Crucify

Crucify: (v) to nail the hands and feet to a cross

Origins.

The Greeks created gods.

They were empowered with practicality—for war, romance, wine and domination. Gods of convenience.

Buddhism has no god.

Instead, Buddha insisted that our weakness as humans is how human we are through flaunting our emotions.

Judaism is really a journey through a family of Bedouins led by a man named Abraham, who established their uniqueness by cutting off the tip of the foreskin of the penis.

The Muslim religion was formed to counteract the domination of the Jews and establish a people of purity, who spread their message throughout the world, using violence if necessary.

Christianity worships a man who was nailed at the hands and feet as a criminal who allegedly committed sedition against the Roman Empire.

The symbols are not terribly inspiring, are they?

The origins of faith don’t seem to be grounded in inspiration, brotherhood and equality.

The message of Christianity remains disheartening—the Prince of Peace visited the Earth, sharing a message of global unity. Our response was, “Fuck you—take some nails as you leave.”

I’m told that Jesus allowed himself to be crucified.

I’m not very fond of martyrs.

Is it possible that he was killed by the ignorance of all the other religions coming together to protect their financial security, and that God, in His infinite grace and mercy, decided to use the violent act as an opportunity to offer salvation to “whosoever will may come?”

Now, there’s a story I can walk with.

No, there’s a story that makes me run toward hope.

 

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Coven

Coven: (n) an assembly of witches

In the tapestry of experiences I have quilted together to call my life, I spent some time in Shreveport, Louisiana, starting a work that was kind of a combination of an artist’s guild, a church and a food bank.

Now, any one of those three things could stand on its own as a formidable effort, but in my youthful arrogance, I felt it was necessary for me to tackle all three to adequately represent the entire girth of the message that was sitting on top of my heart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We were not large, but the people we drew were very artistic, spiritually seeking, and often in need of some help with groceries. So as you see, we were right on point.

This Southern community I lived in thought that artists should stay downtown with the theater, churches should piously place themselves on Church Street, and food banks were better situated across town, where people’s skin had a deeper hue.

So when white, young me—with long hair—started to march about the community, putting on plays, performing music, teaching a little Gospel here and there, and passing out food in grocery carts near the projects, our city did not deem this to be a positive, but rather, decided it must be born of some sort of “dark spirit.”

They were especially concerned because we named this little gathering “The Haven.” Feeling no need to question their own assumptions, or even pick up a dictionary for definition, several of them insisted that the word “haven” was the term used for the Church of Satan. They were convinced we were a cult of witches with accompanying warlocks, who were doing good deeds to mask our real adventure, which was to pervert and smear true Christianity.

Several times I pointed out to them that the word “haven” actually came from an old hymn entitled “Haven of Rest,” and that the word they were seeking, which described a witch’s congregation, was “coven.” However, they refused to change their minds and accepted the rumor they had so carefully and perniciously put together.

Fortunately for us, those involved in the arts, the souls that were seeking answers, and people who were hungry didn’t give a shit whether the aid came from the Prince of Peace or the Prince of Darkness.

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Buddhism

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Buddhism: (n) a religion, originated in India by Buddha

Everybody’s got a different idea on the subject.

Some people think religion is like comparing various incarnations of cola. In other words, a handful of people Dictionary Bknow the difference–but most folks would just say “it’s a Coke.”

Continuing in the food theme, there are those who differentiate religions as bread, milk, meat and fruit. But I think all that’s ridiculous.

I think the most intelligent thing to do in assessing religion is to take a moment of your time to figure out what really works with humans on Planet Earth.

There are three things:

  1. People are people and they aren’t going to stop being people.
  2. We all care about ourselves.
  3. So it’s essential to find a way to care about yourself without ignoring everybody else.

This trio of ideas is immutable. It never goes away.

So a Jewish religion which believes that those who have trimmed penises are the “chosen people” might find themselves struggling in the social arena with that assertion.

Likewise, the Muslims, who feel it is their job to take over the world and insert Muslim principles into the heart of every human being, will probably suffer the slings and arrows of those who love a good barbecue pork sandwich.

And in the case of Buddha and his world-renowned Buddhism, trying to convince people that ignoring their desires and emotions is the path to Nirvana, seems to me to be futile.

Christianity, on the other hand, which has decided to bunk with Judaism, fails to deliver the best tenets of its organization as put forth by Jesus, who thoroughly confirmed our three steps by saying that once you find out how you love yourself, just apply that same measure to others.

There is an old saying, which translated, reads, “The only pure religion that is undefiled is to take care of women and children who don’t have resources and to keep yourself from being overthrown by worldly affairs.”

Buddhism suffers from too much introspection in a world which demands we consider seven billion options.

 

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Bona fide

Bona fide: (adj) genuine, real, without intention to deceive.

“It’s almost like pizza,” said the little boy as he munched on some rolls that were microwaved, having come from a box.Dictionary B

Just for the record, pizza rolls are not like pizza. They’re pizza rolls. I have no problem with them existing, as long as someone doesn’t say, “Well, it’s kind of like we had pizza–just all rolled up.”

Democracy has nothing to do with the presidential election. The election is an over-muscled, under-thought, lying extravaganza. Democracy, on the other hand, is a free airing of ideas, realizing that in that process we will probably have to change our minds from the hard line we have struck.

Religion is not Christianity. It doesn’t even try. It dresses up, passes around a multitude of symbols, and remains somewhat austere and stringent in an attempt to portray a God we refer to as “Love.”

We should never grow weary in the pursuit of well-doing, but we should also never call something bona fide–real, possessing lasting quality … if it fails to resemble the promise.

 

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Blood

Blood: (n) the red liquid that circulates in the arteries and veins

Dictionary B

Common.

Although we extol the value of finding things in common, there is a great danger of taking things of value and making them much too common.

When I realized that my word for today was “blood,” I immediately became aware that I was torn between two emotions:

First, a realization that blood is so much a part of the entertainment industry, and even the theology of Christianity, that it nearly has no significance; and secondly, escaping this inane idea and grasping the notion that the presence of blood is life, and the loss is death.

Yet after I’ve seen my fifteenth murder for the evening on television or gone to church and looked at the sight of a tortured man bleeding from a cross, I become hardened and inflexible.

It is frightening.

It is nearly abominable that we can slaughter human beings in an action/thriller indiscriminately, or think that the little bit of grape juice we pour into a plastic cup adequately represents the sacrifice of a courageous redeemer.

I, for one, am tired of symbolism.

I am weary of being told that it’s “just a television show, just a video game or just a way of having a ceremony in remembrance of a human sacrifice.”

These are huge concepts which demand our introspection instead of our frivolous observance.

 

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Barker

Barker: (n) a person who stands in front of a theater or sideshow and calls out to passersby to attract customers.Dictionary B

The two problems with self-promotion are that they contain a pair of dangerous concepts:

First, self. And second, promoting.

Combined, they create the nervous energy we all feel when people are thrusting themselves into the role of “barker,” to make us aware of what they consider to be a needful idea or product.

Basically, in our age most of the forms of communication are all about “barkers.”

Politics is full of barkers. Supposedly, the more you push, advertise, criticize and self-aggrandize, the better your chance to get a vote. No one stops to ask if this is actually true. It is a foregone conclusion by the pundits that if someone punches you, you should punch back, or if you remain silent too long or simply state your beliefs, you will be overthrown by the mass hysteria of those who generate a mob.

I was always a little uncomfortable with the idea of the evangelizing associated with Christianity. Because even though salvation is promised in the religious community, we first find ourselves barking at people, telling them how evil and destitute they are before we grant them the package of eternal life.

Of course, social media is nothing more than a bunch of technological barkers.

  • “Look at my beautiful this…”
  • “Check out my kid picking his nose, but in his case it’s cute…”
  • “I just got promoted and bought a new car, so don’t you see how much better my life is than your mediocre one?”

Is it possible to quietly succeed?

Is there a path that takes us to heaven without a marching band?

And is there a way to enrich the lives of your brothers and sisters in the world without startling them with your approach?

If there is, I will seek to find it.

And if it is not possible, I will still refrain from being a barker … and quietly walk away into gentle and blissful obscurity. 

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Aramaic

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Aramaic: (n) a Semitic language, a Syrian dialect which was used as a lingua franca in the Near East from the 6th century BC. It gradually replaced Hebrew as the language of the Jews in those areas and was itself supplanted by Arabic in the 7th century AD.

Risky business.

Sometimes choosing to pursue what reaches people causes you to be rejected by the upper crust smart-asses.

When we look at the life of Jesus through the prism of his choices instead of a religious aspect–considering his divinity–we learn much more about the man than we do by merely tagging him as Savior.

He spoke Aramaic.

It was not the popular choice for those who deemed themselves to be intellectual. All of the religious leaders of the day favored Hebrew. Matter of fact, it was a class distinction. The rich and prosperous considered Aramaic to be guttural and beneath their silver “tongues of plenty.”

So immediately, when Jesus spoke in Aramaic, it was assumed that he was stupid, backwoods and uneducated.

It is the same sensation that many white folks might express when they hear a black minister using Ebonics. We are infested with a need to be superior. It is the opposite of the Golden Rule–“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”–which was the central theme of the ministry of Jesus. So it would be a bit contradictory to talk to the common folk about commonality while using an uncommon tongue.

Interesting thing, though–by the time Christianity spread across Mesopotamia, Hebrew had been replaced by Aramaic. And much to the chagrin of many evangelicals, speaking Aramaic was also Jesus’ way of separating himself from the Jews and including himself with all of Arabia.

So be careful when you make Jesus a Jew or when you project onto him a theologian’s demeanor.

He was the Son of Man, who spoke the language of men who had sons who worked hard … and he dared to be considered ignorant in doing so.

 

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