Committee

Committee: (n) a group of people appointed for a specific function

As the years have passed, I have selected to remain silent when hearing ideas which are doomed.

When younger, I often voiced my opinion and even offered prophetic utterances of the gigantic failure which lay in the future of these ideas. It made me a nasty bastard, especially when the words ended up being true.

There are things people get excited about.

Voting–even though we continue to discover that the American public can vote for a candidate and prefer that individual by the popular vote, and a handful of elitists will go into a back room and change the will of the people.

Some folks get excited over new discoveries–an ingenious, creative way to use your toilet paper.

And truthfully, many, many of my fellow-delightful-humans are completely enamored with the idea of committees.

It seems so right: “Why don’t we all get together, discuss this and come up with a suitable compromise?”

I have perched myself in committees. I have watched them–and often been the victim of their anemic passivity.

Because after all, what a committee does is trim the edges off a knife until it looks sleek, is safer, but won’t cut a goddamn thing.

That’s what discussion does. We decide to become inclusive of every opinion, when honest to God, sometimes our opinions don’t matter.

Having a committee to discuss gender bias, racism, personal freedom–and voting, for that matter–is absolutely useless.

But yet:

We learn Parliamentary Procedure.

So we can have our committee.

And obviously pretend that we live in England.

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Commitment

Commitment: (n) the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

Religion gets in the way of my faith.

Politics robs me of my freedom.

Budgets take the joy out of money.

Discussing morals makes me too weak to enjoy sin.

Every time a committee gets together and decides something, a little piece of me ends up dying.

So I have become a rebel with a cause. The cause is to maintain the integrity of my sanity. So here are my commitments:

  1. I will pursue good cheer all the days of my life to avoid being obnoxious.
  2. I will notice when people do good and blind myself to stupidity.
  3. I will create something every day.
  4. I will appreciate the efforts of others, and linger for a moment to celebrate with them.
  5. I will stop talking about God and try to impersonate Him.
  6. I will continue to think of life as a comedy club instead of a prison.
  7. I will not put anything in my body that struggles to come out.
  8. I will laugh more than I cry, and all my crying shall end in laughter.
  9. I will avoid becoming adult because only children can truly lead us.
  10. I will honor these commitments and commit myself to pursuing not to be committed.

 

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Commission

Commission: (n) a duty given to a person or group of people.

It is pretty universally known as the “Great Commission”–the words Jesus imparted to his disciples before ascending to heaven. (You can stop reading at any point where you no longer believe.)

He said to them, “Go unto all the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature.”

Truth is, you’d be hard-pressed to find any corner of the globe (an oxymoron) where an awareness of Jesus and his deeds is not known to at least some extent.

So when you consider projects, the Great Commission has been a relatively successful one, though it has taken two thousand years.

But what weakens the Great Commission of going “into the world and preaching” is that the simpler commissions that precede it are often ignored.

The Initial Commission:

“I am not hot shit. I need to humble myself and realize that I become stronger by recognizing my weaknesses.”

You see, that Initial Commission is not nearly as popular. Why? Because you don’t get to preach at people. Yet if you try to share the Great Commission while thinking you’re better than everybody else, it will be rejected by the hearer.

Then there is the Expanding Commission:

“If I am the salt of the Earth and the light of the world, I should probably bear some fruit to prove the point.”

It always astounds me that God collects some of the laziest, broken-down, ignorant and bitter people to follow Him and attempt to convey His message of love through their hatefulness.

So you see, I don’t think the Great Commission works very well–getting a platform to preach the Gospel to the whole world–if the Initial Commission–finding out you’re a sinner–and the Expanding Commission–“well, since I’m a sinner, I might want to de-sin before I preach to others”–is not in full bloom for the world to see and smell.

I am very proud of my ancestors for sharing the message of Jesus throughout the whole world.

Now, since we’ve got a good start on it, why don’t we reinforce it by embodying his message?

 

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Commiserate

Commiserate: (v) to express or feel sympathy or pity; sympathize.

It’s almost like the human being runs on two gas tanks. (Perhaps it’s foolish to try to compare our species to a combustible engine, but if you will forgive my simplicity, I will make the analogy.)

We have one gas tank that fuels us to achieve, and we have another tank that helps us putter along in self-pity.

Obviously, following this comparison through to a conclusion, the tank we fill up more often determines much of our happiness, success and value.

The problem comes when deciding where to place our feelings and attitudes when assisting others. Should we challenge, or should we commiserate?

And if we decide to encourage, which tank are we filling? Are we being sympathetic, which makes our friends believe they are victims? Or are we attempting to be uplifting, stirring them out of their doldrums?

It may sound tender-hearted to commiserate, but honestly, very little is achieved by filling up the self-pity tank of someone you love.

That engine has no power to do anything but sustain idle–not rocket them into the stars.

 

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Commie

Commie:(n) a communist

Growing up, there were three great insults we used repeatedly to decimate the character of those around us, while greatly inflating our own sense of self-importance: retard, gay and Commie

Although they were often used interchangeably for all seasons and all reasons, there were specific times when “retard” was applied. Whenever anyone did anything that inconvenienced us he or she was a retard.

When anyone did anything the least bit unusual, and we were afraid they would ask us to do it, too, they were gay.

And when our parents told us that certain children had mothers and fathers who were questionable in their politics–well, those kids were Commies.

You could probably survive being a retard, as long as you didn’t get too upset.

You could flee from being gay.

But once you were identified as a Commie–an enemy of the state–a Ruskie–a member of the Soviet Union–a sympathizer with killers–well, it was just a little hard to shake that off.

I remember once when two friends and I refused to listen to a girl who came to school wearing jeans and a t-shirt (which was unheard of at the time) and spouted opinions on such things as ecology, civil rights, and even, God forbid, anti-war. She was especially upset with the war in Viet Nam.

In our freshman year, we had one view of this girl–but by the time we were seniors, the national opinion on civil rights had changed, ecology had been honored by the creation of Earth Day, and because of the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Nam War had been exposed as an unnecessary exercise in futility.

We were uncomfortable about it. The Commie had been proven correct.

So to compensate, we just started calling her gay.

 

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Commercialize

Commercialize: (v) to manage or exploit in a way designed to make a profit.

The Erickson Bread Company is coming out with a new product.

It doesn’t seem unique–it’s a tasty wheat bread fortified with vitamins that has the softness and flavor of white bread.

Everyone at the company and in the board room is ecstatic. They feel they have a good loaf which could quickly be considered great if it were advertised correctly.

A debate rages.

In order to present their creation to the public, they feel they need to find the best way to commercialize it–and by commercialize they mean the most favorable and common vehicle to convey typical life being joyously invaded by the new Erickson bread.

It is concluded that it would be ridiculous to show a family sitting around the dinner table enjoying one another’s company, commenting on the bread.

Old-fashioned.

Out of step with the times.

They also rejected the notion of a man wearing a hard hat, seemingly oblivious to the lunch he’s about to eat until he bites into the sandwich and smiles at the tasty bread.

Too much emphasis on a male figure–and who really wears hard hats anymore?

So it is decided that the best way to commercialize the bread is to have an energetic young mother standing at the kitchen counter making sandwiches for her young son and little daughter, who are completely preoccupied staring at computer screen and phone individually. The mother asks them to taste the bread. Without looking up, they nibble a corner–and suddenly their eyes look away from the screens and move to their mother, still with dead stares, and say, “Umm. That’s not bad.”

The commercial ends with the announcer saying: “Erickson’s new wheat bread–claimed by children who are obsessed by the Internet as ‘Umm. Not bad.'”

Commercialize: a decision to give in to the situation of our time, representing ideas in a fashion which may only be applicable for a few months.

Unfortunately, not everything we do in life can be commercialized.

Amen.

 

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Commentator

Commentator: (n) a person who delivers a live commentary on an event

His name was Walter.

People under the age of forty probably don’t even remember who he was.

His last name was Cronkite. He was a commentator. At one time, he was voted “the most respected man in America.”

In this age of controversy about the news media, Walter stands out as historically unique. Case in point:

I have no idea if he wore ladies underwear.

I have no private information on whether he ever sexually harassed his office staff.

I do not know if he was secretly gay.

These are things that seem to be important to us nowadays. We not only want people to do their job, but we want them to do it to our standard of morality.

But what set Walter Cronkite apart from the rest of the commentators of his day–and certainly of our season–is that he really believed what he was doing was valuable.

It was so important to him that he always delivered the news with sincerity, neutrality, gravitas and yet in a reassuring way, letting the American people know that the sky was not falling–there would be another day, and a good chance it would be better.

Maybe it was the bit of “gruff” in his voice, which hinted at crankiness, or the bristle of mustache, perhaps outdated–but aging uncles and grandfathers never seem to care.

Or maybe it was the fact that when the President of the United States was shot in Dallas, Walter, like us, was mortified–and found himself breaking into tears.

There are three things Walter knew about humanity:

  1. When you run across goodness, proclaim it. It’s not always easy to be human and good.
  2. Don’t expect humans to be good in every arena, but make sure they respect the holy ground of their calling.
  3. And Walter knew that as a human being, he needed to make sure he kept his ears tuned to the mission of his heart, and far away from the gossiping rabble.

Walter Cronkite was a commentator.

But history has shown his mercy, his faithfulness and exactly how uncommon he was.

 

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