FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 278 My July 25, 2016 Letter to Hugh Hefner on Ecclesiastes which is based on 1996 message by Dan Jarrell of Fellowship Bible Church on the subject of “I can’t get no Satisfaction and I tried and I tried” (Featured artist is Mark Manders )

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Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.

What if you had 1 wish?

By Ryan Ervin

Besides Jesus (of course), King Solomon is my favorite character in Scripture. It’s the train-wreck I can’t look away from. No person in history, including Jesus, had been handed a bigger platform. The new kingdom was all his.

After Solomon was given the throne, God decides to personally visit Solomon one night and says, “Ask from me anything.”

Anything. God gave Solomon the biggest blank check in history. For one night, God was Solomon’s genie.

“Wisdom to lead your great people” was his immediate response.

God was so pleased with Solomon’s answer, he gave him more wisdom than anyone ever, and even gave him what he didn’t ask for: riches, long life, and peace with his enemies. (Driscoll rightly said, “Solomon was smarter than Albert Einstein, had more money than Bill Gates, and more women than Hugh Hefner.”)

With all Solomon had and the wisdom he possessed, he set the course for Israel’s unfaithfulness and eventual fall. His vast wisdom wasn’t enough. He drifted from the God who’d given him everything.

This troubles me because I love the subject and pursuit of wisdom. It may be my favorite prayer request. (Don’t forget, God was very pleased with Solomon’s answer.)

Wisdom wasn’t enough for Solomon, and that’s a lesson for me. There is no reason to think that wisdom is enough for me either, though I want it to be.

But what is? What if God came to me, and asked, “Ryan, ask anything from me.” What would I ask for? What would you ask for?

This puzzled me for months. I had no idea. Friends and colleagues would ask me, “Ryan, how can I pray for you?” and I would honestly respond with, “I don’t know.”

Has this ever bothered you? Have you ever wondered, “If God is really going to answer my prayer for me, what should I ask for?”

Maybe you think I’m being dramatic. You’re probably right, but this was a real issue for me.  As a husband, father, and leader in a church, I’ve committed to wrestling with God in prayer so I can be of better service. Solomon’s downfall has been serving me as a warning since I first read it.

So, I started asking around. I reminded people of Solomon’s story, then asked, “What’s the greatest prayer request? What’s the best thing you can ask for yourself?”

After I asked a friend, he wisely reminded me that “We’ve been given Solomon’s blank check. Jesus invites us to, ‘ask, seek, knock.’ Jesus also ends this invitation with, ‘How much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?’”

I felt like a dunce.We, like King Solomon, have been invited to ask for anything. Within that generous invitation we’re specifically encouraged to ask for more of God. He is not our genie, nor does he want to be. He’s more. He wants to be our dad who gives us good things.

More than just an invitation to ask for things, we’re invited to be in relationship with Solomon’s Genie. We can know him. We can talk with him.

To keep with the Genie metaphor, he’s so much more than a granter of wishes. He wishes for us. He’s committed to intercede for me, while the Holy Spirit is asking for things I don’t even know to ask for. That means two-thirds of the Trinity is praying for me right now. He makes up for where I’m lacking, filling in the crevices of my weaknesses. This is true for you too, of course.

One of the lessons from this story is that wisdom isn’t everything. Perhaps another is that Solomon’s downfall was that after the fantastic answer he gave to God, he quit pursuing him.

Two things are certain, though.

  1. God loves to give wisdom, so ask for it.
  2. Wisdom is not enough, but he is.

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Ryan Ervin is the Married Life Pastor at CTK Bellingham. He’s married to Nicole, and together they’re raising their 3 children, Hannah, Tess, and Finn.

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard, Alistair Begg, Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Darryl Dash, Steve DeWitt, Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee, C.S. Lewis Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Ethan Renoe, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

In this post today and several posts that follow this will be based on a sermon series I heard at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock in 1996 on the Book of Ecclesiastes. The pastors back then were Robert Lewis, Bill Wellons, Bill Parkinson and Dan Jarrell. Below is the letter I wrote based both on Dan Jarrell’s sermon from the same series.

Dan Jarrell pictured below:

DAN JARRELL
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Robert Lewis pictured below:

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Bill Wellons pictured below:

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Bill Parkinson pictured below

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I also quoted Ravi Zacharias when I wrote, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

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July 25,  2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

Everytime I come to Chicago I love to visit the comedy club THE SECOND CITY. It is an interesting fact how many have got their start there and went on to have great careers on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. In fact, when I saw you host the 10-15-77 SNL show there starring with you were SECOND CITY ALUMNI John Belushi (1971), Bill Murray (1973), Dan Aykroyd (1974) and Gilda Radner (1974).

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__________

2. Monologue (2:57)

Hef sports the bathrobe and pipe of course and seemingly takes a rather straight-forward approach to his monologue while cracking a couple of jokes here and there. However, he quickly segueways into a somewhat-creepy rendition of “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” while some text scrolls by on the screen describing Hefner’s fascination with girls in general. Not bad. C+

4. Planet of the Men vs. Planet of the Women (4:14)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner

Well, this kind of sketch was expected. In the distant future, Captain Macho (Hefner), Corporal Hardin (Aykroyd), Lieutenant Testosterone (Belushi), and another corporal (Morris) take aim when they plan to collide with the ship containg the planet of the women and Captain Estrogena (Curtin), Lieutenant Areola (Newman), and Corporal Fellopia (Radner) . I guess this is just a guilty pleasure sketch. B+

13. The Story Of H (3:05)
-Hefner

Our host narrates his life story through a quick succession of pictures and clips from his child and adulthood. The tone of it is playful and it seems like Hefner is being a bit sarcastic with his “woe is me” type comments. It’s a well-made piece and the style of which that is never seen on the show. B+

14. The Playboy Philosophy (3:09)
-Hefner, Belushi, Morris

Hef is thrust into a scene from over a thousand years ago as several philosophers ask him of his theories on life. This sketch drags more than the 3 R’s sketch despite its short runtime. It’s just a series of questions that set up some very obvious jokes. D

17. The Farbers at the Playboy Club (4:47)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Belushi, Newman, Radner

America’s favourite conservative couple, Bobbi (Radner) and Larry Farber (Belushi) meet with a keyholder (Aykroyd) at the Playboy Club in the hopes to meet the founder of Playboy itself. Despite how uncomfortable Bobbi gets, Larry is only too anxious to pile on the questions for their inside guy, who offers incredulous answers. Of course, Hugh eventually shows up and in an ironic twist, he ends up courting Bobbi and walking her out of the club. It’s another amusing piece from the Farbers. B+

One of my favorite comedians on SNL was John Belushi. Sadly after reaching the top of his profession Belushi was still searching for something that would satisfy him. He turned to drugs and  they killed him as he went further and further down that road. When the subject of satisfaction comes up in sermons across this country your name is referenced quite often along with all those others who have sought in vain to achieve satisfaction by pursuing things UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture.

I thought of you recently when I listened to a cassette tape of a sermon by Dan Jarrell of FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock entitled THE PLEASURE IS MINE on ECCLESIASTES 2:1-26 (4-21-96). It was hard for me to obtain a cassette tape player but I searched through my attic and found one hidden away.

As you know the Book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon at the end of his life and he was discussing LIFE UNDER THE SUN. I think it is easy to compare your life to Solomon since you both are pursuing satisfaction in this life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture. 

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Here is a portion of the sermon by Dan Jarrell below:

You and I grew up with Mick Jagger singing “I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION.” You think of the lyrics of that song and what Jagger and the ROLLING STONES did. They summarized this philosophy that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I seek it, no matter what I attempt to do, no matter which avenue I go down, there is no personal satisfaction in it for me. Personal satisfaction eludes me because I try and I try and I try but I can’t get no, no, no, no, hey, hey , hey. I just can’t get no satisfaction.

That is the idea  Mick Jagger and the rest of the ROLLING STONES and an entire generation that cut it’s teeth on rock and roll never got past the frustration of that song. We tried, and we tried and we tried. We tried DRUGS, and ALCOHOL. We tried SEX in a permissive moral society. We tried EDUCATION. We tried CORPORATE ACHIEVEMENT. We tried MATERIAL DECADENCE. We tried EMPIRE BUILDING. We have even tried HUMANISTIC SPIRITUALITY. We tried anything that would move us toward satisfaction, but the result of it all is no lasting satisfaction. Even our greatest pleasures lose their luster. Life is a vapor!!!! GONE WITH THE WIND!!!

I suppose the wisdom of ECCLESIASTES could have been the inspiration for the ROLLING STONES song that marked our generation if it were not for one significant detail. You see Solomon tried and he tried and he tried but the conclusion of his song was I FOUND THE KEY TO SATISFACTION. All the things he tried didn’t get him there but those experiences led him full circle to a conclusion that he began his reign with and apparently he ended with as well.

I really believe if MICK JAGGER or if any of us for that matter would listen to Solomon’s wisdom he will teach us a different song to sing, a new chorus that will mark a new generation.  Solomon will show us the key to satisfaction and he warns us of counterfeits. This is the way to go but beware of this that the vapors of life are there and pursue that and you will be CHASING THE WIND.

WHAT WAS SOLOMON’S ANSWER?  Ecclesiastes chapter 2 gives us that answer. This chapter is a discussion of life’s frustrations. Let me start with the conclusion of chapter 2 and then we will go back and look at life’s frustrating moves toward that conclusion. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

There is some disagreement on the translation of this particular phrase “There is nothing better for a man” The NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE translates it as a comparison. The idea is if you think of all the good things that a man could enjoy there is nothing better for a man or a woman than to eat or to drink and tell themselves their labor is good. In other words, it is good for us. 

The Hebrew seems to indicate we may want to translate it this way. “There is nothing in a man to eat and drink and tell himself his labor is good.” In other words, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US, FOR THAT IS FROM THE HAND OF GOD. In other words, it is either a comparison or a simple statement. Either way this is the sense of the passage. 

Either way you translate it, it says nothing is so good for us other than a satisfied life but nothing is as impossible for us because it is not in us to be satisfied for who can eat and enjoy life without him?  The answer is NOBODY CAN!!!! So you come down to the idea that if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION. That is my sermon in a nutshell. That is the conclusion. 

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Just like Dan Jarrell I also loved the song I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION by the Rolling Stones.  Then in  1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that both Solomon and the ROLLING STONES had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

_____________________________________

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN according to Solomon.  FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “UNDER THE SUN.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Actually the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS: This is the 50th letter I have written to you and again I have taken an aspect of your life and responded with what the Bible has to say on that subject.

Mark Manders

Mark Manders was born in 1968 in Volkel, the Netherlands. He now lives and works in Ronse, Belgium. Manders’ works in sculpture and installation are often described as surreal, haunting, and enigmatic.

A highly conceptual artist, Manders has been developing his Self-portrait as a Building since 1986. The work—a fictional building plan filled with objects representing a fictional artist named “Mark Manders,” who is similar to but distinct from the actual Manders—is constantly shifting, with new elements regularly conceived and added while others are removed. Manders startedSelf-portrait as a Building as a literary undertaking and transitioned to making it a sculpture, to be free of the constraints of chronology inherent to language.

For his monumental sculptures, Manders employs an intensive process that begins with research and drawings; he then uses an ancient lost-wax technique to cast the works in bronze before they undergo seven stages of painting, after which they appear like clay.

Links:
Artist’s website

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