Certain

Certain: (adj) known for sure; established beyond doubt.

Punctuated by a smirk and a chin tilted to the heavens, certainty is one of the great human vices which loves to be touted as a virtue.

Matter of fact, without being certain, people become suspicious that you do not have confidence in your own code.

I can tell you, my dear friends, I am certain of this: I will try with all my heart but often fail–with the same heart. Since failure is inevitable and the only way I can truly discover how to do things better, I have gradually learned to embrace it, if not relish it.

Some people are certain they’re going to heaven, yet no one of a certainty is claiming a destination for hell.

Yes, “certain” is always something to our advantage, which fails to take into consideration the needs of others.

So I am on a mission–a vigil, if you will. As a “Knight of the Well Rounded Thought,” I am looking for evidence to disprove what I find to be certain, knowing that if my belief can withstand such scrutiny, it is well worth my passion.

 

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Budge

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Budge: (v) to move slightly

I am an oxymoron.

For I will tell you of a certainty, I am a domesticated gypsy.

Or a gypsy, domesticated.

Half of my journey has been raising a family of fine sons, who now hDictionary Bave lives of their own.

But intermingled was a series of travels to share my art and heart with hundreds of thousands of people across the United States of America.

It was a precariously divine mission, one which I had to spark up in my soul daily, to guarantee enough pistons in the engine to propel me forward.

So I was often amused when I finished my show, which included music, humor and dialogue, and the sponsor nervously came to my side, twitching and relieved, and said, “It sure seems like everybody enjoyed it.”

I do think this individual usually believed if he or she had shared some problem or preference that the audience expressed, that I would leap at the opportunity to amend my approach or add a different angle to my presentation.

Here’s the truth–and you’ll just have to believe that it’s the truth since you’re not that familiar with my soul.

You can change your cologne but not your face.

What I mean by that is, if somebody wants you to smell different, it’s really no big deal.

But when somebody wants to change your look–or your outlook–they’ve landed on sacred ground.

I’m always willing to change things that don’t matter, but I won’t budge if I believe they have eternal consequences.

 

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Belief

Belief: (n) an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Dictionary B

“Stacks.”

It is a word connoting an accumulation of stuff.

It’s supposed to be impressive. Why? There is a lot of it and it appears well-organized.

The problem with “stacks” is that anything beneath the top page is buried in some form of obscurity. Unless you patiently sift through the material, you will never exactly know what is eighteen inches below or fifteen inches above.

I used to have a bunch of belief.

I stacked it all up and called it my faith.

I took my faith and proclaimed it my religion.

And my religion became my calling card–to quickly explain to others where I stacked up in the rank and file of humanity.

But I rarely used my beliefs because they were encumbered, one upon another, offering very little freedom of expression.

Belief should never be an encyclopedia of recited ideals.

It is better served as a one-page resume which quickly tells those who are considering our acquaintance how valuable we find our lives to be–the experience which has enhanced our journey … and expresses our willingness to work for the better of the company.

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Beef

Beef: (n) the flesh of a cow, bull, or ox, used as food.Dictionary B

It’s always a battle over three distinctly different approaches:

  • What I know
  • What I think
  • What ends up being true

Actually, most of us don’t know much of anything for certain. What we claim to know is usually an advanced stage of belief. In other words, people will tell you they know there’s a heaven, but that’s because they believe it very strongly.

Knowing is tough. Yet if we act like we don’t know, people accuse us of being dumb. So often, we insist we know without really knowing.

Which brings us to think.

Think is a dangerous combination of prejudice, upbringing and bad experience which we have equated with certainty as being valid. Of course, it can be good experience which leaves us idealistic.

But here’s the kicker: most people blend what they think and what they know and call it truth.

That’s why we fight all the time. Because what you think and know is not what I think and know.

So we have to be extremely humble about what we know, and mighty careful about what we think. Otherwise we will soon miss what ends up being true.

Thus…beef.

From year to year, the opinion on beef has gone from being an excellent source of protein to a murderer of the human heart.

If you bring the subject up, some folks will tell you they’re vegetarians because they want to be healthy, and other folks will never eat a vegetable unless steak has become one.

So once again, we’re stuck on this “think” and “know”–in danger of failing to find out what is true.

Beef is actually no different from prunes. You know the old saying about prunes: Are two enough? Are six too many?

Because if you eat just the right number of prunes, you will have happy times in the bathroom. If you eat too many, you will experience frequent toilet miles.

The same is true with beef.

Eat it every once in a while, and it is an immense builder of protein and strength for your body.

Eat too much beef and it turns into all sorts of heartfelt problems.

So take the time to be careful about what you know. And always be cautious to preface what you think with those glorious words, “In my opinion…”

Because truth eventually stumbles along. And the truth of the matter is, beef is like everything else:

It’s good until it becomes bad.

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Attitude

Attitude: (n) a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or somethingdictionary with letter A

Just last week, my new book, Within, arrived–fully published and ready to go.

When I was holding it in my hands, gently turning the pages in great appreciation, it crossed my mind once again why I wrote it.

I realized that the reason I had penned this particular volume was that I wanted to make the distinction between belief and attitude.

In my journey, I have grown weary of those who have beliefs, yet offer no consolation to either the world around them nor their own sense of well-being.

What difference does it make if you believe in a God who makes you obnoxious?

What possible justification can we have as Americans to preach our gospel of democracy while inequality and racism are still nipping at our heels?

I’m tired of belief. I would rather follow a devil with a smile than a cranky angel.

I’m sorry–that may not be politically correct or spiritually proper. But as I get older, I realize that our time is limited and we should use it wisely.

So when I wrote my book, Within, my goal was to address the attributes, values and the sheer joy that goes into living as a human being–realizing that as I did, I was thrusting to the forefront the beliefs that really matter.

I just don’t think I become a good citizen of Earth by insisting that the world’s about to end.

I don’t think I help folks by criticizing their lifestyle before I benefit their hearts.

I’m tired of belief that offers no relief.

Give me someone who realizes the value of an attitude that is both accepting and challenging, and I will show you a true believer.

If creeds, doctrines, holy books and constitutions are what cause you to find your righteousness, then I must say … perhaps you’re already damned.

 

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Alabama

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alabama: (n) a state in the southeastern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico, capital Montgomery, statehood, Dec. 14, 1819.

A state of mind.

Even though I must tell you, having traveled all over this country, that there are nests of belief, custom, culture and theology that persist or flourish in their particular homeland, the hatchet job that has been done to our fifty states to promote causes, newspaper articles and political agendas is abominable.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the perception of Alabama.

I would be amiss if I merely portrayed the “sweet home” aspects of this particular state. Like every other principality which has ever existed on earth, it is riddled with mishaps, bad judgments and incoherent ideas being fostered as “normal.”

But to personify Alabama–or any part of the south–as the hotbed for bigotry, ignorance and inequality is not only short-sighted, but comes from a place of arrogance and a desire to limit the qualities that these dear folks can offer to our country in faith and hospitality.

Some of the worst memories I have of my journeys have been in the south–especially Alabama–and also some of the golden treasures of people and discovery have also been found within its borders.

Here’s the truth: people live where they were hatched, take the best parts of their surroundings and mingle them with tolerance and love to form a workable way of being. No matter where they abide, if they accept the portions of their culture which alienate them from the rest of the world, they have gone down a foolish path. But if they set aside childishness, they gain eternal perspective.

Prejudice was not born in the south. Long before slaves were brought to this country, there were slaves in Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and every corner of our globe. Those who were intelligent, historical and also spiritual learn to recognize the limitations of their upbringing in deference to the mercy that the God of our creation requires of His children.

I love Alabama. I love Massachusetts. I love California–not because of the history book or the spouting of their individual Chambers of Commerce. No, it’s because I have met people in each of these locations–and many others–who have overcome their ancestors to be born again … to newness of life.

 

Agile

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgile: (adj.) able to move quickly and easily

One of my largest portions of pride has always been a belief, contention and even, I suppose, reality that I “move really well for a big man.”

Whenever I ran across folks who questioned my size or my blubber, I always reminded them that I swam four times a week and even played tennis.

I was glad to be agile.

Actually, I worked hard at it. I have always been very fat, but also active. Honestly, my busy lifestyle and exercise didn’t do much to counteract my metabolism and overeating.

Time marches on. The obesity has remained and unfortunately, the agility has gradually vanished.

I have worn my knees out carrying around too much weight.

They were very brave for many years and now they are suing me for irreconcilable differences and requesting custody of my movement.

How do I feel about it? Because please understand–what we feel about things is very important. You may be able to achieve mind over matter but you will never achieve mind over emotions. When the brain and the feelings have a war, the mind is never able to overcome the onslaught of the attack brought on by the invasion of mercenary misgivings.

This is why I must deal with my feelings with regard to my agility. Four different sensations:

Embarrassed because I have gotten myself into this situation, where I am no longer agile.

Surprised that I am still around, doing a little kicking and screaming, considering how I have mistreated my joints and muscles.

Determined to do my best to generate greater possibilities.

And hopeful that with a combination of God’s grace and my effort, I can gain back some agility points.

The key lies in what order I allow these emotions to surface every day in my life. If they land in this order: (1) embarrassed, (2) surprised, (3) determined and (4) hopeful, it’s going to be a lousy day. But if I am able to get (1) surprised, (2) determined, (3) hopeful and (4)embarrassed in that order, I normally can see progress.

Yes, to be agile in my body demands that I first be agile in my emotions.

I’m on it.