Catchy (Sitting One)This Old Man … June 11th, 2017

Preface

Welcome to the first installment of our next story, “Catchy.” I will continue to pursue it until it has finished or I run out of ideas, which I hope will be simultaneous. Enjoy.

Sitting One — This Old Man

Arthur Harts was an old man, and being an old man, he had long since forgotten a conviction he held to be true when much younger: old folks should just be ready to die at any time.

He was a billionaire oil tycoon who at one time possessed a reputation of being a playboy, but through the years, due primarily to an aging body, had transformed himself into a philanthropist, and eventually, a somewhat religious fellow.

Eight years ago he had run for President of the United States on what he dubbed the “5000 Plan”–a contention that every man and woman in America should be given $5,000 to begin a business of their own, to stimulate the economy with new products and ideas, and foster what he called “inventionism” amongst the common folk. Amazing as it may seem, those same simple sorts chose not to vote for Mr. Harts, opting to punch the time clock.

So Arthur had spent recent months funding ventures to reach those same individuals with a quasi-spiritual message–combining, as he phrased it, “an ongoing spirit of revision with a heapin’ helpin’ of self-esteem.”

But Arthur was old, and as often happens with those who persist in adding years to their time, his energy waned, his health failed, and well, one night he died in his sleep: the poetic end to a life spent in peaceful pursuit.

Now when a poor man dies, all relatives and friends tend to scatter, not wishing to acquire any of his personal indebtedness. It is much different with a rich man—especially a billionaire. There was a widespread interest in the will and testament of Arthur Harts, including friends, relatives and the collective masses he once stumped for votes and sought to redeem.

So one morning, in a large room with a large mahogany table, a large group of lawyers got together and read a very large document that explained how this man of large influence wished to distribute his large sums of money.

Item #44-A of the testament—a recent codicil–was most intriguing to everyone. It read as follows:

“I, Arthur Harts, being of sound mind (and if I weren’t, there’s not much you can do about it now) wish to leave two hundred and fifty million dollars to a well-recognized, well-selected and well-intentioned advertising company to propel and promote one great idea: find a way to make Jesus popular again. I, Arthur Harts, am not speaking of some anemic attempt to promote a church or religious institution, but rather, in some way to convey to the people of this earth the intensity and intelligence of the person who once walked with us, bearing the name Jesus of Nazareth. There were few more popular than he was when donning a loincloth. So I see no reason why, if he were promoted correctly in our multi-media society, he shouldn’t be just as popular today.”

As the team of bewildered barristers finished reading the passage, there was a hush. Perplexity. How were they supposed to fulfill this bizarre request from this eccentric billionaire?

Perhaps some attempt would have been made to interpret the passage in a different way by evenly distributing the money to the larger denominations of the Christian faith, but time and chance stepped in and the unusual request was leaked to the press. So it would be impossible to ignore Mr. Harts’ wishes, implausible as they may seem.

This is where our story begins–a quandary wrapped in a mystery drenched in an impossibility, garnished with just a little weirdness.

 

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Flatitudes … August 1, 2012

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The big decision in life is discovering whether you want to feel good or feel right. It’s not the same thing. Sometimes, to feel right, for a season you have to be willing to not feel so good. This is why we often opt for pandering to the weaknesses in one another instead of gently dealing with the issues to see if there’s a better way.

There are three platitudes in our society which continue to grow at will, which actually, in real life, end up being flat. They are not true. They are not valuable. They are not even good band aids, because too often they are placed onto gushing wounds. Here they are:

  1.  All you can do is your best.
  2. We all deserve a chance.
  3. We are all the same in God’s eyes.

See how warm and fuzzy these make you feel? After hearing them, you want to take a deep breath and join with the chorus in singing Tomorrow from Annie. “The sun will come up … tomorrow!” That it will, but that big, yellow ball in the sky is not here to warm your face.

Let’s take a look at these statements. Because they melt in the heat of everyday life, they have turned into “flatitudes” and actually end up damaging the confidence and faith of innocent proponents.

“All you can do is your best.” Can I immediately point out the fallacy of this statement? If I am not stimulated in my heart, soul, mind and strength, I really don’t know what my best is. What I normally come up with is the furthest border of my present willingness. That rarely is my best. To discover my best, I have to stretch, which means I must at least consider that there is something beyond my present personal best. No Olympic athlete, scientist, astronaut or anyone else pressing towards a goal can ever build a little fort, put up a flag and call it their best. Further stimulation and possibility always increase our potential. Proclaiming a best is a warning that you’ve already decided when you’re going to pull up lame.

Let’s take on the second one. “We all deserve a chance.” Truthfully, the statement is ambiguous enough that no matter how you try to disassemble it, the speaker will possibly have a door of explanation. In other words, “What does deserve mean?” and “What is a chance?” Actually, the philosophy of Jesus tells us that “those who have, more is given to them,” and “those who have not, even the little they have is taken away.” Even though that doesn’t sound as pretty and kind as “we all deserve a chance,” it is the way life truly works.

Why is that? Why isn’t there more even distribution of blessing, wealth and opportunity? Quality demands pursuit–otherwise human beings lose their most dynamic function–passion. If you take passion away from the human experience, you end up with lazy brats who do nothing but discuss the decor (which they had nothing to do with setting up).

We are terrible when we are sidelined by our own expectation instead of thrust into the game to compete. I don’t deserve anything–certainly not a chance. What is granted to me is seed, which if I place into the ground and faithfully tend, will produce fruit, which I am allowed to take to market and turn into my personal sustenance, receiving more front money to buy seed.

And the third statement. “We are all the same in God’s eyes.” God is an extremely generous soul. He does us a big favor–He looks on the heart. So wait a minute. Do we really believe that every person’s heart, emotions and passions are the same? If you’re asking me if God looks down on people’s fleshly bodies and sees identical potential–absolutely. No one is better than anyone else.

But since God doesn’t look on the flesh, but rather, the heart, He views a very different array of possibilities. For instance, I don’t think God knows that I’m fat. I don’t think God knows that I’m bald. I don’t think God even knows that I limp a little bit when I walk. What He does know is whether that limp has reached my emotions, whether I am bald of any passion to pursue hairy difficulties, and whether I’m a fathead, unwilling to learn anything new.

Because we have taught “grace” and “destiny” in this country, people have become lazy and do not feel it is necessary to actively participate in improving their internal workings. Unfortunate. Because of this, we insist on equality while delivering inferior lives. Therefore we think that the homeless person has the same value as the billionaire who started a business from scratch. Although some people would consider that a noble notion, it is important that we encourage those who have set their hearts to excellence, to both continue to prosper and to come back to the human family, find that homeless person and give him or her the best opportunity to rise above their present circumstances.

The most dangerous thing you can do in life is tell people something that makes them feel good but will pan out to be a lie.

  • We all need to surpass our best by expanding our capacity.
  • We need to realize that we do not deserve a chance, but a chance will be made available if we learn the system, honor the process and bring our talent.
  • And even though God does not look on the outward appearance, He is certainly intensely reviewing the heart … and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Don’t be foolish to quote notions that have no earthly good just so you can get a nod of assent at a party or an amen from the choir. We need to be truly valuable to one another. To do this, we need to get rid of all platitudes which–when applied in everyday life, just turn into “flatitudes”.

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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.

   

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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