From a bunch of American made "Chinese Fortune Cookies" emerged a series of small white strips of printed paper with words of prophetic encouragement for the cookie consumer to read while enjoying the simple carbohydrate dense cookie :)
Themes of abundance, fulfillment, enrichment, blessing, contentment, and success carry over materialistic ideas and perspectives about life. Far from wisdom, these sayings are more like positive internal affirmations to inspire hope and desire.
If ones measure of success can be weighed in grams of gold or other assets of high liquidity, then the ideas promoted in these sayings might be considered relevant. Only fools believe that anything of real value can be purchased or sold.
After watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy with Meg, I come away reflecting on the way the gold ring captivated the person the possessed it with a dark mental sickness similar to substance addiction or psychotic greed. Does a person like Bernie Madoff deserve to be classified as mentally ill because of his preoccupation with money and wealth?
How are we to look up ourselves in a "rich" society, to gauge right from wrong with regard to the difference between wants and needs. Can we not at least agree that greed is unethical, that avarice is a mental sickness, that materialism is evil if it interfere with its holders ability to show love to their family and friends and everyone else?
Have we perverted the spirit of Christmas into a vain and meaningless gift exchange celebration: a yearly celebration of materialism, consumption, and spending. Everyone seems to understand that needless consumption is good for the economy, but is it good for the human spirit? Can a company reduce employees to values on a spread sheet and continue to operate ethically?
What happened to business ethics? Does the disturbing sight and experience of significant and growing inequity in the world not raise at least questions in the minds of reasonable people?
Can we take a moment to consider what we really care able in life? What does it mean to have integrity? What does it mean to be fair with others? Can we really deny health care to the least blessed of Gods people while giving tax breaks and special advantage to those who already enjoy riches?
Are you giving gifts because you care? Can a positive idea of generosity at Christmas awaken those who are able help those who cannot success without help in life?
The following "fortune cookie phrases" are what motivated the writing above. Thinking About It!
"You will never know hunger"
"You will be successful in your next undertaking"
"Something special is coming your way"
"You will visit a faraway land that has been in your thoughts"
"You will make an important contact as a social gathering"
"You will soon find a treasure"
"Good fortune awaits you at the end of the day"
"Your love life will change for the better"
"You will be enlightened today"
"A new friend will bring you much happiness"
"Your intuition and guidance will be helpful"
"Someone will be very proud of you"
"You have an optimistic faith and confidence in life"
"You will make someone smile today"
"Your love life will be happy and harmonious"
"Luck is coming your way"
"A pleasant surprise is coming your way"
"A happy event will take place in your home"
"You will have a happy adventure soon"
"You will be surrounded by luxury"
A Misguide Faith Leadership Example
Joel Osteen, a pastor of a Christian Church recently gave a sermon/ talk about living in "excellence", called #561 "Have a spirit of excellence". I almost completely disagree with most of what he said in this presentation. His themes of focusing on vanity were misguided and strangely contradictory to the word of God, namely that we are called as Christians to show all other people love, grace, kindness, humility, generosity and fairness through our thoughts, choices, actions and behaviors. I will not post a link to his presentation, but in writing the other material above I was reminded of these misguided messages and the confused person that spread them. Clearly Joel has been corrupted by greedy and vain ideas.
I am not taking issue with "Doing a good job in everything that you do", that was part of his theme. I am specifically talking about his inability to differentiate self-conscious vanity from the word of God. As a faith leader, he more than anyone else should set an example a down to earth non materialistic lifestyle focused on the Love of Christ Jesus and not vain appearances and other trivial insignificant things of excess and waste.
I am not saying that looking nice is bad. I am saying that spending outside of ones means in order to keep up with the "Jones'" is in no way reflective of the wisdom that God asks his followers to apply to choices they make in life. Obviously there are fuzzy grey and poorly defined boundaries between what it "enough" or not with regard to material wealth. I am not saying that Joel Osteen was wrong to suggest that follows of Jesus Christ do their best in everything that they do to set a good example of operate as people in a way that is pleasing to God. I am saying that Joel was absolutely wrong to promote debt spending for vain objects of appearance. I am saying he is wrong to encourage those that he leads to focus on money, stuff and vanity.
Set yourself free by simply focusing on the positive in every moment. Do not dwell on the negative or past events that cause sickeningly negative toxic emotions. Embrace forgiveness, kindness and love. If you show other people love you will feel better all the time. If you let go of things that do not matter you will feel better all of the time. Kind words are healing to those who speak and hear them. Sometimes a simple smile can make all the difference. Your words are powerful so use them carefully. You can life yourself and other people up with loving words of kindness, encouragement, and love. You have a choice to be whatever kind of person you want to be. Know this, negative emotions are toxic and deadly. There is a lot of scientific evidence that confirms the toxicity of deadly negative emotions. Why allow past events to spoil you experience of the presence. Why would you choose to allow toxic negative emotions to spoil the future as it endlessly becomes your present. Set yourself free and focus on love! God is Love!