Here’s A Thought for Dec. 29

The choice

Once upon a time the gods gathered for their regular assessment of humanity. It was determined that the human race had become unnecessarily encumbered with too many things to think over, much to worry about and even more to plan. The accomplishment of tasks was decreasing rapidly while progress was at risk. This was all happening while there was an extraordinary amount of evil happening all over the world.

The result was that humanity struggled not only to finish everything that needed to get done but it also was quickly losing its ability to maintain hope for a better world. While hope had always been at some level of risk it seemed that for this generation at this point in history things were as dark as they had ever been.

The gods then decided to do a surgical procedure on the “human heart” and to remove some of the traits that generate the dissonance of wanting everything to get better while facing the day to day challenge of survival; at once the various the “surgeons” pitched their proposals.

One proposed that they remove most of the creativity from the mind of human beings in order to taper the amount of art and music that people felt obligated to appreciate from time to time. It sounded like a great idea at first — a huge time saver. Sales of gray paint would soar and black would become the new orange in the fashion world, etc. It would streamline everybody’s social life and make public education a lot easier.

Another surgeon objected to the great reduction in creativity arguing that without it there would be little progress and even less reason to balance work with pleasure and thereby lose the capacity to manage the constant tension between the two, as well as other critical skills.

The third surgeon disagreed with the first two by making the point that the only thing we need to change is to stop technology from advancing any further as human beings had already accomplished more than was necessary to make life efficient and productive. And since we have more than we need to survive and too much of what complicates the simple joys of life a “technology freeze” would do the trick. If we would just “dumb ourselves down” the simple joys of life — and hope –would soon return.

But, since there was little agreement as to where to start and even less consensus as to what the most pressing problem really was the gods had no choice but to leave things as they were with hope waning, creativity stifled and technology driving everything into the sea of mediocrity.

Just then an interloper emerged. All was not lost! It was the X-factor, the spoiler. Hope for averageness flourished once again! The titan twins of philosophy — chance and fate –strolled into the muddle of humanity with arms locked in solidarity, like Castor and Pollux running for Talaira.

Rather than reduce the other traits of humankind the gods decided to increase (a false) hope in chance (some call it fortune) while swelling a lifeless faith in fatalism. It was the perfect storm; a brilliantly dull approach — that would work well in the minds of those too stubborn to accept that all are created in the image of God!

Rather than sort out who or what (god) is to blame or why some things happen to some people and not to others folks would no longer ponder the resultant whims of some “deity” from on high or relish the outcome of well-placed choices that generate more than enough luck to beat the odds most days. Hard work would at last be banished while the roll of the dice would once again reign supreme. It was a new (old) day! This brilliant new (old) idea crafted by the most brilliant of the gods would at long last probably deliver certainty — temporarily.

But alas, it was also an ultimately impotent alliance, a flaccid idea that lacked heart. You see, no one would ever give their life for chance. No one works their fingers to the bone only to let fate decide their lot in life in the end.

And with the gods deadlocked, a solution had to be found. At just the right time, in the most unexpected way, God himself acted. He ended the heartless chatter and the mindless musings of the so-called “gods.”

God (the one, true God) didn’t draft an army or write a timeless piece of literature. There was no vast relief program or social justice initiative. He didn’t break ground for an institution or open a chain of variety stores or clear the way for a wildlife refuge. He didn’t build a soup kitchen or donate plasma. None of those good things would ever be enough. Instead God did something very ordinary: He had a baby.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman… “ Galatians 4:4