Compromise

Compromise: (n) an agreement reached by each side making concessions.

Dinner chatter.

I’m speaking of those conversations that occur after a fine meal, while some sip on wine and others lick their cheesecake fork.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

These are the moments when people feel the need to wax philosophical while simultaneously appearing to be extraordinarily open-minded.

So one person shares his or her opinion and another adds detail, being very careful not to contradict, but instead, enhance.

By the end of the exchange, a summary is formed in which everyone’s sentiments are included in some capacity–almost like a discussion scrapbook.

The host or hostess often conclude by saying things like:

“Well, I’m sure all the political parties have something good to share since they all love America.”

Or:

“Even though we should be sensitive to each other’s cultures and respect difference, there is no race left out or creed dispelled.”

Or one of my favorites:

“It would seem that all paths lead to God and each one of us selects a profile literally tailored to our soul.”

We love compromise.

Matter of fact, in the American system, compromise is considered more sacred than authenticity. For years and years we’ve rejected obvious truth to make sure we did not offend anyone in the room.

Let me tell you something about the path to God:

It demands truth on our inward parts, and in no way, shape or form are we to distinguish, isolate or even separate off into groups–because God is no respecter of persons.

 

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Broccoli

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broccoli: (n) a variety of cabbage bearing green heads, widely cultivated as a vegetable.

I don’t remember ever seeing broccoli until I was sixteen years old.

I’m not denying its existence–it’s just that for some reason, our family did not participate in broccoli. Perhaps in my era it was not as popular, but more than likely, there was a silent vote taken among family members, without my knowledge, prohibiting the odd vegetable from entering our home.Dictionary B

The first time I did see broccoli and ate it was at a Chinese restaurant, where I was embarrassed because a girl had to explain to me what was perched in front of me with a green head, staring right into my eyes.

She was sufficiently overbearing and condescending, while baffled by my ignorance.

She told me that it was a very healthy thing to eat and that people of culture had consumed it for generations. I quickly realized that she was insinuating that I was not one of them, so I quickly took my fork and cut into the stalk, having the sensation, for some reason or another, of being a tiny lumberjack.

I liked it pretty well. Now, that might be because it was in a sweet ad sour sauce, surrounded by so much goo that it had little chance of diluting the delight.

Since then I have become an avid eater of broccoli even though I will admit to you that the word “avid” does not necessarily fit into that sentence.

I well remember, however, when the first President Bush confessed to the entire nation that he did not like broccoli, there was a collective gasp of horror and disbelief that the leader of the free world would be anti-florets.

But it is an acquired taste.

As with all vegetables, you have to wrap your mind around the fact that you are actually consuming something that normally would be chewed on by a cow or dried up by a summer’s drought.

 

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Bilingual

Bilingual: (adj) fluent in two languages.Dictionary B

Perhaps one of the better definitions of “honorable” is sharing one’s experience while freely admitting it is limited.

I have an exciting life, filled with many journeys, but most of them have occured within the confines of the United States. I have been to Canada several times, and made a ten-day journey to Haiti.

It hardly classifies me as a world traveler.

I share this preface because I want you, as the reader, to understand that it is fine to offer our testimony as long as we’re willing to warn the hearer of the limits of our scope.

So since Canada speaks English (though some of my brethren in the deep South would disagree) my only true experience of bilingual situations lies in my escapade to Haiti.

The thing I immediately sensed upon arriving in this country is that I wanted to be able to communicate with them in their own tongue. My lack of preparation for such a maneuver left me quite aggravated with myself.

So I set about to rectify the situation by learning as many phrases as possible. Since I was actually doing some public speaking, I was issued a translator. He was a delightful young fellow with a desire to please.

As I gradually assimilated a few words here and there, I realized that this fine youthful translator was editing many of the things I was saying.

So after one of my little talks, I confronted him. A bit red-faced, he candidly replied, “Well, I tried to make sure that everything you said would meet the approval of the audience so they wouldn’t be upset with you.”

I laughed, but instructed him to be more faithful with my content.

We are so afraid of words that even as they are translated into other cultures, there is a gnawing fear that we might say something unacceptable.

The chances of that happening are highly likely.

So that is the reason–whether we’re speaking our native tongue or a tongue that is native to our audience–we always need to remember that humility should precede our words, gentleness should accompany them and a willing spirit should follow.

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Bias

Bias: (n) prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group

Dictionary B

“Choose up sides.”

It happens early in our training, especially in elementary school.

Two captains are picked, which already establishes a bias toward a pair of students who are certainly preferred.

It is up to these two students to hand select their favorite individuals in a sequence which communicates to the entire room the new social order for the second-grade cult.

It may seem harmless–and especially seems to be free of guile for those who are selected early or who happen to be the captains.

But if you’ve ever been the last one selected, you are fully aware that bias leaves a lasting mark which is difficult to erase with the pencils provided during your years of education.

In many ways, the bias toward race begins on the playground.

We start off with only one race–that being “let’s go fast.” But as we describe to our teachers and families our newfound friends, we are suddenly discouraged from playing with them because somehow or another they are “different.”

Reinforcing this training is the notion that “girls are different from boys.”

“Smart people are different from less smart people.”

And the word different has two definitions:

  • If the difference is mine, it is better.
  • If the difference is yours, it is inferior.

It is impossible to celebrate cultures without promoting bias.

Yet we continue to do so, having children don sombreros on Cinco de Mayo, thinking that we are being multi-cultural–and also limiting the scope of a whole group of people to “a funny hat.”

Insanity is when we believe we solve a problem by creating a bigger one.

And bias is always the contention that the best way to understand people … is to punctuate their differences.

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Betrothed

Betrothed: (n) the person to whom one is engaged.

Dictionary B

The pride that we have over our sophistication is not only comical but often ill-placed.

We have the most intricate system for pairing people into committed relationships that has ever been devised in the history of bipeds with brains.

Yet we also have the highest divorce rate.

So do we question this system of placing the entire experience of choosing a mate based on the level of our interest and financial security?

No. We continue to chase down love haphazardly.

Simultaneously, cultures which pair off individuals in pre-arranged marriages don’t fare any worse than we do. Do you know why?

It’s because marriage has nothing to do with love.

Hell, if we’re going to make this planet work, we all have to learn to love one another. (But that doesn’t mean you’ll exchange body fluids with the population as a whole.)

Marriage requires three unique impositions:

1. “I’m not going anywhere.”

If you believe that separation and divorce are options in your relationship, you will eventually pursue one of them. There is a power in thinking that we possess the intelligence to solve our problems.

2. “I am not satisfied with myself.”

Although it is very popular to be self-satisfied, trying to sell this to another person who sees you every day is ridiculous.

  • I need someone to help me overcome my demons.
  • I need a friend who will see those demons and not run away in terror.
  • And I need a cohort who will not be too judgmental when I invite my demons back in for a one-night stand.

3. Be prepared to laugh all the time.

Most arguments begin because we decide to defend or discuss stupidity instead of laughing at it.

Humor is what makes sex excellent. Since it is such a silly little practice, which is accomplished just as well among the monkeys, we dare not view it as serious or overly spiritual, or we become notoriously foolish.

I don’t care whether you date for fourteen years or if you met each other fourteen minutes ago.

“I’m not going anywhere, I’m not satisfied with myself and I’m prepared to laugh” is what makes betrothal be-workable.

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Assimilate

Assimilate: (v) to take in information, ideas, or culture and understand fully.dictionary with letter A

Our sophistication has rendered us ignorant.

We have “thought” our way into thoughtlessness.

We have studied, totally escaping the true attributes of being studious.

We’ve worked on the false premise that human beings are all different–and although it seems like an open-minded concept, the underlying message is that we are incapable of totally embracing one another because our uniqueness creates wedges among us.

It is a dangerous lie.

The truth that should be assimilated into the consciousness of each and every person walking the face of the earth is that at least 85% of what we desire, feel and pursue is identical.

The other 15% is similar to picking your favorite flavor of Pop-Tart. In other words, it may seem important, but after you’ve munched on a few bites, cherry and grape are pretty much the same.

It will take a great sense of humor and unity, mingled with some confrontation, for us to escape the ridiculous desire to separate from one another while simultaneously pretending we’re honoring cultures.

The great assimilation in the human race is that we’d better find ways to establish our worth by being valuable and creative… instead of just preaching that we are entities unto ourselves.

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Armageddon

dictionary with letter A

Armageddon: (n) in the New Testament, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment.

I have this memory from Sunday School class of a verse in which God shares with Cain that the blood of his brother “cried unto God from the Earth.”

Pretty powerful image.

So every time I think about Armageddon, I’m a bit baffled.

I have never had a desire to go to the Holy Land–mainly because I do not believe that any particular parcel of dust and stone is holy–and especially when the landscape has been so stained by human blood, shed for meaningless doctrines and interpretations.

I am not certain that this position I have taken would be a popular one with those who want to go and see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, or where Jesus walked on the water.

But if I found myself in the unenviable position of being the President of the United States, I would never send any troops into a kingdom that is already crimson with blood.

I would never allow myself to be known as the conduit that initiated a battle over nothing, which destroys everything.

There isn’t much I can do about the Jews and the Muslims wanting to fight with each other. It is my belief that Jesus came to break truth off of tradition, so that we could be human beings with each other instead of tribes.

But I guess as long as we insist on honoring our cultures more than humanity, protecting our kin more than seeking reasons to call the people of the world our brothers and sisters, and debating the personality of a God which is far beyond our comprehension, we will gradually inch our way periodically towareds Armageddon.

When we do, look for me in the rear, turning around and heading the other direction.

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