Yes! to Genesis
In the beginning God was saying “No!” to status quo (“status no”) and “Yes!” to Genesis (Creation): Sky, land, oceans, plants, sun, moon, fish, wild animals, cattle, reptiles, man, woman: “YES!” Genesis is the spiritual counterpart to innovation (a secularly derived concept). Genesis takes the “no” out of innovation and replaces it with “yes.” Allow me to invent a new word here, “Inyesvation” which now becomes a modern Genesis counterpoint.
 
Culture: “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization” (Merriam-Webster).
 
Every new inyesvation will ultimately create its own unique culture, appropriate for that particular time, place and setting. As Genesis continues to unfold there will be a natural reluctance to embrace and assimilate each new ethos as it emerges, clinging tight to what has now become status quo – “things as they were.” Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, none of us immune to it. Thus eventually our “clinging” will be defined by “an unhealthy refusal to let go of the past,” leading to chaos (Status quo + innovation = chaos). In other words, “the enemy is us.”
 
Nostalgia: Longing – saying “Yes!” to the past and “No!” to Genesis.
 
Monument to Genesis
Cornel West, Professor of Religion, Princeton, writes: “America—this monument to the genius of ordinary men and women, this place where hope becomes capacity, this long, halting turn of the NO into the YES, needs citizens who love it enough to re-imagine and remake it.”
 
Permit me to paraphrase the above by substituting the words, “America,” with “The Salvation Army,” “genius” with Genesis and “citizens” with “Soldiers.” Reread the quote in this context and adding the tag line—“see things as they will be.”
 
Cyberspace Link
Charles Schultz, creator of the innovative comic strip, “Charlie Brown,” daringly chose themes never before attempted in mainstream cartoons, many of them philosophically spiritual in content. His work inspired the Broadway Musical, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” with one of the featured songs appropriately titled, “My New Philosophy.” A performance of this number can be found on YouTube via the following link:
 
 
For those without internet accessibility or savvy, here’s a lyrical sampling:
 
SCHROEDER]
That's your new philosophy?
 
[SALLY]
Why are you telling me?
My new philosophy!
 
[SCHROEDER]
That's great, Sally, but I've gotta go practice Chopin's
Nocturne in B-Flat minor.
 
[SALLY]
No!! I like it! "No!" That's a good philosophy.
"No!" "No!" "No!"
 
[SCHROEDER]
That's your new philosophy, huh?
 
[SALLY]
Yes. I mean-- "No!"
 
Philosophy: A system of values by which one lives (The Free Dictionary).
 
YES!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Discovering the Genesis Person Within
 

NEW! JOE NOLAND
 
My twin grandsons, Parker and Hayden, shortly after their Genesis moment - Something New!
1
Innovate: Introducing, inventing something new or original.
 
Genesis: The origin, source, creation, or coming into being of something.
 
“When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors” (Genesis 1:1-2 TLB).
 
Created: baaraa': "create, give being to something new" (Barnes’ Notes).
 
“…obsessing over the history represented by…statistics…being culturally appropriate…but functionally inappropriate…and creating something new is genesis, which comes before history.”
 
“To be functionally inappropriate is to be dysfunctional.”
 
"Genesis is 'finding in the chaos beyond culture antidotes for the stagnation of status quo.'” (Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie)
 
Status Quo: Stagnation.
 
Antidote: Remedy or Cure.
 
“The Enthroned continued,
‘Look! I’m making everything new.’”
(Rev. 21:5, The Message)
 
“Every time we say, ‘Let there be!’ in any form, something happens – Stella Terrill Mann.
 
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now! – Van Goethe.
 
“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without” – Cecil B. DeMille.
 
“The creative process is my drug of choice” – Joe Noland.
 
Creativeness: …simply the act of making something new (Wikipedia).
 
I never use the term, “out-of-the-box thinking” because with God, boxes don’t exist, nary a one to “think out of.”
 
Out-of-the-box thinking is nonsensical,
It’s absurd, boring, silly and whimsical
Would God be accused of thinking such?
Alas, He wouldn’t have created much.
 
Boxes non-existent with the all-seeing,
Boundary free when ‘bringing into being.
No old boxes when creating you:
“Behold! I’m making everything new.”
 
God Boxes: Oxymoron.
 
There is nothing more exciting, stimulating and emboldening than creating something new – “genius, power and magic in it.”
 
LET THERE BE!
 
Cyberspace Link: Creation Calls.
 

YES! 2
- Our premise exactly -
ONE WORD CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING!
This image was created by Lindsay Cox, a Salvationist cartoonist and Territorial archivist for the Australian Southern Territory. Those stand-up collars, bonnets and even that tambourine nestled between the two horrified lady salvos engender a culturally-felt nostalgia don’t they? – Especially for Salvationists. Paradoxically, wasn’t it, “need,” that originally provoked this inyesvative expression of evangelical militancy?
 
Question: Genesis occurs:
 
A. When we say “no” to need and “yes” to status quo.
-or-
B. When we say “yes” to need and “no” to status quo.
 
 
Those Were the Days
Nostalgia’s warm embrace grips me every time I hear this 1969 hit, sung by Mary Hopkins, written by Gene Raskin, putting English lyrics to a Russian song:
 
Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
La la la la…
 
I remember it well, 1969: Beatles, Bell Bottom Jeans, tie-die shirts, electric typewriters, pay phones, 35 cent gas, average salary - $4723, counter-culture, LSD, flower power, Haight Ashbury, free love, Woodstock, Easy Rider, Iron Curtain, communism, Coretta Scott King speaking from the pulpit of St. Paul's Cathedral in London (the first woman to do so), Nixon, Viet Nam, chemical warfare, race riots, student antiwar movement, Weather Underground, Operation Chaos. Ah yes, “Those were the days my friend…”
 
Chaos: “A state of utter confusion (Merriam-Webster).
 
Chaos is the incubator for creativity and innovation. Genesis occurs when we say “No!” to status quo (things as they were/are) and “Yes!” to need (things as they will be). Another word for status quo is, “culture.”
 
Cultures collide.
Chaos ensues.
Cravings arise.
 
Crave: “to have a strong desire for something” (Encarta).
 
Need-Based Response
Genesis is the creative response to our need-based cravings. John Stott said, “Vision begins with a holy discontent with the way things are.” Allow me to substitute the word, “vision,” with the word, Genesis, in this context.
 
Need: “Necessary, Essential.
 
Necessity: “The mother of invention” (Plato).
 
This idea is best illustrated in one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Crow and the Pitcher.”
 
A crow perishing with thirst saw a pitcher, and hoping to find water, flew to it with delight. When he reached it, he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the pitcher, until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved his life.
 
Cyberspace Link
The truth of this fable is illustrated historically and visually at the following website:
 
 
“They need me, they need you, they need…” Genesis people creatively respond to a need and fill it!
 
 

NEED! 3 Some see things as they were.
Others see things as they are.
A few see things as they will be.
Universal Studios Executive Sidney Sheinberg wanted the title of this film changed to Spaceman from Pluto, convinced no successful film ever had "future" in the title. Steven Spielberg convinced him otherwise and, after being rejected by every major film studio over a four year period, went on to gross $380 million receiving critical acclaim. The title Back to the Future was brilliantly conceived and is a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s Past is Prologue.
 

prologue
4
Past is Prologue
In William Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, Antonio is speaking:
 
“Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come
In yours and my discharge.”
 
Sebastian responds:
 
“What stuff is this!—How say you?”
 
Prologue: Where we’ve been – “what’s past” as introductory for “what’s to come.”
 
Intriguingly enough, in Greek drama, a character, very often a deity, stood forward on an empty stage and expanded in great detail on everything that led up to the play itself, this before the action of the play even began. All that ensued, once the performance began, was predicated upon the facts related in the prologue. Its importance in Greek drama was critical, sometimes taking the place of a romance, to which the play itself succeeded (Wikepedia paraphrased).
 
Romance: Spirit of adventure; love affair (Encarta).
 
Going back to where we’ve been, what’s past, will give us prologue for the Genesis (romance) that is “(what) to come”—the “stuff” that will be “In yours and my discharge.”
 
Discharge: “Perform, Execute” (things as they will be).
 
In so doing we will reveal the “stuff” that a Genesis person is made of, hopefully inspiring the reader to get “stuffed” likewise. Or to encourage you who have had the “stuffing” knocked out of you to suck it back up again. And for those already fully “stuffed,” be it a reminder that you are breathing rarified air.
 
Cyberspace Link
Back to the Future Tribute—Back in Time: In this musical video tribute, the phrase “Back in Time” has a triple meaning: Going back in time, getting back in time and getting in sync with the times - signaling that “You’re future’s whatever you make it!” Enjoy.
 
For Genesis Thinkers, the past is not an end in itself; it is always a prologue for things to come. As a symbolic act of “going back” you are now directed to the “back” page of this book where the prologue (romance) will begin.
 
Author’s Note: In the actual physical publishing of this book, the reader will go to the back of the book, turn it over and continue reading backward to forward.
Cyberspace Link:
For me and many others whether they will admit it or not, Beethoven’s compositions are old, outdated and boring, similar to church organs, pews and other ancient black holes. Victor Borge, grasping this reality, finds opportunity in Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (things as they were) by creatively transforming the old masterpiece into “something new” and original (things as they will be).
Each of the multicolored dots in this photograph is a black hole. The panorama was created using images taken by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and several ground-based telescopes. The scale image of the moon should give you an idea of how large a portion of the sky was imaged.

Each one of black holes (1000 in total) in the picture is really the super massive black hole that lies at the
creative heart of another galaxy
 
 

CHAOS! 5
 
Since Time Began
Creation is always born out of chaos. Evil enters into the equation relapsing into chaos followed by a yearning for re-creation…
 
Evil, chaos, Genesis
Evil, chaos, Genesis
Evil, chaos…
 
And thus it has been since time began: Serpent ~ Adam; Babel ~ Noah; Sodom ~ Abraham and 42 generations on (Matt. 1:17), God is looking at an empty stage again (shapeless, chaotic mass), totally devoid of a Creative presence (Black hole).
 
“He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice” (John 1:9-10).
 
Devoid of its Soul!
A baby grand piano has always been on my wife’s “wish” list. Early on in our ministry, that “wish” was mysteriously granted in the form of a gift to her. She was deliriously ecstatic, rearranging the furniture in preparation for its delivery.
 
On that eventful day, the movers gingerly placed it in the space arranged as we all gathered around feasting our eyes upon this regal, sparkling white musical instrument. We stood transfixed as she sat down on the bench, lifted the keyboard cover and began to play. Shockingly, as she pressed down on the keys there was no sound. Her fingers danced across the black and white ivories, not one of them so much as emitting a note. We stared at each other dumbfounded.
 
Upon lifting the lid and peaking inside, NOTHING! Void, shapeless, chaotic! After some further investigative work we found that the piano had been made for a movie prop, an illusion, a husk, devoid of its soul, the very thing that gives it life. And all of this unbeknown to the donor, who upon receiving it, passed it on to us with nary a testing tap on the keys.
 
YES!
Alas, chaos (a state of utter confusion) ensued, crying out for one of those “Something New” Genesis moments. In the garage, we frantically searched for and found our dust-laden portable CD player, popped in a “The Best of Liberace” CD, and then strategically placed it deep within the piano cavity.  
 
Doris sat down at the keyboard. LET THERE BE! I touched the “on” button as she simultaneously touched the ivories and, miracle of miracles, her playing equaled the sound and touch of the master, Liberace. YES!
 
The Genesis Thinker understands that chaos equals opportunity, and then moves instinctively to creatively fill the void (black hole).
 
Illumination! Freedom! Liberation!
Salvation!

FREE! 6
Evil, chaos, Genesis
Evil, chaos, Genesis…                
Evil, chaos…                  
Jesus
In his introduction to the Gospel of John (The Message), Eugene Peterson writes, “For somewhere along the line things went wrong (Genesis tells that story too) and in desperate need of fixing.” God’s fix: “In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word.”
 
Chaos: Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased.
 
Salvation: Forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection.
 
Culture and Creation Collide
When Jesus came, culture and Creation collided. This was another of those quintessential Genesis moments. God invaded “the chaos beyond culture” with “antidotes for the stagnation of status quo.” Read the Gospels and you will find that He penetrated the chaos with an exclamatory “No!” to status quno, and a resounding “Yes!” to need:
 
You don’t have to read far before His clash with the religious culture of the day becomes proactively evident. John gets right to the heart of it quickly with Jesus’ purging of the Temple, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” He challenged the status quo immediately: Chief Priests profiting by “filthy lucre,” broken and fallen, sinful and diseased (John 2:12-22).
 
Salvation is Free
In this temple purging, Genesis moment Jesus affirms, “Salvation is free!”
 
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”
(John 8:36)
 
 
Creation on a collision course,
Religious leaders decrying the source
 
Chaos, money changers coming hither,
Selling God to the highest bidder.
 
Midst this infamous, historical heist,
Introducing Jesus Christ - Genesis!
 
Cyberspace Link: Stand-up comedian and host of The Steve Harvey Morning Show...
 
 
Healing on the Sabbath, touching a leper, speaking to a Samaritan woman, feeding five thousand with minimal resources, uttering a new “love” commandment (John 13:34) – all need-based. It doesn’t get more inyesvative than that.
 
Status quo, Designed to impede,
Genesis thinker, “FREE INDEED!”
 
 
Genesis “Stuff!”
Love (Conviction) and Courage

COURAGE! 7
Evil, chaos, Genesis
Evil, chaos, Jesus
Evil, chaos…
    
Martin Luther…
With whom the great eternal romance continues. Another of those culture and creation collision Genesis moments came when Luther acted on the courage of his convictions, thereby ushering in the Protestant Reformation. “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!” It takes conviction to say, “No!” and courage to say, “Yes!” He was later to write, “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see” – or see things as they will be.
 
Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty (Merriam-Webster).
 
Conviction: strong persuasion or belief (Merriam-Webster).
 
Reformation
Interestingly enough, Matthew Henry refers to Jesus’ purging of the temple as the “time of reformation.” Centuries later, Luther issues in the “second great reformation” with his The 95 Theses, in part protesting against the sale of indulgences by the church—a 16th Century “purging”—resulting in the emergence of Protestantism.
 
Thesis 86 asks: “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassius, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?” Attributed to Johann Tetzel is this saying: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
 
Matthew Henry continues: “Great corruptions in the church owe their rise to the love of money” (1 Tim 6:5,10).
 
The Once-ler
FROM THE LORAX, BY DR. SEUSS
 
I meant no harm. I most truly did not.

But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.

I biggered my factory. I biggered my roads.

I biggered my wagons. I biggered the loads

of the Thneeds I shipped out. I was shipping them forth

to the South! To the East! To the West! To the North!

I went right on biggering ... selling more Thneeds.

And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.



The Right Stuff
There is a thin line between “need” and “greed.” Driven by the courage of their convictions, Genesis thinkers can decipher between the two. A Genesis person is made of the “right stuff.”
 
From Happy Musings:
 
When needs are great,
Creativity soars.
Look out!
 
 
Or conversely, when greed is great, Creativity is devoured. Look out!
 
At this critical prologue juncture, the question begs itself: “What “stuff” was this Genesis person, Martin Luther, made of and how can we appropriate some of that same “stuff” for ourselves?” This Genesis stuff will continue to reveal itself as these pages unfold, with courage and conviction right at the top of the list.
 
“HATE IS EASY; LOVE TAKES COURAGE.”
 
As Maya Angelo so eloquently put it, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
 
 
Cyberspace Link: Maya captures this truth in a recitation of her inspirational poem: Still I Rise.

 
 
 
Catherine Booth poses contemplatively in this photo. Can you feel the passion in her gaze?
I can!
 
Evil, chaos, Genesis
Evil, chaos, Jesus
Evil, chaos, Luther
                            Evil, chaos…
                                      
The Salvation Army
...in its epochal Genesis years, dared courageously and with great conviction to sing and dance in the chaos beyond the culture that spawned its early pioneers.
 
In those years Great Britain was undergoing profound industrial change, chaotic in every respect. Mark Twain, while visiting London in 1897 for an event honoring the Queen, observed: "British history is two thousand years old and yet in a good many ways the world has moved farther ahead since the Queen was born than it moved in all the rest of the two thousand put together."
The Industrial Revolution
Twain’s observation captures the sense of dizzying change characterizing this Victorian period, including a mass migration of workers to industrial towns, where ever-growing urban slums awaited them. Someone wrote, “The rhythm of the seasons was replaced by the rhythm of the water wheel and the steam engine.” Women, youths and children comprised almost two-thirds of the manufacturing workforce.
 
Traditional ideas were being challenged, including the role of women in that society. Advances in the printing press during this period made information and knowledge more accessible to the masses, resulting in a more informed reading public, leading to controversy and debate on political and social issues.
And what about organized religion during this time? Findley Dunachie notes in his historical writings, “The church quiescent supports the status quo. In neither country was the established Church a force for change…”
 
Quiescent: Inactive or at rest. Dormant. Inert. (Encarta) Devoid of passion (Noland)
 
Passion: Fervor. Zeal.  Enthusiasm. Commitment.
 
William Booth’s passion for these displaced souls disturbed the quiescence of New Connexion Methodism greatly, so much so, that at their 1861 annual conference in Liverpool a decision was made to minimize the magnitude of Booth’s ministry.  This  action disquieted the soul of his wife, Catherine,  so much so, that from the gallery she spontaneously stood forth and cried out...
 
Never!
When Catherine said, “Never!” she was saying “Yes!” to Genesis and “No!” to status quno. This is one of those rare instances where the word, “No!” is appropriate because, in this case, a “yes” would have been a “no” to Genesis. In the same breath she said “No!” to culture and “Yes!” to need.
 
Souls crying out in dizzying confusion
  Two of them spiritually aware
 
Products of unwieldy, chaotic diffusion
  Yielded together in prayer
 
Desperately seeking a healing infusion
  Asking, “Who’s out there to care?”
 
Viewed by some an unwanted intrusion.
   Thus igniting her passion with flare!
 
   NEVER!
 
This one word, felt passionately and delivered spontaneously ignited a Genesis movement, unstoppable. Chaos is the incubator for creativity and inyesvation;  Passion is its fuel and energy (The singing and dancing part, so much so that...).  
 
Passion: Spontaneous spiritual combustion (Noland).
 
Cyberspace Link: In this video clip listen to William Booth say in his own words, “No! Ten thousand times no!” Listen closely and you will hear in that no, a resounding yes: “No!” to status quno and “Yes!” to need. As you listen begin to feel the passion. Soak it in! Let it percolate. Start tasting it. This passion soaking process is critical and foundational to the makings of a Genesis person. Ready? Get set. Ignite!
 
 

PASSION! 8
“START PRACTICING!”
 
My caption for this caricature drawing of William Booth. Feel free to create your own.

VISION! 9
 
Danger: Passion becomes an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Passion without vision is eternally purposeless. If passion is the fuel, vision is the destination.
 
A Stroke of Genesis
When William Booth said “No!” to Volunteer and “Yes!” to The Salvation Army, this was an inyesvative decision not lacking in passion and vision – seeing things as they were meant to be. In other words, striking out the word volunteer and replacing it with “Salvation” was a “stroke of Genesis.
 
A July 31, 1907 editorial in the New York Times put it this way:
 
“The influence of William Booth throughout the English-speaking world is probably greater today than that of any other leader of men.  It compels us to consider how dangerous that influence might be to the welfare of society, if it were possessed by a man who might combine with his courage and clearness of vision a controlling desire for self-aggrandizement and the capacity for self-deception that has distinguished so many popular leaders.”
 
The editorial goes on to say, “There are many others conducting a similar evangelical and spiritually uplifting work in smaller fields, but there is none his equal in the public vision.”
 
This is the New York Times speaking, mind you. The editorial phrase used to describe Booth’s vision was, “...to Christianize the multitude, to purify the public mind, and to improve the material welfare of the poor.”
 
Larger Ends
His vision in a word was “Salvation,” and by his definition, all-inclusive in scope – “The world for God.” Dare we not minimize the role Catherine played in this vision-casting thing, always nudging WB forward, “We are made for larger ends than Earth can encompass. Oh, let us be true to our exalted destiny.”
 
Vision: “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision; the vision of an entrepreneur” – Dictionary.com.
 
“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible” – Jonathan Swift: “He who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”
             
Practice the Impossible
In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass the White Queen is speaking to Alice:
 
“I can’t believe that,” said Alice.
     “Can’t you?” the Queen said, in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath and shut your eyes.”
     Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”
     “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
 
Coincidentally, Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. Looking Glass was its sequel written in 1871; this while The Salvation Army was still in its infancy. Not only were Carroll and Booth contemporaries; they were on the same wavelength. Who knows, it might have happened something like this:
 
One rare quiet evening at home in their little flat, CB was sitting at the table reading a newly published copy of Through the Looking Glass, when she suddenly came upon this very dialogue between Alice and the Queen. Breaking the silence she blurted out, “William, You must read this!” Slumped relaxingly in his easy chair, eyes half closed, he mumbled back, “Yes dear, when you’re finished. I’ll get around to it eventually.” “No! You must read it now!” She said. He read. They practiced. The rest is history.
 
The editorial above was written some thirty years later and bears witness to the result of that practicing, however it was inspired: “The Salvation Army’s doings have frequently been ridiculed by the frivolous, and given much pain to the morbidly discreet. But the purity of General Booth’s methods has never been questioned, while the immense good he has accomplished speaks for itself the world over.”
 
Booth was a practicing visionary, seeing the invisible and doing the impossible, no question about it. Vision is a prerequisite to Genesis. People are not naturally imbued with it; visioning takes practice, practice and more practice. The Genesis person is a vision practitioner.
 
Practitioner: “somebody who practices a particular profession…” – Encarta.
 
Faith: “It’s our handle on what we can’t see” – Hebrews 11:1, The Message.
 
Get a handle on it:
START PRACTICING!
 
Cyberspace Link: In this video segment William Booth says “No!” to “Volunteer” and “Yes!” to “Salvation.” Pay close attention to a sampling of the evangelical creativity (inyesvations) that followed in response to a series of repetitive yeses.
 
Mary (Matthews) Stillwell was a risk-taking, Genesis pioneer, obediently venturing her way westward, even in the face of great uncertainty - and, oh so young.
If passion is the fuel and vision the destination, risk-takings are the compass points that help chart the course. Trial and error is an essential component of Genesis thinking and progress, with adjustments and course corrections required periodically along the way.
 
When there is risk involved, the conditioned response is to say, “No!” There can be no pioneering spirit without a healthy dose of “Say Yes!” risk-taking. Say what? Without it the wheels will spin, going nowhere, and that’s called status quno.
 
Every time Jesus said “No!” to law and “Yes!” to love, those were risk-taking compass points. When Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg that was a critical compass point. When Catherine said, “Never!” that was a ministry-changing point. When William said, “Yes!” to “Salvation” Army, military nomenclature, uniform wearing, et al, those represented course correction points. Without these risk-taking compass points, three movement making, inyesvative ventures would never have been undertaken.
 
Venture: an undertaking that is dangerous, daring, or of uncertain outcome – The Free Dictionary.
 
This is not meant to be an historical treatise; that’s already been written by someone more disciplined, detailed and astute than I am. For illustrative purposes only, allow me to outline a few seminal historical facts, letting your fertile imaginations fill in the blanks. Needless to say, it took a special breed of risk-taking pioneer to tame the West.
 
Fact 1: In 1882 Booth sent 24-year-old Irish Major Alfred Wells to establish Salvation Army headquarters in San Francisco “and sally forth daily and do battle with the sin and the devil.”  Concurrently, Captain Henry Stillwell was sent likewise all the way to San Jose. Both left brides-to-be behind.
 
Fact 2: In 1884, two years later mind you, the two brides-to-be, Captains Polly Medforth and Mary Matthews arrived. The journey required a grueling ocean voyage and rugged, uncomfortable nine-day cross-country train trip.
 
Fact 3: Mary had been engaged to Stillwell for five years, while Polly had known Wells only a few days before his departure to America. Three short days after their arrival the two couples celebrated a double wedding. Four days later, the Stillwell’s commenced The Salvation Army work in Oakland, California.
 
Fact 4: In 1886, a convert migrating to Oregon petitioned London for officers. Henry, now in charge of San Francisco, was unable to answer the call. Guess what? Mary, with a ten-month-old baby, went solo, opening fire in Portland, Bible’s blazing Wild West style. Opposition was fierce, with Mary herself badly injured during a “shoot out,” when a saloonkeeper turned a fire hose on her, this in response to her “fire-a-volley!” Gospel shots.
 
Fact 5: Transatlantic ocean liner travel was rugged at best: no electricity, running water or portholes. Steam engine locomotion, prehistoric by today’s standards, was only a step beyond wagon train travel. It was indeed the “Wild West” they encountered, where lawlessness, disorder and dishonesty reigned with the likes of Pancho Villa, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, the Dalton Gang, Black Bart, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch preying on banks, trains, and stagecoaches.
 
For the risk-taking part, I’ll let you fill in the blanks. There is no denying that their ventures were dangerous and daring undertakings, uncertain of what the outcomes would be.
 
Risk-taking: Saying “Yes!” in the face of danger and uncertainty – Noland.
 
Booth outlined TSA venture clearly when he observed, "Beginning as I did with a clean sheet of paper, wedded to no plan... willing to take a leaf out of anybody's book... above all, to obey the direction of the Holy Spirit... we tried various methods and those that did not answer we unhesitatingly threw overboard and adopted something else.”
 
There is nothing traditional or status quno about this modeled venturesome spirit. Trial and error is an essential component of Genesis thinking. The Genesis person is no stranger to uncertainty and risk-taking: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.”
 
Cyberspace Link: A humorous, creative rendition of William Booth’s venturesome spirit, points westward: Hang Ten in Hawaii.
 

RISK! 10
Driven by inborn curiosity, my twin grandson’s, Parker Kuanalu and Hayden Kaipo’i Noland are caught white-handed, creating their first artistic masterpiece utilizing Tempura Flour, their medium of choice.
 
Magnetic Pull
If vision is the destination and risk-takings are the compass points, then curiosity is the built-in magnetic force always pulling and pointing the Geneses person forward toward “something new.”
 
We inherited the pull; it’s in our genes, been there from the very beginning. Ask Adam and Eve. This is not meant to be a theological treatise, but it has something to do with that pesky free will thing. God said, “No!” to one forbidden fruit and “Yes!” to tree loads of other sumptuous fruit and vegetables in the garden.
 
Might Have Been
I wonder what might have been had God’s first-born channeled their curiosity toward all the good stuff, mango, papaya, spinach? Think about it. It’s a picture perfect day in Paradise, balmy, 80° weather, hammock’s strung, Eve turns to Adam and says, “I’m thirsty, enough with that boring, plain old spring-fed water.  Let’s experiment with something new.”
 
Walking through the garden she pulls down a coconut and plucks a pineapple from the plant. Tempting Adam she says, “I wonder what these two would taste like mixed together?” The juice of the pineapple is squeezed into the coconut milk while still in its shell, a slice of pineapple inserted decoratively and “Voila!” Pina Colada, virgin style of course. It is the first of many innovative recipes yet to be created.
 
But that’s not the way it might have happened, all because they chose to focus on the “No!” instead of the “Yes!”
 
Man-Made Lines
Today we will baby-sit our eighteen-month-old twins who are double trouble, curiosity two-fold in constant motion. I find myself wanting to say that creative diminishing word, “No!” all too often. Knowing of its mostly harmful effects, I bite my tongue…most of the time. In my carefully programmed humanness, it slips out every once in awhile, and I cringe the moment its perfectly shaped oval forms on my lips. Doubly cringing as I pull their tiny little fingers out of the electric socket. Or rescue them from toilet bowl baptisms. Or pluck them out of the clothes dryer. In doing so, indiscriminately, we crush their inborn curious, creative spirits until that old nemesis, conformity, becomes habit forming.
 
We have been programmed to insist that our children color within institutionally driven, man-made lines, and when curiosity starts to pull them beyond those boundaries, we suck them back into the safety of our status quno wombs quickly, efficiently and protectively. God forbid they create a flour-strewn masterpiece with walls, floors and bodies their creative, experimental canvases. “Nooooo!”
 
The Exception
Obviously, the “No’s!” are there for a purpose (the electric socket being one discriminate example), but from the beginning meant to be the exception rather than the rule. Jesus came to correct that misrepresentation, but in our free will humanness, we keep reverting back to the rule with proliferating fervor. Result: Status quno thinking instead of Genesis thinking. For God’s sake, let’s not demagnetize the pull!
 
The Curiosity Habit
Following is the curiosity recipe for Genesis thinking:
 
1.    Resist the curiosity nemesis. One part concentration is a key ingredient here. First is getting the right concentration (mix) of yeses and no’s. “No!” is the nemesis and must become the exception rather than the rule. How can we correct this recipe imbalance?
2.    Develop the curiosity habit. Another form of concentration is added to the mix: meditation. Begin to focus on the yeses instead of the no’s: contemplation.
3.    Exercise the curiosity muscle. A third part of concentration is repetition. The more you exercise it, the more natural it becomes and soon curiosity turns into an unconscious pattern of behavior.
 
Concentration: 1. the direction of all thought or effort toward one particular task, idea, or subject 2. a large number of things or amount of something collected together in one area 3. the amount of a substance dissolved in another – Encarta World English Dictionary.
 
Habit: A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition - The Free Dictionary.
 
Relax. Give way to curiosity’s magnetism and you will begin to discover the Genesis person within. Mary Stillwell gave way to the “pull” and “something new” followed in her wake all up and down the West Coast of America.
 
Cyberspace Link: The animated song, “Upside Down,” from the movie, Curious George (the Genesis primate). Listen carefully to the words and apply them to the theme captured in this chapter: “Who’s to say what’s impossible and can be found, I don’t want this feeling to go away. As my mind begins to spread its wings, there’s no stopping curiosity. I want to turn the whole thing upside down. I’ll find the things they say can’t be found.”
 

CURIOSITY! 11
Joe the Turk: God’s Fool
12
 

FOOL!
The Apostle Paul famously wrote these words: “We are fool’s for Christ…” Or as The Message paraphrases it: “We’re the Messiah’s misfits” (1 Corinthians 4:10).
 
Foolishness: absurd, insane, laughable.
 
Insanity: extreme foolishness or an act that demonstrates it – Encarta.
 
Misfit: Oddity, eccentric, nonconformist, somebody who is out of place in a particular situation or environment – Encarta.
 
There is a bit of the fool in all of us, innately part of our Genesis DNA. Somewhere along the way, a “Mores Committee” was formed by the best and brightest among us, its only item of business being to adjudge “normal” patterns of behavior.  
 
Normal: conforming to the usual standard, type, or custom – Encarta.
 
Mores: (pronounced /ˈmɔːreɪz/) are norms or customs. Mores derive from the established practices of a society rather than its written laws. They consist of shared understandings about the kinds of behaviour likely to evoke approval, disapproval, toleration or sanction, within particular contexts - Wikipedia.
 
Early on in our life together, Doris attended a nursing conference on “Laughter in Healing.” The sessions were punctuated with a bit of tomfoolery, designed to illicit laughter; they even had a booth where silly stuff was sold: red ping pong ball noses, wolf whistles, crazy hats and the like. The idea being that a nurse’s bedside manner should include a bit of thoughtfully practiced clownery so as to speed up the healing process.  
 
Upon her return she presented me with a red nose and baseball cap, its inscription reading: “Y B Normal?” Nonplussed, I wondered, “Was she trying to tell me something or was this given in the form of a challenge?” From that day forward normalcy took on a whole new meaning in our life and ministry, much to the chagrin of many self appointed MC members that were soon to follow (Look for illustrations in the pages to come). Sanctified misfits were we, ah but in good company, the likes of Saint Paul, General Booth and Joe the Turk.
 
After all, foolishness is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
 
To one it’s foolishness; to another power:
 
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV)
 
To another wisdom:
 
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (20)
 
To another salvation:
 
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (21-22)
 
(From a War Cry article in 1880)
General William Booth: “If I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I'd learn how!”
(Spoken to the young Rudyard Kipling)
 
(Message to last Christian Mission Congress)
“Cast off all bonds of prejudice and custom, and let the love of Christ, which is in you, have free course to run out in all conceivable schemes and methods of labour for the souls of men.”

The foolishness part of Booth’s Genesis DNA rings forth in these proclamations, giving his followers permission to release the fool that resides repressed within, thumbing their noses at that blasted, ubiquitous Mores Committee, which has unfortunately proliferated totally out of control.
Staff Captain Joseph Garabed, the quintessential historical essence of those followers, needed little coaxing, propriety be damned for Jesus sake! Appropriately, it was in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast in the 1880’s where “Joe the Turk” met The Salvation Army, literally a match made in heaven
Novelty was his trademark, including the wearing of a turban or fez with his uniform, which usually was bright red with a gold braid. Joe carried a large umbrella decorated with slogans and pictures of the Booths. To the wonder of his audiences, little light bulbs made it glow in the dark, and on top was a small miniature statue of liberty with a torch that also lit up. If a goat cart suited his purpose, he would form a mini-circus and parade into town to gain attention.
Considered a misfit by many, the God-given fool within was translated into power, wisdom and salvation, winning the right to unleash that divine foolishness on street-corners everywhere: “53 times to jail for Jesus” his battle cry.
 
How would “Joe” be received in the Army today? Would his conduct be met with an tsk-tsk – that Mores Committee trademarked clucking, sucking sound signaling the onset of foolish behavior? And if the forefinger is moved back and forth along with the sound, look out!
 
tsk-tsk: to express disapproval of by or as if by uttering tsk – Mirriam-Webster Online.
 
Even secular innovators, historically, were met by tsk-tsks, or stronger, at the beginning of something new. “Orville, Wilbur, You’ve got to be kidding! Don’t go up in that! Are you insane?”
 
The Genesis person, even more so, understands the power, wisdom and salvation of releasing the divine fool within. Tsk-tsk is not in the vocabulary of a Genesis thinker. It is saying “No!” to the wisdom of the world, and “Yes!” to the perceived foolishness of the Kingdom.
 
“William, Catherine, Joe, You’ve got to be kidding! Don’t dress up like that! Are you insane?”
 
Cyberspace Link: A dramatic portrayal of Joe the Turk’s life. It is a long video segment, technically challenged and starting slow, but listen to the first song to catch a glimpse of Joe’s Genesis spirit: Truly one of God’s fools.