainty that no one ever thinks himself into repentance. Nobody ever thinks himself into rejuvenation. We just normally think ourselves into a tizzy. That’s why the beautiful brain you’ve been given is supposed to conjure ideas about how to be thoughtful–right now. How can I express, in a physical way, my feelings of joy to the world around me–in this second? That’s what the brain is for. If you hire your mind to do anything else other than act in the moment’s possibility, it begins to think it has more power than it was intended to possess. No thoughts, my friend. Just thoughtful.

3. And finally, no future. Just now. There is no future. What is going to happen tomorrow is being determined right now by my choices. God comes along for the ride. It is similar to the game we used to play with our children when we told them that they could make all the decisions for the day–where we were going to go, what we were going to eat and what we were going to do. For this particular exercise in fun to succeed, we had to get rid of all of our adult preconceptions, become childlike and go for it. This is exactly what God does. Our Father, who has given us life, does not suddenly snatch it back from us when we begin to make choices that are different from what He might consider to be fruitful.

There is either free will or we are creatures of pre-destination. The in-between state that we try to propagate in our pop culture not only is erroneous, but causes us to run into walls in the dark. I am deciding the future by my choices in the present. It’s as simple as that.

I had a new grandson born last week. What will he become? Well, some folks get that far-off look in their eyes and say, “It’s in God’s hands.”  It isn’t. It’s in his mama’s and papa’s, family’s, friends’–and mostly, it’s in his own hands. What little Johann is going to turn out to be is eventually going to be up to emerging Johann.

And hopefully, if we learn to respect our humanity and the power of our lives, in that process we will often stumble into the whims of God. There is no future–just now.

So I don’t want you to get confused. And even though there are those who will argue with this position, in the midst of their discourse about my error in theology or reasoning, they will collide into so many contradictions that they will eventually end their report by saying, “Well, much of it is a mystery.”

Feel free to pursue life as a mystery–but please allow me and others like myself to pursue it as an adventure. In the long run, you will understand that an adventure is much preferable to a mystery.

Don’t get confused. There is no destiny, just opportunity; no thoughts, just being thoughtful, and no future–just now.

So go and enjoy your day, knowing that it is truly your day, and it is one that God has made available for you–to revel in your free will.

   

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