Conversation

Conversation: (n) informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons

I guess I’m trying to understand Mr. Webster’s inclusion of the word “informal” in relationship to “conversation.”

I surmise that he might be thinking that a conversation is different from a discussion, because the minute it becomes a discussion it has an funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cagenda, or at least a main subject. And a discussion transforms into a debate if the two people talking are in disagreement, becoming an argument when each person is determined to stick to his or her guns, trying to convert the other person.

My problem with a conversation is that it often becomes two human beings reciting their resumes to one another, allowing time for the other one to counter with similar information. In other words, “How are your kids doing?” Space of time, space of time, space of time…

Now it’s my turn. “This is how my kids are doing.” Space of time, space of time, space of time…

Because of the social media craze in our world, even the discourses we have with each other live and in person have begun to resemble Facebook with verbal posts.

To me, that’s not a conversation. A conversation is best defined, I believe, by the idea that two people get together yearning for fellowship and hungry for fresh insight.

It’s not a series of soliloquies in which we hope the other person is listening, but rather, dialogue peppered with questions, some indecision, observations and enough incompleteness that the other party feels comfortable contributing.

Conversation is the absence of the deadly five questions:

  1. How are you?
  2. What have you been doing lately?
  3. How are the kids?
  4. Health been excellent?
  5. What’s going on with the job?

If you can avoid these five questions religiously, you can sit down and have an actual conversation, which can turn out to be truly spiritual.

 

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Commercialize

Commercialize: (v) to manage or exploit in a way designed to make a profit.

The Erickson Bread Company is coming out with a new product.

It doesn’t seem unique–it’s a tasty wheat bread fortified with vitamins that has the softness and flavor of white bread.

Everyone at the company and in the board room is ecstatic. They feel they have a good loaf which could quickly be considered great if it were advertised correctly.

A debate rages.

In order to present their creation to the public, they feel they need to find the best way to commercialize it–and by commercialize they mean the most favorable and common vehicle to convey typical life being joyously invaded by the new Erickson bread.

It is concluded that it would be ridiculous to show a family sitting around the dinner table enjoying one another’s company, commenting on the bread.

Old-fashioned.

Out of step with the times.

They also rejected the notion of a man wearing a hard hat, seemingly oblivious to the lunch he’s about to eat until he bites into the sandwich and smiles at the tasty bread.

Too much emphasis on a male figure–and who really wears hard hats anymore?

So it is decided that the best way to commercialize the bread is to have an energetic young mother standing at the kitchen counter making sandwiches for her young son and little daughter, who are completely preoccupied staring at computer screen and phone individually. The mother asks them to taste the bread. Without looking up, they nibble a corner–and suddenly their eyes look away from the screens and move to their mother, still with dead stares, and say, “Umm. That’s not bad.”

The commercial ends with the announcer saying: “Erickson’s new wheat bread–claimed by children who are obsessed by the Internet as ‘Umm. Not bad.'”

Commercialize: a decision to give in to the situation of our time, representing ideas in a fashion which may only be applicable for a few months.

Unfortunately, not everything we do in life can be commercialized.

Amen.

 

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Choice

Choice: (n) selected as one’s favorite or the best.

Webster seems to believe that choice is expressing a preference. Perhaps that is the universal concept.

But the problem with that particular interpretation is that it opens the door to decisions being made that are harmful to others, but can be
justified based upon “the freedom of…”

Does freedom give us choice, or does freedom demand responsibility? And what is the blending of freedom and choice?

Do I have the right, simply because I live, breathe and exist, to move about the Earth at my whim?

Of course not. No one believes that. What we disagree on are the specifics of the restrictions. The debate is about where your choice ends and my freedom begins, and where my responsibility kicks in and your choice begins.

I think the definition of choice needs an addendum.

If we’re going to continue to exist as a human family, cooperating with one another, choice must become a preference without harm.

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Cheerful

Cheerful: (adj) noticeably happy and optimistic

At least a dozen times this week, I’ve heard the sentiment expressed.

Sometimes it is phrased, “It’s the least I could do.”

On another occasion it was uttered, “Well, at least you could…”

Since the human race is lazy, somewhat disconnected and suffers from being lost in oblivion, let us discuss what is “our least.” What is the bare minimum that we
need to bring to this journey to make it enjoyable for us and tolerable for those who surround?

  1. Listen until you’ve heard before you speak.

We spend too much time thinking we know what people are going to say and leaping in with our opinions. Wait for a period. How about this? Wait for them to take a breath before you advance your insight or objection.

  1. If you’re in a bad mood, show up quiet.

A complainer can silence a room of praisers. You may think what you feel is important, but if you wait a few minutes, the energy of others just might lift your spirits.

  1. If you are feeling cheerful, don’t be obnoxious.

Folks have aches, pains, fears, and maybe even bad news they are carrying. Give them a chance to recuperate from their damage.

  1. And finally, sustain.

What you’ve set out to do, what you’ve decided to feel and the way you wish to live–carry it through to at least the end of one day.

There’s a power in being cheerful, and that power is that it unleashes the possibility of problems being solved instead of merely debated.

 

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Cajole

Cajole: (v) to persuade someone to do something by sustained coaxing.

Debate is a debacle.

We certainly should have learned that over the past few years. It is permission to insult without embarrassment.

Conversation seems to lend itself to insincerity, mainly because the truth required on the inward parts of the human being to create excellent fellowship is reluctantly provided.

Preaching is preachy.

Teaching is tedious.

Entertainment is crippled with the need to be commercial.

There is much that needs to be said. Deep in our hearts we all know that humility is not an option, yet we continue to tolerate the boastful and proud being given overuse of the stage.

There are many things we know to be true which seem to slink to the rear for fear of being called “old-fashioned.”

So it is the job of sane souls everywhere to use art, puns, humor and silliness to cajole brothers and sisters who walk among us to begin to think and feel again instead of settling for inadequacy.

Cajoling is when we realize we need to be merciful to the ignorant. Ignorance is not a sin unless it persists and gains power.

We need to catch it when it is still in a childish position–to be gently cajoled into repentance.

 

 

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Brouhaha

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Brouhaha: (n) a noisy and over-excited reaction or response

In a grocery store that only offers vanilla ice cream, strawberry seems radical. So for a brief season, the introduction of this particular flavor stimulates great interest and conversation.Dictionary B

But the human race, being what it is, soon tires of two flavors. So here comes peppermint, followed a few days later by Rocky Road, then Caramel Twist and Bubblegum, as the progression of varieties increases at a furious rate.

In no time at all, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins get together and say, “If 10 flavors tweak their fancy, just think what 31 would do…”

Pretty soon we have more flavors of ice cream than we could ever experience, and spend much time defending our own personal predilection.

So what was once a snack, or even a delicacy, becomes a source of conflict as people argue furiously in favor of their favored concoction.

Soon we forget it’s just ice cream.

It becomes an issue of pride–maybe even a symbol of patriotism or eternal salvation.

Once matters are blown out of proportion, we need to continue to blow into them to justify why they became so large in the first place.

In no time we find ourselves arguing over the art of debate, exchanging facts based upon our interpretation of available statistics.

We might even conjure a lie or two, suggesting that Devil’s Food Cake ice cream literally is.

I seriously doubt if anyone would disagree that we have become a nation which favors the brouhaha over consolation.

It should be no surprise that this has occurred–considering we are also a country that thinks judging people is religion, dieting is nutrition, reading books is education … and watching a football game is exercise. 

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Broad-minded

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Broad-minded: (adj) tolerant or liberal in one’s views and reactions

Presumably, to be a Christian is to possess the mind of Christ.

At least, that’s what the Good Book says.Dictionary B

So that begs the question, what is the mind of Christ?

356 denominations in the Protestant movement meet together every week to advertise their concept of Jesus’ mental status. No wonder we have confusion. It’s a bit surprising that it hasn’t turned into a theological Demolition Derby.

What saves us from murdering each other is a common understanding of a few attributes of the personality of Jesus which are universally accepted.

  1. He loved people.
  2. He wasn’t pretentious.
  3. He had a servant’s heart.
  4. He was willing to die to save the world.

Without these, we would probably have just as many sects of terrorists as the Muslims.

For even with the predilection to shun particular lifestyles, every denomination is still stuck with the warning from Jesus: “Judge not lest you be judged” and “Those that are not against us are for us.”

So what does it mean to be broad-minded? The definition is very simple, but more complicated in application.

To be broad-minded is to acknowledge that some things are just none of our damn business.

The only debate is: which ones and how many?

 

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Black and White

Black and white: (adj) clearly defined opposing principles or issues.

Dictionary B

You can always stimulate a debate by posing the question of whether there actually are things that are black and white–in other words, ideas which are either solely good or massively evil.

The general consensus of our present society is that such defined positions do not really exist, but rather, mingle into shades of gray.

But I contend there is one–yes, one–white, pure notion: Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

Sometimes we think we can compromise that particular pearl of great price.

  • Matter of fact, a politician will say that if an opponent hits him, he must hit back.
  • A school counselor suggests that the only way to defeat a bully is to figuratively hit him or her in the nose.

We have decided it is unnatural to turn the other cheek for fear of sporting double bruises.

So we’ve created a dreary gray. The Golden Rule has no chance to shine.

So are there black and white issues?

I think there is only one white issue: no one is better than anyone else.

And when you deny that, you darken the skies of mankind’s future.

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Bipartisan

Bipartisan: (adj) involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties

Dictionary B

Compromise is when one person wants pizza and another desires a hot dog, so it is decided to settle on hamburgers, with the hope that the bun will remind the pizza desirer of his choice and the beef in the hamburger will hearken to the filler in the hot dog.

In other words, no one’s happy but instead, tries to feast on the nobility of negotiation.

Bipartisan is a term that is not used as often in our day and age, mainly because we are convinced of the purity of our motives, and therefore, the divinity of our cause.

Or maybe it’s just that we’re too damn stubborn to sit and listen after we’ve yapped and fillibustered.

But the truth of the matter is, bipartisan is a ridiculous notion put forth by people who spend their day thinking that the world’s problems will be solved by forming an excellent debate.

When one person wants pizza and another wants hot dogs, hamburger is not the answer. It is unsatisfying to both parties and merely provides a surrogate solution, which will continue to be picked at by the participating partisans while they try to get their way.

Truth is never what you think, what I think or even a merger of our thought bubbles.

Truth is something completely erratic, which exists only in the hearts of those who are willing to humbly admit that they do not know what the hell they’re talking about.

Only through conversation can the stupidity of our reasoning be revealed, and then, only through repentance will it ever be abandoned.

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Barren

Barren: (adj) unproductive and infertileDictionary B

In case you do not understand that we live in a world of misogyny, you must take into consideration the word “barren.” It is a term that we normally associate with a woman who is incapable of conceiving a child.

Matter of fact, it is one of the three “B words” applied to the female of our species to degrade them and make them seem hopelessly dysfunctional in everyday life, and of course, incapable of leadership.

Barren Bickering Bitches.

These are the three “B’s” that are tied to our ladies to create a snicker in the testosterone-driven world, and to confirm our assertion that women are best when beating a path between the bedroom and the kitchen.

We never say that a man who has dead sperm is “barren.” He is just “unable to make babies” or has a shortage of some chemical in him which can be assisted by medication.

But darned tootin’–if a woman has an unwilling uterus, she is both unproductive and infertile, thus barren.

Men debate. Women bicker.

Men object. Women bitch.

There is a systematic bigotry instilled into our society, not just by the penis crowd, but also propagated by enough vaginas to keep it alive and functioning.

So every time I hear the word “barren” I see a woman in the desert, panting for water … while simultaneously wishing that she could conceive a baby.

 

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