Cloven Hoof

Cloven hoof: (n) a divided hoof ascribed to the Devil

I refer to it as “descending theology.”

It begins with a plausible notion and ends in the deepest dumpster of superstition. Let me give you an example:

There is a Creator who made the Universe.

Now, you may not agree with this, but at least the concept itself has some plausibility. In other words, if there were an eternal force, this
Unit would be able to hatch a Universe.

Yet from that point on come descending assertions, affirmations and doctrines about this Creative Force. For instance:

He had a son.

He decided to kill his son on a cross.

He believes in witches.

He had little children murdered because they laughed at a prophet.

You see what I mean? Whereas the original idea may have been feasible, when more and more tales of the bizarre are added, the theology descends into the graveyard of Mount Olympus.

Let me try another one:

There is evil in the world. (All right, I’m with you)

That evil appears to be organized. (Sometimes certainly feels that way.)

The mob boss of evil is named Satan. (You’re losing me…)

Satan is not really human or angelic, but rather, a creature. (Okay. I’m backing out of the room.)

Word has it, he walks on cloven hoofs. (Now I’ve turned and I’m running away very fast.)

If we were able to believe in God without the deterioration of descending theology, which turns everything into R-rated nursery rhymes, we might be able to take the better nature of our Deity and find it inside ourselves–and love one another.

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Clouds

Clouds: (n) a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the ground.

Clouds are what make us Earth–a planet unto ourselves.

Without the clouds, the sky continues on, seemingly forever. The clouds come to bring us needed seclusion–and rain.

As a human being, there are times that my mind needs to soar to include the entire cosmos. Even though I’m incapable of comprehending eternity, every once in a while it is a great mental and spiritual exercise to at least try.

But most of the time I need the clouds.

I need a cloud cover to remind me that I’m living with other human beings on a planet where it’s necessary for us to get along, take care of our reserves and develop kindness as the law of the land.

Do clouds hold my warmth?

Do clouds hold in my mortality?

Do clouds give me an atmosphere?

A reminder that darkened skies bring moisture for things to grow.

We over-complicate.

We are a moody sort of creature, who in one moment complains about the drought and the next, curses the rain.

For that reason, we must all be grateful that the weather is out of our hands and under the meticulous attention of Mother Nature. She may frighten us with sharp turns and stormy conditions, but when the clouds clear and we’re able to see the heavens again, we are reassured that nothing can separate us from the love of our Creator.

 

 

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Cling

Cling: (v) to hold on tightly

I cannot explain the choices I make in the middle of the night, when suffering from a bit of insomnia and flipping through the channels on television.

In my conscious mind I am trying to find something that’s boring enough to put me to sleep. Therefore I often stop at religious programming.

Just a couple of evenings ago, I landed on a program with a preacher who had a Georgia drawl, explaining why he was not afraid to die. He became very emotional, citing that he knew he was going to go to heaven and spend eternity with Jesus. Surrounded by the dark room and feeling very impressionable in my nighttime skivvies, I nearly believed him.

I wondered why I didn’t feel that way.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t think it sounds interesting.

I get teary-eyed thinking of a world without me.

I can’t imagine how my friends and loved-ones will survive. (Maybe that’s why the Pharaohs locked all their cats in the tomb with them.) I digress.

I cling to life.

I am not a hypochondriac, but if one is needed, I can do a pretty damn good impersonation. Why? Because every breath, every pain, every trickle in my system makes me suspicious that it is the precursor of a wave of destruction.

I think it’s foolish to say you believe in a God who made a beautiful Earth and then to be in a hurry to get away from it, thinking that the upgrade will be an improvement.

I like Earth.

I like people–even when they’re unlikable, because then they’re a puzzle.

I like being around.

I like what happens when I’m around.

So I cling.

Whatever seems to be full of energy, vitality or just the general circulation of the blood, I support with all my heart.

It is time to admit that I am an Earthling who will need to be evicted to get me to leave my particular duplex. Perhaps my Creator has set aside a place for me in a spirit world which is beyond my comprehension. I cannot cling to that.

But I can cling to faith, hope and love.

These are the three things that matter. These are the three things that make Earth sweet.

And these are the three things that make me so glad that I’m still alive with people like you.

 

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Clay

Clay: (n) a stiff, sticky fine-grained earth that can be molded

We don’t know anything.

Our science books, a hundred years from now, will be comedy club routines.

Our religions will cause people in the next generation to blush in embarrassment. We are perniciously ignorant because we insist that our
discoveries are so significant that it will be difficult to surpass them.

Yet we are plagued by hypocrisy because simultaneously I-phone 8 immediately needs I-phone 9.

So when you read the ancient text that “God formed man from the dust of the ground,” the poetic nature of the sentiment–and also the significance of understanding how limited our time on “Maple Street” will end up being–leaves out the fact that dust does not cling.

It does not form.

It blows, scatters and crumbles.

So although we may end up being dust somewhere along the line, the story should have informed us that the Creator obviously added his spit.

It was “Daddy spit.” (I know it’s not as famous as Mommy spit.) But it changed dust to clay, which could cling together and form flesh, blood and persons.

So even though I am made of the dust of the Earth, I am emotionally and spiritually held in place by the Saliva of the Most High God.

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Chisel

Chisel: (n) a long-bladed hand tool with a beveled cutting edge

His name was Michelangelo.

And for those of you under the age of twenty-five, I’m not talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. This was a real guy who was a
painter, a sculptor and just an overall talented human being.

One of his famous works is called “David.” It’s a statue of the King of Israel when he was a younger man–totally naked, with a non-porn-sized penis.

I believe it’s made of granite. Whatever it was made of, it started out as a piece of rock, and from that rock Mike (shall we call him?) chiseled a human being.

Now, I realize that God’s pretty special because He made people out of the dust of the Earth. I’m taking nothing away from the Creator for such magnificent use of common material. But for God’s sake–Mike made a human out of rock.

So one day, I was staying at someone’s house and they had a chisel, and one of those hammers which is used to strike it. I went out and found a rock. It was not granite, but after a couple of whacks I was able to dislodge a piece of stone from its sedimentary mindset. What was left behind was jagged, coarse and ugly. The statue of David, on the other hand, is smooth, glistening and skin-like.

It just made me stand back and gasp in wonder.

Even though it’s popular nowadays to chronicle the evil perpetrated by the human race so as to plump up ratings and give people who own two suits and three ties a chance to go on television and talk about their opinions, I would like to stop for one second and admire, with great joy, a human being who could take a chisel and a hammer and pull a human likeness from a hunk of rock.

 

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Chastity

Chastity: (n) the act of abstaining from sex

Sex is problematic because it feels good.

If there were no sensation other than the satisfaction that the male seed was traveling into the woman’s uterus to create children, it is
doubtful that the world could be populated.

So the Creator, in His wisdom, made the encounter the best few minutes of your life.

Although there are men who tout that they can go on for hours, the true goal is the last seven seconds.

That’s the memorable part. The rest is exercises to prepare for the game.

There are those who insist they enjoy the exercises, similar to muscle men who go on and on, discussing the value and delicious taste of a kale health shake–but basically, it’s that last seven seconds. And those seven seconds can control your life and make you do really stupid things if you’re not able to put it in perspective.

Standing in the way of common sense and clear thinking is the concept of chastity.

Although the individuals who preach this doctrine tout the value of purity and the glory of being free of guilt and sexually transmitted diseases, it does leave one hollow, without feeling love–vacant of a certain measure of satisfaction that was intended for our species.

Even the Creator said it’s “not good for a man to be alone.” Because in that loneliness is a sense of incompletion, because of not being loved and feeling the physical benefits of the experience.

  • What is the right amount of sex?
  • What is the wrong amount of sex?
  • When is sex evil?
  • When is sex good?
  • Is it only good if you’re married? (May I be truthful and say that married people, to judge by their facial expressions, are the worst advertisement possible for marriage.)
  • Is sex only good if it’s naughty?
  • Is sex only exciting when it’s with strange flesh?

These are great topics for discussion, that should be debated in a house of worship instead of a locker room.

But since religious people are afraid of sex and locker rooms don’t have that intimidation, many of the misconceptions, misrepresentations and even dark applications for this glorious piece of pleasure will continue to be whispered by those who are truly ignorant.

 

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Cadaver

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cadaver: (n) a corpse.

I found myself at the bedside of a dying friend, as her family came in to offer their farewells.

Even though I knew the woman quite well, her kin were a little bit of a mystery to me. But each one came to her side, said a word or two, and she shared a
sentiment. Tears sprouted, they gave her a kiss and scooted aside.

There was a girl about twelve years of age who came up, said her speech, did not receive any encouraging words, but went ahead and kissed my friend anyway. As she pulled away the nurse stepped in, took a pulse, realizing that the lady had passed away.

The young girl lurched back in horror, and before she considered what she was saying, proffered, “Yuck! I kissed a dead person!”

It made me think.

Moments before, this was her great-aunt but because breath had left the body, she had instantly become a frightening cadaver.

It’s why we all work so hard to stay alive. The breath that the Creator breathed into us is what really makes us valuable.

Once it’s gone, we just become kind of yucky.

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