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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Ask Jonathots … January 5th, 2017

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How important is self-esteem?

Damaged people.

They are everywhere.

It would be foolish not to include ourselves.

But as important as it is to acknowledge the damage, it is even more essential to prescribe the correct repair.

Self-esteem is like going out and buying a large picture to hang over the hole in your wall. It is not a solution, but rather, a temporary fix.

Self-esteem functions under three very dangerous premises:

1. Because you were born, you matter.

2. There’s no one quite like you.

3. Therefore, you are special.

This particular “candy-bar philosophy” has no grounding in reality.

There are concepts, however, which have proven to have longevity. For instance, the Bible says:

  • All have sinned.
  • There’s none righteous.
  • Whosoever will may come.
  • God is no respecter of persons.

A completely different approach.

In self-esteem, we are encouraged to ignore our problems and deny our commonality. Unfortunately, if everybody is special, then nobody’s special. If everybody matters, then it’s difficult to get personal attention.

So what should we be trying to achieve? Self awareness.

I have some good.

I have some bad.

I have some lazy.

I have some worry.

I have some fret.

I have some genetic predispositions.

I have family.

I have responsibilities.

I have real pressure.

I have phony pressure.

I also have my present talent so I can launch my solutions.

If we cannot be self-aware about our status, we will lean on “puffy” principles, which make us appear more grounded than we actually are.

When we remove the pressure to be right and eliminate the need to be the center of attention, we can begin to understand that the Earth works when we allow place for each other.

Thus, sometimes we’re the head and on other occasions, the tail.

Ironically, self-esteem robs us of the worth we could possess by taking on simple tasks using our ability–and basking in the joy of completion.

Here is the essence of self-awareness:

We are saved by grace.

But we are distinguished by service.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 31st, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Woman: Alluring. Yes, I think that’s what she said.

 

Man: What are you talking about?

 

Woman: I was listening to this girl on a talk show say that she felt it was very important to her, as a female, to be alluring.

 

Man: What’s wrong with that? Everyone wants to be attractive.

 

Woman: You see, it’s not the same word. She said “alluring.” You said “attractive.”

 

Man: Aren’t they the same thing?

 

Woman: Not at all. You can be attractive in your own mind’s eye without ever being appealing to anyone else. Alluring is when you visually seduce someone–to want you.

 

Man: That’s a stretch. I want to be considered handsome.

 

Woman: But you see, I need to be pretty. Handsome has a thousand definitions. But pretty has two or three representations.

 

Man: OK. I’ll bite. What are you getting at?

 

Woman: There are different words used to describe the attributes of a woman than those of a man. For instance, men are considered intelligent. But a woman is smart. Intelligence connotes that you’ve studied, worked on something and have used your ability to become well versed on a subject. Smart is more like a fluke. In other words, most women are not very intelligent–but this particular one–she’s smart.

 

Man: I think you’re just being over-sensitive.

 

Woman: How about this? A woman is strong but a man is brave. In other words, here’s a lady who by some miracle has great strength, but this man over here has used his moxy to do some outstanding deed.

 

Man: I suppose you have others?

 

Woman: Yeah. Women are faithful but men are loyal. In other words, is it even possible for a man to be faithful? Or can all a woman expect is a certain degree of loyalty? Let me give you another one. Women are hopeful. Men are positive. Hopeful, maybe. because we have less opportunity? Positive because the ball’s always in your court–it’s just a matter of you keeping the right mindset?

 

Man: Much as I hate to admit it, I do kind of understand what you’re saying. Can I do one? Men are virile. Women are sexy. In other words, as a man, I have a natural animal appeal, whereas a woman has to work really hard to make herself pleasing to the male of the species.

 

Woman: Even the terms “masculine” and “feminine.” Just by the feel of the words, we’re led to believe that masculine portrays great energy and feminine is a position of being more submissive.

 

Man: So what is your point?

 

Woman: My point is that the language works against us. It stacks the deck–making women believe that unless we are alluring we can’t be attractive. In other words, our self-esteem is wrapped up in whether a man has visions of having sex with us. If a woman said that about a man, we’d call her a slut. But men have no problem portraying that a woman needs to be ready to be a lover to be considered viable.

 

Man: Well, how would you change that?

 

Woman: I don’t know, but I think we made a giant step here. You’ve listened to my statements about it without becoming infuriated. That’s pretty special.

 

Man: I understand that. I comprehend the expectations that are placed on me as a male, and also those that are thrust on you as a female.

 

Woman: It’s just that our male-dominated society needs to realize that until things stop being thrust on women, the world will be a little akilter.

 

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G-Poppers … August 5th, 2016

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It throws tantrums like a frustrated toddler being refused candy in the grocery check-out line.

Foolish, aggravating and unrelenting.

Selfishness.

After several decades of misguided belief in the healing powers of self-worth, our culture is now stewing in the broth of excess self-importance.

  • I must be included.
  • I must be accepted.
  • I must be honored.

G-Pop is afraid that people no longer consider what they have to give, but only promote an inventory of the things they demand. And when a demanding voice encounters a self-reliant spirit, a dangerous impasse is generated, which can certainly foster violence.

G-Pop hopes his children will learn to show up on the playing field with their fellow-humans, prepared to offer a viable contribution to the cause instead of a yearning for self-esteem.

Matter of fact, sit down and write a note to yourself:

Dear Me,

I hope I wake up this morning realizing that the only way I’m going to be happy is to discover what I might be able to be and do that brings benefit. Then it’s just an issue of how I can step in without being overbearing, and use my ability. At that point I will gain value and appreciation.

Have you written your letter?

G-Pop will do his own. 

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 6) Humility … January 10th. 2016

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A humbling experience.  Normally considered to be a negative encounter in our lives rather than an enriching one.

Why?

Because it has been the banner carried by our society over the past fifty years, touting that the more autonomous, self-reliant, confident and determined we are to maintain our opinions and identity, the better off we are.

We fail to understand that success is the inheritance given to the humble as they acquire the Earth. Thus, humility is deemed to be idealism and weakness rather than basic human understanding.

So as an influenced member of the present cultural thinking, are you prepared to do what is necessary to escape the insanity of overwrought self-esteem? Can you find the reality of your ability in the human family?

Acquiring humility is a simple three-step process:

1. Deal with what you see.

Dare to give yourself an honest report. There is a reason we have two eyes facing forward and two ears to the flank. It is to inform us of the actual possibilities we have, and to also warn us of limitations.

If you think you will be able to talk your way out of every situation or merely usurp a bad attitude to scare away critics, you are sorely mistaken.

2. Find what you can do.

This is what I call an honest effort. The last thing in the world you want to do if you desire to acquire humility is explain away your failures.

Finding what you can do always shortens the list of what you wish you can do, but guarantees you the ability to accomplish your realistic goals.

It is only when we are achievers that we have the opportunity to be humble. Humility without the evidence of fruit appears to be nothing more than sour grapes.

3. Finally, find what you believe.

This is what I call an honest vision. Don’t ever ask God to give you something that you’re not willing to follow up on. Don’t ask others to give you a chance if you can’t endure. Belief has no power if it’s theory. And the way you take belief out of theory is by deciding how dedicated you will be to the cause.

Humility is how we determine the substance of one another. It’s the only tool we have in our shed that works in every situation, because it allows those around us to be forewarned of our weakness…in order to truly praise our accomplishment.

 

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G-Poppers … January 8th, 2016

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G-Pop took a moment to stop and think.

Sometimes we have to do that. If we don’t stop and create a window to think, we shall not become thoughtful.

G-Pop believes we have created a problem.

For instance, the goal of politics is to convince people that things are really bad and we need this particular candidate to come along and save the situation.

Likewise, the goal of religion is to make people feel bad about themselves–at least enough that they will come and accept God.

And entertainment has an aspiration to make money by manufacturing ideas which make folks feel good about themselves–perhaps even to the detriment of others.

What’s missing? Anyone or anything that offers the wisdom that problems exist, we are part of them, and ventures a guess at possible resolution.

  • So politicians get elected by being negative, and then we’re surprised when they don’t end up with a positive agenda.
  • Religion claims to save souls, only to leave them dangling in their inadequacy and frustration.
  • And entertainment plays to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, lust and self-righteousness in order to get us to buy a ticket to the never-ending show.

But where is the prophetic voice which reminds us of the mistakes of the past, while addressing our present and offering an ingenious pathway to escape?

Such a voice might lack the pizzaz of doom or the glitter of self-esteem.

Such a proclamation will never be allowed in politics because it offers too much possibility, including the assertion that we could actually agree with our adversary on certain issues.

Religion will certainly reject the message because it involves too much human inclusion and not enough heavenly dominance.

And entertainment is just playing it safe by making sequels of sequels, ending up with the desperate decision to create prequels.

So G-Pop wonders what he can tell his children. What would be a simple axiom which could be applied in every situation as a way of assessing the current twittering mindset?

How about this:

Does this new idea encourage us to love our neighbor as ourselves?

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Getting in Character … June 8th, 2015

 

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Exhausted runner

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

With that in mind, may we revel in the opportunity and responsibility of getting in character.

  • I am bad.
  • I am good.

These seem to be the two profiles offered to us in the pursuit of life’s mystery and goals.

One school of thought is that human beings are basically flawed, and therefore our actions are suspect.

The other offering is that we’re all good, and the more confidence and self-esteem we can acquire determines our level of prosperity.

Yet even as I write this down in this essay, I realize that most of us are fully cognizant that we are not predominately bad, nor are we over-run by goodness.

But as long as these two philosophies are propagated, we will fail to pursue the avenues which would lead us to a deeper sense of self-understanding and the pursuit of personal excellence.

The truth of the matter is, I am not good, nor am I bad. To find my true character and develop it in this great, life-long stage play, I need to arrive at a different position:

I am aware.

  1. I am aware of what constitutes a good performance.
  2. I am aware of what keeps me from measuring up to that standard.
  3. I am aware that honesty is the only way to save me both time and humiliation.
  4. I am aware that the only way I can improve my status is by dealing with my “can’ts” and gradually, through trial and error, turning them into “cans.”

As long as I believe I’m bad, or insist that I’m good, I will remove the potential to be aware.

It is my responsibility to understand that I will not be evaluated or critiqued on my goodness or my badness, but rather, my awareness.

 

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