Category Archives: Chance

Chance – and the creative impulse

While Hans Christian Anderson waited to have a novel published, he wrote four fairy tales for children:  The Tinder Box, Little Claus and Big Claus, Little Ida’s Flowers and The Princess and the Pea.  None was original and all were adapted from folk tales.  His non-pariel story-telling ability turned the four into folk classics.

Hank Ketchum got the idea for his famous cartoon strip when his wife stormed into his home studio.  Thoroughly exasperated with their 4 year old son Dennis, who had dismantled his room instead of taking a nap, she shouted, “Your son is a menace.”  That sentence became Dennis the Menace.

C.S. Lewis chanced across George MacDonald’s book Phantasies.  God baptized Lewis’ imagination in that reading.  The awakening would result in, among other masterpieces, The Chronicles of Narnia.  As Lewis said, the rest of him naturally took longer to awaken.  Shadowlands, p. 26

Al Jolson hummed a tune while listening to a playback of a record.  The tune was J. Ivanovici’s “Danube Waves.”  A friend told him he hummed that tune every time he waited to hear a playback.  Jolson didn’t realize it.  He did know his mom hummed the tune when she rocked him to sleep.  They decided to write a lyric that fit the tune.  Jolson gave the first line and his friend Saul Chaplin the remainder.  It was published as the “Anniversary Song.”  It sold millions of copies and made the two a fortune.  Jolson by Goldman, p. 275

Creativity doesn’t demand extended exposure to an idea.  Though it sometimes takes longer, an instant can fuel the imagination.  Jesus proved the Master of seeing lessons in incidents where others saw only incidents.  The Holy Spirit’s guidance gifts Christians to see spiritual truths in everyday life.

 

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New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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Chance – getting a second – by mistake

When Irving Thalberg, who supervised all production at MGM in the 1920 and 1930’s died unexpectedly, Hollywood turned out en masse in tribute.  Young actor Harry Carey received an invitation to be a pallbearer for Thalberg.  To that time Carey’s acting career had been as much down as up, as much idle as employed.  Nor had he met Thalberg.

No matter.  Being seen as one of the honored men carrying the famous man’s casket put him on the A-List of casting agents and studio heads.  He kept busy in his career from that time.

And all by the accident of chance.  Thalberg’s secretary sent the pallbearer’s invitation to Harry Carey, actor, instead of to Carey Wilson, screenwriter, and close friend of Thalberg.  Which Reminds Me, p. 48

Chance:  the unexpected; the accidental, the unintended; the undesigned; the unpremeditated.  (Thanks to my Thesaurus.) It can never be mistaken for the intentional, the determined, the prepared, the predestined.  Chance can take us by surprise and delight us.  It can also by surprise shock or devastate us.

Evolutionists rely on the mindless fortunes of chance to account for God’s designed, orderly, dependable creation  As if chance and order have any factor in common.  Those same evolutionists take nothing for granted—make that chance in their education, career, choice of cars and clothes.  Yet they consider something as complex as the human body to be the product of blind opportunism.

Here’s to faith in the Living God, to his Eternal Word Jesus Christ and to their Eternal Spirit.  To the planned, determined, wrought-in-history forgiveness promised in Law through Moses and perfected through Christ’s Grace—intentionally, specifically, particularly.  And all of that is but for NOW—with the certainty—not the chance—of greater-by-far-glories to come in God’s eternally designed and prepared New Heaven and Earth.

 Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Chance – encounter leading to a career

Walter Lantz wanted to be an artist from age twelve.  In his career he drew a “cartoon stable” of characters, including Oswald Rabbit.  His breakthrough character came from his honeymoon with wife Gracie.  They rented a cabin at California’s Lake June.  An obnoxiously noisy woodpecker drilled his monotonous staccato on their roof.  After Lantz exhausted his vocabulary reviling the intruder, Gracie stepped up with a brilliant idea:  why not make the woodpecker the hero of a comic strip?

A case of serendipity!

Gracie also wanted to audition as the bird’s voice when Mel Blanc had to stop after signing an exclusive contract as the voice of Warner Bros’ cartoon stable.  When Lantz said “thanks, but no thanks”, she practiced some wifely deceit:  (may as well get the husband trained at the start).  She secretly made her effort and as secretly placed it among seven other audition tapes.  Without knowing the author, Lantz chose his own wife’s voice!  For the following 25 years and 200 cartoons, Gracie Lantz served as the mocking, heckling voice of Woody Woodpecker.  San Diego U-T, 3/23/94

Chance encounters can have lasting importance:  if we have imaginative responses when viewing life.  Jesus studied the science and mastered its art.  A Sower sowing his seed?  Nothing to it; an everyday sight.  Except when he saw it as an illustration of people responding to the Gospel.  A burial party on the way to the cemetery, led by a grief-stricken mother?  Seen any day in Israel.  Except he saw the funeral as an opportunity to eliminate funerals.  And on his resuscitation of the son predicted the resurrection of all the dead at the end of history John 5:24-27.

Keep your minds active, Christians.  In any situation experienced, or sight seen, the Holy Spirit can give you a glimpse into God’s Glory that becomes a shining lesson for everyday life.

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Chance – more on as incidental and God-directed

When, in 1877 George Eastman planned a trip to Santo Domingo, a banker friend urged him to make a photographic record of the trip.  Eastman thus plunged into photography.  The trip failed to materialize, but Eastman’s life was set.  American Heritage, October 1972, 84.  A business venture began by chance.

U.S. Grant got an appointment to West Point only because an Ohio friend with the appointment had to leave the Academy for disciplinary reasons.  Smith – Trial, 152.  Chance at the time led to an appointment that years later would be a God-ordained decision.

In the retreat from Long Island in the Revolutionary War, absolute secrecy was necessary.  Yet, a Tory woman near the ferry point heard the commotion and sent a black servant to tell the British.  He made it through the lines to a German officer.  For Washington’s good advantage, that officer spoke no English and arrested the servant.  By that small difference, Washington’s retreat and the American cause were saved.  Patriots, 388.  A particularly-divine intervention that saved the American Revolution.

General Lee’s plan to invade Pennsylvania in the Fall, 1862, seemed irresistibly logical to the South, and as irreversibly troubling to the North.  Lee’s warriors had bested every Union army sent against it and every Union General had proven a military imbecile against the famed Rebel Chief.  That included George McClellan, Commander of all Union troops.

On September 12, 1862, the Union Twelfth Corps bivouacked in the countryside around Frederick, Maryland.  On the grassy meadow an Indiana corporal by chance found an envelope that contained three cigars wrapped in a sheet of paper.  Lee’s famous Lost Order.  The find worked its way up to McClellan.

That incredible stroke of “luck” was really God’s determined decision to force a Pennsylvania-bound Lee to gather his forces and fight an inconclusive but terribly significant battle at Antietam.  The inability of Lee there to overcome McClellan and the letter’s incompetence in not being able to defeat an enemy whose entire battle plan lay before him, led to the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.  That Proclamation turned a Civil War into a War against Slavery.  No European government would side with a South proposing to keep slavery intact. Civil War, American Heritage, 213

Point made:  the difference between pure chance and God-directed discoveries is the role each plays in God’s will for a person, a people and, particularly, his Kingdom.

 

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Chance – known as something else to Christians

Thomas Hart Benton, famous Missouri muralist, entered a career as an artist by “accident”.  He had drawn from an early age, but was headed for a career in law and politics when he went at age 17 to Joplin to help a surveyor.  He entered a saloon—House of Lords—and began surveying the huge painting of a nude above the bar.  The miners barraged him with obscene suggestions and he defended himself by saying he saw the portrait as a professional artist.  One of the hecklers, knowing the local paper needed an artist, called his bluff and took him to the editor.  As a test, he had to sketch a local druggist.  He got the job at $14 a week.  Once on the job he forgot about practicing law.  American Heritage, June, 1973.

That may have been chance at work.

General Keane had marched 1800 British troops to within nine miles of New Orleans without General Jackson’s awareness.  Had Keane immediately attacked, New Orleans would have fallen, creating who knows what obstacles to final resolution of the War of 1812.

Surprised and shocked by the intelligence he received, Old Hickory’s instinctive militancy flared into flame.  Once he knew the exact location of the enemy Jackson ordered attack that very night.  It stopped all British initiative and made American conquest possible.

That didn’t happen by chance.

When news of Lazarus’ illness and death reached Jesus at Aenon, north of the Dead Sea, he remained in place two days.  He then returned and found that Lazarus had been dead four days.  His arrival at that time had nothing to do with chance.  He arrived in Bethany at the right time, by God’s will, to achieve God’s purpose.

The difference between chance and something different, as in God’s will, is determined by how essential people and circumstances are to God’s Kingdom.  When they are essential, nothing happens by chance.  If they aren’t, all can be merely by chance.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)