Soul trap from which exec fled ensnares 2 presidential hopefuls

Tennessee businessman Doug Robertson, left, chats with Angelina Obure of Kenya and Ken Scherdell, a field chaplain of Christian Business Men’s Connection.

Last night Americans heard the very best arguments that the controlling parties, namely the GOP and the Democrats, could make about the top-down national economy.

This afternoon a group of Chattanooga businessmen heard very good arguments about how a controlling Party, namely God, can create an economy that flows from the bottom up.

The free market arguments were only implied at a regional businessman’s talk Thursday at Country Place restaurant. The executive says his conversion to Christianity overturned his conception of value — his personal worth and his value to a business organization. Christianity bowled him over.

Doug Robertson runs a window blinds franchise business in Knoxville. Eleven years prior he had been a hard-driving vice president of Beaulieu of America, a carpet manufacturer. He also works as a business coach.

“I was going to stay later than anyone else,” he says of his early career. “I was going to come in Saturday morning; I was going on every trip I had to to make that sale, do whatever I had to do. I was going to outwork everybody else.”

Little debate over federal control

Mr. Robertson’s one-time iron grip on labor inputs and obsession with sales revenues are shared by the figureheads of national politics, men whose administrations never sleep and whose civil servants drink too much coffee and have piles of paperwork to complete. President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s defense of national economy is perhaps best encapsulated by Mr. Romney’s statement about the necessity of the federal pinch.

Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have — I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn’t have people opening up banks in their — in their garage and making loans. I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has good regulation. At the same time, regulation can become excessive.

The power of the U.S. is intended to reach to every individual and every business, to become an essential component in every success. Mr. Obama said:

But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed.

Both political stars believe it is the power of the U.S. Code to assist the American people and the vast internal American marketplace. Though Mr. Romney said he doesn’t want Uncle Sam to “become an economic player, picking winners and losers,” he contends Washington can effectively rule the economy. “The right answer for government is [to] say, How do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective? How do we get schools to be more competitive?’”

One man’s change of heart about external glory

If there is any sort of path that traces a way from national economy to local economy, it may be very much like the one Mr. Robertson’s heart made. It occurred when he was converted from materialistic atheism to faith in Jesus Christ. He forsook what might be termed powerful and impressive external forms fueled by envy and money, and took back his soul, his interiority, his subjection to a creator and his humanity.

Mr. Robertson’s background is highly federal, and highly important. He is the son of F. Dale Robertson, the 12th chief of the U.S. Forest Service under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

His father was always an important and busy man — up early, never available except for dinner (when he wasn’t traveling) and strictly business. From his dad he learned three lessons, only some of which were explicit.

➤ “Set high expectations because you can achieve anything, and no one had any more right to succeed than you do.”

➤ “Hard work was the power. You work hard, you can achieve more.”

➤ “Unspokenly, he really kind of taught that high achievement is what gives you value in life. High achievement.”

A workaholic, the younger Robertson pursued perfection and ambition in high school and college swimming. He carried into the workforce the same drive. But he was a lousy husband and father. His wife sought a divorce, to which he peevishly agreed.

A new consort, Sheri, now his wife, was a Christian, and after reading and investigating Christianity — with a special interest in the theory of evolution — Mr. Robertson became a convert. Part of his repentance was a prayer which perceives him a moving party in a spiritual transaction, but still recognizes the power of God over a lost soul.‡ Mr. Robertson realized that if he didn’t find contentment and didn’t stop comparing himself to others, he would never have the rest and peace God promises.


CNN debate transcript

‡ Prayer shared with the Christian Business Men’s Connection crowd: “Dear Father God, I am a sinner and I have not met your standards. Yet you gave me a way. You loved me so much to take your one and only son *** and you put my sin, the things I had done wrong in your eyes and put it on him. If only if I will accept this free gift from you, based on what you did and not anything I’ve done, I give my life to you. I want to be a part of your kingdom. I thank you for telling me, Lord, you will take me in. I pray that today that I’ll take that gift you’ve given me, make you Lord of my life, do what you ask me to do to share this gift with as many people as I can. I thank you, I accept your gift. Thank you for loving me and becoming my heavenly father. In Jesus’ name I pray.”