What I need is courage.
Or maybe I need more love
("Perfect love casts out fear" 1 John 4:18)
Not only am I embarrassed to tell people how much I charge
-- (I would be happy to give my program away for free
I'm just afraid nobody wants it) --
I'm embarrassed to tell people what I'm selling.
The name of my company is “Vine & Fig Tree”
It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Our mission is to promote the “Vine & Fig Tree vision” of the Old Testament prophets
who called us to beat our "swords into plowshares,"
so that everyone can dwell securely under their own Vine & Fig Tree.
It is the message of Christmas: "Peace on Earth."
I have been writing as a hobby for years, promoting the Vine & Fig Tree vision,
and now have around 2,000 webpages and blog posts online.
I'm embarrassed because I am a wacked-out Bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian.
I'm embarrassed to admit this to people who aren't Bible-believing fundies.
But I'm also afraid that those who already claim to be Bible-believers
will be offended at the idea of "Peace on Earth" and opposing all war.
This has been my experience.
I am neither "left" nor "right," and in the electrically-charged environment of the internet I have
received truly vile insults and even death threats from both sides.
I always respond with courtesy and respect to angry, vulgar insults.
Most of the time I can't reply because the sender's email address is fake.
But when my reply gets through, I almost always find that the insulter
responds in a much more civil manner, and we have a beneficial conversation,
sometimes leading to a "sale" but always planting seeds and making some progress.
As I read the Bible, the idea of "swords into plowshares" means
it's not enough for "our country" to abolish all its weapons.
We need to abolish the concept of "our country"
and abolish all entities calling themselves "governments."
For most folks, this is more "woo-woo" than the woo-woo-est "energy healer."
In my view, the Bible is a pacifist/anarchist manifesto.
My program is not woo-woo at all. It appears to be boring and conventional.
It is the public school curriculum in America in 1776 and before.
Public schools were created to teach everyone the Bible.
If I could strap my prospect in a chair and force-feed the prospect my program
I am confident that the prospect would be delighted when I'm finished.
But I don't believe in compulsory education.
I have no idea who to "target" my marketing to.
Random distribution seems as meaningful as anything else.
I want to create a marketing funnel that in itself educates and unites left and right
and finds my "ideal client," which could be anyone from either side.
My clients have tended to be "extremists" from both left and right.
I want to convert my "evangelistic" efforts from a hobby to a business.
I don't need to make more than $2,000/mo to stay out of bankruptcy,
but I would like to make more to expand my reach.
I haven't really perfected my coaching or training program,
and haven't had the courage to launch what I have.
Thinking about the idea of abolishing "our country" triggered
a marketing insight. Actually, an insight into why it is I'm
having so much trouble with marketing. Specifically, my problem
with the idea of "Bridging the Gap" -- of taking prospects from
"Pain Island" to "Pleasure Island."
I got to thinking about John F. Kennedy's famous line from his
Inaugural Address, 20 January 1961:
That's close to my heart, in a way.
- And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you --
ask what you can do for your country.
That's very definitely more in line with the way I think.
- Ask not if my boat takes you to "Pleasure Island,"
ask rather how I can get you to "Duty Island."
The Benefits of Becoming a Christian Anarchist
When Jesus said "Blessed are the Peacemakers,"
the word "blessed" means "profoundly happy."
The Pursuit of Happiness - Blessedness - Religion - Morality
Part of Kennedy's address dealt with the threat of Soviet Communism and nuclear annihilation.
- Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary,
we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace,
before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science
engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
He quoted the Bible (as nearly all U.S. Presidents have done at one time or another):
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah [58:6]
-- to "undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free."
Unfortunately, Kennedy talked about duty or service in terms of military service:
Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans
has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.
The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Then he closed -- again quoting the Bible (Romans 12:12) -- with
confused and self-contradictory rhetoric:
Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Kennedy spoke of "history" being the final judge of our deeds; an impersonal abstraction. The Declaration of Independence (1776) appealed to "the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions."
Kennedy's campaign for President was marked by controversy over his being Roman Catholic. He dodged the controversy by essentially promising to keep his religion "private." The privatization of religion is the legacy of the 1960's. Today, all Catholics promise legislators in their confirmation hearings that they will not allow their religion to see the light of day in their political or judicial decision-making.
Three months after Kennedy's address, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down state laws that had existed under the Constitution for 171 years, and for centuries before that. These laws required politicians to raise their right hand toward Heaven, place their left and on the Bible, and swear that they would "defend the Constitution," "so help me, God." TORCASO v. WATKINS, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)
Fourteen months later, the same Court prohibited New York schools from beginning each school day with these words:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 422 (1962)
Then again, twelve months after Engel, the Supreme Court struck down a Pennsylvania statute which the Court itself described in these words:
Each school, either collectively or in classes, shall be opened by the reading, without comment, of a chapter in the Holy Bible and/or the use of the Lord's Prayer. Participation in the opening exercises, as directed by the statute, is voluntary. Participation in the opening exercises, as directed by the statute, is voluntary. The student reading the verses from the Bible may select the passages and read from any version he chooses. . . .
ABINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT. v. SCHEMPP, 374 U.S. 203 (1963), at 207, 211n.4.
One writer, seemingly overlooking those first critical years of the 1960's, has said:
In the United States, meanwhile, 1964 stands out as the first year of the infamous “Sixties,” when the moral order of the post-war era collapsed. The U.S. birth rate fell sharply that year, bringing an end to the Baby Boom, and serving as a statistical marker of a deeper transformation. The following twelve years witnessed open attacks on Christianity, the rapid spread of pornography, new demands for easy divorce, a swelling feminist rhetoric demanding androgyny and “reproductive rights,” steps toward easy abortion, and startling new efforts to manipulate early human life.
As the crude but insightful “Rape of the APE: The Official History of the Sex Revolution” by Allan Sherman (from the Playboy Press, 1973; APE meaning American Puritan Ethic) described this turn: “Everything got devalued. Not just the dollar, but everything in American life. The American Flag was devalued. Marriage was devalued. Virginity. Love. God. Motherhood. Mom’s Apple Pie. General Motors has less value now, and so does the Bill of Rights. War was devalued, and so was the air we breathe. The quality of men available to lead was devalued. Our technology was devalued; our institutions and our customs were devalued. The worth of an individual was devalued.”
There is a common theme: simply put, the rejection of limits.
— Allan Carlson, Was 1964 the Most Important Year - Ever? - Front Porch Republic
In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court proudly reminded the country that America was "a Christian nation." But the early 1960's represented a tumultuous theological re-alignment in America. Every man is now his own god. As a result, in my lifetime,
in short, the complete reversal of Kennedy's stated goals: "a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself." I believe that Isaiah and the Framers of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence would say that the United States is the enemy of mankind.
This is the result of the focus on man's pleasure (Secular Humanism) rather than a focus on our duty to God. Carlson:
Of course, respecting limits is the oldest of human failings. As Genesis records, the first human beings found it impossible to accept even a single restriction on their use and enjoyment of paradise.
And so in thinking about Kennedy's speech, I've concluded I'm not called to be a "Life Purpose Coach," to take clients to "Pleasure Island," but maybe something like a "Life Duty Coach," to take clients to "Service Island." (Not military or government "service," but the "service" Jesus spoke about when He told His disciples that true Christians are anarchists.)
It was the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre who said in effect,
If I am my own god, then my neighbor is the devil.