Chariot

Chariot: (n) a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle used in ancient warfare and racing.

“Negro spiritual. “

It’s not exactly an oxymoron, but within the two words there seems to be a contradiction of purpose.

After all, if you were a Negro, you might find it difficult to be spiritual to those who decided to know you only by that term.

Yet a race of people who were beaten, subjugated, raped and sometimes nearly starved managed to get around a fire late at night when their persecutors had retired to the Big House, and come up with songs which we now display in our religious catalogues today.

  • “Let My People Go”
  • “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”
  • And of course, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

Even though the songs are melodic, harmonic and perhaps even rhythmic, they all carry a central theme: “Dear God, I hope they stop beating me and if they won’t, I hope you kill me soon.”

You can be sympathetic to their plight.

“Swing low, sweet chariot,

Comin’ for to carry me home…”

A pretty simple passage: “Since there’s no solution here on Earth, since the Massa has the whip and since my family can be sold at a moment’s notice, maybe it would be wise to begin Eternity really soon.”

Negro spiritual–a music that tells us where people find solace when other humans abandon and mistreat them.

It is soulful, it is seeking and it is sad.

I can’t listen to the song about the chariot without realizing that my ancestors made the singer want to die.

 

 

 

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Butter

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Butter: (n) a pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream

Nothing tastes better than butter. It’s good on everything.

It makes pancakes edible.

It makes a delicious steak heavenly.

And it turns toast into something worthwhile to consume instead of dried-out bread for making dressing.

But it will also kill you.

High in cholesterol, high in calories, high in death toll.

Sometimes people make me laugh when I mention that butter is something I need to avoid. They say, “Why don’t you just eat a little?”

I always find it amusing when humans think they can pursue moderation. Because of the nature of our appetites, we really have two options: excess or abstinence.

Sometimes we can pull off abstinence if we get convicted or determined enough to become bratty about our decision to abstain. And of course, excess is merely allowing the human animal to rule the cage.

I’ve tried artificial butter. Surprisingly, very artificial.

I’ve tried butter substitutes. They were no substitute, by the way.

I’ve tried margarine, which is like convincing yourself that using three baby wipes to clean up is the same thing as taking a bath.

Butter is a blessing–but for me, it is one that God will have to supply in eternity, or otherwise, I will get there too soon.blished its seat of power.

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Brimstone

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Brimstone: (n) sulphur

It’s rare to find brimstone without its friend, fire.

They travel as a duet.Dictionary B

Over the years, they have become the universal threat to mankind for sinful doings and disobedience to deity.

There are churches which spend all their time talking about a hell filled with fire and brimstone. The premise is that we should take our seventy-two years of life and continue to be so frightened by the prospect of burning up and reeking of sulphur that we muster a nervous righteousness.

Of course, Earth has so many temptations and delicacies to offer that sometimes the searing of fire and the sniff of sulphur are not enough to keep the pilgrim progressing.

There has to be more.

So you can feel free to join in the debate about the existence of a hell with fire and brimstone, or whether ultimately, a loving God gives universal passes to everyone at the great amusement park in the sky–but in the meantime, a tremendous amount of life is going on around you which screams for your participation.

I found out a long time ago that there’s no government or religion that has anything against kindness, gentleness, good cheer and humility.

Might these four be the key to life on Earth and eternity post-Earth?

I find it difficult to have much concern about brimstone.

I am, on the other hand, seeking a comfortable and joyous way … to keep my nose to the grindstone.

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Bound

Bound: (v) intending to go, obligated, i.e. college bound.

Because I’m bound, where I’m bound is bound to be difficult to achieve.Dictionary B

So what should I do?

I could cease being bound. Who would I be? Separate from my fears, excuses and apprehensions, I might feel like an ugly duckling minus swan possibilities.

Maybe I should just keep pushing on to where I’m bound. But if I make that decision based upon a tangled web of deceit, how will I ever end up on the strait and narrow?

Things are bound to get better, aren’t they? If they’re not, where I’m bound may be out of bounds.

Those who are religious insist that we choose an Earthly path that determines our Eternity.

But I’m just bound to believe it is more that we choose an Eternal path … which nurtures our Earthly essence.

 

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Apocalypse

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Apocalypse (n.)1. an event involving great destruction. 2. (The Apocalypse) the final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.

It didn’t take me long in my travels to discover that there are only two things that motivate human beings: fear and love. And the truth is, if you have one, you don’t have the other.

Those who fear are greatly inhibited from loving.

And those who love have comfort, which protects them from fear.

Let me share my own little bubble of naiveté: if the world is actually going to end, don’t tell me. Matter of fact. don’t talk about it.

You can feel free to suggest ways that I can prevent such a cataclysmic occurence. That will be fine. But when you start talking about times, dates, circumstances or blame, please leave me out.

Because I will tell you, in my lifetime I have seen the threat of such annihilation twice:

During my whole growing up years, people were building bomb shelters, preparing for the inevitable tossing back and forth of nuclear weapons.

And then the Cuban Missile Crisis took us to the brink of a global fiasco, flirting with devastation like cheap whores at a bar near closing time.

I didn’t care for it–and not just because we were so close to oblivion. It was also the tension leading up to it and the apprehension that remained following.

I run across many religious people who pray for such an Armageddon so they can go home and be with Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that the Savior who prayed to stay here with us is now plagued with disciples who pray to go?

How bizarre.

  • I don’t want the world to end on my watch.
  • I don’t want to stand before God and have to explain why the whole damn thing blew up while I was idly figuring out the day and the hour.

I plan on going to my demise kicking and screaming, needing to be convinced by any divine being who has prepared a place, that this heavenly offering is actually better than what I had.

 

 

 

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Anabaptist

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Anabaptist: (n) a radical Protestant sect in the 1520s and 1530s which believed that baptism should be administered only to believing adults.

It’s not so much that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s just that by the time a dog reaches a certain age of maturity, it is always looking for a warm piece of sunshine in which to take a nap.

It is so much easier to teach a young dog which is hopping around with energy, to do something unnecessary, like a trick, because the creature is already predisposed to be active.

When I read this definition of Anabaptist, I immediately noted that their particular goal of profession of faith didn’t last very long. The reason for that is that trying to teach adults to be spiritual is similar to the quandary of pursuing chasing a stick with the old dog.

The people who are most intrigued by God, love, mercy, angels and promises of heaven are young.

Very young.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus told his disciples that we all need to “become like little children.” Otherwise, we’ll have no appetite to learn the new tricks that are available for our spirit.

If you remove Sunday School, Bible school, church camp and youth outings from the average religious organization, you basically end up with traditional worship services once a week … and funerals.

Matter of fact, that is the menu of many congregations in this country.

It is the infusion of youthfulness and the passion associated with it that makes spirituality alive and well. Otherwise, the minute we find a warm place to sleep in the sun, we no longer care about God, the earth and fellow-travelers.

Yes, the Anabaptists made a serious mistake. Merely getting old and sickly does not prepare one for eternity.

It is the introduction of youthful, childlike playing that “draws us nigh unto God.”

 

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Amendment

dictionary with letter A

Amendment: (n) 1. a change or addition to a legal or statutory document: an amendment to the existing bail laws. 2. an article added to the U.S. Constitution: e.g. the First Amendment.

Perhaps the most appealing part of the American story–from the birthing of a nation to the present-day collision of government–is the notion that even though we were greatly inspired to begin a country, with forefathers who have been touted as geniuses and revolutionary thinkers, we did understand that there would be a need, as time pressed on, to amend our original convictions by the sheer beauty and majesty of revealed wisdom.

If not, we would have those running for Congress who would still insist that because the original document claimed that black slaves were less than a whole human being, that we shouldn’t veer from that course and change our approach.

There is nothing written by man, whether inspired or not, that doesn’t require some sort of editing and tuning up as the clock ticks away.

This is true whether it’s the Constitution of the United States, which began with an agrarian society encompassed by slavery with no comprehension whatsoever about how much land mass would eventually be involved within its borders, to the Good Book, which started off with two people in a Garden and ends somewhere far away in the Universe, in an Eternity of Eternities.

I don’t believe that amendments are contradictions, but rather, necessary stipulations absorbed, to remind us of the original spirit of the text and the need to be inclusive instead of destructive.

Yes, the Good Book has many amendments in it, which some fundamentalist preachers and congregations fail to recognize because they give the same weight to a chapter in Deuteronomy that they do to the red-letter truth in the Gospel of John.

Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Life is moving towards life.
  • Freedom is moving towards freedom.
  • Liberty is also packed up and on its way to liberty.

Anything that comes along to deter the journey of this trio will be recalculated and rebooted in a different direction.

I want to be part of the amendments which make everything we believe more human, more accessible and more powerful, to create better people … instead of just maintaining strong control.