Bongo

Bongo: (n) a pair of drums held between the knees

One of the more annoying aspects of pursuing a Christian philosophy of life is the need to at least attempt to treat every person kindly. Even though it works out Dictionary Bin the end, the journey to get to the destination is often arduous, if not exhausting.

Randy was a tag-along.

When I was in high school, our church youth group decided to start a coffeehouse, and Randy volunteered his services to assure his place in the historical moment.

Here was the problem: Randy had no vices–just faults.

A fault is a difficulty someone possesses which you really can’t harp on too much because it doesn’t do any harm–it’s just mind-numbingly frustrating.

  • Randy talked too much
  • Randy had really bad ideas
  • Randy’s breath smelled like he had been licking the bottom of a birdcage.
  • And as it turns out, Randy played bongos.

This came out when we were discussing musical possibilities for our newfound venture.

We had located our guitarist, a piano player and some singers, and were ready to close our discussion when Randy suggested that what we lacked was a “bongoist.”

Quite certain there was no such word as “bongoist,” I explained that not every song needed rhythm. He agreed–and promised to only play the bongo when it was warranted.

On opening night Randy sat with the bongo between his knees, and determined in the moment’s anointing, to play on every song, including a very confusing interpretation of Kum ba yah.

He was oblivious to his intrusiveness and lack of timing.

Everybody expected me to tell Randy to “de-bongo.” I couldn’t. He was so enthusiastic. Matter of fact, after our first meeting, he explained, with tears in his eyes, that he thought he had found his calling.

I’m happy to report: fortunately he became an accountant.

 

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Arena

dictionary with letter A

Arena: (n) a place or scene of activity, debate or conflict.

I grew up hearing stories about Christians being killed in various arenas of the Roman Empire. Recently, I’ve discovered that some of these reports are erroneous and that the Romans didn’t really deem such uncontested murder to be entertaining enough to bump the gladiators off the sports line-up.

I was always curious about it.

I know the Romans were quite brutal, but what would be so harmful about the Christian philosophy, requiring it to be condemned in a public arena?

It is a message that attempts to be inclusive, and blend in to the mixture like yeast in dough, allowing for expansion without destroying the surroundings.

But of course, there are certain things that need to be placed into the arena of public debate, which are too often taken for granted. Perhaps I should remove the phrase “public debate.” We certainly have enough of that. There are people who make a living by stirring up trouble and never hanging around to clean up afterwards.

Perhaps I should say there are certain ideas which should be taken into the arena of our hearts, where they can be battled through to a conclusion which causes us to be non-harmful to ourselves and others.

1. Drug use.

Even though we’ve tried to make it an issue of freedom, in the long run, it is a medical dilemma.

  • What happens when any drug goes into our bodies?
  • How does it alter us?
  • Does it improve us?
  • Is the improvement worth the alteration?

2. Killing.

The trouble with killing is that it’s very permanent. There is no such thing as a temporary murder. Since it tends to hang around forever, we might want to think a bit more about enacting it–whether it’s war, guns or abortion, would it (pardon the expression) kill us to consider, in the arena of our thoughts, the ramifications of our deeds?

3. Intolerance.

First, I don’t like the word. It has an arrogance about it which connotes that I reluctantly “tolerate” something or someone. I actually prefer the word “indifference.” There are many things I disagree with, but since I don’t have to participate, why should I care?

Do I really think God in heaven is sitting around musing over color, culture, sexual orientation or preferences? If He is, He’s a real nudge and a brat.

Since He made us inconsistent, He might just want to be patient with our inconsistencies.

Every single day of my life, I try to go into the arena of my heart and think about these three monsters that have basically been welcomed into our midst and devour parts of humanity without our permission as we allow them to lumber about.

I don’t like drugs.

I’m against killing.

And it’s not hard for me to be indifferent about things that aren’t my business.

 

 

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