Asian

Asian: (adj) of or relating to Asia or its people, customs, or languages.dictionary with letter A

True ignorance is any notion or false concept that would lead us to believe that we’re not ignorant.

I have spent my entire life trying to free myself from the ignorance of suspicion which was infused in me as a young man growing up in Middle America.

Although I can speak of my triumphs of creating a section of my brain that is prejudice-free and bent on equality, I must tell you that I will never be totally absent “eyeballing bigotry.”

“Eyeballing bigotry” is that first thought that pops into our minds when we see anybody who’s different from us and therefore doesn’t immediately gain acceptance. Of course, we reject this first impression in favor of more enlightened views, but it is still there.

  • Black people still see white people.
  • White people still see Asians.
  • Asians still see Hispanics.

Well, it goes on and on.

I think there are three keys to achieving the kind of natural maturity that will help us get along with each other, accept one another, find our similarities and generate tolerance:

1. Deep in my heart, I don’t believe there’s any difference between races and genders.

2. Yet in some corner of my brain, I still see your color and sex.

3. So let’s laugh about it.

When my son returned from China with his wife, who was most certainly Chinese, I was completely comfortable, overjoyed and pleased with his glorious emotional acquisition. Yet the Midwest boy returned and I felt a bit uncomfortable at first–being “whitey” in the presence of the Asian girl. Rather than taking it seriously, I laughed at it, because not only was she intelligent, beautiful, valuable and present, but also in many ways she was more American than me. At least in a “hip” sense.

So it’s not so much that we occasionally burst forth with the ridiculous statement that Asians are “good in mathematics but horrible drivers” as it is essential that we follow that with the immediate realization of the limitations of such a proclamation–and giggle at ourselves.

In so doing, we won’t be looking for evil empires, dark religions and sinister terrorists, but instead, take the world on one by one–as solitary people.

 

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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday: (n) the first day of Lent in the Western Christian Church, marked by services of penitence.dictionary with letter A

I like making lemonade.

The recipe is simple. Make it strong and sweet, and then add water to taste. If you’re going to put it over ice, you don’t really need to add any water.

You don’t have to come up with the perfect blend as long as you don’t make it too weak to begin with. Because after all, it is impossible to make stronger lemonade after you’ve already watered it down.

The same is true with people.

I would much rather have them strong and let time, experience and wisdom add the water of humility to them. Making them weak through anemic philosophy and then being upset with them when they fail at tasks or don’t have the gumption to keep up and continue is mean-spirited.

Faith offers us the pungency of life and then nature waters us down with humility. We don’t need religion to come along and tell us how weak we really are or smear ashes on our faces during Ash Wednesday to confirm our decrepit condition.

Life does a real good job with that.

So when we tell people they’re “filthy sinners” and they’re “unworthy” and they come face-to-face with life, which will also mercilessly point out their inadequacies, we are not raising children of the kingdom of God, but rather, nervous, twitching, frustrated and cowering victims.

  • Jesus did not come to take away our lives, but instead, to give us life.
  • Jesus did not come to temper our joy, but instead, to give us full joy.
  • Jesus did not come to tell us that we are bland and have no salt, or dim and have no light. He proclaimed us the “light of the world,” flavored with the “salt of the earth.”

As for me. I do not need ashes smeared on my face to remind me that I am often sullied by my own vices and weaknesses.

What I need is a faith that lifts me up so that when my lemonade is diluted … it still tastes sweet.

 

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Ascend

Ascend: (v) to go up or climb or rise through the air.dictionary with letter A

There are really three definitions, aren’t there? And by the way, quite different.

For after all, if I go up the stairs, it means that somebody has already constructed a passage, built the system and may even have taken the precaution of providing a handrail.

If I climb, it means that no such provision has been made for me, and I am taking my brute force to grab onto whatever is stationary to pull myself up.

And if I rise, then some tide of energy has come beneath me and lifted me without requiring my effort or even stepping up the stairs.

But the end result is the same. I ascend.

Some people are enamored by the process of controlling all the factors and formulating a plan to provide a solution to what seems to be an “insurmountable problem.”

Other people enjoy the sheer gut determination of using only their own prowess to place them in a higher position.

And then there are those who are completely infatuated with the supernatural and want to believe that without the help of some divine energy, little is accomplished.

Call me strange. I am very willing to stop and allow God to be God. But on those occasions when God is not available or for some reason has chosen to refrain from using His magic wand, I will make use of the stairs provided to get me to the next level. And certainly, if it’s important enough and I feel motivated and called to do so, I will climb against the grain to achieve a bird’s-eye view.

  • All three are important.
  • All three transform us.
  • And in my mind, all three should be included and given their due respect as we admit to one another that to remain in a lower position simply out of pride or fear is to fail to attain the heights of glory.

 

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Arduous

dictionary with letter A

Arduous: (adj) involving or requiring strenuous effort.

Are you ready?

I’m gonna pitch you a movie idea.

Fade in:

Man wakes up in the morning, discovers he doesn’t have a razor to shave his beard. Rather than complain to his wife or go out into the world unshorn, he gingerly reaches into the shower, removing his wife’s Lady Bic, peering around the room cautiously to make sure he’s not observed.

He slathers his face with shaving cream and carefully runs the precious object across his face, freeing himself of jungle fuzz. He rinses the borrowed object with great intensity, placing it back into the shower, smiling into the mirror as he splashes his face with his favorite cologne, turning and heading out the door with a smile.

What do you think? Are you ready to invest?

Of course not.

No one would make this movie, because it is a tale of a human being finding a way to work things out without becoming exasperated, frenzied or completely debilitated by circumstance.

Somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that if our lives are not filled with arduous tasks, then we’re really not grown-up and we haven’t proven our mettle. With that desire to appear mature, we’ve taken things that should be simple and made them as painful as possible, whether politics, business, family life or religion. The more hot coals we can walk over, the more we are convinced of achievement.

If there is a line being formed by those who are looking for less arduous ways to approach life, I would like to get into it.

I’m never proud of myself when I become exasperated. I don’t feel manly swearing at traffic or frustrated because my hammer decided to hit my thumb instead of the nail. Cursing doesn’t strike me as a sign of strength, but rather, evidence of the little child that failed to die sometime after puberty.

There may be arduous tasks. Most of them are not what we perceive them to be.

The greatest gift you can give to yourself, or anyone else, is having a mechanism in your soul which sucks up problems that seem insurmountable … and spits out simplicity.

 

 

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Arcane

dictionary with letter A

Arcane: (adj) understood by few; mysterious or secret

Arcane:

1. War has no purpose other than thinning the herd.

2. Self-esteem never leads to unity of human beings and greater understanding.

3. Women are better than men or men are better than women. Just not so.

4. Politics has no function in governing people.

5. A religion of rules is a prison of morals.

6. It is impossible to watch dark things without becoming darkened.

7. There is no way that studying one’s culture ever aids you in becoming a citizen of the world.

8. All religion is not the same. It must be held to a standard of mutual respect and cooperation with fellow humans.

9. Money does not give happiness, but the lack of money certainly welcomes despair.

10. The pursuit of knowledge without the appreciation of life is owning a race car without fuel.

11. Just as choosing up sides at basketball in gym class was an extraordinarily unsuccessful adventure, so is any attempt to segregate one another.

12. As soon as we stop being known by our skin color, our politics, our religion and our sexual orientation, we can actually begin to be known by the openness and good cheer of our hearts.

These ideas may be arcane, but they will continue to follow us until we turn around and welcome them in.

 

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Arbitrary

dictionary with letter A

Arbitrary: (adj) based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

When everything is considered important, nothing truly has value.

Half the time I don’t know whether to burst out laughing or cry as I watch the entanglement of emotions in our society, giving place to things, feelings and problems that really just don’t matter.

I am going to give you a list of those things which I find to be arbitrary, and therefore annoying and useless, generating a traffic jams in our human flow:

1. I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat. Pass a damn law.

2. I do not care that Kim Kardashian has a large butt. Perhaps some of it should be transferred to her cranium.

3. I do not care, on The Voice, if you have a family, children, a mother with cancer or are going through a financial hard time. I thought you wanted to be a singer, not a hard case. Shut up and sing.

4. I do not care about church doctrine. I want you to tell me better ways to “love my neighbor as myself.”

5. I certainly am appalled at the views some folks have of women, using religion to punish them, which creates a self-defeating environment where you soon will have nobody to romance.

6. I do not care to hear about every time a celebrity is in a bad mood. After all, since they have financial security, they should probably pursue a traditional form of gratitude to rectify their surly nature.

7. I don’t care if you’re black, white, red, yellow, brown, tan, rose, pink or any particular hue. I would just like you to be nicer.

8. I would like people who are caught in hypocrisy to admit that they were hit by a dumb stick instead of hitting me with a stick and acting like I am dumb for challenging them.

9. I would like to live in a world where truth is still honored and lying is considered to be a negative thing instead of a “natural” thing.

10. I would like the 24-hour news cycle to at least take a daily nap so they don’t have to embellish every little stupid thing that comes along.

And even though I am supposed to end at #10, I will do an 11th, which is:

11. I am tired of the spiritual, political and social correctness which promises the right of free speech, but only as long as you agree with the majority.

If we remain determined to make everything a story … there will soon be no true stories to tell.

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Apportion

dictionary with letter A

Ap·portion: (v): to divide and allocate

I have a son who is always critical of me because he feels that I do not collaborate enough with others.

Since he wasn’t here for the majority of my life and I am not going to bore him with details, I choose to allow him to pursue whatever thought process he desires.

But I will tell you about my collaborations.

If everybody in the world would understand that we put a piece in the puzzle and at the end, we celebrate the puzzle instead of continually pointing out our piece within, it would be absolutely magnificent to be involved in a group project with a common result. Matter of fact, I have often collaborated with individuals, to allow my apportion to be absorbed and dissolved into the general good, knowing deep in my heart I was part of something grand and glorious.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe the mission I have chosen for my life.

I am disgusted with religion, find atheism to be hilarious and am truly apolitical. Yet at the same time, I have some talents, abilities and energy that I can contribute to the cause.

The spotlight has often failed to find me in the crowd, and I have only had the satisfaction of involvement as my warmth and comfort.

  • But I have seen change.
  • I have been part of the change.
  • And I have great confidence in knowing that my apportion to the general welfare was offered freely, willingly and joyously.

I would really love to collaborate more with others if, when the project was done, the individuals would not point out how their part in the endeavor “was the most essential to the quality.”

Yes, to find an apportion, one must first discover the dangers of ego gone rogue, and insecurity unchecked.

 

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