Clientele

Clientele: (n) the customers

Long ago in a universe that was far-out, but not far away, there existed a gathering of human souls called “church.”

Like every idea which is acted out by human beings, it was flawed from inception.

But at the root was a watering hole, where people could get together, rub up against each other, feel uncomfortable and blessed at the same
time, and walk out at the end of an hour inspired and also entertained because the children’s choir broke rank and failed to deliver the perfect performance that the young director from college had envisioned.

It was elegantly imperfect–which made it adorable.

The laughing was equal to the crying.

The “amens” were matched by groans of conviction.

It might have continued in that format as a great, uplifting experience had the accountants and the fanatics stayed away.

The church treasurers became very concerned that all bills be paid and money set aside for the carpet that would need to be purchased three years from now.

And then there were the fanatics–those who discovered that if they could get people to be afraid or nervous, they could stimulate attendance and keep people “fired up.”

Somewhere along the line, this organism called “the church” welcomed in nasty clientele.

These individuals were pious, knowing more about Bible verses than life, caring more about the vestibule than the hungry and homeless in the community, and were determined to maintain purity instead of welcoming the stained.

The innocent were targeted.

Races were rejected.

Preferences were labeled “abominable.”

The church became a repellent to anyone who wanted to find a location for a soul-stirring, emotional rejuvenation–a penitentiary full of guards with nobody willing to be prisoners.

Procedure became more important than salvation.

So the more humble folk, who knew they were sinners but prayed for God’s grace, gradually slipped out the front door, to never return again, leaving behind a quorum of quasi-religious critics.

Is it possible that the clientele could be changed and we could return to an assembly that was meant for humans instead of one that tries to gear its programming only to an Almighty God?

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Clerk

Clerk: (n) a person employed to take care of routine activities

I am not completely ignorant.

I do understand that rules are necessary. Without established guidelines, we have many people trying to dictate on the fly, ending up with restrictions which are much more nasty than if they had been thought of before the project began.

But I have just never wanted to be a clerk.

I’m talking about the kind of people who are thrilled there are rules so they can stand with a stony face, reciting them to you as you try to argue, and they sport a
slight smirk over the control they have achieved.

It happens every day.

Some people are destined to be clerks. They learn the routine and find satisfaction in their lives–sensations of importance–by using the regulations to dash the hopes of those who might walk just a little bit different path.

They quote.

It doesn’t matter if they’re using Shakespeare, the Bible or the company manual–they can give you the exact wording to reinforce their decision to treat you like shit.

Every function in life, every job and every position needs to be tempered by common sense and mercy.

Even the Good Book itself started off with Ten Commandments, shrank to four during the Sermon on the Mount, two later on, and finally ended up with one commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.

For after all, if you do that one, you’re doing the other ten.

When you remove common sense and mercy from your dealings with human beings, you become the catalyst for an unnecessary argument, which can lead to a war.

I don’t want to be a clerk. It’s probably why that position is never offered to me.

Some Big Boss Billy looks me in the eyes and thinks to himself, “I can’t trust that one to be an asshole.”

 

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Clap

Clap: (v) to applaud

I have spent much of my human journey with two little toes in heaven and the rest of my footage on Earth.

Those two little toes did not go to market. They went to church.

It’s where I sang my first song.

It’s where I met my first girlfriend.

And it’s still one of my favorite spots for spontaneous dozing.

One of the things I discovered about the experience of “church attendance ” is that there is a wide range of opinions on many subjects.

Clapping would be one.

Some churches believe it’s sacrilegious to express appreciation, worship or excitement by striking palms. They find it Biblically and spiritually unsound.

Other churches clap so much that you can’t hear anything else going on. They clap for everything. It’s kind of a “clapping without ceasing.”

As a person who shares his talent in a church, I have to admit to myself that I am also a performer and an artist. (Although I think the word “artist” is overused–even by me.)

As a performer, I do have an ego. Ego is not a bad thing–it’s that little “Nancy-cheerleader” who keeps us from jumping off a cliff just because we had a bad day. (“It might get better tomorrow. Yea, team!”)

When you perform a song, come to the end, and receive silence, it is not golden.

It’s rather moldy.

Ashen.

Empty.

I’m told I’m supposed to sing to the glory of God. But it was God who said, “Clap your hands, all ye people.”

If you’re afraid I’ll get the big-head if you applaud my efforts, then you should pray for me. Don’t snub me.

Until we understand that the Universe pushes energy one direction and there is supposed to be a push coming back from the other way, or else something is afoul, we may just continue to believe that God is so insecure that He is frustrated with anyone else receiving adequate appreciation for his efforts.

Since I wouldn’t even have lunch with someone who’s cantankerous, I choose to believe that when I perform, God applauds, the angels screech…and the congregation should follow suit.

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Circumcise

Circumcise: (v) to cut off the foreskin of a young boy a baby as a religious rite,

It is so much easier to believe in God if you don’t read the Bible. Opening up the Good Book immediately reveals some pretty bad things.

You can become one of those type of followers who rationalizes the meaning, or worse, places it in context with the times, but you always
look like you’re trying to explain the reasons that your uncle diddled his niece.

Simply reading the Bible often makes God come off as an asshole who is in charge of a bunch of sons-of-bitches. Especially when you consider there is supposed to be some significance in trimming off the stinky tip of a poopy-smelling penis.

Yes, at one time it was considered to be a spiritual experience which set the decapitated victim apart as being one of God’s “true people” instead of one of those still wearing a fleshy penis-hat.

You see how ridiculous it sounds?

That’s why I always insist it’s much easier to be an atheist than a believer. I, myself, am circumcised, because I grew up in Ohio, to parents who tried to be faithful to the Judeo-Christian standard, which insisted on trimming the pecker.

It has never done anything for me personally.

I’ve never had a conversation about it with anyone until now.

I’ve never had a woman gasp in delight upon seeing my circumcised unit because she was impressed with my choice.

I’m not so sure there was ever a reason for it, because later on in the Book the Apostle Paul makes fun of it and says it was completely stupid.

So I guess it depends on what chapter you read. If you’re only going to read the opening part of the story, you’ll believe that dick tips have special significance to God. But if you catch the story later on, you’ll realize that apparently God got over it, and no longer felt that it was in spiritual fashion.

 

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Buttock

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Buttock: (n) the back of a hip that forms one of the fleshy parts on which a person sits

I do not favor foul or coarse language, yet I have to admit, I am seriously exhausted trying to keep up with people who make it their mission to be the “word police.”

If you have ever written a paragraph, you have run the risk of being arrested by these cop-outs. They stand by ready to criticize every single syllable that comes before them as being either inappropriate, misplaced or evil.

So how shall I describe the back side of a human?

I can call it a rear end.

Perhaps a caboose.

They might even allow me to call it a butt–if the material is not viewed by too many children.

There are some folks who would even allow me to use the word “ass.” (The Bible had no trouble using the word “ass.” It’s a little difficult to believe that the translators in the court of King James were more progressive with their street lingo than a librarian in Peoria, Illinois.)

Sometimes words just fit. Sometimes they’re needed to give power and passion to an idea.

For instance, if you have a teenage son who’s sitting around during summer vacation doing nothing, would you really ask him to get off his “buttock” and get a job? Rear end? Caboose?

A wise man once said that “by your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned.”

I agree with that. So pick the word that communicates the thought, while making sure that the thought is exactly what you’re trying to communicate.

 

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Broaden

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Broaden: (v) to widen

Searching until one finds a moral certainty.

It used to be the goal of the human race. Obviously, we never achieved it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have burned witches, hated people of different colors or put leeches on sick folk to heal them of pneumonia.Dictionary B

Often moral certainty is an interpretation of a code of ethics printed in a book–whether it’s the Bible or “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” We scour the material to find the commandments that assure us that we are on the high ground.

The difficulty with this procedure is that simultaneously, the inclusion of other lifestyles suggests that we broaden our outlook on morality–often to the detriment or even deterioration of some of our certainties.

When I was a boy divorce was bad. Now it ranges from being painful to necessary, but obviously common.

Things like abortion, homosexuality and marijuana smoking were condemned and even prosecuted. Now we have been asked to broaden our definitions of acceptable behavior to counteract what was once considered to be a certainty, and instead, deem it a transition in our understanding.

Because we are broadening ourselves so much, we are definitely yanking at the seams of the moral conscience.

So what is immoral?

Without doubt, the denigration of another human being for the satisfaction of our pleasure or religious fervor is immoral.

The purposeful bullying or intimidation of an individual or group of souls falls into the spectrum of unseemly.

But are there carnal acts or deeds that we consider immoral?

Stealing, for instance, is permissible if done on a corporate level instead of a “pauper” one.

Sexuality has to have justification and mutual adult consent to be given license.

And the immorality of indifference to the plight of others can even be disguised as a political maneuver.

I am not a great advocate of moral certainty–but I will tell you that merely broadening our horizons does not guarantee that we see the truth.

 

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Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights:(n) the first ten amendments to the US Constitution

Dictionary B

So you’re sittin’ around with your buddies and you’ve just written a Constitution for a new little country which you have dubbed “The United States of America.”

You have high hopes.

But honestly, taking a peek at history, the life expectancy of such a national prospect is very dim.

Meanwhile, you’ve gone to the pub to celebrate your endeavor, and while talking with your friends, it occurs to you that you left out guarantees for personal freedom.

You feel a little silly, right?

So almost immediately, you go in and amend your document by adding ten ideas which guarantee that no tyrant will ever again trample on the God-given personal pursuits of any individual citizen.

Man, it seems noble.

But moving ahead a couple hundred years, we have the situation where the prevention of one tyrant opens the door to over three hundred million of them, as each person determines the boundaries of his or her actions, based upon the Bill of Rights.

This places us in a powder keg of controversy, with each citizen fearing they are being set aside in favor of honoring the liberties of another.

What is missing from the Bill of Rights? Some old-fashioned, damn common sense.

For instance, freedom of speech sounds really good until you actually have to sit and listen to one which is completely filled with nonsense and vitriol.

The right to bear arms may have once been practical, when single shot muskets took a minute to load and had no potential for rapidly firing, killing dozens at a time.

It goes on and on.

Oh, wait. There’s the Fifth Amendment, which supposedly protects us against self-incrimination, while actually ending up being a confession in parenthesis.

Just as people who translate science and the Bible as being immutable and without need of edit, those who worship the Constitution and its amendments fail to realize that the Founding Fathers were really just a bunch of goofs who got tired of being pushed around by crazy King George.

What they wrote and believed is neither supreme nor self-contained.

It is up to the intelligence of each generation to find the common good of all the citizens without making it seem that America is a restaurant with only tables built for one

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