Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's All in the Signature

Are you fascinated by the autographs of famous people? 

Do the personal signatures in their own handwriting of Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan or Elvis excite you?  

According to Stuart Whitehurst, “Signed documents, such as letters, manuscripts, memos, and other important papers, are one of the fastest growing collecting areas at auction.” *

According to an online article entitled, “The 10 Priciest Autographs Ever Sold,”    
George Washington’s signature on the Acts of Congress sold for $9.8 million (the most at the time), Abraham Lincoln’s signature on the Emancipation Proclamation (the second most) went for $3.7 million, and a signed Jesse James photo came in 9th at $52,000.**
Granted, some of these documents themselves account for part of the prices paid, but even so, a simple signed photograph of Paul McCartney could set you back by $2,400 or that of Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling a mere $1,875.***

[My children will tell you sometime the weird and wonderful stories of the “lesser known” celebrity autographs we have in our “collection” as a result of my decidedly amateur collecting prowess over the years.]

Be honest with me. Have you ever practiced writing your autograph to be ready when you became famous? You know you have! because it takes real practice to achieve an autograph style of this level of proficiency:     
Guess Who...

Let me tell you about a “signature” that tops them all...my personal favorite.  There is  Someone who “signs His name” in a simple, but all powerful way. It is a “signature” beside which all others fade to pale by comparison. It is the “autograph” of the Almighty God, who signs His name:

I am who I am”  (Exodus 3:14)
I am, and there is no one besides me”  (Exodus 47:10)
“I am he; I am the first, and I am the last”  (Exodus 48:12)

We would all do well to have this autograph a permanent part of our personal collections.

**(Octavia Drughi for http://www.therichest.com)
***(PaulFraserCollectibles at http://www.ranker.com)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Are We Really Free?

The first definition of Freedom given by the Oxford Dictionaries online is “The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint   (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com).    

What a great definition! Who likes hindrances or restraints (rules, regulations, people telling us what to do, etc. etc.)? Wouldn’t it be “freeing” to live like that?  Sort of a Peter Pan/Lost Boys Neverland experience where anything goes?

  • But I’m young! I should be able to do whatever I want while I don’t have any encumbering responsibilities. There’s plenty of time later to follow the constraints of work, family, civic duties. 

  • But I’m old! I have earned the right to finally do what I please and say whatever is on my mind---the things I have wanted to say to others for years.

  • Look, you do your thing and I’ll do mine and we’ll just respect each other’s rights to our own freedoms—of speech, actions, thoughts, whatever.

These approaches work as long as my actions don’t tread on your property, your personal space or your worldview. And if they do…well then I have a problem with your freedoms.
Truth is…this definition of freedom doesn’t work, regardless of how seductive it sounds. Why even pose it as a possibility?  Remember physics class and Newton’s Third Law of Motion?  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Our earthly freedoms are important to us and rightfully so, as they have been hard fought for and won by great losses. But in truth, no earthy freedom is a sure thing and could disappear in a wink. Now, more than ever, our perceived freedoms are treading on someone else’s perceived freedoms and causing reactions that lead to even greater losses of freedom.
This is not true freedom
Maybe we are looking in the wrong place for true freedom.     
 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you  will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)