More Jackson County Opinions...

SEPTEMBER 10, 2003


Column
By:Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
September 10, 2003

It’s the frustrated preacher in me
Make things possible, or do possible things? That is the question.
Anybody can make things possible. Doing possible things takes a little longer and is a little more trouble. And the rewards (down here) are few.
You can make things possible by giving a little money. You have to give of yourself to do possible things. That takes time, effort, commitment, sacrifice — and love. Especially love.
When you make things possible, you can claim the cost (your charitable contributions) on your income tax. When you do possible things, you can’t —- or shouldn’t —- claim anything. You may – or may not — get a “Thank you.”
Let’s see if we can put this in perspective. Say I give $100 to the homeless shelter and food bank.
No, of course not! I’m not about to give a hundred-dollar bill. Not anonymously, anyway. I wrote a check with my name, address and phone number on it. I signed the check. I wanted the good folks down at the shelter to know I made something (food for the hungry) possible.
And since I planned to claim the lavish donation on my income tax, I asked for a receipt. You never know when the IRS is going to audit your return.
I felt good about myself. I had MADE a good thing possible. And I had built up 100 brownie points — one for each buck.
After I had done all that, a kind soul with love in her heart for the unlovely went down to the shelter and DID the possible. She put spoonful after spoonful of coffee, sausage, eggs and grits in the mouth of a hung over homeless guy who had no arms. Now that is feeding the hungry.
Making things possible and doing possible things are not one and the same. They are miles apart.
Is one greater than the other? I don’t know. Is it possible to do both? Sure it is.
But let me be honest here. They say confession is good for the soul. I’m not willing to make the effort and the sacrifice. I don’t have the time, commitment and love. So I give a little money. That is so easy.
You no doubt know, by now, that the frustrated preacher in me has come out. The preacher is on a roll. The preacher is preachifying. The preacher is preaching and moralizing too much. But remember, he is preaching to himself. If the message doesn’t apply to you, turn to the comics, or to Sports, or to Mike’s column.
Let me tell you what got me started on this diatribe. It’s all those church signs and bumper stickers.
WWJD? What would Jesus do?
I assume a lot of folks are looking for answers to that question. I also assume that, once they find answers, they go and do likewise. Furthermore, I suspect they would like all the rest of us to go and do likewise —- just like they do. (Don’t be ugly, Virgil. But I’m not a real preacher, remember? I’m only a frustrated preacher.)
And the frustrated preacher is not preaching just to himself right now. He also has a few words for all the serious and not-so-serious religious folks out there who are contributing to the proliferation of those signs. Some folks are hung up on that sign. Why, some folks, when contemplating buying a new SUV or a used Ford, raise the question, “What would Jesus do?”
Wonder if they ever think about what Jesus did? He did a lot of walking. And didn’t I read somewhere that he sent a couple of his guys out looking for an ass and a colt?
Well, it looks like the frustrated preacher is about to get around to the main point of his sermon. Let’s do away with all the WWJD signs and replace them with WDJD signs. Let’s stop asking, “What WOULD Jesus do?” Let’s start asking, “What DID Jesus do?”
In the first place, finding answers to the latter question is easier than finding answers to the former question. We have a record of what he did. I hesitate to even guess what he would do because the ghetto slum where he might be hanging out at the time may be several miles from my upscale subdivision.
For anyone interested in seriously pursuing WDJD, I suggest the following references: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are the first four books of the New Testament. The New Testament is part of a larger volume known as the Bible. It’s around there somewhere.
But be forewarned: if you search out the answers to WDJD, and have good intentions to go and do likewise, it’ll scare you half to death. Did me, anyway. For example:
You show up at the wedding and discover they’ve run out of wine. You feel led to make a little Merlot to tide em’ over. All of a sudden you are in trouble with the law for manufacturing illegal spirits.
It’s Saturday night and you decide to do a little partying with the sinners. One of the deacons sees you coming out of the place, and at Sunday school the next morning the faithful look at you like you have the plague.
Speaking of the plague, you don’t avoid people who have it. In fact, you love them, lay hands on them, encourage them, and help them. Even heal them. The plague, SARS, AIDS — makes no difference to you. You love everybody – anyhow.
By the way, when you left the party Saturday night, you were seen at the corner of College and Broad talking to a known prostitute. What if the wife finds out?
You are in deep trouble, right? Your friends will abandon you. They’ll declare they never knew you.
That’s OK. You still love ‘em. You love ‘em so much that you’d die for them.
You are bass fishing on Lake Lanier. Off in the distance you see a commotion. You realize a boat is sinking. You hear men screaming for help. Your motor won’t start. So you step out of your boat and walk over to them on the water.
WDJD? What did Jesus do? Those are just a few of the things.
Good luck as you go and do likewise.
Virgil Adams is the former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column
By: Angela Gary
The Jackson Herald
September 10, 2003

Chattanooga with a child
He heads to the water station where he puts on a small yellow rain slicker and hurries over to the tubs filled with water, small boats and other toys. He quickly grabs a small blue plastic container, fills it with water and pours it back out into the tub.
Next, he heads to the music station where he reaches up to a large red button on a life-size guitar and presses down. Music fills the room and he claps his hands and dances around in delight.
He plops down in the middle of a huge sand pile with pretend “dinosaur bones,” grabs a shovel and starts digging.
Then, he puts on a small blue captains jacket, grabs a wooden ship’s wheel and starts turning it.
Another day, he wanders up and down long, winding rows looking at the tiny seahorse and fish of all sizes, including a 130-pound one that causes him to stop for a closer look. At one station, he is able to put his tiny hand into the water and touch one of the fish. Hesitant at first, he soon sticks his hand into the cold water, at the urging of his Papa.
One day is spent climbing aboard a train for a short ride through the country-side. In his denim over-alls and Thomas the train hat, he is ready to ride. At the museum train yard, he walks around pointing out the yellow and red trains.
On the last day of the trip, he hurries to see the deer and turns his head when the camels try to get too close to him. There are birds, snakes, monkeys and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. He hurries around to check it all out.
From the Creative Discovery Museum to the Tennessee Aquarium to the Tennessee Valley Railroad to the Chattanooga Zoo, my almost 2-year-old nephew, Jake Myler, kept busy during a four-day visit.
I was surprised to find that the activities Jake enjoyed the most were things I didn’t even think about. One of his favorite things to do was riding on the escalator at the hotel. He was amazed by it and spent a lot of time going up and down it with his Papa. He also really enjoyed the elevator—everything from pushing the red button to looking out the glass windows as we went up and down. The free shuttle bus that takes you around the downtown area was another favorite for him. He also enjoyed climbing up in a chair in our hotel room, on the ninth floor, and looking down at the swimming pool. Seeing these routine things through Jake’s young eyes made me smile and even laugh throughout the weekend.
Chattanooga offers attractions for all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens. It’s also a short drive from the North Georgia area which makes it a great destination for a long weekend. Of course, there is so much to do that you could easily spend a week or more in the large, sprawling town. We didn’t even make it over to the Lookout Mountain area, where Rock City, Ruby Falls and the incline are among the attractions. It looks like we’ll have to return to Chattanooga for another visit....
For more information on Chattanooga, check out www.chattanoogafun.com on the Internet or call 1-800-322-3344.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.


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