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A Spiritual Autobiography
How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes
of an ordinary guy from Jersey City
As I read an item in the newspaper today, I was reminded that this is the time of year when the advertising/entertainment industry is making decisions about what TV shows will be available for us to watch in September. Some familiar TV shows will be enthusiastically renewed for another year. Some will be renewed, but it is questionable if they will last much longer. And there are those which without a doubt will be cancelled, even some which had excellent ratings over the past year.
In this newspaper article, and others like it, there is usually a brief explanation as to why some shows with excellent rating will be cancelled. Sometimes it isn’t that nobody is watching, but that according to the market research by the advertising/ entertainment industry, enough of the right people weren’t watching. The right people being those who collectively are most influenced by and most likely buy the advertised products and services. The advertising/entertainment industry has further determined that currently the right people are those between the ages of 25-49. In these times a show which isn’t reaching that age group in significant numbers is likely to be cancelled, even if the ratings for those age 50 and over are excellent.
The truth is that the advertising/entertainment industry at this time places a high value on the younger age group because that group spends a lot more money on the advertised products and services. The older age group spends a lot less and therefore is given little or no value by the advertising/entertainment. That might change in a few years if spending patterns within categories change.
As time goes by, I have become more and more aware that the advertising/ entertainment industry, and a lot of other industries, have placed me in that category of people who are not greatly influenced by, and therefore don’t spend much money on, what they are advertising. That really annoyed me over the last few years, as more and more of my favorite TV shows were cancelled, until now there aren’t many left that I enjoy watching, and only rarely do I discover something new that I consider worth watching.
To me that’s bad news. But that bad news doesn’t bother me anymore. That’s because my faith is such that in the midst of bad news there is there is always and ultimately good news. There is always hope when things look hopeless, if what you are hoping for is in accordance with God’s will and plan. The good news is that God can and does understand each one of us as individuals. In fact, God understood us as individuals even before he created us. All human beings were, are, and always will be created by God in the image of God. This doesn’t mean we look like God in a physical sense, but we do have some of the characteristics of God. They might be tarnished and difficult to see, but they are still there. I believe the most important of those characteristics is the ability to love each other as individuals. If this were not so, Jesus would not have told us that the second greatest commandment, after loving God, is to love our neighbor. God has enough love for all of us, and all he wants is for us to accept his love and participate with him in sharing his love with each other (even the ones who cancel our favorite TV shows).
My message to you is that you always remember that God’s love for you, and your value to God, is not based on what category the world places you in. We were all created with love by God in order to participate with God in receiving and giving love to him and each other. In the midst of bad news that’s something to hope for. At the same time it is part of God’s will and plan for all of us. And when what we hope for is in agreement with God’s will and plan for us, individually and collectively, then God will surely fulfill those hopes. I know that’s the truth, because I have experienced it in my own life (74 years), over and over again. God has demonstrated his love for me and everyone else and made it possible for me to love everyone else. At the same time God has made it possible for other people to demonstrate their love for me – not just as part of a category, but as a beloved individual.
Grace and peace, Ray