Bedraggled

Bedraggled: (adj) dirty and disheveled.Dictionary B

I know it may sound weird, but I was thinking about the word “ministry.”

It led me to the word “minister.”

In every facet of our society, we have prerequisites–demands for people who are allowed to cross through the front door and be included.

In politics, you have to be political, personable and part of a party.

In entertainment, you should arrive with good looks and talent.

In business, you need a plan, financing and an approach.

In college, it’s a good idea to arrive with a history of good grades and a scholarship.

Even when you’re cashing a check, you need proof that you exist and that you are who you say you are.

But sometimes, in each and every one of our lives, those pillars of proof and attributes of acceptability disappear. We hit bottom, and for some inexplicable reason, grab a shovel and start digging ourselves deeper.

  • We are not passable.
  • We don’t fit in.
  • We are at our worst.
  • We are not pleasing.
  • We are bedraggled.

We have ceased to register on the scope of reasonable human appearance and behavior.

That’s when we need a minister.

That’s when we need ministry.

So if those who are called to serve others and minister have a laundry list of requirements for the bedraggled souls who come their way, then we generate a Bowery of lost souls who have no place to go.

If dirty people have to get clean to be pure enough to remove the specks of grime that cling, then there is no hope for our race.

Somewhere there has to be a place, a person, an idea or a gospel which takes those who have sullied their opportunities, treats them as the human beings they were intended to be, and patiently guides them to a personal discovery and cleansing.

Is there such a place?

Is there a ministry?

Is there anyone who really still believes “whosoever will may come?”

 

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Bedevil

Bedevil: (v) to cause great and continual troubleDictionary B

Word has it that you are not allowed to pick and choose.

That’s too bad.

Because I will tell you, I would certainly love to have entertainment without sensationalism.

How about voting without politics?

I definitely would enjoy faith without religion.

Food without calories.

Marriage without gender bias.

And conversations without one-upmanship.

This especially becomes troubling to me when I consider that which bedevils us the most…that being the devil himself.

I am told that you cannot believe in God without acknowledging a counterpart–a Dark Lord named Satan.

Sometimes it almost makes atheism look appealing–not so much that I want to get rid of God, but just to eliminate the instinct to be preoccupied with his nemesis, Beelzebub.

To me, Satan has become the “Great Hall Closet,” where everything we don’t want to deal with gets thrown, hoping that by springtime our inclinations will improve.

Unfortunately for God, He receives surface praise for goodness and full responsibility for tornadoes.

Satan, on the other hand, seems to have greater power by manipulating evil empires and causing your boss to fire you, even though it might have just been a by-product of your lazy efforts.

I guess the worst thing of all is the darkness that bedevils us with fear and keeps us from our better angels.

So I don’t have an answer to this quandary, but instead, an abiding apathy.

In other words, I am one of those ridiculous realists who chooses to commune with God while ignoring the troublesome neighbor … with the pitchfork and horns.

 

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Bearable

Bearable: (adj) able to be endured.Dictionary B

Politics without attack ads and lies.

Entertainment that attempts to be both relevant and inspiring.

Religion that includes humanity.

Sexuality without violence.

Education that becomes wisdom.

Men and women finding common ground.

Reasons to get along promoted.

Selfishness unmasked.

Common sense revered.

Gentleness acclaimed.

Peace-makers considered brave.

Money a way to assist.

Comedy humorous.

Food as fuel.

Respect for the Earth.

Intelligence pursued.

Judgment removed.

Mercy studied.

Loyalty with a sense of history.

Flag-waving with introspection.

Debate with control.

Deceit exposed.

Self-righteousness ridiculed.

Yes, these things are bearable.

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Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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Baseless

Baseless: (adj) without foundation in fact.Dictionary B

Likewise, it is also without fact in foundation.

Probably one of the greater weaknesses of human beings is to draw a conclusion and then desperately try to make the facts fit it.

It doesn’t matter if it’s entertainment, religion or politics–each attempts to achieve baseless conclusions with no real evidence to support the case.

Recently there have been a number of terrorist acts in our world. The mistake we make in dealing with these atrocities is in trying to make everybody feel good.

We want the victims and their families to sense our compassion, but unfortunately, we also want to assure that the victimizers were isolated renegades, having nothing to do with the actual philosophy which they claim to support.

Here’s the truth:

Even though I am a Christian and would never say it out loud, I could stand on a street corner anywhere in America and scream at the top of my lungs, “Fuck Jesus!” without ever fearing I would be attacked, blown up or beheaded.

Even though there are many who apologize for the acts of the terrorists, they continue to insist that their hideous deeds have nothing to do with their belief system, but there are also very few members of that belief system who are willing to speak publicly against these deviants.

Why? Because the religion they represent gives a free reign to kill people who speak against Mohammed.

So we come up with baseless statements, like “the Muslim religion is a religion of peace.”

Here is a truthful statement:

The avid, unyielding propagation of any philosophy fails to create peace–whether it’s a militant Amish, a movie critic, a Democrat, Republican, fundamentalist Christian, gay activist or stamp collector–if any one of them is overly focused on their own goals, they will exclude hearing any other opinion.

The only hope is that those who are not quite as zealous will step in and take care of their crazies.

It is baseless to assume that the Muslim faith and the Muslim nations are guiltless for terrorism. Because if they are not willing to take care of their nut cases while apologizing to the world for letting them slip through the cracks … then they are the minority who is oppressed by the radical and hateful horde.

 

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Bargain

Bargain: (n) a thing bought or offered for sale more cheaply than is usualDictionary B

It is generally reported among the human race that any time we’ve saved a buck we’ve made a “dear” bargain.

I have to admit, I am susceptible to that philosophy but I also have enough memories of failed bargains to be a little leery of continuing to pursue the prospect with great vigor.

After all, nothing is a bargain if it ends up sucking.

There are two things we want in life, and two things only:

  1. We want what we desire
  2. We want it to work

Anything less than that will leave us disgruntled, even if it was less expensive.

I have often seen my fellow-travelers show me a product they purchased, touting the great deal they got, only to lament their dissatisfaction over its lack of quality.

So is it better to spend a bit more for what you desire, to plug it in and have it work?

I think that’s the definition of maturity.

It’s why I spend a little more time deciding to shop, and much less time actually shopping. Because once I do go, I know what I want and the price tag is secondary to my preference.

With that in mind, let us understand that politics is no bargain. It does not give us what we want, and honest to God, it does not work.

Entertainment is often no bargain. I need to be inspired and energized, but often walk out at the mercy of the director’s dementia.

Religion is no bargain. I desire happiness now and ecstasy in heaven–and they give me present misery and a “maybe” on the afterlife.

So for all you bargain hunters or people who spend three hours clipping out $18 worth of coupons (that’s $6 an hour in labor) let me tell you that I am reluctant to join your club.

My heart’s desire is too important to me, and making sure something actually works is too necessary to my well-being.

 

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Barb

Barb: (n) a cutting remark.Dictionary B

I believe the old adage is, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Of course, that concept is not only optimistic, it is not necessarily beneficial in improving situations and evolving our efforts.

Yet I’m often curious if there is a way to speak without coming across phony or critical. What would that be? Because the truth makes us free. At least, that’s the assertion. But what is the freedom we are granted by the truth?

It all depends on whether the truth arrives with judgment, explanation or merely as comment.

After all, “I don’t like this” is not the same as “I don’t like this and you shouldn’t like it, too” and certainly has no familiarity with, “I don’t like this because God doesn’t like it.”

I think you can actually speak the truth with love, free of barbs, if you don’t have to involve the mob or beseech the Divine as your ally.

If someone loves me, it should be enough for me to say, “I don’t like that.”

  • It doesn’t mean they should stop doing it.
  • It doesn’t mean that the heavens are preparing a hell because of their choices.
  • It means I have a preference.

Here is a factual statement:

I will never be able to share THE truth. All I can do is share MY truth. And my truth consists of the things that edify me, encourage me and make me stronger.

We live in a generation of verbal barbs. Self-righteousness is not limited to religious people, but permeates politics, business and entertainment.

You may feel free to criticize any one of my articles, knowing for certain that I will hear your words and I will learn.

I don’t fear changing my mind. I consider it my advantage to evolve.

Having a brain that can reject nonsense and embrace potential … is truly a confirmation of the divine.

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

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