Convent

Convent: (n) a community of persons devoted to religious life under a superior.  

 I’ve never been motivated by fear, even when some of it may have been legitimate.

I cannot stand to be intimidated and frightened just so somebody will believe that I’m adequately aware of a pending horror.

I have been a fortunate man because my journey has taken me every place I wanted to go, and many places I did not envision going but ended up benefitting me.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I once found myself, along with my family, staying for two days at a convent. It was an experience. Let me tell you the difference between “experience” and “blessing:”

A blessing is something you wish would go on forever.

An experience, though initially pleasant, is something you are overjoyed has an expiration date.

The women living in the convent, serving God, praying, and taking vows of both chastity and poverty, were some of the sweetest, gentlest and kindest souls I had ever met. But after about thirty-six hours, I discovered that their profile and practices were initiated through a fear of being displeasing to their Master—their husband. God.

Over breakfast one morning, I shared with these lovely souls my intention to write a novel on the life of Jesus, with him telling his own story. I felt confident that they would be moved by such an adventure. The intimacy we had shared over the stay made me relaxed, and I was forthcoming about details.

They were shocked.

They were offended.

Matter of fact, they pleaded with me to not write such a book, because it would “be offensive to God.”

Honestly, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was argue with nuns—especially on their home turf, the convent. I listened patiently to their objections, and for the rest of my visit I remained quiet, eager to get back to a world where poverty is not preferable and there is a God who welcomes scrutiny instead of feigning offense.


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Chick

Chick: (n) a young woman.

The battlefield of my human journey is riddled with foxholes where I’ve made stands, only to find myself retreating–often in humiliation.

It makes me wonder if there’s any purpose at all for being obstinate.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I raised an objection over the word “chick.” I was offended on behalf of all women. Matter of fact, I opened up the
discussion several times in a roomful of people of all generations.

After a lengthy discussion, I found that I was the only person who objected. The much older women remembered when girls were called “chicks” and it was a kind of a hip, Beach Boys thing. The younger girls felt it was a kindly, gentle alternative to “bitch.”

The case I made about the word being chauvinistic or degrading was met with a sympathetic nod but not much approval.

Here’s what I learned from the exercise:

If people aren’t upset about something they experience every day, I will do them no benefit by stirring them up and making them upset.

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Centerpiece

Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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Bogus

Bogus: (adj) not genuine or true; fake.

Dictionary B

Although I’m sure the word “bogus” has not been used by anybody since Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure finished playing at dollar theaters, I must say that the definition and the concept is rather important, and certainly would be enlightening for our times.

Somewhere along the line, or absent a line, we have begun to believe that real life has to be replaced by the exposure of reality.

So if a television show is done about a preacher and his family, we don’t focus on the good deeds, but rather, the conflicts that often arise in their character, which contradict their Biblical nature and expose their human foibles.

We are fascinated with failure.

Pointing at bad people does make us feel good. Therefore, symbolism is preferred to experience.

Whether it’s politics–where we have an Electoral College with a confounding number of votes to select our next leader; or the College Football Playoff, with a coalition of experts to muse over the manly efforts of the varying teams; or a church, where we replace the message of the Nazarene with bread and wine as a token of his life, it is bogus.

But like I said, since that word is outdated, we will just have to find another way to describe a season where illegitimacy is honored–because to revere the legitimate might leave us all convicted of our lack.

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Blame

Blame: (v) to assign responsibility for a fault or wrong.

I’m always looking for a true definition of maturity.Dictionary B

Having rejected the possibility of “old, experienced, educated or powerful,” I have decided that true maturity is when human beings finally reject the futility of blaming.

Blame–the extra step we add in the process of allegedly solving problems while actually manufacturing a maze that takes us deep into the jungle of confusion.

We exhaust ourselves trying to find out why stupidity happens by generating new stupidity through the investigation.

  • Sometimes blame is obvious. Then mercy is in order.
  • On other occasions blame is shared. At that point, some candor would be nice.

But blame is often a mystery. As the great and wise Solomon said, “Time and chance happens to all.”

Yea, we all take our turn in the fast lane–and also stalled in the traffic jam.

For of a truth, maturity is when we finally realize that pursuing the source of the difficulty often hinders the solution.

And unfortunately, it also turns us into self-righteous, judgmental black holes.

 

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Bigot

Bigot: (n) a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

Dictionary B

No sane people would ever admit they were intolerant.

It is easy to tuck and hide intolerance behind the holy pillars of experience, education, religious affiliation, racial discoveries and traditions.

In other words, tolerance cannot be defined by merely claiming that no intolerance exists.

To avoid being a bigot, it may be necessary to accept a universal definition for intolerance. Arriving at this proclamation–or getting any group of individuals to agree on it–may be completely impractical.

So let me just say that I’ve developed my own definition which lets me know when I have slipped into the role of being a bigot.

It is as follows:

Intolerance is a smugness that prods me to change someone’s mind.

Whenever that creeps into my soul and churns with an evangelism to chase down an infidel idea, I know that I am flirting dangerously with, or have even consummated the action of becoming a bigot.

It should be satisfactory to possess a truth that enriches our lives.

There is nothing wrong with living that truth out boldly, allowing the fruit of that tree of knowledge to sprout evidence.

But the minute we begin to judge others by whether they are planting a similar seed is when we literally end up … with bigotry.

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Belief

Belief: (n) an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Dictionary B

“Stacks.”

It is a word connoting an accumulation of stuff.

It’s supposed to be impressive. Why? There is a lot of it and it appears well-organized.

The problem with “stacks” is that anything beneath the top page is buried in some form of obscurity. Unless you patiently sift through the material, you will never exactly know what is eighteen inches below or fifteen inches above.

I used to have a bunch of belief.

I stacked it all up and called it my faith.

I took my faith and proclaimed it my religion.

And my religion became my calling card–to quickly explain to others where I stacked up in the rank and file of humanity.

But I rarely used my beliefs because they were encumbered, one upon another, offering very little freedom of expression.

Belief should never be an encyclopedia of recited ideals.

It is better served as a one-page resume which quickly tells those who are considering our acquaintance how valuable we find our lives to be–the experience which has enhanced our journey … and expresses our willingness to work for the better of the company.

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Bedlam

Bedlam: (n) a scene of uproar and confusion.Dictionary B

Take a quick look at that definition:

  • Uproar
  • Confusion

I think we might be guilty of believing that uproar is something that befalls us and that confusion is a byproduct of being overwhelmed by evil.

I suppose nowadays we might say the situation in the Middle East is bedlam.

Honestly, it’s not.

It is an uproar that is confusing, but it isn’t an uproar that has befallen us nor a confusion that has overtaken the participating parties.

Every uproar is caused by people who face difficulty and feel the immediate need to react.

And all confusion is the pursuit of a reaction without taking the time to think about the consequences.

For after all, most solutions end up making the situation worse because they are enacted without planning and consideration of the results.

And all confusion is the absence of inviting available facts to merge with our experience.

I have been in the middle of a picnic in a park and had bedlam ensue because some sort of disruption came into the situation and compelled people to react in a state of confusion.

It’s actually easy to avoid bedlam.

Never react until you’re sure you are satisfied and energized by the choice you are making.

And when threatened by confusion sit down for five minutes and retain the quality of your experience–as it relates to your present situation.

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Armed

dictionary with letter A

Armed: 1. (adj) equipped with or carrying a weapon or weapons.

I shot a gun seven times in my life.

Now, there’s an odd sentence.

What do I remember about the experience? I recall it as being fun.

I pointed a gun at a tin can and shot five times before I finally hit the thing. There was a real sense of satisfaction upon knocking over the former bean container.

I wanted to do it again.

If I really believed that being armed was a choice of recreation, I could completely comprehend the desire.

What I have trouble with is when people tell me they want to be armed so they can prepare to be dangerous.

After many years of dealing with human beings, I can tell you–we were never meant to be dangerous. Matter of fact, there is a real danger in us being dangerous, Why?

1. We are impetuous.

We do many things and are sorry later. It’s just hard to apologize for shooting someone.

2. We feel powerful about the wrong things.

The best gift we have is our ability to negotiate life and get along with others. Feeling the power of being armed sometimes makes us unwilling to be pliable.

3. We need good thoughts.

As long as we feel protected by a weapon, we will not use our better angels to fly in and solve our problems. And if we do, it may be in the back of our minds that we are still armed.

I know the classic saying is, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”

I can’t argue with that.

But long before we actually kill one another, we can develop an attitude of intolerance because we feel endorsed by our weaponry.

  • It makes us nasty when we could be gentle.
  • It makes us pushy when we might achieve compromise.
  • And it makes us confident in implements of anger instead of instruments of peace.

 

 

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Anthem

dictionary with letter A

Anthem (n.): a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group or belief.

I have become convinced that the best way to ruin any experience is to have a committee discuss it or experts share insights on “why it is so complicated.”

Thus the National Anthem.

Yes, the beautiful lyrics written by Francis Scott Key and the saloon song sung by so many Englishmen of the day came together for a rousing rendition of patriotic jubilation.

When I was a kid people sang it without commenting on the complexity of the melody line or trying to lift it an octave at various intervals to stimulate emotional reactions.

It was just beautiful.

Matter of fact, when I got the chance to do a musical arrangement of it for a symphony, I began it with an arpeggio of strings, lending a more pastoral depiction of the first stanza:

Oh say, can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

It’s such an intimate statement, really not requiring double brass and pounding drums. It is a progressive work, beginning with a gentle spirit and ending with a victorious shout.

But like so many other things in our country, we’ve turned it into a debatable dilemma–a dastardly debacle.

It’s not that we need a new national anthem.

We just need a people who can be moved by pride in our nation as the anthem is performed.

 

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