Catchy (Sitting Two)This Young Man … June 18th, 2017

Matthew Ransley was an advertising agent but fancied himself an executive. He was a founding partner in a company called S.E.E.D.S.–an annoying, elongated acronym: “Selling Everything Everywhere, Delivering Success.”

Matthew was very good at what he did. He worked at being congenial but if sufficiently aggravated, could launch into a rampage to defend one of his well-guarded opinions.

It was Tuesday when the phone rang and Mariel, his secretary (though she preferred “executive assistant”) was not yet at work to answer, so Matthew found himself taking the call. It was from Marcus Tomlinson, an attorney—an attorney for the estate of Arthur Harts.

Matthew knew who Arthur Harts was, and had even heard that the old man had died. He listened carefully as Mr. Tomlinson explained about the recent reading of the will and the revelation of the “Make Jesus Popular” addition.

It did cross Matthew’s mind that it might be a crank call. But the attorney established credibility because he seemed to know what he was talking about, including an abundance of information about Matthew and his agency.

“The reason we called you is that we thought that your agency’s name, S.E.E.D.S., sounded a little religious, and in doing a background check on you, we also discovered that you had some interest in matters of faith and such when you were a student back in college.”

Matthew smiled. He remembered. College–a chance to plan your future while simultaneously ruining your life. After graduation he had included every piece of resume-worthy material possible on his application to gain employment.

He had begun a club during his college years, launching a fledgling organization initially called the “Son of One” (he being the only member at the time.) His vision was to create a para-religious/party-motivated/pseudo-intellectual club, which would attract both thinkers and drinkers.

Before too long he achieved a member and they became the “Crew of Two.” Then came another and they became the “Tree of Three.” When a fourth joined, they dubbed themselves the “Core of Four.” A fifth inductee created the “Hive of Five,” and a sixth, the “Mix of Six.” When a seventh young lady cast her lot with the organization, they became the “Leaven of Seven,” where they remained throughout their university years, garnering no new converts.

Matthew assumed this was what the attorney was referring to when he mentioned “some interest in matters of faith.” Honestly, the seven young folk liked to talk about God and politics until the wee hours of the morning while indulging in “the beer and bong.” It was hardly a consecrated conclave, but rather, dedicated to the proposition that all men–and women–are created equally arrogant.

“What is it you want?” Matthew asked. It was too early to chat–or reminisce.

Mr. Tomlinson proceeded to explain that one of Arthur Harts’ dying wishes was to give two hundred fifty million dollars towards increasing the popularity of Jesus.

“How popular does he need to be?” asked Matthew. “I mean, they named a religion after him, and, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t our entire calendar run by the date of his birth?”

There was a moment of silence. Then Lawyer Tomlinson spoke in metered tones. “Let me just say that I don’t know much about religion, or God for that matter. I am merely performing the literal last request of a very wealthy man.”

“So what do you want me to do?” inquired Matthew.

“What do I want you to do? I guess I want you to tell me that your agency will take two hundred and fifty million dollars and at least try to make Jesus more popular.”

“We could start a rumor that he and Elvis are going to get together and cut an album.”

A pause. “Sounds fine with me,” replied Tomlinson.

Matthew chuckled. It was becoming quite evident that this lawyer was merely going through the motions of fulfilling a contractual oddity. On the other hand, as unusual as the request sounded, the two hundred and fifty million dollars did offer a bit of sparkle. As a founding partner in his business, did he have the right to reject such a lucrative offer simply because it was weird?

The lawyer piped up, uncomfortable with the delay. “Perhaps you could suggest someone else.”

Matthew laughed nervously. “No, I don’t really think I could suggest anyone else. I’m not familiar with any All Saints Agency or God Almighty, Inc.”

“It is two hundred and fifty million dollars. I mean, can’t you do something?”

“Yes,” said Matthew. (He figured it was always better to say yes to two hundred and fifty million dollars. You can revise your answer later, but in the meantime, well, it’s two hundred and fifty million dollars.)

Matthew punctuated his acceptance by adding, “Maybe we could get Jesus to date a supermodel.”

“I think he’s dead,” said Tomlinson, without inflection.

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Confessing … June 27th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2616)

VIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I. D. I.

It is an acronym. It stands for “I Deserve It.”

All the sin and stupidity of mankind throughout the centuries have been fostered by that assertion.

Why do we get so confused?

  • No human deserves hell.
  • Nor does any human deserve heaven.
  • So God gave us Earth, which is neither.

It’s just the place where we are supposed to sort through who we really are and cease to insist on propagating and promoting what we think we deserve.

When I was fifteen years old, my brother asked me to babysit his children. I didn’t want to do it. Why? Because I was fifteen years old–did I tell you that?

I didn’t want to do anything. I was even stalled about pursuing what I thought I wanted to do because it seemed like too much of a commitment.

But my dear brother and his lovely bride promised to compensate me financially.

I didn’t have any money. Oh, occasionally I would get offered some finance from my parents if I owed something at school or if there was a special something-or-other coming up.

So the potential of actually holding some funds in my hands made me willing to become a caretaker for nephews and niece.

My brother and his wife had started a business, and they were doing well. Looking back, I realize that they were only in their late twenties or early thirties, and considering their age, they were prosperous.

When I arrived at their home to watch their children and they left to go out on their date, I discovered, in their makeshift office, a tackle box which was open and had lots of coinage and some paper money sticking out.

Being a good Christian boy, I immediately left the room and tried to forget about the temptation a mere fifteen feet away.

But I wanted that money. I became obsessed.

After a while I gave in. I took out six quarters. It seemed like a lot to me at the time, but I thought they might not miss it considering the makeup of the cash in the box.

After that I agreed to babysit frequently, and each time I took out money from their little treasure chest–a little more each and every visit. But I never touched the paper money–until one night I saw two one dollar bills lying on the desk, separate from the other provision.

I took them.

I don’t know whether my brother and sister-in-law ever knew of my pilfering or not. But I realized after a while that I could not go to their house without stealing, so I avoided their invitations.

I was incapable of escaping my I. D. I.

My sense of “I Deserve It” pushed me to do things that I would have insisted, in my Sunday School class, were evil and unacceptable.

I learned that day that as long as we believe I. D. I. and feel cheated when we don’t have it, we will do anything if the opportunity arises.

As I look at my life today, I realize that I am no less a thief. I have just taken my I. D. I. and killed it off daily, mocking it for its selfishness and isolating it for its lack of integrity.

Am I capable of lying and stealing? Absolutely. It is not beyond my scope.

That is why I must take the sensation that “I Deserve It”… and nail it to a cross.

 

Confessing tackle box

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